Vegetation Structure in Northern Mixed Chaparral as Affected by Trail Usage and Location

Vegetation Structure in Northern Mixed Chaparral as

Affected by Trail Usage and Location

by

Caitlin Maire Dempsey

Master of Arts in Geography

University of California, Los Angeles, 1998

Professor Hartmut S. Walter, Chair

Abstract

With the rise in visitation to parks and recreation areas nationwide, there is a growing need for research in the field of recreation ecology.  A greater understanding of the relationship between recreational impacts and changes in the surrounding biotic communities is needed in order to provide effective management of those areas and to minimize those impacts.

This study looked at the changes in vegetation structure and species richness brought on by trail usage and location in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA).  Vegetation was sampled within 2x1m quadrats every 10 meters along a 50m transect placed 05.m, 5m and 20m from the trail edge.  Species richness and growth form (herb, graminoid and shrubs) coverage were measured in order to determine the changes occurring with distance from the trail.

This study found an internal edge effect was found to be created by trails. In addition vegetation structure varied dramatically along trail edges and was dominated by herbs and graminoids.  Trail usage was a greater influence in determining vegetation structure and species richness than trail location.  A higher presence of exotics was measured, particularly along multiple use trails which form the majority of trails within the SMMNRA.

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How to Cite This Thesis

MLA

Dempsey, Caitlin Maire. “Vegetation structure in northern mixed chaparral as affected by trail usage and location.” (1998).

APA

Dempsey, C. M. (1998). Vegetation structure in northern mixed chaparral as affected by trail usage and location.

Chicago

Dempsey, Caitlin Maire. “Vegetation structure in northern mixed chaparral as affected by trail usage and location.” (1998).


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