Vegetation Measurement and Monitoring

Composition and Diversity Learning Objectives

Plant Community Composition and Diversity

This module focuses on plant community diversity: how it is described, how it is measured, and how diversity is interpreted by land managers to inform management decisions.


Learning Objectives 

After completing this module, students will be able to

  • Define diversity and explain why it is an important concept in ecological systems.
  • Differentiate between the scales at which diversity is described.
  • Define richness and evenness, and describe the influence that richness and evenness have on diversity.
  • Explain how species composition, diversity indices and similarity indices are used to provide information about plant community diversity.
  • Differentiate between the Shannon-Wiener Index (H’) and Simpson’s Index (D).
  • Differentiate between the Czekanowski coefficient of similarity and the coefficient of Squared Euclidean Distance, and explain how they are used to compare sites.
  • Given a small dataset, be able to calculate species composition, diversity indices (H’ and D), and similarity indices using density, cover, or biomass data.