Measurement protocols for African woodlands and savannas
We are developing a set of linked protocols that will allow for data collected across the region to be compared, whilst retaining flexibility to suit the many different objectives of researchers in the region.
The following protocols are in the works, after we agreed at the first meeting to prioritise the following:
- Plot design and tree measurements, including deadwood and saplings. Latest version here
- Understory plants, Caroline Lehmann. Latest version here
- Soil, Mathew Williams and Iain McNicol. Draft in progress.
- Trees traits, Carla Staver
- Seedling traits, Ricardo Holdo
All the protocols are ‘living documents’, and we welcome input and suggestions from all.
Example field data sheets will be added here shortly, and an ODK Android tablet data entry form is also being developed.
Purpose of the protocols
- Not to suggest novel methods, but to borrow from elsewhere, and present methods that have been tried and tested by the partners in tropical savannas and woodlands.
- To share experience about what works and what does not, to avoid mistakes being repeated.
- To allow data to be collected in a way that makes it easy to integrate with others in the SEOSAW network, and gives confidence is comparisons across the network.
- To make the SEOSAW network as comparable as possible with other regional networks in the wet tropics such as AfriTRON, and with other savanna and dry forest plot networks.
- To provide guidance on the minimum set of measurements to achieve integration within SEOSAW, but not to preclude many other measurements.
- The methods are also designed to be compatible with the data in ForestPlots.net (although they are not as exhaustive) to allow the use of the FP.net data infrastructure and associated analysis tools.
- To minimise effort by reducing the need to document methods (if they are in line with the protocol). E.g. you should be able to say “we followed the SEOSAW protocol version x”).
- To minimise effort by allowing the use of the SEOSAW data tables, code, database, and tablets for data collection, and the use of ForestPlots.net for long term, secure storage.
- To suggest methods aimed at long term permanent plots that are to be remeasured approximately every 2-5 years to study changes in ecosystem structure, diversity, carbon storage, mortality and growth.
- To provide a flexible approach suited for the many-small-plots paradigm and also the few-large-plots approach which has come to dominate research in the wet tropics.
SEOSAW dataset usage
The SEOSAW dataset uses two tables to organise data, a stems table and a plots table. To help guide your own data collection, refer to these pages which document the format of the data stored in each of these tables:
Additionally, refer to the seosawr package vignette for more information on how the SEOSAW dataset is cleaned and how you can format your own data in a SEOSAW friendly way. See here for further description of the SEOSAW dataset.