Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 164, Issue 1–4, pp 649–676 | Cite as

Review of monitoring and assessing ground vegetation biodiversity in national forest inventories

Article

Abstract

Ground vegetation (GV) is an important component from which many forest biodiversity indicators can be estimated. To formulate policies at European level, taking into account biodiversity, European National Forest Inventories (NFIs) are one of the most important sources of forest information. However, for monitoring GV, there are several definitions, data collection methods, and different possible indicators. Even though it must be considered that natural conditions in different countries form very different understory types, each one has its own cost-efficient monitoring design, and they can hardly be compared. Therefore, the development of general guidelines is a particularly complex issue. This paper is a review of data collection methods and consequently a selection of the best available methods for the set of indicators with an emphasis on GV sampling methodologies in NFIs. As a final result, recommendations on GV definitions and classifications, sampling methodologies, and indicators are formulated for NFIs. Different sampling areas are recommended for each life form (shrubs, herbs, etc.). Inventory cycles and sampling seasons (depending on the phonological stages) should be specially considered and evaluated in the results. The proposed indicators are based on composition at different levels of sampling intensity for each life form and on coverage measurements.

Keywords

Ground vegetation Ground vegetation components Ground vegetation attributes Forest biodiversity National forest inventory Sampling methods Volume calculations 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ETSI MontesUniversidad Politécnica De MadridMadridSpain

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