Date of this Version
The Prairie Naturalist 44(1):39–46; 2012
Monitoring vegetation with a modified Robel pole on the Fort Pierre National Grassland was evaluated for combined shallow clay and loamy overflow ecological sites (dominated by warm-season grasses), and for clayey ecological sites (dominated by cool-season grasses). My objectives were to 1) develop a relationship between visual obstruction readings (VOR) and standing herbage, 2) provide guidelines for vegetation monitoring, and 3) evaluate vegetation monitoring during the growing season for clayey ecological sites. The relationship between visual obstruction readings and standing herbage was linear and regression coefficients were highly significant (P < 0.001) for both ecological types. Cluster analyses for shallow clay and loamy overflow ecological sites grouped the VOR and standing herbage (kg•ha-1) into 4 resource categories. Monitoring with 4 transects will provide adequate information to estimate standing herbage within 259 ha (1 section). Three resource categories (VOR + herbage) for clayey ecological sites were defined by cluster analyses. Monitoring with 4 transects was determined to provide reliable estimates of standing herbage. July validation of vegetation with the developed clayey ecological site model will provide reliable monitoring of standing herbage from July through November for this ecological site.