Management of total grazing pressure to increase groundcover and to minimise desertification risk [Australia]

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Entidad infórmante: Australia

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Información general

Información general

Título de la buena práctica:

Management of total grazing pressure to increase groundcover and to minimise desertification risk



Entidad infórmante:



Uso de la tierra predominante en la localización específica

  • Tierras de cultivo
  • Tierras de pastoreo

Irrigated cotton production; mining; tourism; natural conservation

Contribución a las medidas de la DDTS

  • Prevención
  • Mitigación
  • Adaptación
  • Rehabilitación

Contribución a los objetivos estratégicos

  • Mejora de las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones afectadas
  • Mejora de las condiciones de los ecosistemas afectados
  • Creación de beneficios globales mediante la implementación efectiva de la Convención

Vínculos con otros temas de prácticas óptimas

  • Desarrollo de capacidades y concienciación
  • Vigilancia y evaluación/investigación de la DDTS y la GST
  • Gestión del conocimiento y apoyo a la toma de decisiones
  • Marco de políticas, legislativo e institucional
  • Financiación y movilización de recursos
  • Participación, colaboración y establecimiento de contactos


Sección 1. Contexto de la práctica óptima: condiciones marco (entorno natural o humano)

Breve descripción de la práctica óptima

Groundcover management: Soil erosion is being addressed by working to increase native perennial ground cover to 60%, where the typical cover is approximately 20%. The growth of woody species is being managed in this project to allow growth of perennial grasses and forbs.
Managing total grazing pressure: On semi-arid rangelands, livestock as well as feral (e.g. goats) or native grazers (e.g. kangaroos) are dependent on artificial watering points for drinking. Control of access to watering points using fencing allows paddocks and vegetation to be periodically rested from grazing pressure to allow vegetation, including native vegetation, to regenerate. Total grazing pressure can also be reduced through use of trap yards to capture feral goats for removal.
Capacity building: Landholders are assisted to adopt improved grazing management practices including through grazing management courses and membership of the local Landcare Group (for support and technical information). |


A 21,000ha grazing property near Cobar in western New South Wales (NSW),Australia, in the Western Natural Resource Management (NRM) region which is the largest catchment in NSW (approx 230,000sqkm) & encompasses a series of river systems & the most diverse rangelands in NSW. |

Si el lugar tiene límites bien definidos, especifique su extensión en hectáreas:


Población estimada que vive en el lugar:


Breve descripción del entorno natural en el lugar especificado

Semi-arid climate with highly variable rainfall with no seasonal dominance. Particularly dry for the last ten years. Mean rainfall of 336mm per year
Typical Cobar Peneplain (extensive area of plateau or low land with undulating surface) type country, with hard red ridges and associated drainage flats. Hard red ridges have hard red clay loam soils with a hard surface. Drainage flats consist of hard red loam to clay loam soils to depth. |
See response to Soil (above). Undulating country with low slopes of 2-3% and subdued crests.  Groundcover is generally spare on the hard red ridges, increasng on the dranage flats due to extra run-off received.|

Condiciones socioeconómicas imperantes de los habitantes del lugar o las proximidades

The Catchment is predominantly leasehold land, administered under the Western Lands Act 1901 by the New South Wales state government. Leases under the Act include provisions relating to matters such as land use and stocking rates. There are more than 630 pastoral and agricultural holdings.|
Low wool prices through the 1990s led to some loss of social infrastructure. Fewer young people are returning to properties. Off-farm incomes lower than non-rangeland areas. Values of pastoral properties decreased between 1996 and 2002, with some recovery since. Relatively small properties have been rendered non-viable by woody thickening.|

¿En base de qué criterios o indicadores (no relacionados con la Estrategia) se ha considerado la práctica propuesta y la tecnología correspondiente como ‘óptima’?

Managing total grazing pressure: principles for land management practices outlined within the Australian Government’s Management of total grazing pressure - Managing for biodiversity in the rangelands, 2005.
Feral goat control: principles outlined within the Australian Government’s Threat Abatement Plan for Feral Goats, 2008.

Sección 2. Problemas tratados (causas directas e indirectas) y objetivos de la práctica óptima

Principales problemas que trata la práctica óptima

Best practice management of total grazing pressure addresses problems caused by low ground cover and feral goats including: land degradation through wind/water erosion causing soil loss and reduced soil condition; loss of vegetation diversity and condition; and impacts on native fauna habitat and food resources through competition by feral goats.

Explique los problemas específicos de la degradación de las tierras que trata la práctica óptima.

Land degradation can be caused by uncontrolled grazing (including pressure from feral goats) which causes vegetation stress and reduced resilience in dry periods leading to a lack of ground cover. This can then result in soil loss through wind and water erosion, leading to a loss of soil condition, including reduced permeability and carbon content which further contributes to low groundcover. Feral goats browse extensively which can cause tree/shrub death and/or limit species recruitment. This degrades vegetation diversity/condition and can cause loss of habitat and food resources for native fauna through competition by feral goats.|

Especifique los objetivos de la práctica óptima.

To achieve sustainable grazing levels to maintain groundcover above target levels to help prevent soil erosion, land degradation and desertification, increase landscape resilience to climate variability and climate change, and maintain biodiversity.|

Sección 3. Actividades

Breve descripción de las principales actividades, por objetivo

Maintaining biodiversity – activities include feral goat control to reduce grazing pressure impacts on vegetation diversity/condition and reduce loss of habitat and food resources for native fauna cause by competition by feral goats.
To achieve sustainable grazing levels to maintain groundcover above target levels to help prevent soil erosion, land degradation and desertification, increase landscape resilience to climate variability and climate change, and maintain biodiversity.
Sustainable grazing levels to maintain groundcover above target levels – activities include fencing areas of land to manage the grazing pressure of livestock and native and feral animals by resting vegetation periodically.|
Sustainable grazing levels to maintain groundcover above target levels – activities include trapping watering points to control the additional grazing pressure from feral goats by removing them from the property.

Breve descripción y especificaciones técnicas de la tecnología

Fencing – physical barriers are provided by mesh-type and electric fencing to allow stock movement between paddocks to distribute grazing pressure.
Trapping watering points – involves one-way gates which allow animals (including feral goats) to enter but not leave the small paddock that surrounds the watering point. Once the animals are enclosed, the feral goats can be separated from livestock and removed from the property to reduce total grazing pressure.
Grazing management (feral goat control) - Regardless of season, landholders (including park managers) cannot effectively manage groundcover or vegetation condition unless total grazing pressure from feral goats, kangaroos and rabbits is controlled. As described in Australia’s 2002 National Report to the UNCCD, over-grazing by introduced and native herbivores (total grazing pressure) is a cause of land degradation in Australia’s rangelands.
The best practice management of ground cover through activities such as fencing, trapping watering points, and grazing management (feral goat control) is monitored. This includes:
• A program of annual photo points used at several sites over the past five years, to show changes (improvements) in groundcover over time with improved grazing management.
• Step point monitoring along transects to assess ground cover (level and competition) and record observations such as the existence of bare ground, leaf litter, grasses and shrubs.

Sección 4. Instituciones o agentes involucrados (colaboración, participación y función de los interesados)

¿La tecnología se desarrolló en una alianza?

enumere los asociados:

A number of private businesses are involved in supplying fencing and trap gates. Erecting of fencing and trap yards was conducted either by the landholders or contractors.

Especifique el marco en el que se promovió la tecnología


This technology is promoted within the Western natural resource management region, and other natural resource management regions in the semi-arid zones (rangelands) throughout Australia.

¿La participación de interesados locales, incluidas las organizaciones de la sociedad civil, favoreció el desarrollo de la tecnología?

enumere los interesados participantes:

Stakeholders (landholders) were engaged via educational field days, grazing training courses, the Catchment Management Authority website, demonstrations, and fact sheets. Additionally, word of mouth amongst landholders played a significant role in disseminating information.|The public benefits achieved includes improved biodiversity and increased soil carbon over large areas of land, and sustainable pastoral enterprises.

Detalle la función de los interesados enumerados anteriormente en cuanto a diseño, introducción, uso y mantenimiento de la tecnología, en su caso.

The Western Catchment Management Authority managed the project and engaged the community and landholders by offering support, including information and training for landholders to adopt improved grazing management practices. The landholder role is to integrate the best management practices into their farming system and maintain the practices over time.|

¿La población que habitaba en el lugar o en las proximidades participó en el desarrollo de la tecnología?

¿de qué manera?
  • Planteamientos basados en la participación

The grazing management systems are adapted to local conditions and farming systems and often designed by local landholders to obtain the best outcome and greatest efficiency to improve environmental outcomes.


Sección 5. Contribución al impacto

Describa los impactos in situ (los dos principales impactos por categoría).

Improved vegetation condition, biodiversity, soil condition and increased resilience of the ecosystem and landscape to impacts of climate change.|
This leads to positive economic impacts on rural communities and their social wellbeing.
Improved ground cover, reduced wind erosion of soil, and improved total grazing pressure management results in a longer term financial viability of productive land and ability to use the land for productive purposes.|
Farmers have a greater sense of purpose and control of their land and feel encouraged that improving ground cover management results in improved biodiversity with longlasting benefits, including to the production system.|

Describa los dos principales impactos fuera del lugar (por ejemplo, que no se registran en el lugar, pero sí en las zonas próximas).

Positive off-site impacts include reduced generation of dust and sediment; increased capacity for carbon sequestration; increased biodiversity; providing corridors for species movement.

Impacto en la diversidad biológica y el cambio climático


Competition and land degradation by feral goats are listed as a key threatening process under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Of the threatened species listed under the EPBC Act, feral goats are considered a threat to 8 bird species, 3 mammal species, 1 insect and 44 plant species.  This is a widespread issue throughout Australian rangelands and by controlling feral goats, the biodiversity impacts and land degradation problems caused by them can be addressed. Farmers’ adoption of sustainable grazing management strategies increases groundcover, including native species. For example, in some Western Catchment Management Authority projects, total vegetation cover (annuals and perennials) is approximately 78% in areas using best practice, compared to areas not using best practice where vegetation cover is approximately 21%.|
Adoption of sustainable grazing management practices has the potential to increase ecosystem and production system resilience to the impacts of climate change, allowing for adaptation. Improved ground cover improves soil condition through increasing soil carbon which can improve soil water holding capacity and nutrient availability. Healthy soil provides a number of services to build ecosystem resilience, including food and habitat for biodiversity, erosion control, improved buffering capacity as well as sequestering carbon dioxide.|
Improving ground cover in grazing systems can increase the carbon content of soil. Healthy soil provides a number of services including carbon dioxide sequestration potential.

Sección 6. Adopción y reproducibilidad

¿La tecnología se difundió o introdujo en otros lugares?

¿La tecnología se difundió o introdujo en otros lugares? :

¿Dónde? :

Stakeholders in the Western natural resource management region were engaged via educational field days, grazing training courses, the Catchment Management Authority website, demonstrations and fact sheets. Additionally, word of mouth amongst landholders played a significant role in disseminating information.|The practice can be replicated at property scales, and when properties using the best practice adjoin, the scale can be regional. Also, strategically targeting “feral goat hotspots” can achieve better results for less expenditure. For example, controlling feral goats at their preferred breeding grounds will achieve broader results and/or controlling feral goats around targeted land degradation areas can achieve broader results for biodiversity.

¿Se dispuso de incentivos para facilitar la aceptación de la tecnología proporcionada?

¿Se dispuso de incentivos para facilitar la aceptación de la tecnología proporcionada?

Especifique qué tipo de incentivos:
  • Incentivos políticos o reglamentarios (por ejemplo, relacionados con los requisitos y las regulaciones del mercado, importación o exportación, inversión extranjera, ayudas para la investigación y el desarrollo, etc.)
  • Incentivos financieros (por ejemplo, tasas preferenciales, ayudas estatales, subvenciones, donaciones, garantías de préstamo, etc.)

¿Puede identificar las tres principales condiciones para el éxito de la práctica óptima/tecnología presentada?

The best practice is practical, demonstrable, easily adopted and fits into landholders’ current farming systems. It produces dual outcomes of biodiversity enhancement and productivity benefits. Landholder contribution (at least 50% of project costs) is a criterion for receiving financial incentives. Landholders are provided with training/information to assist adoption.|


¿En su opinión, la práctica óptima/la tecnología que ha propuesto se puede reproducir en cualquier otro lugar con un cierto nivel de adaptación?

¿A qué nivel?
  • Local
  • Subnacional

Sección 7. Enseñanzas

En relación con los aspectos técnicos

The monitoring requirements for this case-study project allow lessons to be learnt along the life of the project. This includes increasing understanding of the outcomes that can be achieved. |Monitoring is through:
1 Use of photopoints, established before any works are commenced, and then repeated annually for a period of 10 years after the project is completed to record changes to groundcover;
2 A count of the number of goats removed per year;
3 Self-evaluation reports by the landholder ononce the project establishment is completed, and five years after the project contract is signed.

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