Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Cara Nelson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Restoration Ecology Lab

Abstract

The United States spends over one billion dollars annually on riparian ecosystem restoration. Given this large investment, there is a need to understand whether or not restoration projects are successful. Towards that end, some projects and programs invest in effectiveness monitoring, but the extent to which it is actually useful depends on the adequacy of the sampling design. Despite this, little work has been done to assess the adequacy of sampling designs for even the most common monitoring programs, and there is little information about the costs and benefits of intensive quantitative versus rapid qualitative approaches. To improve understanding of effective sampling designs for monitoring, we 1) assessed observer error and precision of estimation associated with a qualitative monitoring protocol (the Qualitative Rapid Assessment (QRA)) and 2) compared observer error between the QRA and a quantitative design. Our results showed that the qualitative approach had less variation among observers and therefore required less replications to achieve a tolerable level of error than the quantitative approach. The modified QRA had a mean observer error of 72.80% and the quantitative method had a mean observer error of 92.30%. The QRA protocol could be altered to reduce observer error by using staggered categories, a categorical zero, and more in-depth training and callibration of data collectors.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 17th, 2:00 PM Apr 17th, 2:20 PM

Assessing the Efficacy of a Qualitative Approach for Monitoring Vegetation Responses After Floodplain Restoration

UC 330

The United States spends over one billion dollars annually on riparian ecosystem restoration. Given this large investment, there is a need to understand whether or not restoration projects are successful. Towards that end, some projects and programs invest in effectiveness monitoring, but the extent to which it is actually useful depends on the adequacy of the sampling design. Despite this, little work has been done to assess the adequacy of sampling designs for even the most common monitoring programs, and there is little information about the costs and benefits of intensive quantitative versus rapid qualitative approaches. To improve understanding of effective sampling designs for monitoring, we 1) assessed observer error and precision of estimation associated with a qualitative monitoring protocol (the Qualitative Rapid Assessment (QRA)) and 2) compared observer error between the QRA and a quantitative design. Our results showed that the qualitative approach had less variation among observers and therefore required less replications to achieve a tolerable level of error than the quantitative approach. The modified QRA had a mean observer error of 72.80% and the quantitative method had a mean observer error of 92.30%. The QRA protocol could be altered to reduce observer error by using staggered categories, a categorical zero, and more in-depth training and callibration of data collectors.