The Madagascar Vegetation Mapping Project- Field data form explained
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Field Data Form


Guidelines for completing the field data form

1) Fill in as much of the form as you can. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO FILL IN THE WHOLE FORM.

2) Obligatory information that must be completed is indicated on the form by an asterisk*. These are: personnel, date, locality name/description, vegetation structure, species composition (not DBH), intactness of vegetation and geographical features of site.

3) Data fields are defined as follows:

All active participants should be recorded.
The date of data collection is very useful in determining vegetation phenology and should always be included.
*Locality name/description
Directions and orientation to the locality from a reference shown in a map, e.g. ‘21 km from Fianarantsoa on tar road to Ihosy. Or 5km SW village Mitanonoka’ This information helps relocate a population without the use of a GPS. The area of the locality should be estimated (m2, hectares or km2).
Cultural site
If the site is a national monument, sacred forest or has other cultural significance, this should be recorded.
Lat/longs are determined with a portable Geographical Positioning System (GPS). GPS co-ordinates are generally accurate to 10-15 m. format should be DDMMSS (Degrees, minutes and seconds)
GPS datum
Ideally, the GPS datum It is preferable if WGS84 is used. If another datum is used, please state which in the box provided.
GPS co-ordinates are generally accurate to 10-15 m.
An altimeter is more accurate than a GPS, although some more expensive GPS’s have a built in pressure altimeter. The recorder should define the instrument or map used. Altitude measurements should be given in metres.
A national physiognomic classification from White (1983) is given. Recorders may prefer to use a local or regional physiognomic classification, in which case field 12 should be completed. Descriptions of these classes are in the form.
Estimated height of each stratum
No explanation necessary
*Species composition
Species composition gives important detail to the habitat description. Frequent or indicator species should be recorded, i.e. common species or species that indicate a certain soil type, geology etc. DBH (diameter at breast height) measurements are useful for demographic studies, but are NOT obligatory.
*Intactness of vegetation
This is mainly relevant to woody vegetation types. If trees/shrubs have been removed by cutting, fire etc. this should be recorded as partially disturbed or disturbed. Impacts to habitat Record the causes of degradation or modification of habitat here. Where details are known regarding which species are primarily affected (e.g. tree species being cut) or are causing the impact (e.g. browsing by goats), this should also be recorded.
*Geographical features of site
This is a description of the geographical features within the area being described. There may be more than one of these, but this will depend on the size of the area being described and the diversity of geographical features within that area. The level of detail provided here is at the recorder’s discretion. At the very least, a description of local topography should be provided in the ‘Other’ box.
Soil type
Soil texture (gravel/sand/loam/clay) is best estimated by rolling a sample of soil between finger and thumb. Colour will indicate humic content (dark) or presence of laterite (red). Lithology if Bare rock is exposed, rock type should be enter. Likewise if lithology of the area is known.
An estimate in degrees or an indication of steepness.
If a collection is made from a slope, the aspect (i.e. the direction the slope is facing) should be recorded. This information gives an indication of sun, shelter etc. experienced by the plants.
Herbarium collections made
If herbarium collections are made, their collectors, numbers, institution and field identification should be given. This provides additional floristic detail, which can be verified through the specimens.
Any additional relevant information should be given here.


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