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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X


WALTER, Bruno Machado Teles  and  GUARINO, Ernestino de Souza Gomes. Comparison of the plot method with "rapid survey" for sampling the arboreal vegetation of Cerrado stricto sensu. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.2, pp.285-297. ISSN 1677-941X.

The Cerrado biome has lost much of its area through human activity, and its degradation has been increasing since the 1960s. With the aim of gathering botanical information as efficiently as possible, research projects in the region have been using a fast sampling method called the rapid survey, but these methods are still the target of much academic criticism. Our aim was to compare the rapid survey with the plot method most commonly used in Central Brazil. The study was carried out in a section of Cerrado s. str. vegetation in the Federal District, Brazil, using the rapid survey along three lines (L1, L2 and L3). Walking along each line, the presence of previously unrecorded species was noted at 5-minute intervals to produce a species×time curve. L1 was divided into sample plots (11 plots of 20×50 m, surveying trees with stem diameter over 5 cm at 0.3 m above soil level), allowing for a direct comparison. Forty minutes was the longest time necessary to flatten a species×time curve (L2), and the sum of the three lines totaled 67 species, 53 genera and 32 families. In the plots 1,132 individuals were sampled over 8 hours and 17 minutes, belonging to 58 species, 45 genera and 27 families. Although exactly the same structurally homogeneous area was sampled, the floristic results from L1 and from the plots revealed differences that were analyzed in the light of the characteristics of each method. The rapid survey, which calls for participants with broad field identification experience, was a reliable way of determining the richness of the Cerrado area studied, and was more efficient than the plot method. However, it does not supply structural information about the vegetation, and the information on relative species abundance appears to be precarious, based on subjective estimates. Nevertheless, because of speed and ease of application plus low cost and minimum time spent in the field, the rapid survey should be seriously considered when urgent surveys of large areas are required. It is a valuable support tool for Cerrado conservation.

Keywords : rapid survey; plots; phytosociology; trees; Cerrado.

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