Koonamore Vegetation Reserve
The Koonamore Vegetation Reserve is located in the centre of Koonamore Station, a sheep-grazing lease 400 km north-east of Adelaide, South Australia (Lat. 32007’S, Long. 139020’E) in predominantly chenopod shrubland with mean annual rainfall of about 200mm. The area consists of a complex of low sand dunes alternating with sand plain and harder loam soils with travertine limestone on the intervening flats. The tree cover is a low open woodland formation.
A Brief History
In the mid 1920’s Professor TGB Osborn and his colleagues extended their interests in ecology and field physiology of vegetation to the arid zone of South Australia. The resulting long-term vegetation monitoring project at Koonamore is now over 80 years old, making it one of the longest-running monitoring series of its type in the world.
The aims were stated by Osborn as:
- To study the regeneration of natural vegetation, particularly of saltbush and trees in an overgrazed area, when all grazing influences, including those of rabbits, are removed.
- To study the effect of grazing of known intensity on the process of regeneration.
- To study the ecology of the area and particularly the autecology of the species that are most valuable economically.
The Reserve records now contain a history of the vegetation over 50 years without sheep grazing followed by more than 30 years without significant grazing by either sheep or rabbits. Kangaroos and emus have never been excluded from the Reserve, as they can jump the fence, and their numbers vary with the seasons.
Read more about Koonamore here.
Research at Koonamore
The monitoring work at the Koonamore Vegetation Reserve and the curation of its records is continuing under the direction of Dr Russ Sinclair. The Reserve is also used for postgraduate study and complements the arid-zone research interests of Environmental Biology at the Middleback Field Station near Whyalla.
Work on the Reserve has been carried out by numerous staff of Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science, together with a host of undergraduate and postgraduate students, volunteers and others. If you are interested in volunteering at one of the camps to Koonamore Vegetation Reserve, please see the 'read more' link or contact one of the listed staff.
This video from Repeat Photography - The Koonamore Project is a great example of research undertaken at Koonamore Vegetation Reserve.
The Bindy-I cottage is situated adjacent to the Reserve, on Koonamore Station. Bindy-I is used at regular intervals to house workers involved in the continuing monitoring of vegetation data within the Reserve and associated site maintenance. The cottage is available for use by small groups associated with University of Adelaide interested in arid lands ecosystems.
The cottage has a well equipped kitchen with gas and wood stoves, 2 gas refrigerators, cooking utensils and crockery & cutlery for about 15 people. The cottage also has 1 bedroom, laboratory (floor & bench space), enclosed verandah (2 single beds), 8 moveable steel bedsteads, at least 12 mattresses, open verandah (3 sides) and tool-shed. Water supply is from 2 rainwater tanks, fed from the roof, so water supply, while adequate, is not unlimited. A bucket-style shower may be operated on the verandah. Gas BBQ trolley. The separate toilet facility is a ‘high tech' modern bio-dunny long drop. Power comes from a 1000 W generator that is not housed on site. All rooms are 240V lit, power points available for small chargers and low wattage appliances.
Keys, instructions and a map with the access route and other important information are available from Russ or David. There are no fuel, food or water supplies North of Yunta along the road to Koonamore. Phone contact to Bindy-I is only possible if you have a Sat phone or vehicle HF Radphone. No UHF radios are kept on site.
Enquiries and Maintenance
Dr Russell Sinclair
Ecology, Evolution & Landscape Sciences
Telephone: +61 8 8303 4730
Mr David Ladd
Field Operations & Infrastructure
Telephone: +61 8 8303 4558
Associate Professor Jose Facelli
Ecology, Evolution & Landscape Sciences
Telephone: +61 8 8303 4559