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Plant Cover: Ecological Implications and Methodical Approaches

  • Hansjörg Dietz
  • Thomas Steinlein

Abstract

Plant or vegetation cover is usually regarded as the vertically projected area of all (living) aboveground plant parts as a percentage of the total ground area considered (i.e., intraspecific overlap is not taken into account). Plant cover also does not include belowgound plant parts. In this review, we use the term plant cover very broadly to include cover of mosses, lichens, algae, and cyanobacteria. In both ecological and economic contexts, plant or vegetation cover is widely used as a readily accessible parameter describing the dominance of certain plant species, plant life forms, or the degree of closure of the whole vegetation. In this respect, cover can be superior to density or productivity in different vegetation types, because density ignores size variability between individuals, and because it is difficult to determine individuals in clonal plant species. Furthermore, by using cover, it is possible to compare species of widely different growth forms (Daubenmire, 1968; Mueller-Dombois and Ellenberg, 1974). On the other hand, a major limitation of plant cover is that it represents a mostly three-dimensional structure in only two dimensions.

Keywords

Vegetation Cover Normalize Difference Vegetation Index Aboveground Biomass Plant Cover Seed Predation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hansjörg Dietz
    • 1
  • Thomas Steinlein
    • 2
  1. 1.Geobotanisches Institut ETHEidgenössische Technische Hochschule ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Experimentelle Ökologie und ÖkosystembiologieUniversität Bielefeld W4-107BielefeldGermany

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