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Field Manual for the Vegetation Index of Biotic Integrity for Wetlands v. 1.3

 A field manual has been developed documenting sampling, laboratory, and data analysis procedures necessary to calculate the Vegetation Index of Biotic Integrity for wetlands (Mack et al. 2000, Mack 2001b, Mack 2004a, and Mack 2004b). It is intended to be used to standardize vegetation sampling techniques for the development and use of wetland biological assessments us
ing vascular plants as an indicator species. The methods outlined here can also be used in other situations including monitoring mitigation wetlands or for more general plant community characterization. This manual documents methods used in the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's wetland program. The vegetation sampling procedures were adapted from methods developed for the North Carolina Vegetation Survey as described in Peet et al. (1998). Their method has been used at over 3000 sites for over ten years by the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. Ohio EPA has sampled nearly plots between 1999-2006, including reference wetlands, mitigation banks, and individual mitigation wetlands. The most typical application of the method employs a set of 10 modules in a 20m x 50m layout. Within the site to be surveyed, the 20m x 50m grid is located such that the long axis of the plot is oriented to minimize the environmental heterogeneity within the plot. For very large natural wetlands or large mitigation or rest
oration sites, e.g. mitigation bank sites, a randomized variation was developed in which a standard 2 x 5 plot with 10 modules is taken apart and individual 10 x 10m modules randomly placed across the wetland or mitigation being sampled. Plot location rules were developed for consistent location of plots. Finally, steps for reducing and analyzing the data collected are outlined.