Plant Survey 

Information about plants

Materials you will need:
      measuring string, tape measure,
      wooden stakes or sticks,
      sealable plastic bags
      permanent marker

Procedure to follow:

In your biotic community, find an area that has the most
trees and other plants.  If the entire community is the same,
pick one place at random.  You will do this activity in the
area that you pick.  You will survey the trees, shrubs and herbs.


1.  Using your measuring string, measure out a square that is
    10 meters on a side.  Put a stake at each corner and attach
    a string to make the square.  Use this diagram as a guide:

    You will also use this same measured area for the
    "Diversity" activity later on in the investigation.
    If you choose, both activities may be carried out at
    the same time.


2.  Count all of the trees that are growing within this
     square area.
     Here is how to determine which plants are trees.
     A tree is any plant with a trunk that has a diameter
     of 10 centimeters or more.
     The diameter is the distance through the center of
      the trunk.
     You can find the diameter by measuring the
     The circumference is the distance around the trunk.
     Use the measuring string or tape measure to measure
      the circumference.
     The circumference must be at least 31 centimeters.

3.  For each tree that you measure, identify its species.
     If you can't identify the species in the field, do the following:
     Place a leaf from the tree in a plastic bag.
     Label the bag with a letter like "A", "B" and so on.
     When you get back to the classroom,
     use the identification pages to match the leaf with the tree.

4. Count how many of each species are in the
    10 x 10 meter square.

5.  Record all of your data.


1. Within the 10 meter square, measure a smaller area.
   This area will be 10 meters long and 2 meters wide.
   Look at the diagram below for help:

2.  In this smaller area, count all of the shrubs.
     Here is how to determine what a shrub is:
    A shrub is a plant with a trunk diameter
    between 2.5 and 10 centimeters.
    This means that the circumference is between
    8 and 31 centimeters.
3. Count all of the shrubs.
4. Record all of your data.


1.  Within the 10 x 2 meter area, measure a smaller area.
    This area will be 2 meters by 0.5 meters.
    Use this diagram as a guide:

2. Count all of the herbs is this 2 x 0.5 meter area.
    Herbs are plants with a trunk diameter of less
    than 2.5 centimeters.
    This means a plant with a circumference of less
    than 8 centimeters.
3. Record all data.


1.  Walk around inside your 10 x 10 meter area.
    Look for any litter that is on the ground.
    The litter decomposes and becomes the nutrients for
    the living plants.
2. Record in your data if you found any litter, and
    where you found it.

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