Analysis of Species in a Transitional and Upland Forest Using QuadratSampling
Daniel LockwardThe Richard Stockton College of New Jersey13 December 2011
The New Jersey Pine Barrens are home to several species of woody plants. In order to further understand their ecological role in the ecosystem, certain methods of sampling can be used.Quadrat sampling of several plots is popular because the data it yields provide specificinformation used to make conclusions about various species. For this study, the goal was tosample an upland forest and transitional forest located on the campus of The Richard StocktonCollege of New Jersey. Beforehand, it was predicted that the transitional forest would not bedominated by pitch pines (
since it is closer to a wetland ecosystem.
77 plots in a designated upland forest and 46 plots in a transitional forest were sampled per 100m
according to specific strata for trees, saplings, and large shrubs, 10 m
for small shrubs, and 1m
for ground cover.
One plot was removed from each to provide variations in the researchers’
data. To determine whether every individual was a tree or sapling, the diameter breast height wasrecorded using a special roll of measuring tape. A random table of numbers in Geller (2010)determined how many paces to use when selecting different plots in order to avoid overlappingduring sampling. Data was recorded to determine density, frequency, coverage, and importancevalues for each stratum in Excel as per instructions in Geller, (2010). A species area curve, performance curve, and species abundance curve were contrived via these data as graphicalmodels, also per instructions in Geller, (2010).
Both the Upland and Transitional communities were sampled effectively. After the 34
plot, nonew species were found in the upland forest (Figure 1a). In the transitional forest, the bulk of species were found in the first 12 plots with only a select few discovered through plot 46 (Figure1b). A performance curve for pitch pines and white oaks (
) of the upland forestyielded a steady running average of ~4 and ~2 (Figure 2a). For black gum (
) of the transitional forest, the running average balanced out to ~3 (Figure 2b). All of these datareinforce sample effectiveness.In the upland forest, white oaks and pitch pines made up ~80% of the tree species, indicating thelack of species evenness (Table 2a). Since there were a lot of species that were barelyrepresented, this area also has low species richness. Among the low numbers were the scarlet oak (
), chestnut oak (
), post oak (
), and sassafras(
) (Table 2a). For saplings, the numbers were a little more even with black gum, white oaks, and pitch pines representing ~5% of species (Table 2a). The same holds true