Research Branch

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PROBE: protocol for operational brushing evaluations: (first approximation)

Author(s) or contact(s): S.W. Simard
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Vegetation Management
Series: Land Management Report
Other details:  Published 1993. Hardcopy is available.


An expanding brushing program in the southern Interior of British Columbia has created a need for better information on the short- and long-term effectiveness of vegetation management treatments that have been applied on an operational basis. Qualitative evaluations of treatments were useful to operational foresters in the formative stages of the program, but today have little value in defending prescriptions before the public. A quantitative, technically valid, and yet simple monitoring system is now necessary to meet the needs of operational staff.

In the past, several ad hoc, quantitative methods for evaluating operational vegetation management treatments were developed and implemented in the southern Interior. Each method, however, had specific objectives for evaluating specific vegetation management treatments. The narrow scope and lack of consistency among evaluation methods gave operational foresters limited opportunities for comparing results among sites and treatments. Development of a standardized monitoring system was subsequently requested.

This Land Management Handbook presents a design protocol that defines minimum standards for an objective, low intensity monitoring system. It is called PRotocol for Operational Brushing Evaluations, or PROBE. The purpose of PROBE is to provide a monitoring framework for use in a wide array of vegetation complexes, ecosystems (site series), and operational vegetation management treatments. The framework standardizes installation location, response measurements and statistical analyses.

PROBE is intended solely for voluntary operational monitoring. It provides for extensive, quantitative evaluations of common treatments in the most frequently treated vegetation complexes; and is detailed enough that an individual who is familiar with research plot layout and monitoring can easily complete a high quality installation. A large number of PROBE installations can be readily established by a variety of individuals. PROBE is not designed for qualitative evaluation of the extent and success of all vegetation management activities in operational programs, nor is it designed to replace replicated research trials which may have different or more detailed objectives. PROBE should be considered an adjunct to both program-level evaluations and research trials, and used to fill rapidly the large information gap on the effectiveness of operational treatments.

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Updated November 26, 2008