Margot Law, Citizen Science Officer

The ‘Bringing Back the Buzz to the Cumberland Plain Woodland’ project aims to restore pollinator habitat in remnant patches of the Cumberland Plain Woodland in South Western Sydney. 

With the assistance of citizen scientists, we have been surveying pollinators and butterflies in South Western Sydney to monitor the effect of bushcare and restoration. Bringing Back The Buzz has now been running for two years in Spring and Autumn, across six sites. What follows is an overview of our findings so far.

Pollinator update!

Mean pollinator species richness per plot was very variable within and between sites in Spring and Autumn (Figure 1). Most sites seem to have a species richness between 1-2 species per plot in both seasons.

We observed 40 species of pollinators, but most were only observed once. By an order of magnitude, the most commonly found pollinator species were Hoverflies (Syrphidae family) and European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera).

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Figure 1. Mean (+/- standard error) pollinator species richness per plot (400m2) over four sampling periods over two seasons at six sites.

Butterfly update

There tended to be a greater diversity of butterflies in Spring (0-3) than there is in Autumn (0-2), although there is a large variability between sites within seasons (Figure 2). We have observed 19 butterfly species throughout the first two years of the project.

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Figure 2. Mean (+/- standard error) butterfly species richness per plot (400m2) over four sampling periods over two seasons at six sites.

Discussion of Results

In general, we tended to find more butterflies than pollinators at each monitoring plot. This could be because there was generally a low density of flowers and, consequently, fewer pollinators. The low flower density may be due to the extreme dry weather and drought conditions currently experienced in Greater Sydney. It will be interesting to see if the results from the pollinator survey following a period of high rainfall. Once we have collected all the remaining data in stage 3 of the project (2018-19) we will combine our vegetation and pollinator/butterfly data sets.

We need your help this spring!

‘Bringing back the Buzz to the Cumberland Plain Woodland’ needs your help this spring to survey for pollinators and butterflies. Get in touch with project manager Margot Law (margotl@npansw.org.au) to see how you can help out!

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