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Methodology for the Re-location of Permanent Plot Markers Using Spatial Analysis

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A well-designed method of establishing, maintaining, and remeasuring permanent plots plays an essential role in long-term data collection. This article describes the re-location of plots set up 25 years earlier using conventional techniques of paced distances and compass directions. As a result, we needed to design and use a method for re-locating plot markers originally established without the benefit of spatial coordinates. Preplanned ground searches using a GIS, digital orthophotoquads, landmark maps, and aerial photographs improved our plot location efficiency and success. In 2003, we were able to re-locate 90% of the plots set up in 1978 to measure the vegetation dynamics after a fire in Baxter State Park, Maine. The spatial coordinates of these permanent plots were documented for future measurement. Lessons learned and techniques developed for this project can facilitate the re-location of permanent plots in other studies and can also be used to improve the documentation of newly established plot locations.

Keywords: digital orthophotoquads; fire ecology; geographic information system; global positioning system; long-term ecological research

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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