Abstract: Despite their vast size and a declining workforce it is possible to manage pastoral leases effectively by focusing on landscape function to identify key critical areas. Natural and human-induced processes drive changes to landscapes, vegetation structure and composition, due in part to changes in soil moisture balance. Identifying these processes and their impacts (e.g. the fate and impact of raindrops) assists with the development of ‘best practice’ ecological and cost-effective pastoral management. The Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU) Project™ is a holistic land management approach, which is being trialled by the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board (SAALNRMB). Community support for an EMU pilot project in the district was articulated through the Marla-Oodnadatta Natural Resources Management District Group. The Group liked the EMU approach as it incorporates pastoralist experience and knowledge with scientific expertise; it nurtures pastoralists’ skills to read landscape processes, condition and trend so they can easily apply this information to daily management practices. It is a way of working with natural processes rather than against them (“fitting in with”, rather than “fighting” them). It was these attributes which attracted four pastoralists to be involved in the EMU pilot project in the Neales River catchment of South Australia. Through an enhanced understanding of landscape processes and function, these pastoralists are working towards restoring the natural landscape function to improve sustainable productivity and biodiversity across a total area of over two million hectares in the arid lands of South Australia. The EMU pilot project in the Neales River catchment of South Australia has been funded by the Commonwealth’s Caring for Our Country program through the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Board (SAALNRMB) and the Centralian Land Management Association (CLMA).
Walton, J., Pringle, H.J.R., 2010, The Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU) pilot project: building landscape literacy using local knowledge to improve rangeland health in the Neales River Catchment of South Australia, Conference Paper, viewed 08 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3566.