Vegetation community monitoring: Species composition and biophysical gradients in Klamath Network parks

Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRR—2021/2236
By: , and 



The Klamath Network of the National Park Service consists of six park units located in northern California and southern Oregon. The Network began implementing a vegetation monitoring protocol in 2011 to identify ecologically significant vegetation trends in the parks. The premise of the protocol is that multivariate analyses of species composition data is the most robust early detection means for identifying vegetation change over time. Here we present these community metrics, based on our initial sampling efforts. We use these metrics to establish a baseline for comparison in future trend analysis, and to evaluate the adequacy of the protocol for meeting the Network’s objectives of detecting temporal changes across contrasting vegetation types.

The park landscapes were subdivided into three strata: Matrix (low- to mid-elevation upland habitats), Riparian (within 10 meters of a perennial stream), and High-Elevation (above a predefined elevation, park specific). Across the three strata, we established a total of 241 permanent plots at random locations to measure complete species composition and cover. We describe baseline biophysical conditions and relate them to the data obtained from all 241 plots using ordination analyses. The unconstrained gradient analyses were moderately robust at illustrating the relationships among plots and correlating them to environmental gradients. We also prepared species accumulation curves representing gamma diversity, which showed overall species richness, and also illustrated how well the observed vs. expected richness values of each stratum were captured by the sampling. Most park/strata were well sampled; for others, we found that additional samples would improve how well the protocol captures the vegetation composition within park/strata. Specifically, all sample frames at Whiskeytown and the High-Elevation sample frames at Lassen were not well sampled. Comparisons of alpha diversity values showed High-Elevations had the lowest diversity, while Riparian areas were by far the most diverse across all parks. The Matrix stratum at Oregon Caves National Monument was also especially diverse and had the highest Matrix alpha diversity we observed in all parks We suggest that after three rounds of sampling, the Network perform analyses to identify possible ways to improve statistical power. These options include adding sites or lengthening the sampling interval. Results of these analyses could support protocol modifications. This report on vegetation composition is the first in a series of analysis and synthesis reports. Future analysis and synthesis reports will analyze structure and function.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Vegetation community monitoring: Species composition and biophysical gradients in Klamath Network parks
Series title Natural Resource Report
Series number NPS/KLMN/NRR—2021/2236
DOI 10.36967/nrr-2284769
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher National Park Service
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description x, 64 p.
Country United States
State California, Oregon
Other Geospatial Klamath Network National Parks
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details