What are Flora and Fauna Surveys?
If we stroll through a nature reserve and compile a list of the
birds or flowers that we see along the way, then we are, in its
very simplest form, conducting a flora or fauna survey. Field naturalists
Keith and Lindsay Fisher have provided a fine example of such a
survey in Jasper Gorge.
Reading A - example survey
Fisher K. & Fisher L. (1985).
Some observations of Jasper Gorge, Victoria River Downs, NT.
Northern Territory Naturalist 8:13-16.
With some preparation and effort, however, we can do and achieve
so much more than this simple listing. For example, we might choose
- make a special effort to find species or groups of species that
aren't so easy to detect
- obtain information on the abundance of the species
- obtain information on the habitat preferences of the species
- ensure systematic coverage of an area and/or its habitats
- obtain the information about biodiversity at levels other than
species (see What is biological diversity?)
We may also choose to survey
- a single species - for example the Carpentarian
- a relatively small set of species - for example trappable small
- a large cross-section of the flora and/or fauna - for example,
all vertebrates and/or all vascular plants.
Reading B - example survey
McKean J.L. & Martin K.C.
(1989). Distribtuion and status of the Carpentaria Grasswren
Amytornis dorotheae. Northern Territory Naturalist
Reading C - example survey
Bowman M.J.S. & McDonough L.
(1990). Wet season occupation of Workshop Jungel by small
mammals. Northern Territory Naturalist 12: 20-23.
We often call surveys of a range of species biological or biodiversity
surveys. The following examples of detailed biological surveys are
available in theCharles Darwin University Library's short-term loan collection.
You should refer to one of these as an example of a fundamental
Griffiths A. D., Materne C. M. & Sherwell D. J. (1997).
Biological Survey of the Proposed Limmen Gate National Park.
Darwin, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory,
Technical Report No. 61.
Griffiths A. D., Woinarski J. C. Z., Armstrong M. D., Dunlop
C. R., Cowie I. D. & Horner P. G. (1997). Biological
Survey of Litchfield National Park. Darwin, Parks and Wildlife
Commission of the Northern Territory, Technical Report No. 62.
Griffiths A. D. (1997). Biological Survey of Elsey National
Park. Darwin, Parks and Wildlife Commission NT, Technical Report
There are some good web site examples too
After completing this unit, you will be able to design, plan and
cost surveys similar to these!
Survey results can then form the foundation of more complex natural
management startegies such as reserve design, threatened species
conservation plans and fire monitoring programs. Following are some
examples of the applications of biodiversity survey results.
(1) Reserve design in Northern Territory
(2) Endangered species: the Gouldian Finch
(3) Fire monitoring in Northern Australia
As you explore these examples try to answer the following questions
in your e-journal.
What are the objectives of these surveys?
What types of surveys are there?
Who uses flora and fauna surveys?
Compare your ideas about surveys with