Sarah McDonald

Research interests

  • Rangeland ecology and management
  • Sustainable grazing systems
  • Total grazing pressure impact and management
  • Improving productivity and management of pastures


Sarah has been working in rangeland management in western NSW for over 10 years and began working as a Research Officer for NSW Department of Primary Industries in 2018. In her current position, Sarah is involved in research projects related to pasture and livestock productivity, with a focus on rangelands. The primary focus of her previous research has been investigating the effects of grazing management on biodiversity conservation and landscape function in NSW semi-arid rangelands.


  • B.Nat Res (Hons) – University of New England 2011
  • PhD – University of New England 2018

Current Projects

  • Total grazing pressure management – quantifying spatial and temporal changes in feed supply and demand
  • Accessing carbon markets – a decision support tool to enhance carbon farming opportunities
  • Vulnerability assessment to climate change for extensive livestock industries

Recent publications

McDonald, S.E., Reid, N., Smith, R., Waters, C.M., Hunter, J., and Rader, R. (2019). Floristic diversity in rotationally grazed piospheres and an adjacent nature reserve in a semi-arid rangeland. Austral Ecology. (undergoing final review)

McDonald, S.E., Lawrence, R., Kendall, L., and Rader, R. (2019). Ecological, biophysical and production effects of incorporating rest into grazing regimes: a global meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology.

McDonald, S.E., Reid, N., Smith, R., Waters, C.M., Hunter, J., and Rader, R. (2019). Rotational grazing management achieves similar plant diversity outcomes to areas managed for conservation in a semi-arid rangeland. The Rangeland Journal. 41(2): 135-145

McDonald, S.E., Reid, N., Waters, C.M., Smith, R., and Hunter, J. (2018) Improving ground cover and landscape function in a semi-arid rangeland through alternative grazing management. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 268: 8-14.

McDonald, S., Reid, N., Smith, R., Waters, C., Hunter, J. and Rader, R.,(2016). Grazing Management for Biodiversity Conservation and Landscape Function in Semi-Arid New South Wales. In 10th International Rangeland Congress July 2016 (p. 163).

Please refer to Dr McDonald’s Researchgate page for the most up to date list of publications.

Professional associations and activities

  • Member of the Australian Rangeland Society

Fields of research

  • 070101 Agricultural Land Management
  • 070305 Crop and Pasture Improvement
  • 050205 Environmental Management
  • 050209 Natural Resource Management
  • 050104 Landscape Ecology
  • 050102 Ecosystem Function

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Grazing management
  • Rangeland management
  • Pasture production
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Total grazing pressure

Contact details


Location: Trangie Agricultural Research Centre