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Field exercise: Transect Walk. USAID Staff & Partner Environmental Training Kinshasa, DRC 24-26 June 2008. The transect methodology . TRANSECT= a path along which one observes and records environmental attributes of interest, e.g.

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Field exercise transect walk

Field exercise: Transect Walk

USAID Staff & Partner Environmental TrainingKinshasa, DRC 24-26 June 2008

The transect methodology
The transect methodology

  • TRANSECT=a path along which one observes and records environmental attributes of interest, e.g.

    • Key species counts (record number of observations, distance from the transect line—a classic technique for estimating populations of key species and thus assessing ecosystem health)

    • Economic use

    • Land cover

    • Soil profiles

    • Etc.

Used in many disciplines: ecology & NRM, landscape characterization for integrated agricultural development, urban planning etc. . .

Transect Walk Field Exercise. visit

Our assignment
Our assignment

  • “Integrated transect” approach focusing on

    • Economic uses and activities

    • Natural landscape and human interventions

    • Environmental health

      • i.e., How healthy is the environment for the people who live in it?


Use a systematic, structured approach to practice field observation from an environmental perspective.

Transect Walk Field Exercise. visit

Recording transect results
Recording transect results

  • Part 1: Map showing transect path

Our assignment today

Just kidding.

Path of the 1999 Central African “Megatransect” by Ecologist J Michael Fay & his team (15 months, 2000+ km)

Image: National Geographic. Articles and images at

Transect Walk Field Exercise. visit

Recording transect results1
Recording transect results

  • Part 2: Transect diagram

Topological & HydrologicalZones

Example from an integrated transect focused on agro-ecosystem characterization

Elevation profile

Relative elevation (m)

Soil profiles

From N. van Duivenbooden et al. Landscape & Urban Planning 34 (1996), 143-160.

Land cover (crop types, woodland, scrub, etc)

& topographic features (paths, roads, drainage, streams, etc.)

Orthogonal distance (m)

Horizontal Distance (m)

Transect Walk Field Exercise. visit