Royal National Park & Environs Biodiversity Survey

Royal National Park is Australia's oldest national park and is an area of national significance. However, its biodiversity is under continuing pressure from human activities inside the park and from surrounding areas.

The Royal National Park and Environs Biodiversity Survey has been running since 1996. It's a collaborative project: participants share the work of measuring and monitoring some important elements of the biodiversity of Royal National Park and the surrounding Hacking River catchment. The knowledge gained from the project helps us to better manage our impacts on the park.

The survey project:

  • gives ownership and feedback to everyone who has an interest in, or an impact on, Royal National Park and the wider Hacking River catchment
  • gives some direction or focus to the work of a diverse array of groups already involved in plant and animal studies, and builds on past and current surveys
  • will ensure high quality, widely understood and accepted information is used in environmental planning and management decisions
  • helps all interested parties learn how best to work together, by promoting collaboration between many government agencies and community groups.

This project is linked to the NSW Biodiversity Strategy.

Goals of the project

The survey aims to:

  • gather information on the distribution and abundance of vertebrate fauna over time
  • gather information on invertebrate fauna over time
  • identify the importance of representative plant communities as fauna habitat.

Groups of organisms being surveyed

We are studying the following groups of organisms:

  • mammals
  • birds (including owls)
  • reptiles
  • amphibians
  • terrestrial invertebrates particularly ants
  • freshwater macro-invertebrates (together with water quality measurements)
  • vascular plants (ferns and flowering plants)
  • non-vascular plants (mosses and liverworts)
  • fungi (including lichens).


The following organisations have formed a partnership to implement this survey project:

  • The NPWS (which is also the project manager)
  • Key scientific research staff from the University of Wollongong
  • Southern Sydney Branch of the National Parks Association of NSW
  • Helensburgh and District Landcare Group
  • Sutherland Shire Council
  • Hacking River Catchment Management Committee.

Previous survey work in Royal National Park

This survey project, makes good use of past studies in Royal National Park and surrounding areas. This includes past biodiversity survey and vegetation mapping studies by:

  • Staff and students of the University of Wollongong
  • NPWS research staff who completed vegetation mapping and studies of the response of vegetation to fire
  • Post-1994 bushfire surveys by NPWS of vertebrate species in Royal National Park.

Interested in joining the survey team?

To find out more, contact the Royal National Park Volunteers Coordinator.

Page last updated: 27 February 2011