BDBSA Project Metadata Detail

Survey/Project Number: 679          Total No. of Sites: 32
Survey/Project Name: Gawler Ranges NP vegetation monitoring
Abstract: This vegetation survey was created for the more rigorous identification of plant species at Landscape Recovery Monitoring Sites on the Gawler Ranges National Park. The monitoring contributes to evaluation of landscape rehabilitation efforts conducted under Operation Bounceback and is tied to an integrated (large) herbivore management plan for the park. In 1999 Paney Station was acquired to become the Gawler Ranges National Park in 2001, with the Scrubby Peak block added the following year. Stock were removed in 2000, while the portion of Scrubby Peak added to the Park, was generally not stocked, except the area around Scrubby Valley Well. Both Paney and Scrubby Peak were Pastoral Leases, which in 1992 were subject to Pastoral Lease Assessment, involving among other things, the installation of Photopoints to monitor vegetation trends under grazing. New Photopoints were installed on Scrubby Peak, but Paney had an existing system of Photopoints established mostly in 1987, to which some new sites were added in 1992. Paney Station has a very long history of stocking (mainly sheep) and its valleys and plains were substantially degraded as a result, but rocky hills, generally avoided by stock, are in much better condition. Hills are frequently affected by fires and since the 1970's had suffered from feral goat browse pressure, which has been kept at low intensity with effective goat gontrols being maintained since 2001. With stock removal, and control of kangaroos, rabbits and feral goats, the landscape is expected to recover and the existing Photopoints, supplemented with some Biological Survey sites (from 1985), were converted to a recovery and herbivore management monitoring framework. This conversion is gradual, involving the formulation of ecological recovery objectives and physical transformation of Photopoint sites to better analyse data which inform on progress toward objectives. Prior to 2009, plant identification was done by the observers on field trips. A succession of observers over the first series of monitoring visits applied various names to what was certainly a single species, so a more rigorous identification procedure is now employed. Thoroughness of their plant sampling was likely also variable. Vouchering survey akin to that used in Flora Surveys of the Biological Survey was undertaken in 2009, to provide substantiated record as reference for future visits and possibly for better definition of floristic communities associated with recovery states.
 
Start Date: 01/07/1987      End Date: 01/01/2020
Survey Type: Other
   
Study Area Description: All Photopoint sites are contained within Gawler Ranges National Park, with most lying in the area of the the former Paney Pastoral Lease. Pastoral assessment methodology required that sites be located one per paddock and within the range of approximately 1.5 to 2 km from a permanent waterpoint, adjacent a well-used track. Those established after 2001, did not have such a water point focus.
Objectives
         Vegetation: Visits to sites prior to 2000 had the prime objective of identifying and describing trends in composition and structure of plant communities under a stock grazing regime. Trends would be interpreted as tolerable or intolerable in relation to stocking levels in the period between visits. However, in this period, establishment of Photopoint site networks was the opearting objective, ther being no analytical or interpretive framework for determining trends. Visits to Photopoint sites from 2001 to 2008 had the prime objective of converting the existing network to evaluation of recovery following herbivore removal and maintained control. Belt transects (for plant density) were established at sites previously lacking them and site context to projected stages of recovery formulated, as such were needed for validity of statistical analysis in establishing where interim and final recovery objectives were met. Visit in 2009 had the specific objective of scientifically rigorous naming of plant species within a defined area at monitoring sites, concentrating on all perennial species and major annual and ephemeral species. Not all sites were completed.
         Fauna: *** No fauna survey objectives recorded
Methodology
         Vegetation: Vegetation sites are derived from numerous methodologies. Those established in 1992 and before, derive from the Land Systems Mapping and Trend analysis procedures of Pastoral Assessment. Of those established after 2001 selection derives from utilising sites established under Biological Survey 1 (Gawler Ranges) as monitoring sites or suitable locality to photographically record recovery after major disturbance eg fires. Land systems mapping methodology follows the usual pattern of ecological site inventory. Sites thought to repeatedly represent certain land types are described in terms of plant composition and structure. These sites were unmarked, but labelled with TS prefix in data recording. Sites for Trend analysis are generally placed 1.5 to 2 km from permanent water point and are considered representative of plant communities commonly within the grazing zone around the water point. Initially labelled as OB (Observation) where only Site Details and Species Lists (including cover-abundance) are recorded, or as QS (Quantitative) where plant density or cover measures derived from belt transects and point intercepts are measured in addition to Site details and species lists.
         Fauna: *** No vertebrate methodology recorded

Data Distribution Rules: Public
Project Basis: Vegetation : Monitoring - Vegetation/Ecosystem (ie species records - usually re-visited for ongoing monitoring) NOTE:NON Std Svy methodology may have been used.
Information Authority: Department for Environment and Heritage (BDBSA:S&C Div) - Biological Survey and Monitoring
Department for Environment and Heritage (BDBSA:Outback) - Regional Ecologist - Outback/Ranges