Floristic quality assessment index (FQAI) for vascular plants and mosses for the State of Ohio
Plant communities are often described in general terms like “outstanding” or “marginal” or by using lists of species or a few indicator species. A community might be considered high quality by one investigator while a different investigator might categorize it as average or poor. Opinion is often determined by the degree of familiarity with flora or the level of experience with habitats on a statewide basis. The Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) is designed to reduce subjectivity and create an
objective standard of quality that can be used by anyone with adequate botanical skills. The FQAI was first devised by Swink and
Wilhelm (1979) for evaluating plant communities in the Chicago region and later refined by Wilhelm and Ladd (1988) and Wilhelm and Masters (1995). The FQAI concept has been extended to many other states and regions including Michigan (Herman et al. 1997, 2001), Missouri (Ladd 1993), Ontario (Oldham et al. 1995), northern Ohio (Andreas and Lichvar 1995), Illinois (Taft et al. 1997), Wisconsin (Nichols 1998; Wisconsin Floristic Quality Assessment 2002), and North Dakota (North Dakota Floristic Quality Assessment Panel 2001). The present system for the state of Ohio is an expansion of the list developed by Andreas and Lichvar (1995) for northern Ohio.