Issue 13, January - March 2000

Project frames up to rangeland biodiversity

Biodiversity | Framework for monitoring biodiversity | Under review |


From waterholes in arid mountain gorges to saltbush plains, tropical billabongs to mallee scrub, the Australian outback supports a remarkable variety of ecosystems, plants and animals. While much has been lost, some areas are known to be recovering. The question now is whether we are indeed witnessing a recovery, or has an irreversible process of decline been put in place?

Framework for monitoring biodiversity

To provide more concrete evidence about the extent and direction of change and most importantly, management directions, the National Land and Water Resources Audit, established from the Natural Heritage Trust, has commissioned a project called ‘Developing an adaptive framework for monitoring biodiversity in the rangeland’.

This project is part of a program under the Audit to establish Australia-wide rangeland monitoring and reporting. The ‘Monitoring and Reporting framework for Australia’s Rangelands’, when implemented will cover biophysical, production, biodiversity, social, economic, institutional and cultural issues and be publicly available via the web, complete with summaries for each of Australia’s IBRA regions.

The biodiversity project is being undertaken by a team based at the Tropical Savannas CRC. However, this is a a rangeland-wide project, embracing about 75 per cent of the continent.

Under review

The project will review:

  • trends and threats to biodiversity in the rangelands
  • existing rangelands monitoring programs
  • biodiversity monitoring programs overseas
  • the theory and statistics of monitoring programs

A framework will then be structured to help produce tangible measures of long-term trends for a range of biodiversity. This could involve making better use of existing datasets, adding additional monitoring components or even starting afresh.The team will also draw on a panel of experts assembled from around the nation and become a key part of the Australia wide Rangelands Monitoring and Reporting initiative.


Dr John Woinarski
NT Dept Natural Resourcs, Environment, the Arts and Sport
Tel: 08 8995 5000

Fax: 08 8995 5099

PO Box 496