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There has been a de facto managed goat industry and an industry based on the sale of unmanaged feral goats.

Opportunistic harvesting of goats has provided significant and timely income for many leaseholders, with some leaseholders partly managing feral goat flocks rather than simply harvesting. Although published more than 20 years ago, we recommend that you read Reading the rangeland: a guide to the arid shrublands of Western Australia for a broad coverage of the region.

Climate, particularly the amount, intensity and seasonal distribution of rainfall, is a major determinant of rangeland productivity. Dealing with rainfall variability is a major component of rangeland management Figure 2. Although more productive than the Southern Rangelands, seasonal variability means that matching forage demand stocking rate with supply available forage over a run of seasons is difficult.

Landscape Ecology : Function and Management : Principles from Australia's Rangelands

The Pilbara has a similar summer and winter seasonal pattern to the Kimberley, with generally lower annual rainfall —mm and more frequent poor wet seasons. The Southern Rangelands have predominantly winter rainfall, with an average annual rainfall generally below mm Figure 4. Rainfall is highly variable within and between years, and variation is high compared to similar areas elsewhere in Australia. This arid climate, with frequent dry years interspersed with occasional high rainfall events, makes it particularly difficult to match forage demand stocking rate with supply available forage.

Grazing BMP soil health module resources - FutureBeef

Summer rainfall is usually low throughout the region, although the proportion of annual rainfall occurring in the summer months has increased over recent decades. Substantial variation in rainfall also occurs in cycles that vary from 2.

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Climate records indicate a drying trend for much of WA, except for the Kimberley, and modelling suggests a continued warming trend over the coming decades see Climate change and the pastoral industry , and the Indian Ocean Climate Initiative Rainfall in northern Australia, including the Kimberley, is likely to be heavier, with more rain falling per rain day.

As a result, flash floods may become more common. There are likely to be more dry days time between rains , which may cause water supply problems. In north-western Australia, the wet season is becoming wetter and, since the s, annual rainfall has increased by more than 30mm per decade and exceeding 50mm per decade over parts of the north-west coast Figure 5. This increase in annual rainfall has generally been associated with an increase in summer rainfall Figure 6 and a slight decrease in winter rainfall Figure 7.

In the decade —14, all LCDs in the Southern Rangelands had more years with above-average summer rainfall 6 to 9 years out of 10 than the long-term above-average rainfall in a year period 3 to 4 years out of In the period —14, there were significant changes in the average monthly rainfall compared to the long-term monthly rainfall Table 1.

Land tenure in the rangelands is predominantly pastoral leasehold, with leases issued under the Land Administration Act The Land Administration Act states that the function of the PLB is to ensure that pastoral leases are managed on an ecologically sustainable basis. Leases are developed and assigned to enable them to be worked as an economically viable and ecologically sustainable pastoral business unit.

A pastoral lease is a title issued by the Minister for Lands for the lease of an area of Crown land for the limited purpose of grazing of livestock cattle, sheep, goats and horses and ancillary activities. Under the Land Administration Act and the Soil and Land Conservation Act, pastoral lessees are obliged to manage the vegetation and soil resources on their lease to avoid soil and land degradation and, under the Biosecurity and Agricultural Management Act , to control declared plant and animal pests.

A permit from the PLB is required for any non-pastoral use carried out on a pastoral lease. A permit may be granted if the property as a whole continues to be managed for pastoral purposes. Mining leases may be issued concurrent to pastoral leases and mining operations can occur on pastoral land. In , there were registered pastoral leases in WA, held in pastoral stations: stations in the Northern Rangelands 92 in the Kimberley and 60 in the Pilbara ; and stations in the Southern Rangelands.

Lease ownership includes large corporations, private companies, family operations, Indigenous organisations, and, particularly in the Pilbara and Goldfields, mining companies Figures 8 and 9.

July 2014 – Range Management Newsletter 14/2

Detailed GIS maps can be downloaded from the links below. The links will switch you to a new page. Reporting for legislative purposes is at LCD scale. Land conservation district committees LCDCs are community-based groups focused on sustainable resource management and their role is to promote on-ground involvement in voluntary land management and conservation activities. Note that not all LCDs have active committees. The goal of sustainable pastoralism is the continued use of rangeland natural resources for livestock production without causing a loss of land capability. To monitor achievement of this goal, we need to know the starting condition baseline , changes over time of the natural resources used in pastoralism, and the sustainable carrying capacity for livestock.

Rangeland surveys provide the baseline data for pastoral resource condition and estimates of pastoral value. Rangeland surveys provide information about the amount of vegetation available for grazing on these good condition land systems, and this is used to estimate the Potential Carrying Capacity Potential CC for the land systems, LCDs and rangeland regions. See the rangelands glossary for explanations of these terms. Pastoral business viability relies on being able to turn-off a sufficient number of livestock to meet market requirements.

DPIRD estimates the carrying capacity of leases from rangeland vegetation condition good, fair, poor for each pasture type within a land system and pastoral values livestock units per unit area of the land systems that make up the lease. The last on-station assessments were in or earlier. In general, LCDs in the Northern Rangelands are composed of land systems with higher carrying capacities than those in the Southern Rangelands. The WA pastoral rangelands have highly variable landscapes, soils, vegetation, rainfall and seasonality.

A leakiness index for assessing landscape function using remote sensing

Seasonal quality is the amount and distribution of rainfall and its interaction with vegetation to determine grazing values. Climatic variation within and between years is a major concern for management. Grazing pressure is the demand—supply ratio between forage needs of herbivores and the forage supply in a pasture at a specific time. The aim of management is to match grazing pressure to production and recovery of rangeland vegetation.

Fire is a naturally occurring hazard, especially in the Northern Rangelands, with limited management options. The interaction between seasonal quality and grazing pressure is an important interaction for pastoral management. This complex interaction may take many seasons to express changes in some of the pastoral resource themes :. Fire causes rapid changes to several of the themes and requires specific fire management for recovery. The status and trend of pastoral rangeland resources is based on the continued use of those resources for livestock production without causing a loss of land capability.

For example, an increase in unpalatable perennial grasses may be interpreted as a decline in pastoral condition from a production perspective, whereas the greater soil cover and protection from erosion provided by the additional unpalatable perennial grasses might improve landscape function.

The department uses the WARMS sites to assess perennial plant population change at the regional scale. WARMS comprises a set of fixed sites on representative areas of pastoral lands including 60 sites on 27 former pastoral stations and provides an indication of change at a regional or vegetation-type scale, not at the pastoral lease scale. WARMS uses permanent ground-based sites on which perennial vegetation shrubs and grasses of most value to pastoralism and soil surface characteristics are assessed.

There are grassland sites mostly in the Northern Rangelands, and shrubland sites, mostly in the Southern Rangelands Figures 12 and Native perennial grasses support perennial shrub patches in maintaining ecological stability and landscape processes in semi-arid shrublands. Perennial grasses were monitored over a 12 month period to determine whether summer rest from Merino sheep grazing had an impact on perennial grass populations.

The change in the number of perennial grasses over the 12 month period was variable ranging from a There was evidence to suggest that the grasses in the exclosure treatments i. Land-type, distance-from-water and stocking rate did not have a significant impact on the change in the number of perennial grasses over the 12 month period. Resting perennial grasses during the summer may be of benefit; however, given the high mortality rates in most of the paddocks, it was clear that seasonal conditions had a substantial overriding influence on the outcome.

Five major factors influenced sheep grazing behaviour in the study paddock; these include: land-type, greenness cover, time of day, air temperature and distance-from-water. The GPS-collared sheep demonstrated a clear grazing preference for the higher value land-types i. The results also indicated that the sheep were selectively grazing areas with high greenness cover as expressed by Normalised Difference Vegetation Index [NDVI].

The results highlight the importance of understanding the selective grazing characteristics of Merino sheep when designing paddock layouts and developing management plans. This is because repetitive, selective grazing of high-value land-types has the potential to modify the natural patch patterning and ecological processes. This study found empirical evidence which substantiates landscape function theory and concludes that it has significant application at a range of spatial scales in the semi-arid shrublands.

The results explain why landscape function theory is the current standard for the assessment and interpretation of rangeland environments in Australia. Landscape function theory is the result of an evolutionary synthesis of earlier work, and it continues to be progressively refined as our knowledge of the complex patterns and ecological processes of the rangelands is improved.

JavaScript is disabled for your browser. Some features of this site may not work without it. Access Status Open access. Authors Alchin, Mark David. Supervisor Dr Don Burnside.

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Russell, Peter John The rangelands or semi-arid and arid regions of Western Australia occupy about 87 percent of the land area. Pastoral grazing of managed livestock, mainly sheep and cattle, occurs over much of this area, with an increasing Application of advanced techniques for the remote detection, modelling and spatial analysis of mesquite prosopis spp.

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