AusPlots sites initiated in the Pilbara

[December 2014]

The Pilbara Corridors project is initiating AusPlots sites in the Fortescue catchment as part of a monitoring contribution to the national rangelands landscape. 

AusPlots sites will establish baseline surveys of vegetation and soils and take photographic records which will prove useful comparisons over time as the sites are monitored.

Pilbara Corridors Program Manager Ian Cotton said the decision to implement AusPlots sites was made as they align and will assist with the current project’s environmental drivers of preservation and conservation of endemic vegetation, and reducing threats to biodiversity. 

“In partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, our first AusPlots site will be in low forest and woodland, concentrating on Mulga (Acacia aneura) and associated species, in Millstream Chichester National Park,” Mr Cotton said.

“The roll out of additional AusPlots sites will be based on the different vegetation complexes in the catchment.

“The sites collectively will help identify spatial and temporal changes within sites and between sites as biological and non-biological influences come into play.”

AusPlots is a different methodology from the Western Australian Rangeland Monitoring System (WARMS) which is used by the WA Department of Agriculture and Foods (DAFWA) to assess the grasslands of north-western Australia.

Mr Cotton said AusPlots rangelands methodology is a standardised approach to rangelands monitoring at a national landscape scale, whilst WARMS was designed to meet the needs of DAFWA as a state initiative.

Image: There are a variety of vegetation complexes often over short distances in the Fortescue catchment.