Monitoring pastoral leases

Rangeland monitoring is the process of periodically recording the condition of the natural resource including vegetation, water, and soil.

Over time, change in the pasture composition and consequently general land condition can be assessed.

This information can assist land management decisions to ensure sustainability of the pastoral enterprise without any long term deterioration in pastoral land condition.

The key elements of the Rangeland Monitoring Branch on pastoral leases include:

  • monitoring of pastoral land to detect and assess any change in its condition
  • understanding of landscape processes and the impact the pastoral industry on the land resources.
  • documenting and recording data using photography on plant composition, species present, domestic stocking rates, current and historical total grazing pressure (including feral and native herbivores), rainfall, seasonal conditions and pasture conditions
  • interpreting reasons for change such as seasonal conditions, fire, grazing management, stock numbers and presence of feral animals
  • considering paddock management strategies used in the past and adjusting management as required
  • using remote sensing techniques to assess broad-scale and site specific change.

Under the Pastoral Land Act 1992, the following are responsible for ensuring that land held as pastoral lease is used in accordance with sustainable land use practices:

  • the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics
  • the Pastoral Land Board (PLB)
  • the lessees.

The role of the Rangeland Monitoring Branch is to monitor the condition of the pastoral estate on behalf of the Northern Territory Government, the PLB and the general community.

There are two levels of monitoring undertaken:

Tier 1

Is a ground-based program that uses photographs of the same point over time combined with visual assessments and measurements of the ground layer to assess land condition.

These sites are visited on a three-year cycle by rangeland monitoring officers who assess pasture condition and development of the property.

Land managers are encouraged to use the photo-point sites to become more aware of pasture plants and the level of pasture used by stock.

Tier 2

Is an integrated monitoring program of remote-sensed images and ground-based data. The satellite images are analysed and then correlated with detailed ground-based data to provide information on landscape change over time.

Last updated: 21 October 2020

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