Faculty of SITE Northern Territory University Flora & Fauna Survey Techniques
what is flora and fauna survey?
why survey?
why survey?
factors to consider
preparing to sample
flora survey techniques
fauna survey techniques
analysing data
presenting data

Why undertake a flora and fauna survey?

The primary objectives of a flora and fauna survey will differ depending on their location. For example, biodiversity surveys in southern Australia primarily deal with fragmented landscapes and the objectives of these surveys focus on what remains in these fragments. By contrast, in northern Australia the amount of land clearing is much less and surveys are of relatively intact ecosystems. These differences have important implications for why a biological survey is needed.

Please read:
Reading 2

Smith, A.P. (1997). Ecosystem management in Australia. In: Copeland C. & Lewis, D. (eds.) Saving Our Natural Heritage: The Role of Science in Managing Australia's Ecosystems. pages 12-23. Halstead Press, Sydney.

Smith (1997) describes examples of research studies that incorporated flora and fauna survey techniques. The outcomes of these have formed the basis of important environmental management actions. This article provides a good overview of issues to be aware of in planning, implementing and analysing survey data.

Text book
In order to introduce yourself to flora and fauna survey issues, please read the first chapter of your textbook "Why Census?".

What are the main reasons for undertaking surveys?
Compare your ideas with ours.

You are now ready to begin the next activity. Refer again to the examples provided under "What is Flora and Fauna Survey" and complete the following table for each example. You will be required to forward your response to your lecturer so that we can check that you are on the right track.


Record your findings in this table which you will find in your ejournal.

Flora and fauna survey categories


Objectives of Study










For more information:

The links below are organisations that rely on flora and fauna surveys to manage and conserve Australia's natural environment.

1. http://www.rfa.gov.au/
Regional forest agreement for sustainable use of forest resources in southern and eastern Autralia.

2. http://nccnsw.org.au/
Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales projects focussing on urban bushland.

3. http://www.ahc.gov.au/
This is the site of the Australian Heritage Commission, which is the Government organisation responsible for listing areas for National Estate protection.

4. http://www.anbg.gov.au

The Australian Biological Resources Study home page. The group aims to provide the underlying taxonomic knowledge necessary for the conservation and sustainable use of Australia's biodiversity.


Additional reading

Woinarski, J.C.Z, Connors, G. & Oliver, B. (1996). The reservation status of plant species and vegetation types in the Northern Territory. Australian Journal of Botany 44:673-689.

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last updated by lrp@cdu.edu.au 6 August, 2004
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