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Science: surveys and research at Piccaninny Plains
AWC’s science team measures a suite of indicators of ecological health at Piccaninny Plains. We do this by undertaking fauna, bird and vegetation surveys, camera trap nights for feral predators and dingoes and aerial surveys for feral herbivores.
For example, in 2014 AWC field ecologists carried out over 3,650 vertebrate trap nights, over 1160 camera trap nights, 5 bird surveys and 58 vegetation surveys.
Our indicators include the abundance and richness of small mammals and diurnal lizards: these groups of animals were chosen as indicators since their populations are both highly responsive to habitat condition and reasonably accessible for reliable measurement.
Research activity on Piccaninny Plains is focused on an experiment to assess the impact of grazing by introduced herbivores (including cattle) on the health of wildlife populations. This is achieved by comparing the results of surveys conducted repeatedly in matched habitats in both stocked and unstocked paddocks.