Expedition “Bush Blitz” have set up base camp on Carnarvon Station Reserve this week. For the next ten days, our Bush Heritage staff will assist Australia’s top scientists by guiding them into some of Carnarvon’s most remote landscapes identified as priority targets on the 59 000 ha reserve. This will include the numerous escarpments, grasslands, vine thickets, permanent springs and open woodland forests as we join forces to document the biodiversity within Australia’s Brigalow Belt bioregion.
With an estimated 75% of Australia’s plant and animal species still largely unknown, Bush Blitz intends to deliver a more precise picture of exactly what biodiversity we do have reserved under Australia’s network of protected natural landscapes. The National Reserve System covers just over 16% (127 million hectares) of land across Australia including Commonwealth, State and Territory reserves, indigenous lands and protected areas run by non-profit conservation organisations like Bush Heritage and other private properties.
Scientists have started to scale the reserve using a range of collection methods from pitfall trapping, camera sensory monitoring, netting, bait trapping and soil sampling through to more unsophisticated methods like lifting rocks, tapping branches and wrangling a scorpion here or there with their bare hands, all focused on a similar goal of discovering as much evidence as possible of Australia’s plant and animal species.
Over 800 new species have already been described since the Bush Blitz team began their national program in 2010 as well as thousands of other known species collected for further investigation. The data will be collated and eventually presented back to the land manager which will assist in developing more superior approaches to managing our land for future generations.
Carnarvon’s amenities are holding up well to the record number of visitors to the reserve which included 42 guests for dinner Thursday night and 4 extra tents in the already crowded tent city after the contingent of media personnel flew in for an overnight stay.
Bush Blitz is an innovative partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. It is the world’s first continent-scale biodiversity survey, providing the knowledge needed to help us protect Australia’s unique animals and plants for generations to come.