In this section we will look at the rationale behind vegetation monitoring and the methods used to collect numerical and digital data for long term use by saltmarsh researchers. We will cover four main methods:

  • Set up of Vegetation Transects
  • Set up of Vegetation Plots
  • Measuring Soil Compaction
  • Collecting Snail (Gastropod) data
Why Monitor Vegetation?

Saltmarsh in Moreton Bay and South East Queensland often forms distinct zones dependent upon elevation, salinity, soil moisture and soil type. Changes to saltmarsh topography and sediment quality can have a significant impact on plant community and structure. These changes to plant community structure and condition can have an impact on the habitat complexity and productivity which can then affect the value of the saltmarsh as a fish and shorebird habitat. Some of the actions which can cause these changes include:

 

  • The impact of various vehicles (4WD's and motorbikes etc)
  • Excessive trampling (livestock and humans)
  • Change to the hydrology (e.g. land filling, stormwater drainage, infrastructure)

It is therefore important to monitor the effect of disturbance on saltmarsh vegetation, particularly the amount of cover and its general health or condition. Monitoring vegetation cover through the use of set transects and quadrats are one method for determining the quality of the saltmarsh habitat. By recording the cover and health of vegetation along a transect scientists are able to determine and track the health of the saltmarsh. This information can be used to measure the impact of any disturbance and also enable recommendations to be made in terms of rehabilitating the saltmarsh area.

Equipment

This presentation outlines the equipment you need to carry out vegetation monitoring in the saltmarsh. Apart from the monitoring equipment don't forget personal safety and well being by wearing appropriate clothing and footwear along with sun block, insect repellent and plenty of fluids on hand. 

 

Vegetation Monitoring

With the advent of digital technology including still and video cameras, as well as GPS, it is now possible to capture marked areas on regular intervals. This can then allow comparisons over time to be made on the types of vegetation, condition and amount of cover found in various plots. This can allow scientists the opportunity to look at the overall health of the saltmarsh area over an extended period of time.  In this section we will look at the methods of vegetation monitoring including the use of:

  • Vegetation transects
  • Vegetation plots





Systematic use of transects and quadrats can provide valuable data on the health of a saltmarsh habitat

Video Presentation on Equipment