2017 Biodiversity Quadrat Project

Background

As the current land management practices at the farm change in favour of promoting greater ecological diversity a system of methodical constant effort botanical (and other species) monitoring is required. The results from this work will help to monitor trends and variations over time and inform ongoing land management decisions. A number of 20m x 20m fixed quadrats will be established at specific locations across the farm where some form of ecological change is either predicted or highly likely.  These areas will then be regularly monitored  (by each Trainee cohort if practical) for plant and other species.

 

Focus

In the first instance, each quadrat will be monitored for:

  1. Plant species present
  2. Invertebrates – above ground
  3. Invertebrates – below ground – (to be decided)
  4. Earthworms
  5. Small mammals
  6. Overall visual change (photo monitoring)

Method

Establishing the quadrats in the first year will require discussion with and decisions from the Ambios Team. Once located, each quadrate will be marked by a petal pin at one corner of the 20m x 20m square. Each pin will be GPS located and recorded into the QGIS farm map system.

The following methods will be applied to each area of focus with samples taken during each Trainee Cohort (moving to 4 times a year as of 2018):

  • Plant species present and DAFOR scale
  • Invertebrates – above ground
    a. Timed sweep net walk. Select random quarter of quadrat (use randomisation technique such as draw from a bag). Pace quarter in “s” shape for 1 minute to cover whole quarter. Close net (needs to be professional net with closable bag. ID taxa, count per taxa and list. Derive Simpsons Index (inverse).
  • Earthworms
    a. 3 random samples over full quadrat
  • Small mammals
    a. 25 traps sampling at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 m intervals over full quadrat
  • Overall visual change (photo monitoring)
    a. Fixed point photography taken from N, S, E and W.

    The main aim for 2017 should be achieving baseline data for all areas of focus described above.

Outputs

The data will be explored and analysed for the year of operation and in the context of previously existing data year. Trainees will make a presentation on this year of results in comparison other available data to the Ambios Team and invited guests.

In the long term we aspire to produce a joint-authorship paper aimed at a specific  publication.

Indicative time allocation for trainee inputs

1 day for initial discussions and decisions

1 day of permanently marking 10 quadrats

2 days of baseline botanical survey

2 day to collate results

2 day to prepare outputs

0.5 days to present outputs