Report From the Abajos
2011 Field Report Update by Matt Van Scoyoc, Master's Candidate at Utah State University.
Project Title: "Ecosystem Assessment on the Monticello Ranger District, Manti-La Sal National Forest"
This past summer, three technicians and I conducted ecosystem health assessments throughout the Monticello Ranger District to examine soil stability, hydrologic function, and biotic integrity of dominant vegetation types. These vegetation types include Pinyon–Juniper woodland, Ponderosa Pine forest, Spruce–Fir forest, Aspen forest, oakbrush, shrubland, and grassland communities. In May, we started sampling in low elevations at the south end of the district until green up was in full swing, then moved to the north end and up the mountain. By the end of August we sampled 50 points.
Using GIS, spatially balanced random sampling points were selected prior to field season. This sampling technique allows statistical inference to be applied to all the vegetation communities throughout the Monticello Ranger District and not just the individual plot.
Currently we are processing data in preparation for initial analyses. In the coming months we will be gearing up for another summer of sampling. The plan is to run two crews that will be sampling different points throughout the Monticello Ranger District.