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How long is a piece of string?

By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 30 2018 11:00PM

That depends... on how you like to prepare for habitat plots.

Habitat plots are typically carried out at a minimum of 60 random locations on the two most dominant habitats of a site. The idea is to get a snapshot of the grazing pressure on the site, and to discover any trends that may indicate and increase or decrease in habitat quality. Each plot requires surveyors to examine a 2 m x 2 m quadrat which is then split into 50 cm2 subsections. The result is something like this:

The question is, how do you cart around 20+ metres of string without getting in a tangled mess?

Everybody has a slightly different way of doing it. One surveyor on our team prepares by meticulously tying knots to create a 'net' which is (theoretically) unfolded like a blanket. But how likely are you to remember exactly how to release the string to avoid tangling it in the field? For me, the chances are very low. Flat packs have never been my strongest point...

Another surveyor sets up a perimeter of garden canes every 50 cm then runs around the plot with a reel of string to create the network of quadrats - I personally don't like lugging the entire reel of string around all over the hill.

To cut a long story short, I take what I think is the easy option and measure out a 4 m2 perimeter length of string, and fill it in using individual 2 m lengths at each site.

Any other suggestions as to how you might measure a habitat plot other than walking around awkwardly carrying grid square from one square to another?


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