Analysis of Species in a Transitional and Upland Forest Using Quadrat Sampling

Daniel Lockward The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey 13 December 2011

INTRODUCTION
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 specific information used to make conclusions about various species. For this study, the goal was to sample an upland forest and transitional forest located on the campus of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Beforehand, it was predicted that the transitional forest would not be dominated by pitch pines (Pinus rigida) since it is closer to a wetland ecosystem.

METHODS
77 plots in a designated upland forest and 46 plots in a transitional forest were sampled per 100 m2 according to specific strata for trees, saplings, and large shrubs, 10 m2 for small shrubs, and 1 m2 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 was recorded 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 overlapping during sampling. Data was recorded to determine density, frequency, coverage, and importance values 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 graphical models, also per instructions in Geller, (2010).

RESULTS
Both the Upland and Transitional communities were sampled effectively. After the 34th plot, no new 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 (Figure 1b). A performance curve for pitch pines and white oaks (Quercus alba) of the upland forest yielded a steady running average of ~4 and ~2 (Figure 2a). For black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) of the transitional forest, the running average balanced out to ~3 (Figure 2b). All of these data reinforce sample effectiveness. In the upland forest, white oaks and pitch pines made up ~80% of the tree species, indicating the lack of species evenness (Table 2a). Since there were a lot of species that were barely represented, this area also has low species richness. Among the low numbers were the scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea), chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), post oak (Quercus stellata), and sassafras (Sassafras albidum) (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

for shrubs with bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), and blueberry (Vaccinium vacillans) which represent only .4% of species (Table 2a). The rest of the 8 shrubs represent .17% (Table 2a). The transitional forest had higher species richness and low species evenness. Black gum trees dominated at ~29%, and sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), pitch pine, and white oak made up another ~40% (Table 2b). Black gum dominated in saplings with ~66% representation and tall huckleberry in shrubs with ~50% (Table 2b). In both the upland and transitional forests, trees are the most diverse (Figure 3a, 3b). However, one cannot determine how the diversity of the communities compares to each other because a few plots in the upland forest were not sampled completely and/or thoroughly enough to account for every species. There is insufficient data in this case. According to the coefficient of community similarity, 46% of the species are common in both communities. In the upland forest, the white oak and pitch pine were the most distributed with a 75% and 92% occurrence between all of the plots sampled, respectively (Table 1a). In the transitional zone, these two species measured out at a 55% and 80% occurrence level (Table 1b). Other dominant species include black gum and sweet bay magnolia, which, like the white oaks, do not occur in the same amount in the upland zone (Table 1a, 1b). Taking these data into consideration, the two communities are more different than not.

DISCUSSION
Being that pitch pines accounted for 33% and 57% of relative coverage in the transitional and upland forests respectively, they were dominant in both domains (Figure 2a, 2b). This means that the hypothesis stating that pitch pines would not dominate the transitional forests was incorrect. Even though the percentage spread of the species in the transitional zone was greater, no other species had a higher percentage. Pitch pines are not very specialized, so this explains their presence in both communities. They are able to tolerate soils with varying moisture and a wide range of environmental conditions. In order to obtain better results for community diversity, it would be necessary to resample the upland area with complete relative coverage data. Also, more transitional plots could be sampled because the proportion of transitional data to upland data was uneven and therefore could account for some error in the study. The Shannon index for the upland forest was 2.47 and 3.85 for the transitional forest (Table 3a, 3b). The discrepancy between these numbers can be explained by the amount of error in the study. For each stratum in the upland zone, the indices were calculated to be low and did not coincide with raw data, bringing the index for the whole community down.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Fau, Andrew, 2011. Woody plant data from transitional forest. Richard Stockton College, Pomona, NJ. Geller, M. D. 2010. Manual for Ecological Principles Laboratory, ENVL 2205, Fall 2010. Richard Stockton College of NJ. Pomona, NJ.

APPENDIX

Figure 1a: Species Area Curve - Upland Forest
30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69 71 73 75 77 Plots

Cumulative #

5 4.5 4 3.5 Running Avg. 3

Figure 2a: Performance Curve for Pitch Pines and White Oaks in an Upland Forest

2.5 2 Pine Oak

1.5 1 0.5 0 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52 55 58 61 64 67 70 73 76 Plots Sampled

Figure 3a: Species Abundance Curve for Upland Forest
0.4 0.35 0.3 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1 0.05 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Table 1a. Average Density, Standard Deviation, Frequency, and Coverage of Upland Forest Species (76 Plots) Trees: Acer rubrum Amelanchier canadensis Betula populifolia Ilex opaca Nyssa sylvatica Pinus rigida Populus grandidentata Prunus serotina Quercus alba Quercus coccinea Quercus prinus Quercus stellata Sassafras albidum Sapling: Acer rubrum Ilex opaca Betula populifolia Juglans nigra Nyssa sylvatica Pinus rigida Populus grandidentata Prunus serotina Quercus alba Quercus coccinea Quercus ilicifolia Quercus prinus Quercus stellata Sassafras albidum 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.0 0.8 0.2 0.1 0.2 2.7 0.265568 0.352124 0.114708 0.161136 0.97105 0.736367 0.161136 0.161136 2.610713 0.127561 2.30579 1.268996 0.494709 0.628106 0.052632 0.105263 0.013158 0.026316 0.105263 0.171053 0.026316 0.026316 0.223684 0.026316 0.210526 0.039474 0.052632 0.131579 1.210526 0.002121 0 0.000795 0.008067 0 0.018475 0.010606 0.001525 0.003199 0.019362 0.009287 Avg. Density 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.4 4.1 0.1 0.0 2.2 0.5 0.5 0.1 0.4 8.6 SD 0.114708 0.114708 0.114708 1.110081 1.326187 2.734141 0.478301 0.229416 2.44489 1.250175 1.627222 0.249561 0.920306 Freq 0.013158 0.013158 0.013158 0.131579 0.118421 0.921053 0.052632 0.013158 0.75 0.210526 0.131579 0.065789 0.236842 2.671053 40.11886 4.242857 4.574286 0.679857 3.010714 7.297143 8.759429 91.25746 Coverage 0.544286

Shrub: Gaylussacia baccata/dumosa Gaylussacia frondosa Ilex glabra Ilex opaca Kalmia latifolia Lyonia mariana Myrica pensylvanica Quercus marilandica Smilax spp. Vaccinium corymbosum Vaccinium vacillans 299.4 50.7 0.4 3.0 1.1 1.3 6.4 9.3 0.1 50.1 272.9 694.6 418.8971 121.0264 2.492614 24.24963 3.71088 6.865572 29.55254 33.45589 0.498241 110.2741 306.9188 0.808824 0.352941 0.058824 0.044118 0.132353 0.044118 0.176471 0.147059 0.029412 0.544118 0.838235 3.176471 0.247996 0.147329 0.003591 0.000437 0.011825 0.010357 0.165814 0.009306 0.002202 0.093509 0.230092 0.922458

Ground Cover: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Gaultheria procumbens Ilex opaca 4.1 748.3 0.2 752.6 28.57143 1779.002 0.849837 0.020408 0.734694 0.066667 0.821769 3.111157 0.769074 122.1853

Table 2a. Relative Density, Relative Frequency, and Relative Coverage of Upland Forest Species (76 Plots) Trees Acer rubrum Amelanchier canadensis Betula populifolia Ilex opaca Nyssa sylvatica Pinus rigida Populus grandidentata Prunus serotina Quercus alba Quercus coccinea Quercus prinus Quercus stellata Sassafras albidum Sapling: Acer rubrum Ilex opaca Betula populifolia Juglans nigra Nyssa sylvatica Pinus rigida Populus grandidentata Prunus serotina Quercus alba Quercus coccinea Quercus ilicifolia Quercus prinus Quercus stellata Sassafras albidum Rel. Density 0.00152439 0.00152439 0.00152439 0.036585366 0.041158537 0.469512195 0.012195122 0.00304878 0.260289634 0.055640244 0.063262195 0.007621951 0.046112805 Rel. Freq 0.004926108 0.004926108 0.004926108 0.049261084 0.044334975 0.344827586 0.019704433 0.004926108 0.280788177 0.078817734 0.049261084 0.024630542 0.088669951 Rel. Coverage 0.003391507

0.045469345 0.054581017 0.568635854

0.249985258 0.026437736 0.028502905 0.004236269 0.01876011

0.01972873 0.041923551 0.004932182 0.009864365 0.101109741 0.106041924 0.009864365 0.009864365 0.233045623 0.007398274 0.281134402 0.064118372 0.034525277 0.076448829

0.019704433 0.039408867 0.004926108 0.009852217 0.039408867 0.064039409 0.009852217 0.009852217 0.083743842 0.009852217 0.078817734 0.014778325 0.019704433 0.049261084

0.00928733 0 0.018474596 0.010606155 0.001524635 0.003199082 0.019361536 0.002121231 0 0.000795462 0.008067307

Shrub: Gaylussacia baccata/dumosa Gaylussacia frondosa Ilex glabra Ilex opaca Kalmia latifolia Lyonia mariana Myrica pensylvanica Quercus marilandica Smilax spp. Vaccinium corymbosum Vaccinium vacillans

0.430978997 0.073022527 0.000571646 0.004297934 0.001545562 0.001863144 0.009252202 0.013423103 0.00010586 0.072069783 0.392869241

0.302810779 0.132135613 0.022022602 0.016516952 0.049550855 0.016516952 0.066067806 0.055056505 0.011011301 0.20370907 0.313822081

0.001545292 0.000918021 2.23776E-05 2.71993E-06 7.36854E-05 6.45366E-05 0.001033208 5.7984E-05 1.37233E-05 0.000582664 0.00143373

Ground Cover: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Gaultheria procumbens Ilex opaca

0.005423561 0.994281156 0.025745257

0.007640495 0.275057806 0.024958949

Table 3a. Shannon Index for Upland Forest (76 Plots) Strata Trees Saplings Shrubs Ground Cover Everything Combined Shannon Index Value 1.390597839 1.069848944 1.194388979 1.038732344 2.467862883

Table 1b. Average Density, Standard Deviation, Frequency, and Coverage of Species Found in Transitional Forest

Average Density Trees#/100m Red Maple Atlantic White Cedar Sweet Bay Magnolia Black Gum Pitch Pine White Oak Scarlet Oak Chestnut Oak Sassafras Saplings#/100m Red Maple Sweet Bay Magnolia Black Gum White Oak Chestnut Oak Sassafras Shrubs#/100m Sweet Pepperbush Tall Huckleberry Winterberry Holly Mountain Laurel Swamp Sweetbells Staggerbush Bay Berry Swamp Azalea Green Briar Highbush Blueberry Scrub oak
2 2 2

SD

Frequency

Coverage

Acer rubrum Chamaecyparis thyoides Magnolia virginiana Nyssa sylvatica Pinus rigida Quercus alba Quercus coccinea Quercus prinus Sassafras albidum Total= Acer rubrum Magnolia virginiana Nyssa sylvatica Quercus alba Quercus prinus Sassafras albidum Total= Clethra alnifolia Galussacia frondosa Illex verticillata Kalmia latifolia Leucothoe racemosa Lyonia mariana Myrica pensylvanicus Rhododendron viscosum Smilax rotundifolia Vaccinium corymbosum Quercus ilicifolia Total=

1.41 0.18 1.32 2.98 1.59 1.27 0.30 0.68 0.39 10.11 0.32 0.41 2.05 0.18 0.05 0.09 3.09 23.97 68.72 0.36 28.14 4.47 0.92 2.24 1.55 1.49 10.20 0.07 142.11

2.50 0.58 2.84 3.19 1.28 1.50 1.07 1.36 0.62

0.32 0.09 0.39 0.73 0.80 0.55 0.11 0.32 0.32 3.61 0.18 0.16 0.61 0.09 0.02 0.05 1.11 0.70 0.61 0.09 0.82 0.11 0.08 0.18 0.11 0.11 0.45 0.02 3.31

16.8 0.83 10.6 55.6 63.6 23.4 0.93 17.8 3.41 193.1 2.94 2.16 8.61 1.58 1.25 0.41 17.0 0.1 0.2 0.01 0.17 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.02 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.9

0.83 1.34 3.23 0.66 0.30 0.42

53.9 146.2 1.4 40.4 17.2 3.34 8.06 6.70 7.61 23.5 0.45

Table 2b. Relative Density, Relative Frequency, and Relative Coverage of Species Found in Transitional Forest

Relative Density Trees#/100m Red Maple Atlantic White Cedar Sweet Bay Magnolia Black Gum Pitch Pine White Oak Scarlet Oak Chestnut Oak Sassafras
2

Relative Frequency 0.088 0.025 0.107 0.201 0.220 0.151 0.031 0.088 0.088

Relative Coverage 0.09 0.00 0.05 0.29 0.33 0.12 0.00 0.09 0.02 1.00

Acer rubrum Chamaecyparis thyoides Magnolia virginiana Nyssa sylvatica Pinus rigida Quercus alba Quercus coccinea Quercus prinus Sassafras albidum Total=

0.139 0.018 0.130 0.294 0.157 0.126 0.029 0.067 0.038

Saplings#/100m Red Maple Sweet Bay Magnolia Black Gum White Oak Chestnut Oak Sassafras

2

Acer rubrum Magnolia virginiana Nyssa sylvatica Quercus alba Quercus prinus Sassafras albidum Total=

0.103 0.132 0.662 0.059 0.015 0.029

0.163 0.143 0.551 0.082 0.020 0.041

0.17 0.13 0.51 0.09 0.07 0.02 1.00

Shrubs#/100m Sweet Pepperbush Tall Huckleberry Winterberry Holly Mountain Laurel Swamp Sweetbells Staggerbush Bay Berry Swamp Azalea Green Briar Highbush Blueberry Scrub oak

2

Clethra alnifolia Galussacia frondosa Illex verticillata Kalmia latifolia Leucothoe racemosa Lyonia mariana Myrica pensylvanicus Rhododendron viscosum Smilax rotundifolia Vaccinium corymbosum Quercus ilicifolia Total=

0.169 0.484 0.003 0.198 0.031 0.006 0.016 0.011 0.010 0.072 0.000

0.213 0.186 0.027 0.247 0.034 0.024 0.055 0.034 0.034 0.137 0.007

0.16 0.20 0.01 0.20 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.03 0.08 0.25 0.01 1.00

Table 3b. Shannon Index Values Found in a Transitional Forest Strata Sampled Trees#/100m
2 2

Shannon Index Value

1.923 1.298 1.875 3.854
2

Saplings#/100m Shrubs#/100m

Entire Community

Figure 1b. Species Area Curve For Transitional Forest
30 Cumulative Number of Species 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 Plot Number

Figure 2b. Performance Curve for Black Gum Trees Sampled in a Transitional Forest
4

Density Per 100 m2

3

2

1

0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 Cumulative Number of Plots Sampled

Figure 3b. Species Abundance Curve for Transitional Forest
0.275 0.250 0.225 Species Abundance 0.200 0.175 0.150 0.125 0.100 0.075 0.050 0.025 0.000

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