National Park Service

Great Lakes Network (GLKN)

Vegetation Monitoring

Vegetation monitoring field crew at Mississippi NR&RA
Vegetation monitoring field crew at Mississippi NR&RA

GLKN Vegetation Monitoring Briefs

GLKN Vegetation Inventory Reports

GLKN Vegetation Monitoring Reports

GLKN Vegetation Monitoring Protocol

For more information contact:
Suzanne Sanders


The nine park units of the Great Lakes Network extend from the boreal forests of northern Minnesota to the sand dunes of southern Lake Michigan. Because forests dominate the landscape in the Great Lakes Network national parks, this protocol will focus exclusively on forested vegetation. Forests serve as an integrated measure of terrestrial ecosystem health by expressing information about climate, soils, and disturbance, as well as the effects of browsing and exotic species invasion.

Furthermore, terrestrial vegetation serves as a trophic base for other ecosystem components. Because of this interwoven relationship between forests and both biotic and abiotic components, we have developed a comprehensive protocol that incorporates the Network's monitoring plans for terrestrial vegetation and those of related Vital Signs, including terrestrial pests and pathogens, problem species, and succession.

Long-term Monitoring

Routine monitoring of forest health will provide an understanding of the natural variability of vegetation in "benchmark" areas where direct human disturbance (e.g., logging, development) no longer occurs. In addition, monitoring will provide an early warning of undesirable trends in vegetation, allow adaptive management of forest ecosystems, and allow for inferences about the effects of the above threats on both terrestrial vegetation and overall forest health.

Parks Monitored

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster