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Keywords:

  • benchmarks;
  • condition index;
  • grasslands;
  • rapid site assessment;
  • vegetation condition

Summary

Rapid assessment techniques are commonly used for measuring vegetation condition at sites. Techniques for measuring site condition need to be quantitative, repeatable, rapid and simple. The key challenge is achieving a balance between simple techniques and adequate discrimination of condition between sites. This study compared a grassland condition index with the existing BioMetric condition index and showed that (i) the grassland index provided a strong measure of the relationship of temperate montane grassland sites with disturbance level, and differentiated condition of sites to a high degree and (ii) the simpler BioMetric index provided a strong measure of the relationship of the grassland sites with disturbance and differentiated their condition to a moderate degree. The choice of index to assess grassland condition should depend on purpose, cost and capacity.