An investigation of the vegetation associated with grave sites in southern Ontario

Publisher:
Canadian Society of Forensic Science
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal, 2008, 41 pp. 199 - 207
Issue Date:
2008-01
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Botanical evidence may be used in forensic investigations to estimate postmortem interval (PMI) of decomposed remains, to link a suspect to a crime scene, and to track distribution of plant-based illicit substances. A recent application of botanical evidence to forensic science is for the potential identification of clandestine grave locations. The burial of pig carcasses for a decomposition study in southern Ontario provided the opportunity to investigate the botanical species associated with grave sites in this region. This study investigated the differences in vegetation structure and species composition on grave sites in an environment that was dominated by weed flora. Differences in botanical species between grave sites and undisturbed areas were identified and highlighted the potential of these species to be used as grave indicators. Further studies are recommended to investigate the effect of seasonal variation, land use type, and inter- and intra-year variations.
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