Rangelands

Rangelands cover about 70% of Australia. It is land that is mostly used for extensive livestock grazing on native vegetation, which occurs in places where rainfall is too low or erratic for agricultural cropping or for improved pastures. 
The rangelands research will be conducted at the UNSW Fowlers gap research station. We will hope to make contact with the graziers in the area as well as the community in Broken Hill, the nearest town, 120km away.
rangelands-map
Source: Australian Rangelands Boundary
© Commonwealth of Australia, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005
Background info:
  • The sustainable management of Australia’s rangelands is crucial for rural and regional communities, particularly in the face of the low and erratic rainfalls expected with climate-change. 
  • Overgrazing by native, domestic and feral herbivores has created profound problems, and remains the major cause of land degradation. 
  • This problem persists often because there is limited understanding of the plant-herbivore dynamic in this unique environment, leading to poor soil health, loss of seed banks, salinity, erosion, poor productivity and reduced biodiversity, all of which combine to limit the resilience of these areas to environmental challenges like drought.

Existing study:

rangeland pic 1 Dept

Researchers are comparing grazing requirements of sheep and kangaroos in an ARC linkage study called “Avoiding environmental bankruptcy: the grazing impacts of red kangaroos and sheep”. There is a focus on trying to break down the European view (sheep) or grazing engrained in the Australian psyche.

Once pasture requirements for the different animals and species are established the research team can look at how to better manage biodiversity. 

Identified Stakeholders:

  • Scientists
  • Residents
  • Any other interested members of the public
  • Fowlers Gap Graziers Committee
  • Broken Hill community groups
  • Tourism bureau
  • Aboriginal community
  • National Parks
  • Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW and WA)
  • Western Catchment Management Authority
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries

Location

Broken hill aus mapBroken Hill detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting links

Fowlers Gap observations 1971

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