Principles of Vegetation Measurement & Assessment
and Ecological Monitoring & Analysis


Veg Sampling
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Module 7 - Biomass and Utilization

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Lesson Instructions

  1. Read through the Overview and Learning Objectives.
  2. Complete the Required Reading.
  3. Read and review the Lectures.
  4. Visit suggested Internet Sites in the lectures.
  5. Check the schedule for the required Assignment.
  6. Complete assignments and submit by BB-Learn:
      Content Summary due by Midnight on Monday, October 23.
    Data Summary
    due by Midnight on Sunday, October 30.

ReadingSuggested Further Reading:


Field Techniques for Measuring Vegetation, Chapter 12 (pp 205-230), Monitoring Plant & Animal Populations by C.L. Elzinga et al. 2001. (Blackwell Science).


Biomass, Chapter 6 (pp 199-264), Measurements of Terrestrial Vegetation by Charles Bonham (Wiley)


Suggested Internet Sites:

   ► View section on "Production"

  • Biomass (Rangeland Inventory, Monitoring, and Evaluation by S. Muir & M.P. McClaran).



Learning Materials


Required Reading:


Slides Lectures:



What this Lesson Covers


Many management and monitoring goals require an assessment of the amount of biomass that occurs on the site or landscape. For example, decisions about livestock stocking rate, fire risk and behavior, and wildlife habitat value require good estimates of biomass.

Utilization is the term that describes the amount of biomass that was removed by grazing. The concept of utilization is important because excessive levels of utilization (or biomass removal) can reduce health and persistence of plants. Thus, land managers often track utilization to determine if grazing practices are having the intended effects on plants they want to promote or supress.

This module overviews specific terms used to describe biomass and a variety of ways to measure and account for biomass will be highlighted.

Learning Objectives

After this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between common terms used to describe biomass.

  • Understand the value of measuring biomass to describe ecosystem function and assist in making land management decisions.

  • Describe the basic approaches to for direct and indirect assessment of cover.

  • Summarize biomass data collected in small plots to describe biomass across a large landscape expressed in units of dry mass per hectare or acre.