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Measuring Woody Plants

Basic Measurements (basal area and density) of Woody Plants

 

One way to look at community composition of the riparian woody plants is to measure basal area (how much volume is taken up by a species for a given area). Basal area is determined by measuring how big around individual plants of a species are and then summing all of the measurements. This is done for each species at both the effluent and control (or natural) sites. A comparison of the basal area of the three dominant trees, Salt Cedar, Goodding Willow, and Fremont Cottonwood. Basal area is greater on the effluent site than the control for all three dominant tree species. Salt cedar makes up nearly 50% of the basal area for all woody species measured.

 


 

We also compared the density of the three dominant tree species. These results again indicate that there is greater density found in the effluent site than in the control site for all comparisons, and that salt cedar dominates with over three times as many individuals as Goodding Willow, the next most abundant species.

 

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