Review of total grazing pressure management issues and priorities for biodiversity conservation in rangelands: A resource to aid NRM planning – Final Report

Review of total grazing pressure management issues and priorities for biodiversity conservation in rangelands: A resource to aid NRM planning – Final Report Report

Desert Knowledge CRC Project Report

  • Author(s): Alaric Fisher, Leigh Hunt, Craig James, Jill Landsberg, David Phelps, Anita Smyth, Ian Watson
  • Published: 2004
  • Publisher: Natural Heritage Trust, Department of Environment and Heritage

Abstract: Extensive work over recent years has shown how total grazing pressure (TGP) in the rangelands has two components: that which is exerted by domestic stock associated with the pastoral industry; and a wild stock component, which includes feral species and native macropods. Contemporary pastoral grazing management is now much more in tune with the carrying capacity of the landscape than at the inception of rangeland pastoralism in Australia, and rabbit numbers are relatively lower due to biological control. However, TGPs are still higher and more consistent through time than they probably were throughout recent evolutionary history. This is exacerbated in many regions by high populations of feral and native grazing mammals. Feral goats and kangaroos, for example, are able to maintain substantial populations in regions where artificial sources of water are abundant, and where dingoes have been eliminated to reduce domestic stock losses. As well as goats and kangaroos, other herbivores add substantially to TGP, including rabbits, donkeys, horses, pigs and camels. The larger herbivores are not as widespread throughout the rangelands as rabbits, goats and domestic stock, but they occur in large numbers in particular regions. Total grazing pressures exceeding the sustainable capacity of the land threaten the proper functioning of ecosystems and the survival of native species. Grazing land management should include a consideration of the impact of both domestic stock and wild stock to ensure conservation of biodiversity and sustainability of grazing industries The project objectives were to: - Develop a framework for organising rangelands into regions with similar TGP and biodiversity characteristics, and managing both. - Review literature and past projects to determine the main management systems practised and biodiversity issues addressed in different regions. - Distil reviewed information and compiled data to develop guidelines for managing TGP in regions with different characteristics.

Notes: A report to the Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage prepared by the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre and Tropical Savannas Management CRC

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Alaric Fisher, Leigh Hunt, Craig James, Jill Landsberg, David Phelps, Anita Smyth, Ian Watson, 2004, Review of total grazing pressure management issues and priorities for biodiversity conservation in rangelands: A resource to aid NRM planning – Final Report, Report, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3548.

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