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Vegetation Structure - Cover Pole Method

written by Karen Colson and Jason Karl

Method Type

Vegetation Structure/Obstruction - Quantitative

Other Names

None known, but names of structure/obstruction methods are not standard.

Description and Uses

The Cover Pole Method is used to evaluate vertical cover and vegetation structure. Instead of a cover board, it uses a 1.5m high pole marked every 10cm in alternating colors. The number of segments of the pole that are obstructed by vegetation when viewed from a specified distance away are recorded and converted to vertical cover measurements.

Advantages and Limitations

Similar Approaches

Other vertical structure/obstruction methods include the Cover Board Method, Line-point Intercept with Height, and the Visual Obstruction Method - Robel Pole.


Video Instructions/Demonstration

Video from the USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range

Alternate method for the cover pole method

Video from the USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range

Technical and Application References

Data Forms

Printable data forms for the cover pole method can be downloaded from

Electronic data forms can be found at the following sites

Web Search Results



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field_methods/vegetation_structure_-_cover_pole_method.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/25 12:09 by jgh