Original Articles

The use of microplots to sample grassveld in Lesotho

DOI: 10.1080/00725560.1983.9649001
Author(s): J.A. TiedemanResearch Division, Lesotho, R.G. WielandResearch Division, Lesotho


Permanent range condition monitoring stations were established at the mountainous area of Molumong in Lesotho. The parameters most commonly used to determine range condition trend were evaluated for repeatability under various situations. These parameters include frequency and basal area of the dominant plant species and ground surface features such as bare soil and litter. Forty‐one stands (10 m × 15 m in size) were subjectively located to represent the major plant communities of the region. One hundred microplots (5 cm × 10 cm in size) were systematically located along transects within each stand. The basal area of each plant species and the area of bare soil, rock or litter was estimated for each microplot. Eight sample stands were protected with fences, sampled one year later and compared to adjacent grazed areas. Differences in the results of data collected between individual samplers, between years (1981–1982) and between grazed and protected veld were statistically analyzed using the paired t test. Two different individual samplers were able to get similar results, readings were significantly different from one year to the next but differences were small, and the degree of utilization affected parameter readings. The use of microplots to sample grassveld was found to be rapid, simple to use and sufficiently consistent to monitor range condition trend.

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