This publication describes, in broad terms, those arid and semi-arid areas of New South Wales commonly referred to as ‘rangelands’ and the management principles that underlie the sustainable utilisation of these areas by extensive grazing industries. These lands generally lie to the west of the 500 mm rainfall isohyet. Most are located within the Western Division, but significant areas occur in the Central Division. Both here and on the eastern and southern margins of the Western Division, extensive grazing of predominantly native pastures occurs in conjunction with broadacre cropping and areas of intensive irrigated agriculture. Collectively, the semi-arid and arid zones occupy about 60 per cent of the state. The Western Division alone accounts for 42 per cent of the state.
Over such a large area the soils and vegetation vary greatly. Average annual rainfall, and the expected seasonal distribution of rainfall and temperature, are also variable. At any particular location, rainfall fluctuates widely between years. Under these circumstances it is not possible to describe sustainable management practices in detail. Some important management principles can be defined, but their application requires a decision-making framework that recognises the complexities of the biological system and the economic circumstances and aspirations of individual families.
Contents of this publication include: