Standard Article

Habitat Survey and Sampling Designs

Ecological Statistics

  1. William R. Gould

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vah002.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Gould, W. R. 2013. Habitat Survey and Sampling Designs . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 3.

Author Information

  1. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Habitat measurements will always be an important component of ecological studies. Traditionally, researchers have used methods applied to relatively small areas using either plot-based or plotless methods. Variables such as percent cover, density, and biomass are commonly used together as a means of quantifying habitat in a particular area. The efficacy of habitat measurements depends on observer effects, vegetation form, and spatial pattern, and the scale at which measurements are made. In all cases, choice of variables and measurement techniques directly impact accuracy of results and must be carefully considered prior to data collection. Regardless of technique, random sampling strategies such as simple or stratified designs are essential for valid statistical inference. Recent advances in satellite and radar technology have resulted in a myriad of additional methods for collecting and analyzing habitat data. Such technology has also altered the scale and types of questions being asked. However, these technological advances are not without error and still require careful use and in many cases, ground-truthing.


  • habitat;
  • plotless;
  • quadrat;
  • remote sensing;
  • vegetation