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AusPlots Rangelands

AusPlots Rangelands' objective is to establish permanent plots throughout the rangeland bioregions and undertake baseline surveys of vegetation and soils at these plots.  The Australian rangelands are a significant area (81%) of the continent, represented in 52 bioregions characterised by:

  • vast spaces with highly weathered features;
  • old and generally infertile soils;
  • highly variable and often low rainfall; and
  • diverse and variable plant and animal communities.

AusPlots Rangelands operates across all Australian rangelands jurisdictions (SA, NT, WA, NSW, Qld) in Australia.

To date, environmental monitoring throughout the rangelands has been inconsistent. State agencies, universities and other research groups have undertaken many varied projects at different scales to address specific management or research needs. While this work has provided valuable biodiversity data in extensive areas, the geographic coverage is far from complete. Ausplots Rangelands is now working to identify, prioritise, and fill these data gaps in Australian rangelands environmental monitoring. This work will facilitate ongoing evidence-based decision making capacity at local, regional, national and international levels.

Where practical, AusPlots Rangelands data is collected in collaboration with State and Territory agencies.  This fosters a more consistent national approach to monitoring the rangelands which will allow comparisons at a broader scale. To further support the implementation of a consistent approach to rangelands monitoring across Australia, AusPlots Rangelands have developed survey methods and sample collection protocols explicitly for the Australian rangelands. These survey protocols allows government agencies, researchers, and other groups to collect uniform data across Australia’s rangelands using consist methodology. Key to this methodology is a PDA/Smartphone application designed by AusPlots Rangelands specifically for this purpose. This system simplifies the field collection of data, data storage, tracking samples through their identification, vouchering and analyses along with sharing of data with the wider community. All survey and collection details obtained by AusPlots Rangelands will be discoverable and accessible through the TERN Eco-Informatics ÆKOS system.

The AusPlots Rangelands methodology enables national assessments of trends in Australia’s vast rangelands areas, including regions such as the Pilbara (pictured) and the Kimberley.


Rick Flitton and Emrys Leitch, members of the AusPlots Northern Territory Field Team, establishing a rangelands monitoring quadrat in the Finke Bioregion, Northern Territory.



Ben Sparrow

AusPlots science and technical lead
P: +61 8 8313 1201


AusPlots brochure:   AusPlots Rangelands Survey Protocols Manual:



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