The NCRN will document status and long term trends in:
- Distribution, abundance and basal area of exotic trees and shrubs: This will allow the NCRN to determine if exotic trees and shrubs are becoming more common and to determine what changes in forest vegetation condition are associated with these exotic species.
- Exotic understory plant distribution and cover: Exotic plants may be able to out-compete native understory plants. By monitoring the distribution of understory plants the NCRN will be able to determine which plants are spreading throughout the region. The NCRN will monitor the cover of exotic plants to determine how large of an impact they are having in the plots where they occur. The NCRN will work with the regional Exotic Plant Management Team and the Invasive Species Coordinator to determine which plants should be monitored. The list is updated annually as new plant species invade network parks.
- Vines on trees: The NCRN will identify all vine species growing on each tree, including exotic vines, and determine which trees have vines growing in the crown. This will allow us to determine if invasive vines are spreading and if trees that have vines have a higher mortality rate that those without vines.