Faculty of SITE Northern Territory University Flora & Fauna Survey Techniques
what is flora and fauna survey?
why survey?
factors to consider
preparing to sample
flora survey techniques
vegetation descriptions
sampling concepts
fauna survey techniques
analysing data
presenting data

Vegetation descriptions

Useful Terminology
To begin considering which sampling techniques are appropriate for vegetation and flora surveys, it is firstly important to have a clear definition of the terminology that is used to descibe vegetation.

Two important distinctions are made:

  1. Individuals vs Populations
    • in vegetation sampling an individual is a separate entity, such as a tree, shrub or graminoid plant. Because vegetative growth in herbaceous plants often entails multiple stems arising from a common root or rhizome system, it may be difficult to distinguish the limits of a true individual. In this case it is common to define the individual as a separate stem or clump.
    • the population consists of a collection of individuals, of the one species.


  2. Vegetation vs Flora
    • the vegetation of an area is the total plant cover of that area or 'an assemblage of plants growing together in a particular location'. "Vegetation" is a structural term.
    • the flora of an area is the sum of the plant species in an area. "Flora" refers to the species composition of the vegetation.

Two main vegetation descriptions that are used are


Explore these for further information.

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last updated by lrp@cdu.edu.au 6 August, 2004
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