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Floristic Quality Assessment for
Plant Communities of North Dakota,
South Dakota (excluding the Black Hills),
and Adjacent Grasslands

GIF - Penstemon nitidus
by

The Northern Great Plains Floristic Quality Assessment Panel


Abstract: Floristic quality assessment can be used to identify natural areas, to facilitate comparisons among different sites, to provide long-term monitoring of natural area quality, and to evaluate habitat management and restoration efforts. To facilitate the use of floristic quality assessment in North Dakota, South Dakota (excluding the Black Hills), and adjacent grasslands, we developed a species list and assigned coefficients of conservatism (C values; range = 0 to 10) to each plant species in the region's flora. The C values we assigned represent our collective knowledge of the patterns of occurrence of each plant species in the Dakotas and our confidence that a particular taxon is natural area dependent. Because state boundaries usually do not follow ecological boundaries, the C values we assigned should be equally valid in nearby areas with the same vegetation types. Of the 1,584 taxa we recognized in this effort, 275 (18%) were determined to be non-native to the region. We assigned C values of 4 or higher to 77% of our native taxa and the entire native flora had a mean C value (C value) of 6.1. A floristic quality index (FQI) can be calculated to rank sites in order of their floristic quality. By applying the coefficients of conservatism supplied here and calculating C Value and FQI, an effective means of evaluating the quality of plant communities can be obtained. Additionally, by repeating plant surveys and calculations of C Value and FQI over time, temporal changes in floristic quality can be identified.

Key Words: floristic quality assessment, native plants, natural area assessment, natural area monitoring, plant community evaluation, restoration evaluation, plant species checklist


This resource should be cited as:
Northern Great Plains Floristic Quality Assessment Panel.  2001.  
     Floristic quality assessment for plant communities of North Dakota, 
     South Dakota (excluding the Black Hills), and adjacent grasslands.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/plants/fqa/index.htm 
     (Version 26JAN2001).

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