A Technical Manual for Vegetation Monitoring

The Technical Manual for Vegetation Monitoring is primarily intended to be a tool box for ecologists but it is hoped that it will also be used by field managers, private land owners and volunteers.

Vegetation monitoring allows land managers to evaluate the effectiveness of their management actions and to develop more appropriate management practices. If the responses of plants and vegetation to management actions are not monitored nothing can be learnt about the effectiveness of the actions and any improvements in management practices will be ad hoc at best. In contrast, monitoring enables land managers to systematically measure the responses of plants and vegetation to a management action and to determine whether or not it has been effective. This allows them to progressively modify their management practices until they are achieving the best result possible.

Vegetation monitoring projects require considerable resources and planning. Therefore, they should be undertaken only when they are likely to improve the management of conservation values.

Effective monitoring involves a commitment to conducting reliable and systematic measurements and responding to those measurements with appropriate management actions. This can only be achieved if the design of the monitoring project is relevant and scientifically rigorous. Therefore, the purpose of this manual is to equip users with the understanding and skills necessary to design and carry out simple but scientifically rigorous monitoring projects.

Designing a new project requires consideration of the issues covered in the manual. Vegetation monitoring projects should be designed by professional ecologists who should also undertake the analysis of the results to ensure that their interpretation leads to the most appropriate management response being recommended. Statistical advice should always be sought once a monitoring question has been determined and the sampling strategy and analysis designed. Trained field assistants and volunteers should be able to set up and undertake some of the field methods described.

Written by Phil Barker.
Published by Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment.
(Published in 2001)
ISBN/ISSN 1441-0680
Copyright Government of Tasmania 2001
This publication is available online:

  A Technical Manual for Vegetation Monitoring   (1Mb)