To understand the landscape patterns at Warra, vegetation, bird, and invertebrate surveys have been conducted at 100m intervals from the summit of 1300m Mt. Frederick to the banks of the Weld River at 50m altitude.
This study provides a baseline inventory and distributional biodiversity data against which future changes in the altitudinal distribution of flora and fauna can be measured in relation to climate change, succession due to fire or its absence, and other chance events.
Four transects were established in 1999-2000. Transects A, B and D are located in unlogged mature forest; transect C is located in 35 year-old (approximately) silvicultural regeneration. Together the transects span an altitudinal range of 100-1300 m asl. Plots have been established at each 100 m interval in elevation along the transects.
Four additional plots sample vegetation ecotones:
- E. obliqua mixed forest to wet forest ecotone (Transect A 320 m)
- E. obliqua – E. delegatensis ecotone (Transect A 440 m and Transect C 460 m)
- E. delegatensis to E. subcrenulata / E. nitida ecotone (Transect A 680 m).
The altitudinal plots are 50 x 20 m in size. In transects A-C the long axis is aligned parallel to the contours, in transect C the long axis is aligned perpendicular to the contours. Each plot is divided into ten 10 x 10m sub-plots. The ecotonal plots are 200 x 10m in size with the long axis aligned perpendicular to the contours and positioned to bisect the ecotonal boundary. Each ecotonal plot is subdivided into twenty 10 x 10m subplots.
Baseline surveys of floristics (all transects), birds (transects A, C and D) and invertebrates (transects A and D) were done between 1999-2002. Decadal resampling of floristics and invertebrates in Transects A and D were done in 2011-12. Floristic surveys involve estimating cover of each species in each subplot. Invertebrate surveys involve pitfall trapping (six traps per plot) and a malaise trap (centre of each plot). Bird surveys involve fixed point distance surveys of 20-minutes duration along each 50 x 20-m plot.
(Photos by Niall Doran)
Warra – Mount Weld Altitudinal Transect Ecotonal and Baseline Altitudinal Monitoring Plots (BAMPs): Establishment report