Forest Understory Monitoring Protocols for Stanley Park Ecology Society Vancouver, BC
AbstractThe integrity of native forest vegetation in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) is threatened by anthropogenic stressors and climate change. While preparing the second State of the Park Report for Stanley Park, the non-profit organization Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) identified the need to implement ecological monitoring protocols to assess the productivity and phenology of native vegetation. In partnership with SPES, the author identified two established protocols: the ‘red huckleberry productivity’ protocol and the ‘salmonberry first bloom’ protocol. In April and October 2017, locations for long-term monitoring plots were surveyed and selected for both protocols. Methods included review of a forest strata and roads/trails map and field surveys to assess topographic and man-made features. In June 2017, year 1 data was collected in a pilot of the red huckleberry protocol. Trends in native plant productivity and phenology can be interpreted using standard statistical tests after at least five years of data collection. Four next steps are recommended: (1) reselect shorter stem segments for the red huckleberry protocol and discount year 1 data; (2) purchase permanent ID tags and monitoring equipment; (3) provide training sessions for citizen science volunteers; and (4) monitor and respond to changes in site conditions.