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Natural Resource Report - California Phenology Project (CPP) plant phenological monitoring protocol: Version 1

TitleNatural Resource Report - California Phenology Project (CPP) plant phenological monitoring protocol: Version 1
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMatthews, ER, Gerst, KL, Mazer, SJ, Brigham, C, Evenden, A, Forrestel, A, Haggerty, B, Haultain, S, Hoines, J, Samuels, S, Villalba, F
Series TitleNatural Resource Report
Date Published02/2014
InstitutionNational Park Service
Report NumberNPS/PWR/NRR—2014/763

Phenology is the study of seasonal life cycle events such as the flowering and fruiting of plants; the migration of birds and mammals; and the annual emergence of insect pollinators and pests. Shifts in the timing of plant and animal phenology are a well-documented biological response to climate change, so much so that phenology is widely recognized as an indicator of climate change impacts on ecosystems. In 2010, the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service (NPS) received funding from the NPS Climate Change Response Program (CCRP) to conduct a 3-year pilot project to develop a phenological monitoring network in California’s National Park units. The NPS partnered with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the National Coordinating Office of the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) to develop tools and infrastructure to support a coordinated phenological monitoring effort, and pilot activities were implemented in seven park units, including: Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GOGA), John Muir National Historic Site (JOMU), Joshua Tree National Park (JOTR), Lassen Volcanic National Park (LAVO), Redwood National Park (REDW), Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SAMO), and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI). This project is now known as the California Phenology Project (CPP;, and this protocol is a direct result of the CPP pilot phase. The purpose of this protocol is to describe the goals of the California Phenology Project and to provide detailed instructions to carry out plant phenological monitoring within the established framework of the CPP. The protocol was designed to support the goals of the USA-NPN: to provide a platform for the standardized recording of phenological data and for the contribution of these data to a national database. This protocol includes eleven Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that describe the sampling framework, including information on optimal frequency of data collection and sample size, and how to: select target taxa, select and establish monitoring locations, recruit and train observers, prepare for the field season, record phenological data, submit phenological observations to the NPDb, and report CPP activities and results at each park on an annual basis. These are designed for use by parks that participated in phenological monitoring during the pilot phase, as well as parks or other land management agencies that may wish to join the CPP network in the future.

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Natural Resource Report