Earth Partnership for Schools

WOODLAND RESTORATION INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP > HOW TO RESTORE WOODLAND AT YOUR SCHOOL > STUDY THE SITE > INVENTORY EXISTING VEGETATION

 

Identifying what is growing at your site will help you to know how to proceed with your restoration project. Based on the species present you can determine potential communities to restore and which management strategies might be necessary to control exotic or weedy species on your site.The following link will connect you to information on how to inventory plants in an existing woodland:

Taking Stock: Woodland Inventory

 

Directions:

  1. Identify trees, shrubs, and ground cover species on your site. Mark their locations on an overlay map or base map.
  2. Ask the following questions about the existing vegetation:
  • Are the plants exotic or native?
  • Are there problem species such as honeysuckle or buckthorn on site or adjacent to the site?
  • What is the composition of the lawn or herbaceous ground cover?
  1. Measure the circumference, crown size, canopy, and height of trees.  Keep records of the measurements, and draw tree canopies on the base map.

 

See Directions and Data Sheets to measure tree height

 

Directions to measure circumference:

Using a measuring tape or DBH tape, measure the distance around the tree at four feet above the ground.  A DBH tape can be purchased at science and forestry supply companies.  DBH stands for "diameter at breast height" and is a measuring tape calibrated to measure the diameter of a tree. 

 

Directions to measure the crown size and canopy:

Pace off from the trunk to the edge of canopy, drip line, and place a surveyor's flag or stake.  Repeat three times to form two perpendicular lines.  Measure the distance from the trunk to the canopy at each line.  Draw these distances on your base map to show tree canopy.  To calculate the crown size, add the four numbers together and divide by two. 

Diagram of a tree when looking down from above-the tree canopy is the circle that connects the four flags (x's):

      flag
      -   15'

      8 ' -          - 10'
    flag --------Trunk---------- flag

      -  12'
        flag

    Crown size=(8' + 15' + 10' +12')/ 2=17.5