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Monitoring contrasting land management in the savanna landscapes of northern Australia


Franklin, DC and Petty, AM and Williamson, G and Brook, BW and Bowman, DMJS, Monitoring contrasting land management in the savanna landscapes of northern Australia, Environmental Management, 41, (4) pp. 501-515. ISSN 0364-152X (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00267-007-9006-1


We compared measures of ecosystem state across six adjacent land-tenure groups in the intact tropical savanna landscapes of northern Australia. Tenure groups include two managed by Aboriginal owners, two national parks, a cluster of pastoral leases, and a military training area. This information is of relevance to the debate about the role of indigenous lands in the Australian conservation estate. The timing and frequency of fire was determined by satellite imagery; the biomass and composition of the herb-layer and the abundance of large feral herbivores by field surveys; and weediness by analysis of a Herbarium database. European tenures varied greatly in fire frequencies but were consistently burnt earlier in the dry season than the two Aboriginal tenures, the latter having intermediate fire frequencies. Weeds were more frequent in the European tenures, whilst feral animals were most abundant in the Aboriginal tenures. This variation strongly implies a signature of current management and/or recent environmental history. We identify indices suitable for monitoring of management outcomes in an extensive and sparsely populated landscape. Aboriginal land offers a unique opportunity for the conservation of biodiversity through the maintenance of traditional fire regimes. However, without financial support, traditional practices may prove unsustainable both economically and because exotic weeds and feral animals will alter fire regimes. An additional return on investment in Aboriginal land management is likely to be improved livelihoods and health outcomes for these disadvantaged communities. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Landscape ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Williamson, G (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:53405
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2008-12-05
Last Modified:2015-02-04

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