ISSN 1188-603X

No. 126 February 10, 1996 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: Ingolf Kuehn (

Sampling of vegetation and environmental data on alpine tundra of Trail Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado was carried out in July and August, 1995, to answer the following questions:

  1. Are there correlations between plants (or plant communities) and selected environmental factors (or factor-complexes) such as altitude, aspect, inclination, temperature, soil moisture and/or rockiness of the surface that may lead to a better understanding of a species autecology or the community's synecology?
  2. Are there specific plant communities for specific environmental types of vegetation?
  3. Is there any pattern on species-diversity or species-area-relationship of specific plant-communities or environmental types of vegetation?
  4. Comparing Modified-Whittaker-Plot-Samples on landscape dimensions and Braun-Blanquet-Releves on community scale, what will be the differences between plant composition, plant diversity and community types?
  5. Where are the limits of each method and which is the method of choice for which kind of question?

The investigations were (as far as possible) restricted to mesic tundra belonging to the class Elyno-Seslerietea BR.-BL. 1948 sensu Komarkova (1979). Eight "environmental types" (four cardinal directions, each at two elevations related to treeline at the specific slope) were defined and four replicate sampling locations for each environmental type were randomly selected (thus 32 plots). At these locations vegetation sampling was done with Modified-Whittaker-Plots (Stohlgren et al. 1995) with an area of 10m x 25m. These plots contain ten 0.25m x 1 m and two 2.5m x 1m subplots, arranged systematically inside along the perimeter of the plot, and one centre subplot (2.5m x 10m).

Percent cover of each species was recorded at the 0.25 sqm subplots, presence/absence for all other plots (thus there are only newly occurring species recorded for the big 250 sqm plot). Within or very close to the randomly selected Modified-Whittaker-Plots 2-4 subjectively selected Releves of 1 - 2 sqm (cf. WILLARD 1979) were taken according to the rules of BRAUNBLANQUET (1964).

Furthermore, Elk feces were counted on 16 Modified-Whittaker-Plots (2 of each environmental type) in the center-plot (2.5 x 10 m) to get an impression of grazing utilization of different plots. On 8 Plots, representing the 8 environmental types, a HOBO XT Temperature Logger was placed for a week in August, logging temperature every 15 minutes. This data will be referenced to the temperature-data sampled for long-term ecological research program on Niwot Ridge (University of Colorado, Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research). Soil-moisture was measured with a TRASE SYSTEM TDR (Time-Delayed Reflectometry) 6050XI. There were 10 measurements in each Modified-Whittaker-Plot around the center-plot.

The data is now being evaluated, using Canonical-Correspondence-Analysis (CANOCO, ter Braak 1987-1992). This analysis will be run for species data and for plot data in order to see autecological and synecological correlations. The data of both methods will be proceeded to the rules of Braun-Blanquet-Tablework (Braun-Blanquet 1964) to receive vegetation units ("plant communities"), supported by the program COENOS (microcomputer version of Ceska & Roemer 1971). Species-area-curves will be computed for each of the Modified-Whittaker-Plots as well as for the average of vegetation types and environmental types and the results will be compared.

I am very thankful to the following persons who supported my work: Dr. Tom Stohlgren, National Biological Service, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado, and his team as well as Richard Bachand, National Biological Service, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado, and his team, who gave scientific support and equipment. Therese Johnson, National Park Service, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado, helped me with research permission and housing.


ter Braak, C. J. F. 1987-1992.
CANOCO - a FORTRAN program for Canonical Community Ordination. Ithaca (New York): Microcomputer Power, 95 p.
Braun-Blanquet, J. 1964.
Pflanzensoziologie ed. 3. Berlin, Wien, New York: Springer.
Ceska, A. & H. Roemer 1971.
A computer program for identifying species-releve groups in vegetation studies. Vegetatio 23: 255-277.
Komarkova, V. 1979.
Alpine Vegetation of the Indian Peaks Area, Front Range, Colorado Rocky Mountains. Flora et Vegetatio Mundi 7. Vaduz: Cramer, 591 p.
Stohlgren, T.J., M.B. Falkner & L.D. Schell. 1995.
A Modified-Whittaker nested vegetation sampling method. Vegetatio 117: 113-121.
Willard, B. 1979:
Plant Sociology of Alpine Tundra, Trail Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Quarterly of the Colorado School of Mines 74(4): 119 p.


From: Marilyn Walker ( re-posted from ECOLOG-L (ECOLOG-L@UMDD.UMD.EDU)

A new mailing list has been established for discussion of vegetation science. It will also be used for distribution of IAVS-NA and ESA Vegetation Section newsletters. To subscribe, send an email message to: with the text: subscribe vegetation Your Name

This list is for discussion of issues in the field of vegetation science. Examples of appropriate subject matter would be jobs for vegetation scientists, announcements of meetings, discussion of techniques and approaches for sampling and analysis, requests for information, etc. It is sponsored by the North American Section of the International Association for Vegetation Science.

Anyone who is a list subscriber may post to the list. There is no moderation, but posting of inappropriate material may result in revocation of subscription.

If you have any questions, please ask Marilyn Walker (


Pringle, J.S. 1995.
The history of the exploration of the vascular flora of Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 109 (No.3): 291-356.

Dr. Pringle's excellent article describes the history of botanical collecting in Canada from Taddaeus Haenke in the West and the Moravian missionaries in the East to (almost) the present time. The paper also lists the main collectors of vascular plants (with some notable omissions in the British Columbia botany - e.g., C.F. Newcombe) and the herbaria where their collections are housed. Two other articles in the same issue by the same author describe the history of the botanical explorations of Greenland and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.


Canadian Biodiversity: a Guide to Botanical Specialists and Literature, 1995
by E. Small, J. Cayouette, B. Brookes, and W. Wojtas. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Electronic publication on diskettes and on World Wide Web.

This bilingual format (English/French) work lists over 300 living (and a few recently deceased) Canadian botanists, particularly systematists, phytogeographers, ecologists, foresters, agronomists, and germplasm specialists, and provides complete citation details of over 15,000 of their publications and reports related to biodiversity of vascular plants and bryophytes. Most of the information was furnished by the biodiversity specialists themselves. Addresses, telephone numbers, fax and E-mail information are also provided. An appendix lists recent key publications on Canadian biodiversity. A second appendix fully spells out journal titles, which are standardly abbreviated in the text. At least half of the listings are not retrievable from other available bibliographic databases. For example, based on the first 1500 citations (i.e. ca. 10% of the entire database) 61.0% of the citations included were not present in AGRICOLA (for 1970-1995), one of the best available biological databases for North American biodiversity.

Three hundred sets of the diskettes (3.5") version were produced. This comes with Acrobat Reader , a user-friendly retrieval software system that facilitates rapid location of individuals and words. The system is for computers with Windows. About 5 MB of storage are needed. The entire text (over 1,000 pages), can be printed out. Printed copies of the text are deposited in the Ottawa library of Agriculture Canada, and in other selected Canadian libraries.

This work is available on the following web page:


From: "Clayton J. Antieau" ( originally on

As residents of the Pacific Northwest, we have inherited an abundance of damaged and disturbed natural places: streams and rivers, wetlands, and forests--areas that should provide wildlife and fish habitat, desirable water quality, recreation, and a sense of home. The ability to identify the native plants that grow (or could grow) in those places is essential to restoration efforts in those habitats.

As part of its mandate to address such needs, and with the assistance of a $5,000 grant from the King County Surface Water Management Division, the Washington Native Plant Society undertook the development of a professionally produced videotape describing the basic field identification of approximately 23 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials native to riparian and wetland habitats in lowland western Washington, northwestern Oregon, and southwestern British Columbia. All these species are useful in restoration projects in those habitats. It is hoped this video effort will encourage more citizens of our region to become involved in the enjoyment and study of native Northwest plants, and in the restoration and care of the habitats they create.

This 30-minute VHS videotape is appropriate for older children and adults with little or no botanical experience. The videotape features western Washington habitats and an introduction from Dr. Arthur R. Kruckeberg, Professor Emeritus of Botany, University of Washington. Loaner copies of the videotape are available through the King County Surface Water Management Division in Seattle for the cost of mailing (for details contact Polly Freeman 206-296-8359), or through the Washington Native Plant Society for the cost of mailing ($3.00, pre-paid, check payable to Clayton Antieau, WNPS, 1108 Northwest 80th Street, Seattle, WA 98117-4134), or call Clayton Antieau (206-784-1138; to make other arrangements.

Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: BEN is archived on gopher The URL is: gopher:// Also archived at