My small bit of experience came by way of working as a Graduate Assistant to the chair of the department here at Stony Brook, Dr. Jessica Gurevtich. Dr. Gurevitch and her colleagues have been monitoring the post-fire recruitment and demography of pitch pine (Pinus rigida) here on Long Island since 1996. The fire that affected these field sites was in 1995, and growing up near by, I remember it fairly well. Some of the results of this research have been published (Landis et al. 2005; Fang et al. 2006). As Dr. Gurevitch's GA, part of my job was to help out with the Pine Census during the summer of 2009, which that year was organized by my friends Adam and James. In total, over the years well of 6000 pitch pine trees have been tagged with either plastic bird-band tags or aluminum tags, and once every two years a group of people would go out into the Long Island Pine Barrens, search for these marked plants, and take measurements - such as diameter at ankle height, diameter at breast height (DBH), height, presence/number of cones, etc. When the census was initially established, 45 square 5x5m plots were distributed across various tree stands within three landscapes. All pitch pine plants, and those that emerged during the study period, within these 45 plots have been tagged and measured. It's a lot of work and a lot of data! So when I set to designe my sampling scheme, I had some notion that it would involve square plots and marking all of the Glossy Buckthorn plants inside of those plots with aluminum tags.
Ok - plots and tags - that made sense. However, the few papers actually related to Glossy Buckthorn that I had found (nearly all from groups at UNH associated with either Drs. Tom Lee or Robert Eckert) had used transects. And transects seemed so much easier! Lay down a measuring line, then walk along it. So, near the end of the summer of 2009, I head up north to the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF), walked into a field of Glossy Buckthorn and laid down a transect.
|One end of a transect in WMNF|
Landis et al. 2005. Variation in recruitment and early demography in Pinus rigida following crown fire in the pine barrens of Long Island, New York. Journal of Ecology 93(3):607-617.
Fang et al. 2006. Sources of variation in growth, form, and survival in dwarf and normal-stature pitch pines (Pinus rigida, Pinaceae) in long-term transplant experiments. American Journal of Botany 93(8):1125-1133.