FT 9 - The National Vegetation Classification: Exploring the Unique Vegetation of the Edwards Plateau

Saturday, August 6, 2011: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Trinity Street Lobby Field Trip Pick Up, Austin Convention Center
Organizers: Alexa McKerrow , David Diamond and Jason Singhurst
We will visit a variety of field sites in Pedernales Falls State Park in the Hill Country of central Texas. This field trip is designed to give an overview of the United States National Vegetation Classification (NVC) and its application to natural resource planning. Local experts will help interpret the vegetation types and patterns found at the park and in the region. Previous work on vegetation classification and mapping at the park provide the data for an in-depth discussion of the NVC Hierarchy and its applications. The limestone geology and the complex topography lead to unique patterns of vegetation and a scenic setting in which to explore vegetation classification. Two of the distinctive vegetation types we will see are Ashe’s Juniper- Buckley Oak Woodland and Bald-cypress - American Sycamore Edwards Plateau Forest. For those interested in the analyses to support plant community classification, data from Pedernales and surrounding study sites will be used in a parallel NVC workshop (Vegetation Analysis in Support of the NVC).

Registration Fee: $64

Equipment and Attire: August is the warmest month in Austin, with average high temperatures in the middle nineties. Lightweight clothing and sun protection are a must. Sunscreen, hats, hiking boots, bug repellent are recommended. Hiking will be primarily on trails and rock outcrops. A quick swim in the Pedernales River may be feasible, so participants may want to bring a swimsuit and towel just in case.

Itinerary: We will travel directly to Pedernales State Park from the convention center. Once there the goal would be to do a quick orientation to the NVC in a group shelter or building and then travel to a series of field sites throughout the park. The vegetation of the park has been mapped to the association level and field plot data has been collected so we will select a few accessible locations to discuss data collection (site selection, plot size and configuration). We will take a lunch break and will follow that up with some discussion before proceeding to additional sites. If time and access permits we could allow a brief break for swimming before heading back to the convention center.

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