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 sustainable management of the 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.
Researchers are currently comparing grazing requirements of sheep and kangaroo in and Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage study called "Avoiding environmental bankruptcy: the grazing impacts of red kangaroos and sheep".
Once pasture requirements for the different animals and species are established the research team can look at how to better manage biodiversity.
All research is conducted at the UNSW Fowlers gap research station.
- Adam Munn, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences.