A Protocol is the series of steps followed to take data. It is important to follow a Protocol otherwise there is no way to vouch for the reliability or consistency of the data being taken. If a standard protocol is not followed, then the data obtained is meaningless and the time taken to collect it has been wasted.
This survey will involve the following protocols:
The Plot Layout Process – A full plot is a 30m x 30m square. We use strings to divide these into grids that yield 10m x 10m sub-squares. The smaller units are easier to map and to study. Therefore, the first step in the process is to lay-out the strings. This is a group effort for everyone.
Tree Mapping + Circumference Protocol – This involves identifying, measuring and mapping mature trees. The data will be collated into a map – linked spreadsheet that can be used to analyse species distribution across the entire mountain.
Tree Photos Protocols – Photos from key points on the plot will be taken. These will be linked to a series of documents to allow visual analysis of sites across the mountain
Baby Trees Protocol – Sometimes trees grow, sometimes they don’t. Identifying where young trees are growing and where they are not is important in identifying factors that may affect the long term surviveablity of the forest. No baby trees = no new forest, but why are they only found in certain areas?
Temperature Protocol – Variation in temperatures make a big difference to the development of the plant life, but temperature is affected by more than just weather and height. The plant life itself makes significant differences to local temperature. The temperature data will be combined with GPS data to provide altitude and therefore pressure data, and linked to the tree species and location.
Bioblitz Protocol – Getting a complete picture of the species that are currently present in the plot will allow us know if species either appear or disappear in the future.