September, a time to celebrate biodiversity

News article |

Biodiversity Month is held in September each year to highlight the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity.

Posted 31 August 2020.

Biodiversity Month is held in September each year to highlight the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity.

Biodiversity is described as an inter-reliant ‘web or circle of life’, including all living things on earth, from the smallest microbe to the largest of creatures and their ecosystems which they are a part.

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board Ecologist Craig Gillespie said many of the species in our region are threatened and the number is growing.

“It is important that we protect these native plants and animals by managing their habitats and threats,” Mr Gillespie said.

“Most years we conduct spring bird surveys as part of our long-term monitoring of biodiversity resource condition.

“Birds are everywhere and usually noticeable, making them good indicators of ecological health and cost effective to monitor.

“We look at what bird communities occupy habitat at different times, like after fire and the different levels of historical grazing impacts.

“This spring we will be undertaking bird surveys in the Riverland area which contains extensive intact expanses of natural habitat.

“While this means the ecosystems are in good health, they have been changed by previous pastoral grazing which has had heavy impacts in some places.

“Also, feral and over-abundant herbivores (plant-eating animals) continue to have an impact as do altered fire regimes,” Mr Gillespie said.

A landscape wide survey has not been carried out in this district for many years and it is important to collect more data to track the health of the environment.

Mr Gillespie said the results from the survey will help to improve management for fire planning for biodiversity conservation, as well as planning and monitoring impacts of grazing by feral or over-abundant herbivores.

“The spring survey will account for the terrestrial bird community in the Riverland district which includes many species not officially listed as threatened but known to be declining in numbers elsewhere in the region and beyond.

“The wide scale systematic survey is the only way to tell how these species and the bird community as a whole is faring in these landscapes,” Mr Gillespie said.

The results of the bird survey will be entered into the Biological Databases of South Australia before analysis in the Landscape Assessment Framework.

From there it will be available to other scientists for use in future projects and as a record of the bird community now.

The data will also be available to the public via NatureMaps.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board is dedicated to protecting the region’s unique biodiversity, with a range of initiatives designed to preserve our important environments and habitats for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

This project is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program and the landscape levies.

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