June 29, 2017

Permanent Forest Plot Database Info

Link to the PFPP Online Database

The PFPP Database corresponds with the latest PFPP Protocol (Version is 1.06, dated 30 Aug 2014).

The PFPP Database application was written by Dr. Fred. Portier, Professor of Math and Computer Science at Mount Saint Mary’s University (Emmitsburg, MD).

Note: An updated version of the PFPP Protocols (1.06) was uploaded on Aug. 24, 2014.  There have been some variable changes (Plot, Tree, and Small Stem) for the online Database, and the newest CSV tree and small stem templates are needed to upload data.  

Entering Data:

To enter data online, your institution must be registered with the online database, and someone(s) from your institution must be registered as your institution’s Administrator(s). To register your institution, and identify a site administrator, please email one of the project’s current Lead Scientists (Karen Kuers – Sewanee: University of the South or Erin Lindquist – Meredith College).  Include in your email the name of your institution, the name of the Administrator, and the Administrator’s email address. Once the Lead Scientists have processed your request, the Administrator will receive an email with instructions for logging on to the database. (Note: This may take more than 24 hours, so please do this well in advance of the day that you hope to be able to enter site/plot/tree data.)

Once an Administrator has been registered for your Institution, the Administrator is responsible for creating and entering Site information (only an Administrator can create Sites for an Institution), registering other Users (Administrator or Researcher) who can enter, edit, and upload Plot, Tree, and Small Stem data to the PFPP Database website. All Administrators for an Institution can register Researcher for that Institution, approve tree and small stem data that has been uploaded to the database, and delete uploads to correct mistakes. (Note: Approval is confirmation that the data has undergone quality control measures and is ready for inclusion in the database. All tree data must be approved by an Administrator before it becomes a permanent part of the database. Please see “Administrator Responsibilities”. )

In addition to the Researchers who can enter Plot data and upload Tree and Small Stem data, other individuals can register with EREN as Users, and they will be able to Query the database and download data. Users who download data may be asked to complete a form indicating the intended use of the data. (While users can be anyone, this may often be the role assigned to students using the PFPP data for their classes.)

Site and Plot Data are entered directly into the online PFPP Database. Each Site is identified by Name and Year, and each Plot is linked to a specific Site/Year, and is identified by Plot Year, Plot Month, and the Plot measurement date.

Tree and Small stem inventory data will be uploaded to the PFPP Database as two separate CSV files. Blank CSV files for each can be downloaded from the PFPP Database website and used in Excel to enter the Tree and Small Stem Inventory Data. Note: To enter Tree or Small Stem Inventory Data you will need to be able to identify the Site Name and Site Year, as well as Plot Name, Plot Year, and Plot Month before you will be able to upload the data.

The upload file must contain the exact column headings in the same sequence as the template file. The database does not allow blank cells in the CSF files. Fill all blank cells with “null” prior to uploading the data.

Frequency of Online Data Entry:

Site Data: Once at the beginning, and then only when there is a major change in the forest type (large disturbance). For many sites this data will never be changed after it is entered for the first time.

Plot data: Plot data should be updated whenever you upload new tree data. Follow the instructions in the Online Data Entry Procedure section for duplicating the former plot file, giving it a new target year and month. Then edit only variables that have changed (e.g. date, precipitation, soil, invasive species, etc…)

Tree Data: Tree data should generally not be added more than once each year, and it would be fine to only uploaded data every 2 – 3 years (even 5 could be OK). Some subprojects, however, may require annual sampling. Please see protocols for individual subprojects for sampling intervals.

Administrator Responsibilities:

Administrators are responsible for making certain that all data entered in the database have been check for accuracy. This is especially important given the intended long term use of the datasets. The data will be available online for use by other faculty and students who need the assurance that the data they use has undergone standard quality checks.  Administrators should make certain that all Site, Plot, Tree and Small Stem data is checked both before and after it has been entered into the database.

Tree variables that most often have mistakes, and that are especially critical for data analysis include the species abbreviation codes, inventory codes, and DBH measurements. Carefully check both the decimal place and the numbers in the DBH measurements for accuracy, especially numbers that appear to be outside the range of the rest of the data. ) It is not uncommon for undergraduates to measured circumference rather than diameter, and to report data in mm rather than cm.

Plot variables most often entered incorrectly include longitude (it should be negative in North America), precipitation (check that units are mm per year, and not cm, inches, or mm per month, growing season length (this must be a positive number)

When a plot is created in the database, the user will be asked to indicate the level of quality control used to assess data quality for the data uploaded to the plot.

Data Quality Assurance (Required):

            All datasheets must be double checked for accuracy before data is entered into the database. Scientists are also strongly encourages to check measurement accuracy by repeating measurements of a portion of the tree diameters. Indicate in the database the level of quality control ( 1 – 5) used with the tree data uploaded for this plot. Repeat measurements should be made by someone who has demonstrated the ability to make consistent, accurate dbh measurements.

1) All data entered in the spreadsheet have been carefully compared to the data entry sheets, and numbers have been checked to see that they are within reasonable ranges.

2) In addition to data entry checks, at least 10% of the tree diameters for the plot were measured by at least 2 people, and measurements were repeated until sequential measurements  resulted in a difference of less than 0.2 cm.

3) In addition to data entry checks, at least 25% of the tree diameters for the plot are measured by at least 2 people, and measurements were repeated until sequential measurements  resulted in a difference of less than 0.2 cm.

4) In addition to data entry checks, at least 50% of the tree diameters for the plot are measured by at least 2 people, and measurements were repeated until sequential measurements  resulted in a difference of less than 0.2 cm.

5) In addition to data entry checks, all of the tree diameters for the plot are measured by at least 2 people, and measurements were repeated until sequential measurements  resulted in a difference of less than 0.2 cm.

 Editing Site Data: 

Site data can be edited by Root Users and Administrators if a correction needs to be made after data entry.  To edit Site data, go to “Administration”, “Site Management”, and select “Edit”.  Highlight the Site record to be edited, select “Edit”, make the necessary changes, and save the changes. (Do not change the site name.)

Updating Site Records:

While the Site variables are not likely to change much over time, if there is a major change in one of the Site variables that needs to be input for analyzing future tree data (e.g. changed growing season length, average annual temperature, etc.), a new Site record should be created for the Site, and all future data should be linked to the new record. Administrators have two options for updating the Site record: 1) Create a new record from scratch, or 2) duplicate the record and update only the variables that need to be changed. In either case it is critical to maintain the exact same Site Name.

To “Create” an updated Site record, under “Administration”, “Site Management”, select “Create” Site. Re-enter all of the data, inputting the new year and all the Site variables.  If you opt to “Create” a new Site record it is very important to use the exact same Site Name.

To use the “Duplicate” Site option to create a new Site record, under “Administration”, “Site Management”, select “Edit” Site, highlight the row containing the Site record that you want to update, and select “Duplicate”.  You will be asked to provide a target year for the new record. Enter the desired year, select “Go”, and the new Site record will be created. Highlight the duplicate row, select “Edit”, and you will be able to change and save the values that need to be updated. Future Plot and Tree data should be entered/uploaded using this NEW Site description year for reference. (Note: It may be safer to duplicate and edit a site than create a new record. It is critical that the Site Name remains the same for long term data analysis. Only one Site record can be created for any given year.)

Editing Plot Data:

Plot data can be edited by Root Users, Administrators, and Researchers if a correction needs to be made after data entry. To edit Plot data, go to “Administration”, “Plot Management”, and select “Edit”.  Highlight the Plot record to be edited, select “Edit”, make the necessary changes, and save the changes. (Do not change the Plot name.)

Updating Plot Data:

Plot variables change more regularly than do Site variables, and a new Plot record should be created each time new Tree data is added to the database. (No more than 2 records should be entered for a given Plot in any calendar year.) As with Site management, Administrators have two options for updating the Plot record: 1) Create a new record from scratch, or 2) duplicate the record and update only the variables that need to be changed. In either case it is critical to maintain the exact same Plot Name.

To “Create” an updated Plot record, under “Administration”, “Plot Management”, select “Create” Plot, and enter all of the data. Re-enter all of the data, inputting the new year and month and all the Plot variables.  If you opt to “Create” a new Plot record it is very important to use the exact same Plot Name.

To use the “Duplicate” Plot option, under “Administration”, “Plot Management”, select “Edit” Plot, highlight the row containing the Plot record that you want to update, and select “Duplicate”.  You will be asked to provide a target year and month for the new record. Enter the desired year and month, select “Go”, and the new Plot record will be created. Highlight the duplicate row, select “Edit” and you will be able to change and save the values that need to be updated. Future Tree data should be entered/uploaded using this NEW Plot description until a new Plot record is entered. (Note: It may be safer to duplicate and edit a Plot than create a new record. It is critical that the Plot Name remains the same for long term data analysis.)

Correcting or Changing Tree Data or Small Stem Data:

Uploaded Tree data from their Institution is always available for Administrators and Researcher to view. While it is not possible to correct Tree data or Small Stem data within the database, Researchers have a window of time in which to delete tree or small stem data after it has been uploaded. Once the data has been approved by an Administrator, however, only Administrators or Root Users can delete Tree or Small Stem data files.  If you discover a mistake in your Tree Data after it has been approved, and do not have the role of Administrator, please contact an Administrator from your Site so that the uploaded file can be deleted. Once it is deleted, you will be able to upload a corrected replacement file of the same data.

Using PFPP Data:
Use the “Query” tool on the PFPP Database to select sites for which you wish to access and download data. Data will be downloaded in the form of CSV files. Once you register as an EREN user, data is freely available for class and other non-publication uses. Users who download data will be asked to complete a form indicating the intended use of the data.

Publication Guidelines:

Should you wish to use EREN PFPP data in a publication, please check the online Authorship Guidelines posted on the EREN website and contact one of the PFPP Lead Scientists.

 Suggested Citation Format:

Kuers, K., Lindquist, E., Dosch, J., Shea, K., Machado, J., LoGiudice, K., Simmons, J., and Anderson, L. 2014.  EREN Permanent Forest Plot Project (PFPP) Version 1.06. 30 Aug 2014. Accessed from http://erenweb.org/ .


 

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Updated Aug. 24, 2014 by KKuers