Theme 1: Rangeland/Grassland Ecology--Oral Sessions

Description

In the rangelands of New South Wales, Australia, many successful soil erosion control techniques have been developed. These techniques have been implemented by the Western Local Land Services (WLLS), rehabilitating 23,000 ha since 2004. However the focus was on degraded land with little regard to catchment dynamics and the threatening processes that were causing the degradation.

With the introduction of Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU)™ in 2016, the focus was broadened to address grazing properties in a drainage ecosystem context. There is a focus on understanding landscape function and designing projects that address threatening processes.

With the integration of the WLLS and EMU approaches, effort is now put into saving threatened landscapes and resurrecting degraded landscapes. Both approaches have been integrated to restore soil moisture, reduce grazing impacts, restore calm water and save productive landscapes. In this process, landscape objectives and outcomes are identified and priority projects developed. A major benefit is the increased capacity of land managers to understand landscape processes and then to design and implement projects on their properties. This knowledge is allowing land managers to focus on being rain ready during droughts. The level of ownership has provided a forward looking focus for land managers, building resilience during drought.

Each grazing property will approach the same issue differently, depending on resources and preferences. Some approaches use earthworks while other approaches use soft filters to improve rainfall management. Earthwork techniques include champagne banks, waterponding, waterspreading, contour furrows and erosion control structures across roads. Soft filters are placed in flow lines to slow water and can be constructed from mesh, branches or rocks.

We tell this story through examples of projects and demonstrate the success of a collaborative approach to landscape rehydration.

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Rangeland Rehydration: Collaboration between Land Managers, Government and Private Experts

In the rangelands of New South Wales, Australia, many successful soil erosion control techniques have been developed. These techniques have been implemented by the Western Local Land Services (WLLS), rehabilitating 23,000 ha since 2004. However the focus was on degraded land with little regard to catchment dynamics and the threatening processes that were causing the degradation.

With the introduction of Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU)™ in 2016, the focus was broadened to address grazing properties in a drainage ecosystem context. There is a focus on understanding landscape function and designing projects that address threatening processes.

With the integration of the WLLS and EMU approaches, effort is now put into saving threatened landscapes and resurrecting degraded landscapes. Both approaches have been integrated to restore soil moisture, reduce grazing impacts, restore calm water and save productive landscapes. In this process, landscape objectives and outcomes are identified and priority projects developed. A major benefit is the increased capacity of land managers to understand landscape processes and then to design and implement projects on their properties. This knowledge is allowing land managers to focus on being rain ready during droughts. The level of ownership has provided a forward looking focus for land managers, building resilience during drought.

Each grazing property will approach the same issue differently, depending on resources and preferences. Some approaches use earthworks while other approaches use soft filters to improve rainfall management. Earthwork techniques include champagne banks, waterponding, waterspreading, contour furrows and erosion control structures across roads. Soft filters are placed in flow lines to slow water and can be constructed from mesh, branches or rocks.

We tell this story through examples of projects and demonstrate the success of a collaborative approach to landscape rehydration.