Biodiversity and ecology in the Australian bush

About the forest site, the website, and us

We live in a forest on the far South Coast of NSW, not far from the Victorian border. This is an area of great natural beauty, with extensive stands of native forest in national parks and state forests.

Several small rivers drain the coastal ranges and flow into isolated bays with quiet sandy beaches. A small population, the absence of industry and a low level of agriculture in the area mean that the water quality in these rivers is near pristine. These elements and a temperate climate result in a high level of biological diversity – which is why we choose to live in this part of the world.

As biologists, we share a passion for nature and natural places. We now live permanently on a 5ha property of native forest, fronting the Wonboyn River about 10km upstream from its entrance to Disaster Bay.


"Where is the forest?"

Zoom in/out with the Google Map controls to view the overall location of these southern forests, the general topography, and surrounding waterways.


The forest is classed as Lowland Gully Shrub Forest (1, 2). It is dominated by tall, mature eucalypt trees and has well-developed middle- and understories. A varied terrain across the property, ranging from relatively flat areas to shallow and steeply sloping gullies results in a diversity of habitats.

Almost all of the 200+ plant species on the 5ha block are indigenous. Whilst we do manage the regrowth of vegetation for fire hazard reduction, maintaining a natural ecosystem is our priority. 

In keeping with our general life philosophy, we seek to minimize our local impact on nature and natural processes. We restrict our trekking across the property to defined walkways. We don’t feed the birds and animals as we wish to observe normal behaviours and species interactions.

The forest supports a high diversity of animal life. For example, we have discovered 15 mammal, 17 reptile, 73 spider and 113 moth/butterfly species to date - all within the 5ha. And we have really barely begun with the invertebrates!

Click to see a full list of species we have identified on the block:
Plants   Birds   other Vertebrates   Invertebrates 

Of course, the animals see no boundaries. Although the block serves as our 'survey site', it is simply part of a much larger, natural, forest ecosystem. The biodiversity within this ecosystem helps to maintain its overall health, keeping species numbers in balance.

Living day-to-day in such a rich environment gives us a wonderful opportunity to observe at first hand the interactions between the plants and animals that inhabit it. We are deeply immersed, both physically and emotionally, in this natural ecosystem.

We have created this website to share our experiences of life in the forest. 

We encourage you to share these pages with interested friends. It is our belief that the more aware society becomes of biodiversity and ecological interactions, the greater the chance for preservation of natural environments.

We released this website in August 2017 and it is our intention to continuously add news, stories and images for years to come. In this way, we hope to develop a rich resource which documents the ecology of this ecosystem.

Much of this story is told through the camera lens as we are both keen photographers. All of the images shown on this website were taken by us and are copyright protected. If you wish to use any of them, please contact us.


Paul Whitington & Kerri-Lee Harris


news & stories

Sharing our discoveries and experiences of life in the bush - biological interactions, events and encounters that fascinate us.


The living forest - its plants, birds, insects and other animals. A photographic tour through the forest, each image accompanied by a short description.


References cited above:

1.     Keith, D.A. & Bedward, M. Native Vegetation of the South East Forests Region, Eden, New South Wales. Cunninghamia 6: pp.61-218 (1999)

2.     Tozer, M.G., Turner, K., Keith, D.A., Tindall, D., Pennay, C., Simpson, C., MacKenzie, B., Beukers, P. and Cox, S. Native vegetation of southeast NSW: a revised classification and map for the coast and eastern tablelands. Cunninghamia 11: pp.359-406 (2010)