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Plot description


Also known as A) Plot description

Date created: 2020-07-31
Date modified: 2021-01-14

Member of

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The plot description covers important aspects of the plot (generally of the land surface) not recorded in the preliminary description. Some overlap in collected information does occur due to the modular nature of the survey processes. The description provides significant background information to gain an appreciation of the plot history, topography, position in the landscape and for understanding the likely relationship between the soils, vegetation and fauna.

Parts of the process are essential and must be undertaken in the field, whereas other parts can be completed at a later stage from samples collected (see Appendix 3(a)).

See the dominant outcrop lithology parameter.

See the subdominant outcrop lithology parameter.

See the surface strew lithology parameter.

See the surface strew size parameter.


Plot Name

Described in Plot Naming Convention (Chapter 3 and Appendix 1).

Plot location

Plot location at SW corner:

The PDA will automatically record GPS coordinates.

If using data sheets, record the easting, northing, zone and datum from the DGPS.

Also record the method used to record the location i.e. standard GPS or DGPS (differential GPS) by circling the appropriate method.


Erosion (YB p133-139) refers to accelerated/induced erosion rather than natural erosion.

If present, use the codes below to describe the

See the accelerated erosion type parameter.

See the erosion type values.

type of erosion:


See the state of erosion parameter.

See the erosion state values.

state of erosion:

See the erosion extent parameter.

See the erosion extent values.

extent of erosion:


See the microrelief parameter.

See the microrelief values.

Microrelief (YB p129-133) refers to relief up to a few metres above the plane of the land surface.

Type should be indicated:

Proportion of gilgai components (p130)

Component of microrelief sampled (YB p133)


See drainage type parameter.

See the drainage values.

(YB p202-204) Provide a statement about soils and plot drainage likely to occur in most years.

Disturbance of plot

See site disturbance type parameter.

See disturbance values.

(YB p128)

Soil surface condition when dry

See condition of surface soil when dry parameter.

See surface soil condition values.

(YB p189-191)

Many surface soils have a characteristic appearance when dry and this should be recorded.


a. Plot description

Time required

not supplied


Each of these characteristics is to be described for the plot. This can be done once the plot boundaries have been decided and marked out. The sequence for descriptions will be based on the data collection app, with fields to be filled out. The plot characteristics (see quoted YB page numbers) are based on the description contained in the third edition (2009) of the “Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook” commonly referred to as the “Yellow Book” (see Appendix 3 for collection of additional non-essential soil description elements).

Additional notes

not supplied


White, A, Sparrow, B., Leitch, E., Foulkes, J., Flitton, R., Lowe, A.J., Caddy-Retalic, S. (2012). AusPlots Rangelands Survey Protocols Manual. Version 1.2.9 page 46-48. Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network and The University of Adelaide Press.


TERN is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, NCRIS.