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This paper describes a project that produced an atlas of changes in the distribution and abundance of birds of the wheatbelt of Western Australia. The atlas was based on data collected by 187 community-based observers between 1987 and 1990. The atlas also contained data from annotated bird lists from 10 locations in the wheatbelt published before 1937. Comparisons between data from these two periods were used to assess changes.

The published atlas was reviewed in six journals. In this paper, these reviews are used to demonstrate differences in attitudes among scientists to the use of community-based observers to collect data to monitor change. One review was scathing of the use of such observers and the worth of the data collected by them. The other five reviews acknowledged the problems of using data from community-based observers, however, they also accepted the benefits of using volunteer observers. These benefits include: the ability to cover a large area with a sparse population; the self-education of those collecting the data; and the raising of a conservation force for change.

The paper presents a case for using volunteers to monitor change and illustrates how this process has led to changes in conservation practices in the wheatbelt of Western Australia.

Abbott, I. and Johnstone, R. 1997. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Avifauna. West. Aust. Nat. 21: 209-211.
Blakers, M., Davies, S. J. J. F. and Reilly, P. N. 1984 The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
Blyth, J. 1995. Book review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Fauna. Western Australian Bird Notes 75: 5-6.
Davies, S. J. J. F. 1995. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Fauna. Emu 95: 303-304.
Doley, A. 1995. Networks needed by individual farmers: a personal perspective from the northern wheatbelt of Western Australia. Pp. 241-250 in Nature Conservation 4: the Role of Networks ed by D. A. Saunders, J. L. Craig and E. M. Mattiske. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Haila, Y. 1996. Western Australian Wheatbelt - a Showcase of Habitat Fragmentation. Ornis Fennica 73: 188.
Hobbs, R. J. and Saunders, D. A. 1993 (Editors) Reintegrating Fragmented Landscapes: Towards Sustainable Production and Nature Conservation. Springer-Verlag, New York.
Hobbs, R. J., Saunders, D. A. and Arnold, G. W. 1993. Integrated landscape ecology: a Western Australian perspective. Biol. Conserv. 64: 231-38.
Masters, J. R. and Milhinch, A. L. 1974. Birds of the Shire of Northam, about 100 km east of Perth, WA. Emu 74: 228-244.
Robinson, D. 1995. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Fauna. Australian Bird Watcher 16: 171-172.
Saunders, D. A. 1989. Changes in the avifauna of a region, district, and remnant as a result of fragmentation of native vegetation: the wheatbelt of Western Australia. A case study. Biol. Conserv. 50: 99-135.
Saunders, D. A. 1990. Problems of survival in an extensively cultivated landscape: the case of Carnaby's Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus latirostris. Biol. Conserv. 54: 111-24.
Saunders, D. A. 1993. A community-based observer scheme to assess avian responses to habitat reduction and fragmentation in south-western Australia. Biol. Conserv. 64: 203-18.
Saunders, D. A. and Curry, P. J. 1990. The impact of agricultural and pastoral industries on birds in the southern half of Western Australia-past, present and future. Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia 16: 303-21.
Saunders, D. A. and de Rebeira, C. P. 1991. Values of corridors to avian populations in a fragmented landscape. Pp. 221-40 in Nature Conservation 2: the Role of Corridors ed by D. A. Saunders and R. J. Hobbs, Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Saunders, D. A., Hobbs, R. J. and Arnold, G. W. 1993. The Kellerberrin project on fragmented landscapes: a review of current information. Biol. Conserv. 64: 185-92.
Saunders, D. A. and Ingram, J. A. 1995 Birds of Southwestern Australia. An Atlas of Changes in Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Avifauna. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Schodde, R. 1995. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Avifauna. Canberra Bird Notes 20: 99-100.
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References

Abbott, I. and Johnstone, R. 1997. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Avifauna. West. Aust. Nat. 21: 209-211.
Blakers, M., Davies, S. J. J. F. and Reilly, P. N. 1984 The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
Blyth, J. 1995. Book review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Fauna. Western Australian Bird Notes 75: 5-6.
Davies, S. J. J. F. 1995. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Fauna. Emu 95: 303-304.
Doley, A. 1995. Networks needed by individual farmers: a personal perspective from the northern wheatbelt of Western Australia. Pp. 241-250 in Nature Conservation 4: the Role of Networks ed by D. A. Saunders, J. L. Craig and E. M. Mattiske. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Haila, Y. 1996. Western Australian Wheatbelt - a Showcase of Habitat Fragmentation. Ornis Fennica 73: 188.
Hobbs, R. J. and Saunders, D. A. 1993 (Editors) Reintegrating Fragmented Landscapes: Towards Sustainable Production and Nature Conservation. Springer-Verlag, New York.
Hobbs, R. J., Saunders, D. A. and Arnold, G. W. 1993. Integrated landscape ecology: a Western Australian perspective. Biol. Conserv. 64: 231-38.
Masters, J. R. and Milhinch, A. L. 1974. Birds of the Shire of Northam, about 100 km east of Perth, WA. Emu 74: 228-244.
Robinson, D. 1995. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Fauna. Australian Bird Watcher 16: 171-172.
Saunders, D. A. 1989. Changes in the avifauna of a region, district, and remnant as a result of fragmentation of native vegetation: the wheatbelt of Western Australia. A case study. Biol. Conserv. 50: 99-135.
Saunders, D. A. 1990. Problems of survival in an extensively cultivated landscape: the case of Carnaby's Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus latirostris. Biol. Conserv. 54: 111-24.
Saunders, D. A. 1993. A community-based observer scheme to assess avian responses to habitat reduction and fragmentation in south-western Australia. Biol. Conserv. 64: 203-18.
Saunders, D. A. and Curry, P. J. 1990. The impact of agricultural and pastoral industries on birds in the southern half of Western Australia-past, present and future. Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia 16: 303-21.
Saunders, D. A. and de Rebeira, C. P. 1991. Values of corridors to avian populations in a fragmented landscape. Pp. 221-40 in Nature Conservation 2: the Role of Corridors ed by D. A. Saunders and R. J. Hobbs, Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Saunders, D. A., Hobbs, R. J. and Arnold, G. W. 1993. The Kellerberrin project on fragmented landscapes: a review of current information. Biol. Conserv. 64: 185-92.
Saunders, D. A. and Ingram, J. A. 1995 Birds of Southwestern Australia. An Atlas of Changes in Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Avifauna. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Schodde, R. 1995. Review: Birds of Southwestern Australia: an Atlas of Changes in the Distribution and Abundance of the Wheatbelt Avifauna. Canberra Bird Notes 20: 99-100.
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