The GLORIA Multi-Summit Approach

At the GLORIA Conference 2010 Sept. 23-26, Perth, Scotland, around 100 members of GLORIA agreed on a refined and streamlined catalogue of methods resulting from the field experience of the first decade of GLORIA.

For a detailed description of the GLORIA Multi-summit approach download the Field Manual v5
(English version, Versión española, Chinese version, Russian version) !

In summary, the components of GLORIA's Multi-Summit approach were divided into the two groups 'obligatory' and 'optional'.

Obligatory activities

  • Species (vascular plants) recording in 16 1m x 1m quadrats:
    • - visual cover estimation of each species
    • - point framing (100 points per quadrat as a new application)
  • Species recording in 8 Summit-Area-Sections + abundance estimation defined on an ordinal scale (r!, very rare; r, rare; s, scattered; c, common; d, dominant)
  • A careful photo documentation of plots and summit set-up
  • Continuous soil temperature measurements (4 points per summit site)

Optional activities (in addition to the obligatory activities)

  • Bryophytes and lichens recording
  • Subplot-frequency of species in 1m x 1m quadrats (previously this was a standard method)
  • Increase of 1m x 1m quadrats up to 32 per summit site
  • Estimation of species cover in Summit-Area-Sections
  • Line-pointing in 10-m squares (4 per summit)

The new Field Manual v5 also lists a variety of additional activities (Invertebrates monitoring, plant functional types, transects, traditional knowledge, socio-economic aspects) as defined at the conference in workgroups or already applied at some sites.

If you intend to start any fieldwork, please contact the GLORIA administration first! (

The target region

The Multi-Summit Approach is GLORIA’s basic approach. The main considerations in designing this approach were comparability, simplicity and economy for a effective network with a large number of sites. Four summit sites arranged along the elevation gradient are the minimum requirements for a GLORIA target region.

Summit area sections

Summit divided into 8 sections: samples of the summit flora to detect species migration

Quadrat cluster (3m×3m)

with 4 permanent 1 m2 plots. 4 clusters per summit (one in each main compass direction)

1 m2 quadrats: visual cover estimation of all species and pointing with a grid frame

detailed species cover sampling to detect changes in the species composition

Temperature measurements

in each 3m x 3m quadrat cluster in one-hour intervals to compare changes of the temperature

Supplementary recording: Frequency counts

in the 1 m2 quadrats to detect changes of vegetation patterns

Supplementary recording: line-pointing and species recording in 10m×10m squares