National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Report NPS/NGPN/NRR 2012/489.1 / NPS 920/112724, February 2012: xvi, 256 pages

Published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, Fort Collins, Colorado

Also available at:

Please cite this publication as:

Symstad, A. J., R. A. Gitzen, C. L. Wienk, M. R. Bynum, D. J. Swanson, A. D. Thorstenson, and K. J. Paintner-Green. 2012. Plant community composition and structure monitoring protocol for the Northern Great Plains I&M Network - Standard Operating Procedures: Version 1.01. Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/NRR—2012/489.1. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.



The Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network (NGPN) includes thirteen park units located in five northern Great Plains states across six ecoregions. Plant community composition and structure monitoring comprises the core of the vegetation monitoring effort for the NGPN, covering the “Riparian Lowland Plant Communities” and “Upland Plant Communities” vital signs (Gitzen et al. 2010). The narrative portion of the plant community protocol can be found in Symstad et al. 2012. The narrative includes the rationale for vegetation monitoring, an overview of sample design, field methods, data management, and program requirements. This document contains the standard operating procedures needed to implement plant community monitoring.