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Title:Plant functional group composition in tallgrass prairie: development of a rapid assessment method for measuring vegetation integrity
Author(s):Sivicek, Valerie A.; Taft, John B.
Subject(s):tallgrass prairie
habitat quality
environmental indices
floristic quality
rapid assessment
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
ecosystem management and conservation
biodiversity and organismal ecology and life histories
Abstract:Monitoring of plant communities is critical for identifying trends and assessing the impact of management. Current methods of ecological monitoring typically involve collection of species-level data and expertise in plant identification, procedures that can be time-consuming and costly. Because many agencies rely largely on volunteer labor, a rapid assessment index is needed that is both effective and designed for volunteers to use. Such an index would allow for frequent monitoring between more intense monitoring events and for quick assessment of sites. A method of assessing prairie site quality using plant functional groups was developed and tested against species-level indices for 15 prairie remnants and plantings ranging widely in quality to determine whether functional group information could be useful for constructing a rapid assessment index. Significant correlations were found between the functional group index and all species-level indices tested. The index also differentiated between high-quality remnants and plantings. If this simplified index provides meaningful information, it might be a useful tool for evaluation of management and restoration progress when time and expertise are limited. Observed differences in functional composition between plantings and remnants might also serve as a guide for improving habitat reconstructions.
Issue Date:2007-06-04
Series/Report:Technical Report INHS 2007 (33)
Genre:Technical Report
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Sponsor:IDNR Grant/Contract No: 1-597062-375004 -191100
Rights Information:This document is a product of the Illinois Natural History Survey, and has been selected and made available by the Illinois Natural History Survey and the University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is intended solely for noncommercial research and educational use, and proper attribution is requested.
Date Available in IDEALS:2009-07-07

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