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Vegetation cover and composition, including species types and richness assessments, were measured at four locations along the Kalahari Transect in Botswana (Pandamatenga, Maun, Okwa River, and Tshane) during the SAFARI 2000 wet season field campaign. The sites visited showed interesting degrees of variability despite the apparent homogeneity of the Kalahari sands and predominantly semi-arid savanna shrub-woodlands vegetation cover (Ringrose et al., 2003).

At each site twelve individual locations were chosen by random stratified techniques within a 30-km radius at each location, based on differences in topography, soils, and known disturbance, to help determine local variability (Huennecke et al., 2001). Data collection methods were identical at each location (Ringrose et al., 1996; 1998): (1) identification and enumeration of all species along 3 x 90-m transects, spaced 45-m apart; (2) visual estimation (tape measure and pacing) of canopy diameter along each transect; and (3) visual estimation of percent live and dead herbaceous cover, litter, and bare soil using 3 x 50 m2 quadrats spaced at 30-m intervals along each transect. In addition, vegetation components were calculated for each site comprising woody vegetation cover, green herbaceous cover in terms of grass and forbs, dead herbaceous cover, plant litter, and bare soil. Species richness was calculated as the actual number of species per three transects (270 m2) at each site (Kent and Coker, 1996).

The data set consists of two data files (ASCII tables) in comma-delimited format (.csv) with descriptive header records.

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Ringrose, S., and W. Matheson. 2005. SAFARI 2000 Vegetation Cover Characteristics, Kalahari Transect, Wet Season 2000. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/776.


Huenneke, L. F., D. Clason, and E. Muldavin. 2001. Spatial heterogeneity in Chihuahuan Desert vegetation: implications for sampling methods in semi-arid ecosystems. Journal of Arid Environments, 47: 257-270.

Kent, M. and P. Coker. 1996. Vegetation Description and Analysis. A Practical Approach. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA. 363 pp.

Ringrose, S., C. Vanderpost, and W. Matheson. 1996. The use of integrated remotely sensed and GIS data to determine the causes of vegetation cover change in southern Botswana. Applied Geography, 16: 225-242.

Ringrose, S., C. Vanderpost, and W. Matheson. 1998. Evaluation of vegetative criteria for near-surface groundwater detection using multispectral mapping and GIS techniques in semi-arid Botswana. Applied Geography, 18: 331-354.

Ringrose, S., W. Matheson, P. Wolski, and P. Huntsman-Mapila. 2003. Vegetation cover trends along the Botswana Kalahari transect. Journal of Arid Environments, 54(2): 297-318.

Data Format:

The data files associated with this data set are listed below. The data files contain vegetation cover and composition information within ASCII tables in comma-delimited format (.csv) with descriptive header records.



File botswana_kt_veg_sum.csv description.

Column Description Units/Format
Sites Site indicator (site names listed in the site summary table below) ASCII
Latitude Latitude of the site location degrees South
Longitude Longitude of the site location degrees East
Date Date of data collection
Total number of species Total number of species counted along three 90 m transects count
Species richness Number of species divided by the transect area ratio
WVC Woody vegetation cover along three 90 m transects percent
AHC (forbs) Alive herbaceous cover, forbs, along three 90 m transects percent
AHC (grass) Alive herbaceous cover, grass, along three 90 m transects percent
DHC Dead herbaceous cover, along three 90 m transects percent
Litter Plant leaf litter, along three 90 m transects percent
Bare soil Bare soil coverage percent

File botswana_kt_species.csv description.

Column Description Units/Format
Site Site Designation (Panda, Maun, Okwa, Tshane) ASCII
Species Genus species name of vegetation ASCII
Total Total Number of given species counted numeric

Additional information about the study sites, methodology, and results is found in the companion file:

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