What Is Flora Mapping?

Flora mapping is a technique for identifying the location and distribution of native plants.  It collects information about the:

  • Number of plant species in a specific area,
  • Location of each species, and
  • Relative density of each species.

If continued over several years, the mapping will provide data concerning changes in density and location.

 

Methodology

Working in teams of two and equipped with GPS devices, digital cameras, field guides, and notebooks, volunteers walked trails at Holliday Lake State Park and Bear Creek Lake State Park approximately every two weeks.  When they encountered a wildflower, they identified it, noted its name, trail location, date, growing conditions, and general characteristics in a log.  They photographed the wildflower and then took a GPS waypoint to indicate the location of the wildflower.  Each waypoint was assigned a unique code based on the plant color and name.  For example: BRSKUNK might note Skunk Cabbage (BR for brown and SKUNK for Skunk Cabbage).

The waypoints were subsequently uploaded into a file for each day a walk was made in each park, edited to ensure consistency in coding, and then used to mark locations on maps of trails.  Information collected in the log was compiled into a database that can be searched by trail, park, species, bloom color, and several other criteria.  The digital photographs were linked to the waypoints by time/date stamps.