To assess the influence and effectiveness of the proposed management on plant communities and the structure and components of the ecological landscape, property monitoring is necessary. Our Science and Stewardship Department conducts property monitoring associated with developed property conservation management plans and ongoing research projects to assess changes in plant communities in response to current management as well as to document changes in property use, structure and function over time. Monitoring occurs every 3-5 years and includes two components: property level photo-monitoring and vegetation community sampling using point-intercept methods.
Photo-monitoring aids in visually recording and interpreting broad-scale changes that occur at specific locations over time, particularly in response to landscape level management. Photos are taken at a fixed point over time and can be used to visually document landscape level changes due to both recreational use and management.
Community level vegetation composition monitoring occurs landscape level changes are expected or detected due to implemented management. In particular, vegetation community monitoring is undertaken in areas where landscape-level management that could potential alter community composition takes place, such as prescribed fire, tree removal, thinning or limbing, mechanical vegetation mastication, herbicide treatment, or various combinations of management. The goal of vegetation community monitoring is to document changes in the composition of the vegetation community over time and thereby evaluate the effectiveness of various types of management.