A Rangelands DialogueTHE ROYAL SOCIETY of QUEENSLAND
The rangelands, covering about 80% of Australia, are renowned for their highly variable climate and low and erratic rainfall: they are indeed “A land of droughts and flooding rains” (My Country by Dorothea Mackellar). Unfortunately, these lands are progressively degrading from the cumulative effects of recurrent droughts and chronic and/or widespread under-management, amongst a range of other factors. In many locations, traditional pastoral enterprises are uneconomic, particularly at the scale of the family farm, which undermines towns and communities as less money is spent in local businesses, jobs are lost and people leave looking for work in larger centres. The rangelands are being placed under increasing pressure by a changing climate. Acceptance of climate change by some landholders who are already dealing with a highly variable climate is recognised. This influences the level of preparedness that is undertaken or indeed possible for pastoral production to be ecologically sustainable.