Rapid Assessment of Plant Diversity Patterns: A Methodology for Landscapes
- Cite this article as:
- Stohlgren, T.J., Chong, G.W., Kalkhan, M.. et al. Environ Monit Assess (1997) 48: 25. doi:10.1023/A:1005796618823
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We present a rapid, cost-efficient methodology to link plantdiversity surveys from plots to landscapes using: (1) unbiasedsite selection based on remotely sensed information; (2) multi-scale field techniques to assess plant diversity; (3)mathematical models (species-area curves) to estimate thenumber of species in larger areas corrected for within-typeheterogeneity; and (4) mathematical techniques to estimatetotal species richness and patterns of plant diversity in alandscape. We demonstrate the methodology in a 754 ha studyarea in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, U.S.A.,using four 0.025 ha and twenty-one 0.1 ha multi-scalevegetation plots. We recorded 330 plant species (∼1/3 thenumber of plants recorded in the 1074 km2 Park) in the2.2 ha area within the plots: this represents a samplingintensity of 0.29% of the 754 ha study site. We estimated 552plant species, about half the plant species recorded in the Park,in just 0.7% of the Park‘s area. We show how this rapid,cost-efficient methodology: (1) produces a rich informationbase on the patterns of native plant diversity and thedistribution of non-native plant species and keystoneecosystems; and (2) can be easily adapted for other nationaland state parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and nature reserves.