Tropical Savannas CRC > Research > Research Themes

TS-CRC Research Themes

The TS-CRC has a large portfolio of research projects, which are organised around four research themes. All projects are placed within a Theme, although there are many links between projects and across Themes.

The themes are:
  • Landscape Ecology and Health
  • Industry and Community Natural Resource Management
  • Regional Planning and Management
  • Human Capability Development

Theme leaders seek and develop opportunities for links and exchange between projects and with other researchers.

Theme 1: Landscape Ecology and Health

Theme Coordinator: Dr John Ludwig, CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology, Northern Territory

This theme will provide an understanding of the landscape ecosystem processes and functions of the tropical savannas. It will further develop and validate a sound working definition of landscape health based on scientific, experiential and indigenous knowledge. It will use predictive models and time series monitoring to test and refine the definition and its application. Healthy landscapes are those that:

  • maintain basic functions at all spatial scales, including nutrient cycling, water capture and provision of food and shelter for fauna;
  • maintain viable populations of all native species of plants and animals at appropriate spatial and temporal scales;
  • meet the long-term needs (material, aesthetic and spiritual) of people with an interest in the tropical savannas

Theme 2: Industry and Community Natural Resource Management

Theme Coordinator: Dr Paul Novelly, WA Dept. Agriculture, Western Australia

Industries and their enterprises must be economically viable if savanna communities are to be sustained. Increasingly this includes meeting market and societal standards of environmental responsibility and ecologically sustainable management. Models and systems of adaptive management need to be developed and validated, if we are to achieve ecological, economic and social goals. Specific systems relevant to Aboriginal land management and multiple land use are needed.

Theme 3: Regional Planning and Management

Theme Coordinator: Dr Peter Whitehead, Key Centre for Tropical Wildlife Management (CDU), Darwin

Achieving or restoring healthy landscapes means accommodating a range of overlapping uses and needs within an economic, social and cultural context. This requires an understanding of the social and economic dynamics of rural regions and of the inevitable interactions and trade-offs necessary to meet the needs of both the environment and of people. It is necessary to develop frameworks to allow sustainable planning and management to meet this complex of public and private needs, responsibilities, benefits and costs.

Theme 4: Human Capability Development

Theme Coordinators: Mr Joe Morrison and Dr Peter Jacklyn, TS-CRC, Charles Darwin University

Broadly, all of the CRC's communication and education activities fall under this theme. It provides scholarships and support for students in disciplines relevant to landscape management in northern Australia; but is also developing programs that help different communities across northern Australia to take part in other types of education processes. It  is also examining ways for northern land managers to take up research outcomes developed by the CRC.

The theme also uses the Information Clearinghouse "Savannas Information" developed by the Tropical Savannas CRC to provide learning materials to people involved in enterprises, communities and government and to students and the general public throughout Australia and internationally. Savanna Information comprises:

Savanna Explorer

The CRC's new website which will be available late in 2006. Here the savannas' 19 bioregions, two states and one territory are aggregated into eight general geographic regions. This allows us to present comprehensive information on north Australia's land uses, flora, fauna, geology, climate and land mangement issues, such as fire, weeds and feral animals. Go to

Savanna Map Maker

This section covers the Victoria River District in the Northern Territory. Here you can overlay maps online to explore relationships between landscape features such as vegetation and soils in the VRD.

Savanna Search

Search our database for the details of hundreds of scientific papers, technical reports, and popular articles.