Document Type



natural areas, Ames, Iowa, evaluation, inventory, conservation, vegetation survey


An inventory of natural areas in the vicinity of Ames, Iowa was conducted (1990-1994) in response to conflicts arising when significant natural areas were encountered on lands approved for development by the City of Ames (Iowa) Planning Office. Methods for objective evaluation of woodland and prairie quality were developed for use during the inventory. The woodland method is based on four components: I) Diversity of expected species, H) Structure of canopy and understory layers, III) Fidelity of species to the habitat and IV) absence of Introduced Species. Rules are explicitly stated for the scoring of each component for both the canopy and understory within 0.1 ha circular plots. Diversity receives twice the weight of the other components, and the scores from all four components are summed to yield a Woodland Quality Rating (WQR) between 0 and 20. Survey points are marked on a topographic map prior to survey. These are chosen to represent principal topographic aspects of a woodland and are allocated in proportion to the area of the tract. The prairie method is based on a single component: diversity of prairie plant species. After survey, quality ratings are marked on maps to allow delineation of quality regions into one of four categories: A) Highly Natural, B) Mostly Natural, C) Moderately Altered, and D) Highly Altered. A total of .928 ha (2,294 ac) was surveyed and evaluated using this method. Maps and written descriptions of evaluated areas were compiled in an inventory report submitted to the City of Ames Planning Office.

Publication Date

September 1999

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



© Copyright 1999 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



File Format