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The Woodland Education Centre
The Heathland Restoration Project
Trialling different methods of management for heathland restoration.

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Ecological Survey Methods

Two different methods were used to survey the vegetation on the Heathland Restoration Project site.  A belt transect was carried out and random quadrats were also sampled.


Belt transect position.

Belt transect

The site was surveyed in July by sampling at intervals along a transect line (a rope marked at 1m intervals) laid across the centre of the site, from the southern boundary of section 1 across to the northern boundary of section 9.

A 0.5 m2 quadrat (a square frame measuring 0.5m on each side) was placed on the ground every 2m along the line. The plant species inside the quadrat were identified, their % cover was estimated and their maximum height noted.

This type of survey is called a belt transect, because it measures species abundance across a narrow band (similar to a belt).  In addition to the belt transect, a general survey was also carried out to note other plant species occurring outside the transect area.

Surveying the Heathland Restoration Project site.

Random quadrats

Random quadrats were sampled in each of sections 1 - 9, at the same time as the belt transect was carried out.

The position of random quadrats was determined using a random number table to select the number of paces to be walked, on a co-ordinate basis. As with the belt transect, the % cover and maximum height of the plants inside each quadrat were noted.


For the belt transect method, quadrats were surveyed every other metre along the line in each section. An equivalent number of random quadrats were sampled in the top of each section. This was repeated for the bottom section of each strip. As a result, twice the number of random samples were taken in each strip overall compared to the belt transect.

The two sets of results together cover all areas of the heathland site and give a good picture of alterations in the vegetation cover of the site.


>> Continue to Plant species list and abundance by section



Ecological Survey 1999