- Rangelands make up about 87 % of Western Australia and include all but the south west of the state. Livestock grazing on pastoral leasehold is the dominant commercial land use across 45% (about 980,000 km2) of the WA rangelands. There are 504 pastoral leases in Western Australia. Unallocated Crown lands make up another 37%.
- A total of eight state government agencies play some role in managing Western Australia?s rangelands. However, the Department of Land Administration has the greatest responsibility, administering those rangelands held as either unallocated Crown lands, or as pastoral leases. Under the Land Administration Act , the Pastoral Lands Board of Western Australia is responsible for administering pastoral lands. Agriculture Western Australia provides rangeland monitoring, condition assessment and lease inspection services to the Board under a Memorandum of Understanding.
- Agriculture Western Australia is a primary driver of these activities in its own right, having strategic objectives of demonstrating an upward trend in range condition and of using this to improve the rural sector?s international competitiveness. These activities are also used to inform the Commisioner of Soil Conservation under the Soil and Land Conservation Act .
- Almost 95% of the pastoral rangelands are mapped to land system level. Over the last 30 years, Agriculture Western Australia and the Department of Land Administration have conducted regional scale resource inventory and condition assessments, with about 87% of the pastoral rangelands covered or in progress. Of this area, 46% were assessed as good condition, 30% as fair condition and 24% as poor condition. About 0.8% were mapped as severely degraded and eroded.
- The Western Australian Rangeland Monitoring System (WARMS) is used to monitor pastoral rangelands at the regional scale. It is operational and consists of a set of almost 1,600 fixed sites, located on representative areas of pastoral leases. Most leases, of viable size, have at least one WARMS site on them and on average there are about three sites per lease. However, WARMS is designed to report at the vegetation type or regional/district scale, rather than at the lease scale. In the Kimberley, sites are assessed on a three year cycle, south of the Kimberley on a six year cycle. The first full reassessment of Kimberley sites was completed in 1999. About 40% of sites south of the Kimberley have been reassessed, with the full set to be completed during 2004.
- WARMS has evolved from several earlier systems and the WARMS database maintains records and photos for a total of about 5,400 sites.
- The condition of individual leases is assessed as part of a regular program of lease inspection, on a maximum cycle of six years. Similar techniques are used to the range survey program and over time this will allow regional assessments to be made of condition, and change in condition at the sub-lease scale.
- Agriculture Western Australia also supports lease level monitoring by pastoralists for their own purposes. This includes the more traditional type of photo site monitoring as well as innovative techniques which include pastoral productivity and nature conservation attributes.
- Land Cover Change Analysis using Landsat remote sensing has been successfully used in several areas within Western Australia. This work continues, although there is no schedule to completely assess the pastoral rangelands using this technique.
- "Rangeland monitoring, resource inventory, condition assessment and lease inspection activities in Western Australia" conducted by the Department of Agriculture (PDF - 1917 KB)
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