Forest Biometric Survey Jim Hughes

Biometric Survey performed in Highlands County Florida, at Sun 'n Lake Preserve over a two day period. This survey was led by Gordon Davis and the students of Walker Memorial Academy.


The survey utilized readily available technology to analyze canopy density and study a specific tree of our choice in the Sun 'n Lake Preserve.

The forest is made up of four layers; canopy, sub canopy, shrub, and graminoid. Our biometric survey would record the density of these forest layers along a 100' sampling at the Sun 'n Lake Preserve.



  • 100' measuring tape
  • Densiometer
  • Data recording tools
  • Compass
  • Coring Tool
  • Clinometer


Canopy Study: First a line transit needed to be established. Using a compose, 0 degree north was established. The individual with the compose chose a point in the distance that is inline with north. Between the compose and that point in the distance a 100' tape measure was stretched out. That tape was then set on the ground.

The team of two armed with data collection device and densiometer move along the 100' tape, stoping every 3' to gather data on the density of the canopy at that location.

The densiometer was used by looking through the cylinder to determine if the crosshairs landed on tree branches directly over head, those observations were then recorded by the team.


The data of the two teams gathering along the 100' transit where then combined to provide the following information:

These are the results from our data collection

Individual tree study: In our individual tree study we chose a tree, to calculated its height, measured its diameter, and collected a core sample.

From the tree base out we measured 100'. At the 100' mark we looked through the tube on the top of the clinometer, sighting the tree top.

Measuring out 100' from the base of our tree.
Sighting the top of our tree.
Tree hight calculations
Measuring the diameter of the tree at eve level.
Core sample.

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