Vegetation Classification

The whole Carson City team drove to the coast

To be trained at a university research outpost.

We met agency employees and consultants

Every one of whom about plants was exultant.

The instructors were such plant enthusiasts,

That we didn’t mind foggy weather forecasts.

They also knew all the local vegetation

And were able to help us through all our frustration.

The goal of the course was to learn about classes

Of California vegetation, of which there are masses.

The book listing them all is such a huge tome

That there’s no way we ever could bring one back home.

We practiced two methods for determining types,

Though agreeing on answers caused quite a few gripes.

Estimating cover was somewhat contentious

And about their judgment a few were pretentious.

Finally our decisions were all calibrated,

And similar values each species was rated.

We learned to classify both plots and whole stands

And tried out the methods in valleys and uplands.

We learned how the data would be analyzed,

And how vegetation types for each point be advised.

Each type is defined by species and their cover —

It’s quite thrilling when the right one is discovered.

Now every time we go out to find seeds

We’ll look differently at associated species.

How rare is this veg type? What patterns are there?

We see vegetation types change everywhere.

It’s a whole different way to look at a landscape

And when we look out, a map starts to take shape.

Just imagine if every type someday were defined

And on a big map communities were outlined.

This level of detail gives so much information

Vital for landscape management plan creation.

Thanks CNPS, and our amazing teachers,

For showing us a new lens for ecological features.



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