Specific Guidelines on Sample Size for Biomass

Sample size is a critical decision in determining biomass because it is a key way to influence the precision of the collected data. Larger sample sizes are required if the collected data has a large sample variance or if the key species occurs in low abundance. In both cases, a greater proportion of the population must be sampled to obtain an accurate and precise measure of biomass.

Also refer to Sample Size in the Sampling Concepts section.

Sample Size for Biomass Sampling

  • estimate sample size using either statistical techniques or graphing techniques.
  • in most situations, a large sample size (e.g., 50-2000 quadrats) is needed to provide an accurate estimate and to reduce sample variance.

References and Further Reading

(Note: pdf files require Adobe Acrobat (free) to view)

Bonham, C.D. 1989. Measurements for terrestrial vegetation. John Wiley Sons, New York, NY. pp 65-69, 218.

Pieper, R.D. 1988. Rangeland vegetation productivity and biomass. In: P.T. Tueller (ed). Vegetation science applications for rangeland analysis and management. Handbook of Vegetation Science, Volume 14. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. pp 453-454.

Wight, J.R. 1967. The sampling unit and its effect on saltbush yield estimates. Journal of Range Management 20:323-325. (pdf)