All terrestrial and much aquatic animal biodiversity depends upon land based plants in some way for food and shelter. Natural processes that have shaped vegetation inside and outside parks have been directly affected by a variety of land use activities, such as altered fire regimes, intensive logging, agricultural activities and industrialization. Changes in weather patterns and climate can also have a more gradual affect on the types of vegetation found within plant communities. Shifts in vegetation structure, function, and composition will in turn have a profound effect on overall habitat structure, function, and composition, and will be inextricably linked to the health of ecosystems.
A core concept of the Klamath Inventory and Monitoring Networks vegetation monitoring protocol is that assessing the composition, structure, and function of vegetation communities, can be used to evaluate the ecological integrity of wider park habitats. Therefore, monitoring vegetation change is imperative to detecting and understanding the status and trends in park ecosystems.
Objectives are to:
- Probabilistically sample vegetation and environmental parameters in safe, accessible locations every 3 years using a 3 year revisit frequency.
- Sample special interest vegetation more intensively.
- Monitor status and trends in vegetation composition at all sampling locations.
- Monitor status and trends in vegetation structure and function, at all sampling locations, including parameters affecting Wildlife habitat, Fire behavior, Stand dynamics.
- Have the sensitivity to detect significant non-linear shifts in vegetation and a 50 percent gradual change in vegetation should they occur with approximately 80 percent power.
- Provide data for modeling invasive species distributions as described in the Network's invasive species protocol
- Species Presence or Absence
- Tree and Snag Diameter and Density
- Tree Crown Position
- Shrub Density
- Photo Plots
- Tree Seedling Density
- Tree and Shrub Mortality
- Woody Debris Size and Decay Class
- Canopy Height
- Soil Properties
- Vegetation Type