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In the eye of the beholder: bias and stochastic variation in cover estimates
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Ecology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Ecology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Ecology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6128-1051
2009 (English)In: PLANT ECOLOGY, ISSN 1385-0237, Vol. 204, no 2, 271-283 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cover estimates by eye is a prevailing method to assess abundance. We examined cover estimates with regard to bias and random variation. Ten observers working with a national forest vegetation survey estimated sixteen 100 m(2)-plots, placed in two different vegetation types. These had similar species composition but were clearly distinguishable in the field. In species-wise analyses, observer bias varied greatly, with Dicranum spp., Vaccinium vitis-idaea and Vaccinium myrtillus having the largest bias. Experience had a surprisingly small impact on variation. Power analysis revealed only small differences between observers in the ability to distinguish the two vegetation types, and little value in averaging the assessments from two, three or four observers. Cover estimates did better than presence/absence data in separating the two vegetation types and multivariate analyses were more powerful than univariate ones.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 204, no 2, 271-283 p.
Keyword [en]
Forest vegetation, Observer bias, Statistical power, Sweden, Visual assessment
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-20396DOI: 10.1007/s11258-009-9590-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-20396DiVA: diva2:234506
Note
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com: Johan Bergstedt, Lars Westerberg and Per Milberg, In the eye of the beholder: bias and stochastic variation in cover estimates, 2009, PLANT ECOLOGY, (204), 2, 271-283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11258-009-9590-7 Copyright: Springer Science Business Media http://www.springerlink.com/ Available from: 2009-09-08 Created: 2009-09-07 Last updated: 2014-10-08

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Bergstedt, JohanWesterberg, LarsMilberg, Per

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