Incorporation of Practical Measures to Assist Conservation of Biodiversity Within Sustainable Beef Production in Northern Australia

Edited by Sue McIntyre, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Jointly funded by MLA, CSIRO and Environment Australia, October 2001
ISBN 1 74036 189 X

Background to the Project and the Industry Context

Interest in the linkage between pastoral management and maintenance of biodiversity in production landscapes is increasing rapidly. It accompanies a growing demand from both beef producers and the wider community for sustainable resource management. Property management practice is incomplete when key attributes of ecosystem health are ignored or misunderstood. While beef producers are keen to obtain this information, community concerns are acute in the face of continued decline of native plant and animal communities. This project has taken a whole property perspective, to enable producers and other stakeholders to consider trade-offs that occur between animal production and conservation of biodiversity. Ecological research has identified how property management influences plant diversity and ecological functioning of grazed pastures. This new information is to be used to refine management principles and indicators of ecological health and biodiversity status. Parallel research examined the economic implications of moving from current management to 'best-bet' scenarios based on our existing understanding of ecological sustainability. On-going communication activities were built into the research through management panels, involvement of producers managing the case-study properties, and the location of ecological research on the case-study properties. Explicit communication activities involved producer networks and extension specialists.

This project was conceived and designed alongside the socio-economic project 'Applying management principles on variegated landscapes: identifying production/conservation trade-offs' (Land and Water Australia /Environment Australia Project CTC9). Land and Water Australia and Environment Australia also contributed to NAP3.222.