Quadrats:

Question:

The students have just used and demolished my flash quadrats.
They are made out of the white reticulation pipe and then filled with sand. However, I think this stuff perishes and goes brittle after a few years as the quadrats seem to have just fallen to bits.
This has got me to wondering – what are you are all using?

Answer:

1. Use some metal rod, 2 pieces per quadrat, at 1.8m each. Bend each piece at 90deg, 40 cm from each end. i.e. 40cm, bend, 1m, bend, 40cm. Join each with a 20 cm piece of plastic tubing on each side, to make a 1 metre square. This is useful as they can bend – ideal for field-trips.
2. We use a metre ruler that has a hole at each end with 3 metres of string connecting to either end. You lie the ruler on the ground and arrange the string as a one metre square. Nice and cheap to make and you wrap the string around the ruler when not in use.
3. PVC reticulation pipe breaks down quite quickly (amazingly enough it is used to reticulate the natural gas supply around Perth!). The polyethylene (black) pipe is much more durable, which is why farmers use it in their paddocks, but also more flexible. The large diameter pipe might also be suitable.
4. I think it would be worth investigating for Occupational Health and Safety reasons, as the PVC becomes powdery as it breaks down and therefore can be inhaled or ingested when handled.
5. We have some made out of aluminium. They are light to carry and don’t weather. Also have some with just 4 tent pegs and nylon rope.
6. We have used 1/4 square metal (6mm mild steel rod) for at least 8 years. They were made from one piece, bent, then welded in a corner. This was then powder-coated, cherry-red colour so you cannot leave them in the field. Works great.
7. I made quadrats out of flat wood from Bunnings and used wing nut screws at each corner, this way when they are not in use I fold them flat and hang them up on hooks.

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