Inter-observer variation in forest vegetation cover assessments
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): T. Tonteri
Publication Year: 1990

Cataloging Information

  • coniferous forests
  • cover
  • cover type conversion
  • Deschampsia flexuosa
  • Dicranum
  • Dicranum polysetum
  • Finland
  • forest management
  • ground cover
  • overstory
  • pine forests
  • Pinus sylvestris
  • Polytrichum juniperinum
  • sampling
  • Scandinavia
  • statistical analysis
  • Vaccinium
  • Vaccinium vitis-idaea
  • vegetation surveys
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 38496
Tall Timbers Record Number: 13101
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File DDW
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Differences in vegetation cover estimation by field biologists of the 8th National Forest Inventory were tested. Eleven observers estimated the canopy coverages of six forest taxa in 25 sample plots, located in one stand. The experiment was arranged after the field work. The coverage of Vaccinium vitis-idaea and the ground layer appeared to be the most difficult to estimate. the mean of the highest estimator was about double that of the lowest one. The least abundant species and the sample plots with the smallest coverages had the largest estimation errors. The most important compositional gradient of the data was natural, even though the test was made in a homogeneous area. However, the effect of the observer could be recognized. The differences between observers could be caused by the differences both in visual estimation level and in placing the sampling frame. The results suggest that tests should always be made when several observers are used in vegetation surveys. If calibration is used, it should be made separately for each species.

Tonteri, T. 1990. Inter-observer variation in forest vegetation cover assessments. Silva Fennica, v. 24, no. 2, p. 189-196.