Research & Programs

Nature Conservation Society of South Australia

Long-term Monitoring Programs

Decline of woodland birds in the Mount Lofty Ranges (MLR)

We continue to monitor populations of woodland birds in the MLR. Over twenty years, our monitoring surveys have demonstrated a 45% decline in bird numbers since 2001 (University of Adelaide acknowledgement). We continually feed this information back to the community, landholders, the scientific community, policy-makers and government, and recommend interventions to reverse the decline. This is now the second longest running multi-species monitoring project in Australia.                           ∗Photo of Sacred Kingfisher by Peter Day

Bushland health and condition

More than 2,000 Bushland Condition Monitoring plots have been established across the state. These plots are used to monitor the health and condition of remnant bushland through time in order to document issues and suggest management strategies that will maintain biodiversity. This Bushland Condition Monitoring project was developed and designed by NCS, and we continue to provide results to government, planners, landholders and community, and to suggest appropriate management and fire planning.

Monitoring and evaluating (ME) conservation impact

We understand the importance of evaluating the efficacy of nature-based and biodiversity projects and identifying ways to be responsive and adaptive for maximum impact. We work hard to ensure that all our programs and projects are supported by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, and that there are processes for communicating results. NCS have designed specific monitoring structures and undertaken rigorous program evaluations. 

Threatened species recovery and management

Post-fire threatened flora recovery

Since the bushfires on Kangaroo Island, we have been working with the local community, landholders, volunteers and other stakeholders to assess the post fire response of the Islands unique threatened vegetation. We use the results from our monitoring to prioritise and implement on-ground work that will enhance threatened flora recovery and mitigate against future population declines.  

The Kangaroo Island Rare Plant Garden

Established on Cygnet Park Sanctuary (CPS) by the SA Seed Conservation Centre (SASCC), in partnership with the NCS and Bio-R, The Kangaroo Island Rare Plant Garden is a herbivore-proof exclosure where target plant species can produce seeds for the future and help mitigate threatened plant extinctions. It’s a living lab, combining science and conservation, and is a place where community can come together and learn about Kangaroo Island’s spectacular flora. 

The Bandicoot Superhighway Project

The Bandicoot Superhighway Project is a new community-led project that aims to save the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot from extinction by creating a “highway” of interconnected and suitable habitat.

Updating knowledge on the EP Southern Emu-wren

The Eyre Peninsula (EP) Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus parimeda) is one of eight subspecies of the Southern Emu-wren and is known from only a handful of isolated locations on the Eyre Peninsula. With funding from the Wettenhall Environment Trust, in August 2023, the NCSSA undertook a survey focusing on revisiting key sites that these tiny, timid birds had been previously found on the Eyre Peninsula, some of which had not been surveyed for 15 years. 

Investigating translocation options

Small mammal translocations have been successful throughout Australia, and we are investigating these as a recovery tool to expand their occupancy and extent in partnership with Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu and our Bandicoot Superhighway partners.

Biodiversity Resilience

Bushfires and Biodiversity

Climate change, intensifying land-use and urbanisation, and development in the peri-urban space is increasing the risk of bushfires to households, communities, and biodiversity. With funding by Resilient Hills & Coasts (RH&C), the NCS delivered the Bushfires and Biodiversity project. This project researched and explored opportunities for identifying and communicating bushfire mitigation strategies while also protecting biodiversity assets. 

Photo by ACT Government 

Being Fire Wise

As part of The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife’s (FNPW) Landscape Resilience Program, the NCS have developed evidence-based educational material to help landholders and communities implement Fire Wise strategies to prepare the natural and built environments against bushfires. Complementary to the Kangaroo Island Rare Plant Garden, this project aims to safeguard Kangaroo Island’s unique threatened plant species by mitigating the harmful effects of bushfire.

Photo by Dean Lewins

Contact us today to talk about how NCS can help you

NCS past projects

We have delivered many other monitoring and research projects that filled gaps in knowledge and added to the evidence base for conservation in SA.

We have a proven history of delivering projects that improve our knowledge on biodiversity and nature conservation and connect people to nature. Within the last five years, we have delivered and completed the following projects: 

Monitoring the effectiveness of private conservation in South Australia

NCS was one of five partners to deliver the Revitalising Private Conservation SA program. Specifically, our role was to monitor and evaluate the program delivery of this $3 million pilot program in context of biodiversity, socio-economic and climate change benefits. 

Monitoring grazing impact at Happy Valley Reservoir

Between 2018 and 2021, we have monitored the vegetation condition at sites with different grazing treatments including kangaroo and rabbit exclusion. This enabled us to compare the vegetation quality at grazed and ungrazed sites, to assist land managers with identifying the best management. 

Managing the threats of the invasive Tasmanian Blue Gums on Kangaroo Island

We were one of the first organisations to address the post fire invasion of Tasmanian Blue Gums (TBG) on the Island after the bushfires. While monitoring the threatened flora recovery, we and our partners identified the emerging TBG problem and commenced quantifying their abundance and removing seedlings and saplings, with the help of dedicated volunteers.  

Amongst It

Between 2019 and 2020, we hosted the innovative Amongst It project that centred on connecting people to nature in a positive and engaging way. This led to the experimental Nature Festival SA that we also supported between 2020 and 2021. The Nature Festival has become an iconic event that showcases the importance of South Australia’s environment.

Threatened Plant Action Group (TPAG)

For over 15 years we delivered this threatened plant project that focussed on in-situ conservation of priority threatened flora. Through our work, we worked with community and volunteers to protect habitat, monitor populations, provide education and awareness opportunities, and increase population numbers. 

Recovery of the Yellowish Sedge-skipper

This project worked with experts and community to develop a feasibility study to reintroduce this locally extinct species to the Northern Adelaide coastal region. 

Walks with Nature

As one of our iconic programs, we provided South Australians with opportunities to be guided through selected National Parks and educated on the unique flora, fauna and habitats. To support our program, we published a Walks with Nature guide that provided information on twenty rewarding and interesting walks in the Mount Lofty Ranges.  


NCS has been a partner (formed in 2017) of this landscape-scale and tenure-blind conservation project, in central northwest Eyre Peninsula. The project brings together stakeholders to restore, conserve and monitor the unique and diverse ecosystems of the region.  

Nature Conservation Research Grants

NCS is a proud supporter of early career research.

Since 2003, in partnership with the Biological Society of South Australia, the NCS have provided critical

seed funding to early career researchers, through our Vonow Conservation Biology grants. Available

during April-May,  students can apply for up to $3,300.

In 2023 the NCS received generous donations to launch the new Neagle’s Grant, offering up to $5000

for South Australian research supporting ecosystem resilience, and habitat restoration.

Nature Conservation Society of South Australia
5 Milner Street Hindmarsh
South Australia, 5007

(08) 7127 4630
[email protected]
ABN 40 538 422 811

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