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Assessing vegetation and ground cover provides important information that relates to soil conservation. A high degree of cover (living or residues) is required to prevent erosional forces such as wind- and water-driven loss of soil. Vegetative cover is also an indicator of habitat for microorganisms and biodiversity, as plants are the primary producers capturing sunlight for carbohydrate production. It is also the foundation of food webs and agroecosystem sustainability. Soil cover measurements in the field are described as part of the erosion indicator in the next section.
Several of the environmental indicators (vegetative cover, biodiversity, pests, and invasive species) can be assessed using plot, farm and landscape level quadrates and transects1.
1These methods are described in Anderson and Ingram (19XX) Sections 3.1.2 for herbaceous vegetation and 3.1.1 for tree vegetation; the quadrat method is also described under the crop harvest and residue sampling under the productivity domain.