To study plant communities, researchers need to make trips to vegetation areas. These trips are called field patrols or trips that researchers undertake to natural environments (such as deserts, mountains, forests, or heritage areas)or to geographical areas at a specific time for research purposes, such as the studies of a plant or animal species, or evaluating environments and determining threat factors and their causes. These trips may also be for exploratory and educational purposes, using various environmental researches and monitoring tools. Methods and approaches for performing environmental studies vary according to the type of studies undertaken by the researcher or student based on In-situ and Ex-situ goals of the study.
Type of Plant Ecological Studies
- Floristic studies: Often called floristic surveys, these studies focus mainly on inventory and recording all the species of plants found in a given area. These types of studies are characterized by the necessity to collect and preserve plant samples for laboratory study and are among the most important studies that achieve off-site conservation. Taxonomic studies have evolved to include studies of the genetic map of plant species in order to solve many of the taxonomic problems that may occur between the plant species.
- Ecological evaluation: These types of studies are based on the study of environments and their plant or animal species, and the threat factors and negative effects to which these environments and species may be exposed. Threats can be natural, such as drought, desertification, or high temperatures, or due to human practices, such as camping and grazing, the introduction of alien species and others. Taxonomic studies thus aim to find out the causes and assess the appropriate natural conditions in order to find appropriate solutions and alternatives.
- Restoration: These studies are concerned either with the rehabilitation of degraded and threatened environments or with the aim of rehabilitating (plant) species, and often combine taxonomic and evaluative studies. Rehabilitation operations may take place within the sites, such as Restoration of desert plants inside their natural habitats, or may transfer these threatened species outside their sites to ensure their study and propagation, as in botanical gardens, including QBG. The rehabilitation studies of wild plants are based on collecting seeds and plants from their sites, and then germinating and multiplying them. Plants will be transferred to their natural habitats again to have them adapted to natural conditions or to grow in botanical gardens.