A comparison of riparian vegetation sampling methods along a large, regulated river

River Research and Applications
By: , and 



Monitoring riparian vegetation cover and species richness is an important component of assessing change and understanding ecosystem processes. Vegetation sampling methods determined to be the best option in other ecosystems (e.g., desert grasslands and arctic tundra) may not be the best option in multilayered, species rich, heterogeneous riparian vegetation. This study examines the strengths and weaknesses of two common vegetation sampling methods, line‐point intercept and ocular quadrat estimates. Permutational analysis of variance analyses indicate that cover estimates among observers did not differ significantly for either line‐point intercept or ocular quadrat estimates. Line‐point intercept cover estimates resulted in lower coefficient of variation among observers than ocular quadrat estimates, but the ocular quadrat estimates recorded significantly more species. Line‐point estimates of cover were generally larger than ocular quadrat estimates. Ocular quadrat estimates are appropriate when assessment of richness is important, in areas with heterogeneous geomorphology and hydrology where fine‐scale measurements are most useful, and in areas where continuous sampling transects are impracticable. Line‐point intercept estimates are useful when minimum variation among observers is necessary, continuous transects are logical and practicable for the sampling area, woody cover does not present a logistical complication, and species richness is not a priority.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A comparison of riparian vegetation sampling methods along a large, regulated river
Series title River Research and Applications
DOI 10.1002/rra.3440
Volume 35
Issue 6
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 759
Last page 767
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