[cs_content][cs_section bg_image=”http://plan.northerngulf.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/grazing-lands.jpg” parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px -100px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: -50px auto 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_gap size=”50px”][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” class=”cs-ta-left” style=”margin: -30px auto -40px;padding: 40px;”][cs_column fade=”true” fade_animation=”in-from-top” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ class=”cs-ta-justify” style=”padding: 10px 10px -40px;”][x_custom_headline level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false” class=”cs-ta-center mtn”]About the Grazing Lands [/x_custom_headline][x_columnize]Over 90% of our region’s land area is covered by grazing lands. These extend over the Gulf Plains, up into the Einasleigh Uplands, along the Gulf Coast and up into the Palmer River catchment at the bottom of Cape York. There are approximately 160 grazing properties, covering an area of roughly 17m ha. These enterprises rely principally on native pastures to turn off about 200,000 cattle per year.

Grazing lands are mostly open woodland dominated by Eucalyptus and Corymbia species with a grassy understorey, but paperbark woodlands, lancewood open woodlands and bluegrass communities can also be found on open grasslands. This reflects the region’s diversity of landforms, geology, soil types, climatic variation and fire history. The grazing lands generally support native vegetation from pre-European times; however, these have been altered by weeds and feral animals, altered fire regimes and grazing pressure. Consequently, the understorey and grass layer cannot support the wildlife it once did, with small mammals and birds which rely on grass seeds being the most effected.[/x_columnize][x_custom_headline level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false” class=”cs-ta-center mtn”]A changing climate [/x_custom_headline][x_columnize]The climate of the dry tropical savannas of the Grazing lands is projected to get hotter, drier with more extreme events (fire, floods, droughts and cyclones). This may affect the carrying capacity and health of many grazing enterprises, resulting in reduced pasture, productivity and subsequently reduced profit margins.

A decrease in surface ground cover may occur, resulting in a reduction in livestock carrying capacity as a result of these climate induced stresses. Changed climatic conditions may also favour weed species and will accelerate woody thickening meaning longer lived perennial pasture and tree species may have reduced survival during long drought periods.

Altered fire regimes also have the potential to radically alter vegetation communities, especially the grass understorey that many wildlife and cattle depend on. This will further impact on already vulnerable species including small to medium sized marsupials and rodents that have small home ranges or favour unburnt habitat (eg. common brush tail possums and black footed tree rat) as well as reptiles like the spotted tree monitor. It may also facilitate predation and prey switching by feral pigs and wild dogs to target mammal communities and also possibly calves.

We know riparian corridors are very important, however increased intense high rainfall events will accelerate bank erosion, gullying of drainage line and frontage country and the destruction of riverine corridor vegetation. Reduced water supply will also lead to more livestock pressure on river and creek frontages.
[/x_columnize][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section bg_image=”http://plan.northerngulf.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/grazing-lands.jpg” parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: -70px auto 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text class=”cs-ta-center”]

[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_custom_headline level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false” class=”cs-ta-center mtn” style=”color: #f6a56e;”]Our Goals [/x_custom_headline][x_accordion link=”true” id=”ACCORDION” class=”mtl”][x_accordion_item title=”VISION” open=”false”]The Grazing Lands are healthy and prosperous, simultaneously supporting productivity and ecosystem services. Land condition is improved through sustainable grazing practices, which in turn reduces debt and builds resilience to drought and natural disasters, contributing to a profitable and enduring grazing industry, abundant and diverse wildlife populations and happy, well and vibrant communities. New and emerging industries contribute to a diversified and stable regional economy, while maintaining and enhancing healthy landscapes.[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”DROUGHT RESILIENCE” open=”false”]Community and enterprise resilience to drought and other natural disasters is improved, by building the capacity of the grazing industry to achieve viable business models and sustainable resource use within the context of a highly variable climate.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT” open=”false”]Provide land managers with the knowledge and tools to implement practices which result in improved land condition and ground cover.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”1.3 BIOSECURITY” open=”false” style=”display: none;”]Provide education and practical support to communities, land managers and local government to combat priority weed and pest species.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”FIRE” open=”false”]Promote recommended fire management practices that mitigate wildfires while maintaining biodiversity values, healthy pastures and carbon storage in the landscape.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”EMERGING ECONOMIES” open=”false”]Support and investigate diversification of the Grazing Lands’ economy through emerging environmental economies such as stewardship and ecosystem services payments, carbon sequestration and trading, ecotourism and biodiversity surveillance.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”1.6 BIODIVERSITY” open=”false” style=”display: none;”][/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”1.7 INDIGENOUS VALUES” open=”false” style=”display: none;”]Support the aspirations of Indigenous people in returning to their traditional lands as natural resource managers through a range of enterprises, programs and initiatives.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”1.8 EDUCATION” open=”false” style=”display: none;”]Embrace a whole of community, multi-generational approach to building NRM capacity and promoting environmental awareness.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT” open=”false”]Promote and facilitate viable, sustainable and equitable practices and models for emerging irrigated agricultural industries which support healthy environmental flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

[/x_accordion_item][/x_accordion][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section bg_image=”http://plan.northerngulf.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/grazing-lands.jpg” parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_accordion link=”true” id=”ACCORDION” class=”mtl” style=”background-color: white;”][x_accordion_item title=”Research Priorities” open=”false”]

Undertake a social research project to determine the reasons for the lack of adoption of grazing best management practices.
Undertake a research project to investigate the abundance and distribution of cats within the Northern Gulf region and a comparison between other regions, including:

  • The role of feral cats in the apparent decline of small to medium sized mammals across the Northern Gulf region;
  • The effectiveness of control measures (i.e. shooting, baiting) on managing feral cat populations; and
  • The influence of fire and grazing regimes in facilitating predation by and movements of the feral cat.
Conduct research on the abundance and distribution of the northern quoll in the Northern Gulf region, including the impacts of: Feral cats; Cane toads; and pastoral and land management practices.
Weed management in the region is currently driven by a species-led prioritisation process. Need to determine and incorporate the complexity of ecological processes of weed spread and establishment, and take account of the values and assets in the landscape and identify the most cost-effective responses to emerging weeds vs high-cost eradication/control programs for WONs.
Need for more baseline biodiversity monitoring.
Develop practical models for joint management of areas of high biodiversity value (how to get an economic and management model that improves biodiversity).
Ecosystem service payments future – how to manage this?
What is the impact of introduced grass species on native species’ distribution and densities?
Determine the limits of distribution of the ‘isolated’ population of greater gliders in Blackbraes National Park. Involving locals to identify the population viability of this isolated cohort (John Winter).
What are the likely impacts of forecast demographic change on natural resource management systems in the region?

Demographics include:

  • Settlement patterns
  • Aging farmers
  • Foreign ownership
  • Succession
Identify if true income can be generated from a ‘conservation economy’ (e.g. tourism potential, potential to harvest and raise native parrot/ cockatoo chicks for international trade, native grass seed collection). If the public wish to keep northern Australian landscapes intact how can communities develop economies to have comparable wealth to areas that have been ‘allowed’ to develop?
How effective or perverse is environmental law in remote areas? Many laws seem to be developed for higher population centre issues; are they cost prohibitive or nonsensical in remote areas?

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