Novel ‘stratified-meander’ technique improves survey effort of the rare Pagoda Rock Daisy growing remotely on rocky cliff edges

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Summary

This pilot study of the rare Pagoda Rock Daisy (Leucochrysum graminifolium) in the western Blue Mountains of New South Wales (Australia) proposes a simple survey method combining timed meander and grid-cell survey design to improve the survey effort required for monitoring of species growing in remote and/or inaccessible field locations. Where Pagoda Rock Daisies were known to be present, detection time was both rapid and effective (mean of 4.9 min for each 1 ha grid). Notably, the total survey effort remained constant for all grids, even though Pagoda Rock Daisies were unevenly distributed in the landscape (approximately 17 min/ha). Ultimately, the time required to traverse the landscape was deemed to be the primary limiting factor affecting survey effort. The application of this method is not restricted to challenging locations such as cliff edges; this method could be scaled according to the landscape or organism under investigation, providing a rapid method for surveying and monitoring rare, introduced or other plants from a site-based scale to a broader geographic area.

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