Relationship between canopy gaps and understory vegetation in Northwest Indiana

Faculty Sponsor

Bharath Ganesh Babu


Arts and Sciences


Geography Department

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-4-2017


Invasive species management is currently an issue in many parts of the country and specifically the Northwest Indiana region. In order to better manage invasive plant species, it is critical to understand what promotes the advance of these species. This study was designed to understand the relationship between the percentage of canopy gap and invasive woody plant growth. It was expected that a higher percentage of canopy gap would correlate to a higher percentage of woody invasive species. The research was conducted at Sunset Hill Farm County Park in Valparaiso, Indiana. Twenty quadrats, 2 meters in diameter, were chosen through transect random sampling. In each quadrat, the number of invasive and non-invasive woody plants was recorded. Photographs were also taken of the canopy from the center of the quadrat using a fisheye lens. These photographs were then analyzed with ENVI isodata unsupervised classification to determine percentage of canopy gap. The result was correlation of .03162 between woody invasive species and canopy gap. In this particular site, a strong correlation between canopy gap and woody invasive understory was not found.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Grace Roman is a senior geography and biology double major at Valparaiso University.

Beata Ramza is a 2016 Valparaiso University alumna. In the fall of 2015.

Grace and Beata came together to create an ecological and remote sensing based independent research projects based on mutual interests and goals. They have since completed their research and are not only presenting their findings here, but also at the 2017 American Association of Geographers annual meeting in Boston, MA.

This document is currently not available here.