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UQ and the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia have been carrying out systematic bird surveys of the forests and woodlands of the Mount Lofty Ranges for almost 10 years. Disturbing trends are emerging in this heavily fragmented region. Information about the survey and all the data can be found below.

Introduction

The Mt Lofty Ranges (MLR) Bird Survey is a long-term stratified annual survey of the birds of the Mt Lofty Ranges of South Australia. The primary purpose of the survey is to detect trends in woodland birds in response to anticipated climate change, the extinction debt and restoration and rehabilitation of habitat by NRM bodies. This is one of the few systematically designed long-term regional surveys of biodiversity in Australia. A short description of the survey and its intent can be found in a this article: Possingham, H.P. 2008. Why monitor the woodland birds of the Mount Lofty Ranges? Xanthopus 26:6-8 (212KB).

How is the survey managed?

From 1999 to 2004, the survey was a combined effort of the University of Queensland and the University of Adelaide, the former providing staff and finance and the latter, office space and computing facilities.  Grants supporting the survey were awarded to Hugh Possingham, Drew Tyre and Scott Field by the Australian Research Council and the Department of Environment and Heritage.  Further funding was obtained from The Nature Foundation (SA), the Mount Lofty Region Natural Resources Management Board and the MLR Birds for Biodiversity Project (CCSA). From 2005 the research has been directed from the Possingham Lab at the University of Queensland with survey management by the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia (NCSSA). Tim Milne and Patrick O’Connor have been instrumental in securing the funds to keep this long-term monitoring program going. Tina Bentz has managed the surveys with great skill and efficiency.

How much does the survey cost?

The base cost of collecting the data has been about $350,000. Basic checking, synthesis and presentation has cost over $200,000. Further research, design and synthesis has cost about $1,000,000. Most of this has been through the help of individuals and researchers supported by Universities and external grants.

Can I have the data?

Yes. You may use the data for any educational, scientific or public good purpose. If you wish to pursue some research with the data please contact Professor Hugh Possingham, h.possingham@uq.edu.au and tell him what you plan to do. He will say yes, unless someone in his lab has already done it! A great deal of research in the primary international literature has already used the data (see below), but we are keen to see it used for any purpose. The Main Database (stored in Access97) contains the records for all the surveys from the start in 1999 up to the last survey for which the records have been checked (currently the 2007 survey).

The data is being used by Dr Mark Lethbridge of Flinders University for further conservation and ecology research and more information about Mark's research is available on his website (Dr Lethbridge's web page). Now that there are 10 years of data, significant trends should start to emerge.

Main Database

The current Main Database is available for download. It is a 18 MB Access file and was updated on 06/12/12. Users should download and read  the user notes (453 KB) before using the data.

Reports on annual surveys of each habitat

The 150 odd survey sites broadly cover two habitat types - stringybark  woodland and gum woodland. In addition to the main database Max Possingham has assembled MLR Sub-databases and basic reports on the yearly surveys of the two habitats. These reports and the relevant databases are available for downloading from this website (see 4-11 below). User notes are provided to assist with using the databases.

1. Mt Lofty Ranges Bird Survey of Stringybark Woodland for Year 1999.

Survey report* (pdf 360kb)
Table 3* (xls 148kb)
Database: MLR 1999 Stringybark Survey (mdb 828KB)

2. Mt Lofty Ranges Bird Survey of Stringybark Woodland for Year 2000

Survey report* (pdf 217kb)
Table 2.1* (xls).
Database: MLR Year 2000 Stringybark Survey (mdb )

3. Mt Lofty Ranges Bird Survey of Gum Woodland for Year 2000

Survey report* (pdf 217kb)
Table 1.1 (xls).
Database: MLR Year 2000 Gum Woodland Survey (mdb )

*These files contain some additions and corrections to the version published in the South Australian Ornithologist- see below.

The following files are basic reports containing a short summary of the survey and basic processing of the bird records.

4. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from stringybark woodland habitat:
   Year 2001 survey.

Survey report  (pdf 134KB) 
Table 3 (xls 825KB)
Database: MLR Year 2001 Stringybark Survey (mdb 518KB)

5. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from stringybark woodland habitat:
    Year 2002 survey.

Survey report (pdf  134kb) 
Table 3 (xls 825KB)
Database: MLR Year 2002 Stringybark Survey (mdb)

6. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from stringybark woodland habitat:
    Year 2003 survey.

Data to come

7. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from stringybark woodland habitat:
    Year 2004 survey.

Data to come

8. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from gum woodland habitat: 
    Year 2001 survey.

Survey report  (pdf 232KB) 
Table 3 (xls 310KB)
Database: MLR Year 2001 GUM Survey (mdb 464KB)

9. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from gum woodland habitat:
    Year 2002 survey.

Survey report  ( pdf 232KB)
Table 3 (xls 310KB)
Database: MLR Year 2002 GUM Survey (mdb)

10. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from gum woodland habitat:
     Year 2003 survey.

Data to come

11. Basic processing of Mt Lofty Ranges bird records from gum woodland habitat:
     Year 2004 survey.

Data to come

Publications

Field, S.A., O'Connor, P.J., Tyre, A.J. and Possingham, H.P. (2007). Making monitoring meaningful. Austral Ecology 32:485-491. (pdf 196KB)

Field, S.A., Tyre, A.J. and Possingham, H.P. (2002). Estimating bird species richness: How should repeat surveys be organized in time? Austral Ecology 27:624-629. (pdf)

Field, S.A., Tyre, A.J. and Possingham, H.P. (2005). Optimizing allocation of monitoring effort under economic and observational constraints. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:473-482. (pdf)

Joseph LN, Field SA, Wilcox C, and Possingham, H.P. (2006). Presence-absence versus abundance data for monitoring threatened species. Conservation Biology 20:1679-1687. (pdf)

Martin, T.G., Wintle, B.A., Rhodes, J.R., Kuhnert, P.M., Field, S.A., Low-Choy, S.J., Tyre, A.J., and Possingham, H.P. (2005). Zero tolerance ecology: improving ecological inference by modelling the source of zero observations. Ecology Letters 8:1235-1246. (pdf) (appendices)

Possingham, H.P. (2008). Why monitor the woodland birds of the Mount Lofty Ranges? Xanthopus 26:6-8. (pdf  212KB).

Possingham, H.P., Field, S.A, Possingham, M.L. and Tyre, A.J. 2006. Monitoring woodland birds in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Birds SA Newsletter February 2006:1-4. (pdf)

Possingham, M.L., Field, S.A. and Possingham, H.P. (2004). Species richness and abundance of birds in Mt Lofty Ranges stringybark habitat: 1999-2000 survey. South Australian Ornithologist 34: 153-169. (doc 132kb) NB: relates to the SB99-00 survey data.

Possingham, M.L., Field, S.A. and Possingham, H.P.(2006) Species Richness and abundance of birds in Mt Lofty Ranges stringybark habitat: Year 2000 survey. South Australian Ornithologist 34 (7-8), 244-257.(pdf) NB: realtes to the Stringybark 2001 survey data.


Possingham, M.L. and Possingham, H.P. (2008). Species richness and abundance of birds in Mt Lofty Ramges gum habitat: Year 2000 survey. South Australian Ornithologist 35 (3-4), 69-85. NB: relates to the Gum 2001 survey data.

Tyre, A.J., Tenhumberg, B., Field S.A., Niejalke, D., Parris, K. and Possingham, H.P. (2003). Improving precision and reducing bias in biological surveys: Estimating false-negative error rates. Ecological Applications 13:1790-1801. 

Westphal, M. I,, Field, S.A. and Possingham H.P. (2007). Optimizing landscape configuration: A case study of woodland birds in the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia. Landscape and Urban Planning 81:56-66. (pdf 968KB)

Westphal, M.I., Field, S.A., Tyre, A.J., Paton. D and Possingham H.P. (2003). Effects of landscape pattern on bird species distribution in the Mt. Lofty Ranges, South Australia. Landscape Ecology 18:413-426. (pdf)