Sagebrush cover is often estimated with the use of the line intercept method. However, a lack of standardized protocols may lead to variable estimates of sagebrush canopy cover. Our objectives were to determine the influence of gap size on 1) sagebrush canopy cover estimates, 2) time needed to read a transect, and 3) among-observer variability in sagebrush canopy cover estimates. We utilized 5-, 10-, and 15-cm gaps, and defined a gap as a lack of continuous live or dead shrub canopy. In instances where a segment of dead cover was less than the gap size and adjoined live cover, the dead cover was measured as live. We evaluated canopy cover at 6 Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. Wyomingensis Beetle & A. Young) sites in southeast Oregon. At each site, four 2-person teams measured sagebrush canopy intercept along 50-m transects. Each transect was read by multiple teams to allow for assessment of among-observer variability. Intercept values were converted to percent canopy cover and we used analysis of variance to determine the influence of site and gap size on measurement time and cover estimates. Observer variability was highest at the intermediate gap size (i.e., 10 cm). Transect measurement time was longest with the use of a 5-cm gap (P < 0.001). Total cover estimates were not related to gap size (P = 0.270). Live canopy cover estimates increased (P < 0.001) from 12.1% to 14.5% with increasing gap size, and cover of dead material decreased (P = 0.015) from 4.4% to 3.2%. These differences are small in magnitude and would not likely change a gross assessment of vegetation status. However, use of a standardized gap size will enhance comparability of canopy cover estimates among studies and will decrease between-year sampling error for repeat monitoring.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 60 • No. 2