The main focus of NIRMI is the collection of data on vascular plant species presence/absence and abundance at a variety of nested spatial scales (1000 m2, 100 m2, 10 m2, 1 m2, 0.1 m2, and 0.01 m2), as shown in the diagram below. The sampling model is adopted from models developed by Peet et al1 and is consistent with the sampling methodology of the Carolina Vegetation Survey and complies with the National Vegetation Classification Standard. This methodology allows for nested, intensive vegetation sampling yet allows flexibility as modules (10 m x 10 m units within each plot) may be rearranged based on geographic considerations.
Repeated measures at these same plots over time project the trajectory of a given restoration -- in addition to monitoring multiple times each growing season, NIRMI returns to each plot at yearly intervals and intends to do so over the span of several decades.
Data involving other key ecological indicators are also taken. The particular indicators that we are currently focusing on include: soil nutrients, soil pH, soil moisture, DBH (diameter at breast height), and canopy cover. These data are correlated with GPS points of permanent plot locations and are presented on this website for academic and conservation minded individuals.2
A typical plot layout, with ten 10x10 meter modules. Sub-quadrats not shown to exact scale. A) Intensively sampled module; B) Nested sub-quadrats of smaller scale; C) Residual quadrat.
1 Peet, RK, Wentworth, TR, White PS. 1998. “A Flexible, Multipurpose Method for Recording Composition and Structure.” Castenea, 63(3):262-274
2 Due to concerns about geotagging plants with the potential of poaching, all data regarding state or federally listed species are secured and filtered to prevent public dissemination of this sensitive information.
NIRMI has been supported by grants from
the Flora Richardson Foundation,
the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation,
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program, Indiana University, and the Lilly Foundation.
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