TS-CRC Student project - Integrating on-ground actions for sustainable grazing management

cattle grazing in the savannas

Grazing is the major land use in the northern Gulf region of the savannas

University of Queensland

Adele Vagg

Summary | Map of Gulf area | Focus | Objectives | Outcomes | Supervisors | References |


Over the past 10 to 15 years, increasing emphasis has been placed on regional and catchment-level planning approaches for natural resource management. The regional level is often recognised to be the most appropriate scale for implementing national policies and strategies for the sustainable use and management of our natural resources (e.g. Dale & Bellamy 1998; Alexandra 1999). However, the success of these approaches depends upon implementing appropriate management actions by individual land managers (Moore et al. 2001). Within a region, there is often a diverse range of individual land managers that may have very different goals in relation to the use and management of the land in which they operate.

Necessarily, the decisions made by individual land managers often need to focus on ways to contribute to goals centred on private benefits. However, increasing public pressure for sustainable environments has meant managers have to consider incorporating goals centred on public good, such as regional biodiversity. It is important to work with the land manager to understand their will and capacity to manage for such diverse goals in their everyday management.

In order to work toward sustainable land use within a region, there needs to be coordination of the way in which land managers approach the achievement of their goals, so as to contribute to both individual and regional goals.

Gulf region of Australia

Focus and objectives

This project focuses on the northern Gulf region (Gulf of Carpentaria) located of north Queensland. The main land use (92 per cent of land use) within this region is grazing beef cattle. Consequently, the environment of graziers’ decision-making is a key focus.

The project aims to gain an in-depth understanding of what, how and why particular decisions are made that influence the use and management of natural resources on grazing stations. This understanding will be gained by building detailed case studies around a number of grazing stations.

The project will also review and analyse regional and broader-scale NRM policy to draw out the on-ground actions currently recommended for sustainable grazing management. It will explore the rationale (i.e. science, assumptions) behind these goals and actions. The project will then explore the implications of these actions currently incorporated into pastoral property management.

Through the use of the information collected at both the property and regional level, the study will look at ways that graziers, policy makers and planners can ‘strengthen the link’ between regional and property levels. By strengthening the link, significant efforts can be made toward the implementing management actions that contribute to sustainable land use at both property and regional levels.

Three key objectives include:

  • Develop a knowledge base of the on-ground actions currently recommended be adopted by pastoral managers to contribute to regionally sustainable land use

  • Provide information and understanding of the property manager’s objectives, motivations and actions in regards to the management of natural resources on their property

    Contribute to the development and enhancement of management tools and strategies for encouraging integration of on-ground actions that contribute to regional and property goals for sustainable land management.


  • An understanding of the potential implications for property management of implementing on-ground actions for regionally sustainable land use.

  • An understanding of the capacity and willingness of pastoral property managers to incorporate actions, which contribute to regionally sustainable land use into day-to-day property management.

  • Contributions of knowledge to incorporate into TS-CRC knowledge-building activities including:
    • Applicable and actionable knowledge
    • Options and strategies for regional planners to use to encourage the implementation of sustainable land use practices by pastoral land managers and for pastoral property managers to enhance the property management planning process.


Prof. Ockie Bosch (UQ)
Prof. Helen Ross (UQ)
Dr. Daniel Walker (CSIRO SE)


Alexandra, J. (1999) Regions - the bastard children of cooperative federalism. In Sustainable Regional Development: Final Report (Eds, Dore, J. and Woodhill, J.), pp. 215-19.

Dale, A. and Bellamy, J. (Eds.) (1998) Regional Resource Use Planning in Rangelands: an Australian Review, Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.

Moore, S.A., Jennings, S. and Tracey, W. H. (2001) Achieving sustainable natural resource management outcomes on the ground: the key elements of stakeholder involvement, Australian Journal of Environmental Management, 8 ; 91-98.