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Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve near Waikerie in Riverland

Gluepot Reserve

Gluepot Reserve – A Reserve With A Difference

Not long ago, one of Australia’s most highly rated ABC journalists described Gluepot as
“one of the conservation miracles of the 21st century”.

Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve is Australia's largest community managed and operated conservation reserve. Situated 64 km from the River Murray in South Australia's Riverland, the reserve is managed and operated entirely by volunteers. Some 54,000 ha is size, it is home to 18 nationally threatened species of birds, 53 species of reptiles and 12 species of bats, some of which are nationally threatened.

There are few areas of the world that support such a concentration of threatened species.

The Reserve is part of the largest block of intact mallee left in Australia and so the viability of threatened bird populations and other flora and fauna is high. Prior to the November 2006 fire (that burnt 8,000 hectares of the Reserve’s 54,000ha) the last major fire on Gluepot was over half a century ago in December 1950. Importantly, some whole areas were not burnt at all during these widespread fires. A diversity of fire impacts, together with a diversity of understoreys within the mallee and other woodland communities, gives rise to a wide variety of niches for birds and other animals. Many of the trees within the mallee and Casuarina woodland are hundreds of years old with numerous hollows. Such old-growth habitat is essential for many species including threatened species.

By successfully combining the elements of biodiversity conservation through land management, scientific research and monitoring, environmental education and sustainable ecotourism, Gluepot Reserve has taken conservation management into a new era. The Reserve is providing an international model to show that sustainable use of the landscape is both feasible and desirable. A highly successful program of this size and complexity is unique in Australian land management.

Gluepot is protected in perpetuity as a conservation reserve by the signing of a SA Heritage Agreement and is the largest area of land in South Australia under Heritage Agreement. Gluepot is also part of the National Reserve System, is on the Register of the National Estate and is further protected under the Commonwealth EPBC Act as 'critical habitat' – the first area of land on mainland Australia to have achieved this protection.

The many thousands of visitors that come to the Reserve each year are mainly birdwatchers, conservationists and environmentalists. The Reserve has been an industry leader in the accreditation process and was one of the first tourism attractions in SA to achieve Advanced Eco Certification and Australian Tourism Accreditation. In November 2008, it was announced that Gluepot had received the highest level of accreditation – Leader 5 Star Gold – in the Climate Action Certification Program released by Sustainable Tourism Australia (Gluepot is carbon neutral).

The Reserve has developed superb visitor infrastructure, including 14 marked walking trails situated in strategic areas of the Reserve; a world class Visitor Information Centre, four magnificent camping grounds set in prime birding areas; research quarters including a new 5 bedroom accommodation block; converted half of the shearing shed into an Environmental Education Centre; built a large steel 19m long storage shed; installed the Riverland’s largest solar power system and built five elevated bird watering troughs overlooked by large bird hides.

Promotion of research into the mallee environment and in particular, threatened species has been vigorously pursued by Reserve managers, with a great deal of success. Presently 13 universities, research institutes and museums conduct ongoing research and monitoring programs on Gluepot Reserve. Additionally a number of private individuals (self-funded or through grants) also conduct research projects on the Reserve. The Reserve’s sixth PhD project commenced in the spring of 2008 and visitors are encouraged to participate in the many research projects and also provide data to the Water Points Survey and national Bird Atlassing Scheme - Gluepot has the highest concentration of Atlassed sites in Australia.

Many of the research projects undertaken at Gluepot Reserve will help solve the problems of land degradation and loss of biodiversity. They will assist in providing the opportunity for this generation to sustain itself and to make sure that there are resources left for the generation to come. Importantly, they will increase awareness of the environmental issues surrounding this highly endangered area of Australian wilderness and in particular, threatened species.

Murray River Tri-State National Landscapes visit to Gluepot Reserve

Gluepot Reserve, Michael Hyde
Visitor Centre
Gluepot Visitor Centre. Beautiful stainglass windows at Gluepot and showcase of numerous awards.
Gluepot solar power system. Gluepot solar power system. Bird hide at Gluepot Reserve.
Checking out the view from the bird hide. Gluepot bird hide and feeding trough. Mallee tracks on Gluepot Reserve.

Visit the Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve website

Up river Waikerie | Overland Corner | Barmera | Kingston-on-Murray
Down river | Cadell | Morgan | Blanchetown | Explore the Riverland


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