Skip to content

National monitoring at Eurardy Reserve

Ben Parkhurst (Ecologist)
Published 04 Sep 2017 by Ben Parkhurst (Ecologist)

When Australia’s national environmental monitoring agency, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), expanded their WA AusPlots network, Bush Heritage ecologists seized the opportunity to include Eurardy Reserve.

Eurardy, sitting on the edge of WA’s south-west biodiversity hotspot, is renowned for its floral diversity and spectacular wildflower displays. Due to its diversity and because the Geraldton sandplains IBRA region was not represented in the monitoring program, Eurardy was an ideal place to locate new sites.

This was an expansion of an existing relationship as Bush Heritage and TERN had already collaborated to install monitoring plots at our Ethabuka Reserve, Cravens Peak Reserve, and the Birriliburu indigenous protected area partnership.

AusPlots monitoring started in 2008 and since then has collected biodiversity data at over 580 plots across Australia.

AusPlots is a national monitoring program, undertaking baseline assessments of ecosystems across the country.

The aim of the program is to establish and maintain a national network of plots that enables consistent ecological assessment and ongoing monitoring.

AusPlots is only one of a suite of capabilities delivered through TERN, as part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). As a whole, TERN delivers the critical research infrastructure, national and international networks of scientists, environmental managers and stakeholders that's needed to improve understanding and management of Australia’s ecosystems.

AusPlot locations across Australia

In September 2016, three 1 ha plots were set up and permanently marked on Eurardy Reserve. One plot was located in each of the three key conservation targets at Eurardy; the York gum woodlands, the heathlands and Bungabandi creek system. These are the broad land systems that make up the reserve.

The AusPlots team collected a wide range of data on plant species diversity, soil properties, soil metagenomics, vegetation structure, cover and biomass.

A total of 167 plant species were recorded on the three plots, including 4 species of conservation significance including one species, Enekbatus cristatus, which hadn’t been recorded on the reserve before.

All the data collected is now available free for download (see the TERN website). The data can be used in a range of ways both on Eurady but also to allow comparisons across the continent. A range of researchers and land managers across Australia make use of the data and samples to:

  • Assess vegetation change using the AusPlots methodology as both a baseline and a continued surveillance monitoring tool.
  • Detect the impact of invasive species based on soil and vegetation data.
  • Ground-truth satellite derived vegetation and soil data
  • Conduct soil carbon analysis using the soil bulk density samples
  • Mapping soil phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients using soil pit and subsite samples
  • Assess fuel loading using the basal area and leaf area data.
  • Use of the leaf tissue samples for genetic and isotopic analysis.

If you'd like to know more about TERN and AusPlots, visit

AusPlot locations across Australia AusPlot locations across Australia
Finn Hutchings and Anita Smyth, from TERN, setting up in heathland. Finn Hutchings and Anita Smyth, from TERN, setting up in heathland.
TERN team: Tina Schroeder, Anita Smyth, Emrys Leitch (under the sign), Finn Hutchings, Christina MacDonald, Nick (volunteer). TERN team: Tina Schroeder, Anita Smyth, Emrys Leitch (under the sign), Finn Hutchings, Christina MacDonald, Nick (volunteer).
Anita Smyth, about to set up a transect. Anita Smyth, about to set up a transect.
Christina MacDonald and Nick, soil sampling. Christina MacDonald and Nick, soil sampling.

Related stories

An everlasting flower in sandy soil.

31/10/2023 31/10/2023

The trials and tribulations of mid-west wildflowers

Our team at Eurardy, in mid-north Western Australia, Nanda Country, are leading an innovative project to demonstrate how we restore the iconic understory of annual wildflowers. This pilot project ‘Re-wilding the mid-west: Bringing wildflowers back to country’ is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government's State NRM Program.

Read More
Seedlings for revegetation work.

16/08/2023 16/08/2023

An update on Eurardy's 1 million tree project

On Eurardy Reserve, Nanda Country, Western Australia, a project began four years ago to plant one million trees and shrubs. In 2019 we partnered with Carbon Positive Australia, a WA-based charity, to create the largest revegetation project in Bush Heritage's history.

Read More

BLOG 11/11/2022

Recycling provides new homes for native animals

Tenaya Duncan, Conservation and Wildlife Biology PhD student at Murdoch University, is using salvaged pallets, fence posts and corrugated iron in a unique way – as homes for native wildlife on our reserves!

Read More

BLOG 12/10/2022

Southern Sandhill Frog calls recorded for the first time at Eurardy!

While most people wouldn’t want to hear squelchy farts while they relax with a glass of wine, Sam was thrilled. He suspected that it could be the sound of a Southern Sandhill Frog (Arenophryne xiphorhyncha).

Read More

BLOG 01/06/2022

Bat monitoring in revegetation

An extensive revegetation project has been underway for the three years at Eurardy Reserve (mid-west WA). We want to know if bats are present in this new planting. Our volunteer assignment was primarily to set everything up to start recording bat activity over the coming months (and maybe years).

Read More

BLOG 06/01/2022

Restoration improves biodiversity & soil

Vegetation clearing for new agricultural land continues to cause environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and increased carbon emissions. But there are also large swathes of land no longer used for agriculture with potential to be remediated.

Read More

BLOG 28/09/2021

Playing the restoration long game

Scientific research into ecological restoration has traditionally focused on plants and animals. But what about what’s in the soil?

Read More

BLOG 13/07/2021

Quoll patrol 🐾

When it rains, it pours! We recently discovered four Western Quolls (Dasyurus geoffroii) on monitoring cameras at two of our midwest Western Australian reserves over the space of two weeks.

Read More
ichard McLellan is monitoring Sandalwood at Hamelin Reserve. Photo Shayne Thomson.

BUSHTRACKS 18/06/2021

The Great Sandalwood Transect

Across a 1500km arc from the Gibson Desert to Shark Bay, researcher Richard McLellan is uncovering the ecological and cultural value of sandalwood.

Read More

BLOG 28/05/2021

Ecosystem restoration focus of $500,000 Volkswagen donation

The funding will be directed to our on-ground conservation work in three states.

Read More

BLOG 10/05/2021

Chuditch cam!

A Western Quoll has been picked up on monitoring cameras at Eurardy Reserve on Nhanda country in WA for the very first time.

Read More

BLOG 31/10/2019

Birds and burrs at Eurardy Reserve

Volunteer Jan describes her time at Eurardy Reserve this spring. From tackling the double gees and cape weed, to hearing a juvenile Pied Butcher Bird learning its song, read on for a week in the life of a Bush Heritage Australia volunteer.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 17/09/2019

The one million tree project

As Bush Heritage ecologist Ben Parkhurst, his wife Tina Schroeder and their 10-month-old son Liam look on, the first of over 36,000 native seedlings are planted in the loamy, moist soil as part of the first phase of an ambitious project that will eventually see over 1350 hectares of cleared land on Eurardy restored.

Read More

BLOG 01/07/2019

Swept away by Santalaceae

Ecologist Georgina Gould-Hardwick writes about her time spent submersing herself into Santalaceae science at our Eurardy and Charles Darwin Reserves.

Read More

BLOG 25/03/2019

Mad for Malleefowl

There are around 30 known Malleefowl mounds dotted across Eurardy Reserve's 30,000 hectares, but no active mounds recorded in the past decade - until now.

Read More

BLOG 07/09/2018

Eurardy orchids

What pops into your head when you think of orchids? Large tropical ornamental house plants? Did you know that there are a wide range of orchids native to Australia? Even here at Eurardy Reserve, in this semi-arid country we have recorded more than 25 species. As it's threatened species week we're going to highlight 3 that call Eurardy home.

Read More

BLOG 16/08/2018

Frogs galore (and mice) at Eurardy

With small animal monitoring currently happening at Eurardy Reserve in cooler weather than previous years, we've seen a shift in the species we might normally expect to catch.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 27/03/2018

Eye in the sky

On Charles Darwin and Eurardy reserves in Western Australia, the innovative use of a remote sensing technology is marking the start of a new era in Malleefowl monitoring.

Read More

BLOG 22/09/2017

Lots of life in the Eurardy surveys

Never one to let a chance go by (well, not if I can help it), I recently took a few days of annual leave from my 'day job' to volunteer for this year's Ecological Outcomes Monitoring surveys on Eurardy Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 04/09/2017

National monitoring at Eurardy Reserve

When Australia's national environmental monitoring agency, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), expanded their WA AusPlots network, Bush Heritage ecologists seized the opportunity to include Eurardy Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 19/02/2017

Restoring York gum woodlands

When my husband, Ben, and I decided to make the move to Eurardy Reserve in WA I was in the middle of searching for a research topic so I could start a PhD. I've landed on a project investigating the recovery of York Gum Woodlands in the mid-west.

Read More

BLOG 22/07/2016

Restoration & revegetation planning

Eurardy Reserve is a special place, with some 700 plant species on the reserve, including a number of threatened, priority-listed and locally endemic species. However there are also cleared patches, a legacy of Eurardy's agricultural history, that have seen little to no natural regeneration for decades. This week we took the first steps towards restoring those patches back to the biodiverse areas they once were.

Read More

BLOG 10/08/2015

Moving to the Western Rangelands

After moving to Eurardy Reserve to work as an ecologist on the Bush Heritage reserves in the Western Rangelands, my wife and I have been settling in and making it our new home. We've spent our time getting to know the landscape and its spectacular array of wildlife and plants. From the stunning Red-tailed Black Cockatoos that welcome you home as you drive through the gate to the gorgeous Splendid Fairy Wrens as you wander near the homestead.

Read More

BLOG 08/12/2014

Burrowing bees

Spring has run its course in the mid-west of Western Australia. Flowers have bloomed and bees have played their role as pollinators. Find out more about some fascinating burrowing bees spotted at Eurardy and Charles Darwin Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 16/06/2014

Trapdoor spiders

Last weekend at Eurardy Reserve (WA) ecologist Vanessa Westcott was working with the Citizen Science volunteers when they spotted the home of a trapdoor spider. The twigs and leaf litter radiating out from the burrow are fastened with web to the rim of the hole. They're used as 'trip lines' so insects walking by can be detected!

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}