Biological surveys are a key method for collecting information. The department collects detailed information on the size, distribution, abundance, growth, birth rates and mortality for species of plants and animals - threatened or common, pests or endemic - in marine and terrestrial environments.
The Biological Survey of South Australia has been systematically surveying the vegetation and vertebrate fauna of South Australia since 1971 and has covered most of the state's biogeographic regions.
The surveys aim to substantially improve our knowledge of the biodiversity of South Australia, as well as improve our ability to adequately manage nature conservation into the future and measure the direction of long-term ecological change.
The purpose of biological surveys include:
- determine the distribution of plant and terrestrial vertebrate species throughout the state
- systematically survey the range of major habitats via quadrat-based sampling
- collect additional opportunistic data by active searching away from established quadrats
- assess vegetation and fauna condition
- establish base line data for future monitoring
- produce structural and floristic vegetation maps
- compile biological data from a range of sources
- improve land management and conservation decisions.
To ensure that this information is collected as consistently as possible, detailed survey manuals have been produced. They cover the Vegetation Survey and Vertebrate Survey techniques required to enable the data collected to contribute to the Biological Databases of South Australia.