The Midwest Biodiversity Institute (MBI) will be offering Vegetation Index of Biotic Integrity (VIBI), VIBI - Florisitic Quality (VIBI-FQ), and National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) Vegetation Monitoring Protocols training to prepare attendees for their field wetland assessment work.
The course is focused on the VIBI which is a biological index developed for Ohio wetlands that uses the attributes of wetland vegetation communities that vary most predictably with human disturbance levels. These measures are then used to derive a score that rates the ecological condition of the wetland. The VIBI is used to successfully determine the ecological condition of Ohio wetlands. VIBI scores are also widely used as quantifiable performance standards for mitigation wetlands.
Our VIBI training is an intensive three day course that will provide a thorough understanding of the development of the VIBI and its uses. Participants will learn the principles behind the methods and then apply them in the field as they lay out sample plots and gather vegetation community measures. Finally participants will be shown how to use the collected data to develop VIBI scores for the wetlands sampled. The course will also cover the vegetation monitoring protocols used for the VIBI-FQ and the NWCA which are similar to those used for the VIBI.
This will include a thorough explanation of the history and development of the VIBI, the attributes of the vegetation community that are the metrics of the VIBI, how they are measured and scored, and why the VIBI is such an excellent tool for determining the ecological condition of wetlands.
Participants will travel to wetlands sites, set up monitoring plots, and collect all the data needed to generate VIBI scores for the wetlands sampled. Each participant will be actively involved in establishing sample plots, vegetation sampling, recording information, and learning step by step the VIBI and VIBI-FQ protocols. NWCA vegetation methods will also be explained and demonstrated.
This day will include hands-on instruction about how to use the data collected in the field to calculate VIBI scores. An Excel spreadsheet that automatically computes metric and total VIBI scores will be used and the underlying mathematical procedures used to develop the metric scores will be fully explained. Any remaining questions about any aspect of the VIBI evaluation process will be discussed and answered.
It is recommended that participants have some experience in wetland plant identification and vegetation sampling. However, experienced MBI researchers will be on hand collecting data with the attendees to assist with plant identifications and to assure that sampling protocols are fully understood. It is not necessary to be an expert plant taxonomist to get significant benefit from the training.
This course will provide participants with the knowledge needed to be confident in their ability to understand and conduct VIBI and VIBI-FQ evaluations on their own. It will also provide exposure to the NWCA vegetation monitoring protocols. If questions arise as participants begin conducting their own VIBI assessments they will have gained the skills to know how and where to seek the needed information to provide those answers. A certificate documenting successful participation in the course will be provided to each attendee upon its completion.