African Journal of Range and Forage Science

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Research Notes

Use of the dry-weight-rank method of botanical analysis in semi-arid savanna communities

B Dekker, KP Kirkman, SI du Plessis


When used in combination with the double sampling (or comparative yield) method of yield estimation, the dry-weight-rank method of botanical analysis provides a rapid non-destructive means of estimating botanical composition. The composition is expressed in terms of the contribution of individual species to total herbage mass. This technique was tested for use in two veld types of the Northern Province, South Africa. Different quadrat and sample sizes suited for local conditions were compared. Quadrat sizes of 0.5 x 0.5m and 0.7 x 0.7m were found to be satisfactory for use in the Arid Sweet Bushveld and the Mopani Veld respectively. Observing 90 quadrats within a homogeneous plant community in the Arid Sweet Bushveld and 120 quadrats in the Mopani Veld should provide a high level of precision. The method was found to be suited for sampling extensive areas because of its rapidity.

Keywords: Arid Sweet Bushveld; herbage mass; Mopani Veld; species composition.

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2001, 18(1): 63-66
AJOL African Journals Online