Astron was commissioned to undertake a review of survey data collected on a range of conservation significant flora, including a species of threatened orchid, within extensive exploration and mining tenements on the Northern Sandplains. Data had been collected over many years by a range of consultants over different seasons, utilising variable sampling methods and varying intensity.
Astron developed maps to illustrate the spatial distribution of historical survey effort, adjusted for the distribution (weighted survey intensity), and habitat preference. Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM data including elevation, slope, aspect and meso-scale relief, and contour data were used to model species distribution.
Astron determined that the threatened orchid was likely to only occur within a particular habitat with specific environmental features. Targeted survey for the orchid confirmed that all new records were found within the predicted habitat. This outcome will provide considerable cost savings for future surveys, now that the narrow area of potential occupancy has been identified for the orchid. Astron’s strategic review allowed for the creation of a suite of maps depicting areas in which future conservation surveys are required, and conversely, which species have been adequately surveyed for within the exploration area.