The cover module has the following options:

  1. Cover/Frequency (by Quadrat)
  2. Line Intercept
  3. Point Ground Cover
  4. Point Intercept

1. Cover/Frequency (by Quadrat)

The module has the following input settings:

  • Quadrat height and width can be entered. Use only height parameter when using a circular plot.

  • Class end points can be entered using a comma delimited list.

  • Class Input Display - an option to display to classes as endpoints, midpoints, or as a range.

  • Canopy cover - record species cover can be toggled on or off using the radio button.

  • Ground cover - record ground cover can also be toggled on or off using the radio button.

2. Line Intercept

The line intercept module accommodates entering locations of species intercept points along a tape. The module allows for entering the start and end intercept points. Intercept points do not need to be entered in order, the module will accommodate reading a tape either forward or backward (toward zero). The module then outputs a calculation of the length of the intercept for each individual which intercepts the tape. The module allows overlapping species but will not allow more than one instance of the same species to occupy the same space along the tape.

After making a species selection a numeric input panel will be displayed as shown below. The numeric input panel allows input of any number including real numbers. This panel is used for methods which require an unlimited range or precision of numbers such as a measurement. The "Enter" button must be clicked to complete the entry process. The example above shows the numeric input panel with a telephone keypad layout. The panel may also be used with a calculator/ten-key keypad layout. To change the layout, click on the desired image located at the top of the panel. Some of the buttons on the keypad may not be functional depending on the sampling method for which it is being used.

The module has the following input settings:

  • Record ground surface categories can be toggled on or off using the radio button.

  • Record canopy cover can be toggled on or off using the radio button.

  • Record canopy gaps can be toggled on or off using the radio button.

  • Record basal gaps can be toggled on or off using the radio button.

3. Point Ground Cover

The Point Ground Cover module accommodates entering surface ground cover hits based on point sampling. It may be set up for recording individual points along a tape, or for recording clustered points such as multiple points around a quadrat sample frame or pins in a point pin frame. Because this module is designed for recording surface hits, only one category or species may be entered per point. See Line or Point Intercept for a module for recording multiple layers/hits per point.

In this example, the Ground Cover module has been set to record 3 points per sample location. Selections for each point are made by clicking on the appropriate item in the data input panel. When a selection is made for a point, the next point will be automatically activated and ready for selection. After the final point on the module is entered, the next module, if any, will be activated.

To make corrections, click on the incorrect item in the display item to highlight it and then select the correct item from the list(s) in the data input panel. The newly selected item will replace the previously selected item. To clear a point, select it in the display panel and then click on the same item in the input panel (it will be highlighted yellow in the input panel).

The Ground Cover data input panel consists of two sections. The top section is for selecting surface cover categories. The options listed depend on the list selected in the settings as described above. Within this section, categories may be added or edited. See Creating Lists to set up custom Ground Cover Categories.

The bottom section is for selecting plant basal hits when the "Ground Cover - Record basal hits by species" setting has been set to "Yes". If the setting is set to "No", then this section will not appear. Species may be added to this section at will. Instructions for using this section are provided in Species/Category Input.

If the setting "Ground Cover - Record basal hits by species" is set to "Yes" and the category named "Live Basal Veg." exists in the category list, that category will be hidden and a species must be selected to identify hits on a plant base. If the setting is set to "No", the bottom section of the list will not appear and the category "Live Basal Veg.", if it exists, must be selected for a hit on any plant base.

In addition to transect and sample configuration, settings include:

  • Points Per Quadrat - The number of points to be recorded per quadrat or pin frame. Enter 1 here if sampling individual points along a tape or for step-point style sampling.

  • Ground Cover - Record basal hits by species - Determines if hits on plant basal material is recorded by species or as a single category. This will also determine how the data input panel is configured.

  • Ground Cover - Category List - Choose which list of categories to display as options in the data input panel by selecting the name of the list from the options provided. For instructions for creating and editing category lists.

4. Point Intercept

The Point-Intercept module supports point-based method for collecting foliar cover data such as line-point intercept procedures. Generally, cover is recorded for ground surface characteristics as well as plant cover. A point is vertically lowered or projected downward through the vegetation and each unique species touched by the point is recorded. Thus, for plant species, cover values generated from the data typically represent "foliar" cover rather than "canopy" cover. The last item recorded is when the point reaches an item rooted or resting squarely on the ground surface.

VGS accommodates sampling schemes where points are spaced evenly along a transect or where points are clustered, such as sampling multiple points at each placement of a point-frame or perhaps a quadrat used for other attributes or methods. There is no restriction on the number of layers that may be recorded for a single point.

The module has the following input settings:

  • Points per sample/cluster can be changed from the default of 1.

  • Surface cover - category list can be adjusted using the drop down list.

  • Surface categories allowed in canopy can be adjusted using the drop down list.

  • Global qualifies can also be entered if desired with the option to enforce accounting for empty samples.

© Arizona Cooperative Rangeland Monitoring Program, 2018 • Updated: 01/18/18