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A Local Ecosystem-Mt Keira

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Yr11 Field Work Report: A Local Ecosystem-Mt Keira Figure 1: Mt Keira-View from Summit Purpose: 1. To examine two different ecosystems 2. To measure physical and chemical compounds of the rainforest ecosystem 3. To investigate the distribution and abundance of stationary species in the rainforest ecosystem 4. To examine the way organisms adapt to their living and non living surroundings by observing a producer organism 5. To examine some of the unique relationships that exist between plants and animals in this ecosystem 6. To study how humans have impacted on the ecosystem Description of the Area: Mount Keira is located approximately 10 kilometres west of Wollongong Central Business District, and about an hour and a quarter's drive south of Sydney. It is bordered by Byarong Creek in the south and by the suburbs of Keiraville, Mount Ousley and Mount Pleasant in the east. The Mount Keira Summit is 469 metres above sea level, and it is characterised by the Illawarra Escarpment landscape. Mount Keira is the site of the first coal mine in the Illawarra and has witnessed extensive logging and development. The two sites that were studied during the fieldwork investigation were that areas of the Hawkesbury Sandstone Open Forest, otherwise known as Robertson's Lookout at the Mt Keira Summit; this was Site 1(Refer to Figure 3: Photography of Site 1, below). The other was a part of the Narrabeen Shale Rainforest, otherwise known as the Mt Keira Scout Camp; this was Site 2 (Refer to Figure 4: Photography of Site 2, below). ...read more.


Site 1's location means that it is exposed generally to sunlight all day, and exposed to wind coming from nearly all directions. Figure 7A: Results of Quadrat at Site 2: Tree Species Trees /100m2 Trees /10000m2 Trees /250 ha Sassafras 4 400 100,000 Brown Beech 1.6 160 40,000 Featherwood 1.6 160 40,000 Coachwood 1 100 25,000 Sweet Pittosporum 0.4 40 10,000 Brush Cherry 0.4 40 10,000 Jackwood 0.4 40 10,000 Churnwood 0.2 20 5,000 Red Cedar 0.2 20 5,000 Moreton Bay Fig 0.2 20 5,000 Native Tamarind 0.2 20 5,000 Cabbage Tree Palm 0.2 20 5,000 Flame Tree 0.2 20 5,000 Figure 7A shows the abundance of trees in the Narrabeen shale Rainforest within the quadrat area (100m2), this number was then extrapolated to find the number of trees per 10,000m2, and finally extrapolated again to find the number of trees per 250 ha. Figure 7B: Graph of Quadrat Results for Site 2(from table above): Figure 7B shows the abundance tree species throughout the Narrabeen Shale Rainforest per 250 ha. 2. As mentioned above wet forests in Australia (ie Site 2), posses plants and animals with unique adaptations and relations. These relationships can be commensal, parasitic or mutual. Commensalism was observed between the Birds Nest Fern and its host tree. The Birds Nest Fern uses the leaf litter from the tree as nutrients and benefits from the tree's size by being protected from heavy rainfall and wind etc. ...read more.


Figure 9: Birds Nest Fern Through this study we have also acknowledged the effects of human impacts on the environment. Human impacts such as pollution, the introduction of weeds and the problem of ferrel and domestic animals have all had detrimental effects on the environment. All of these impacts lead to the damage or destruction of native plants and animals in the area. However there are some that although do not repair the damage that has been done to the environment, do raise awareness to these issues, this being the use of Mt Keira as a tourist area. Through this visitors can grasp an understanding of the issues affecting the environment and hopefully will be deterred from creating some of these issues themselves. 2. Throughout the fieldwork investigation there were a number of difficulties that were encountered. Primarily, the time limitation was the greatest. With more time observations could have been made in greater detail or more information could have been gathered. Further, accuracy was also a problem with the quadrat study. Small inaccuracies in the counting of species could have led to very large inaccuracies when the number was extrapolated to find the number of trees per 250 ha. 3. To improve this task, a deeper study of the interactions between plants and animals etc. would give a better understanding to the processes occurring at Mt Keira. Further study of the physical features at both sites may also provide reasons for some of the findings that were found. While repeating some of the chemical testing and retaking the measurements would also improve accuracy and remove any discrepancies that occurred between the five groups. ...read more.

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