Australian Rangeland Society

Paul Novelly, Editor-in-Chief, The Rangeland Journal.  Email: penovelly@gmail.com

 

How does a pastoralist manage an ‘unmanaged’ herbivore, and where does responsibility lie?  What options exist for management, and are they affected by the fact that the discussion involves an Australian icon – the kangaroo?

These and other questions are discussed in detail in the current Issue of The Rangeland Journal (Vol. 41; Issue 6), addressing various aspects of Total Grazing Management (TGP) and the mix of domestic livestock, feral animals and native marsupials in Australia’s southern rangelands.

The papers address the situation via the three basic pillars of sustainability – environmental, economic and social, and all throw up problems and complications, to some extent at least, because the “solution” appears to vary depending on the viewpoint of those involved.  And it is here that the papers in this Issue stand out, clearly articulating the differing stakeholder perspectives of acceptable animal management practices and the expectations for resource conservation.  And this includes the views of the general public, a group often disregarded, but fundamental in this debate especially as kangaroos predominate as a subject in the discussion.

The Issue starts with scene setting by Ron Hacker, Katrina Sinclair and Cathy Waters.  Subsequent papers discuss stakeholder perspectives (Trudi Atkinson et al.), public attitudes to animal welfare and landholder resource limitations (Sinclair et al.), the relative forage demands of domestic animals and wildlife by Lester Pahl which challenges the prevailing view, new industries and the expansion of existing ones (and what’s affecting them) to better focus on the objectives of all stakeholders, potential threats to pastoralism, and possible management options, both their effectiveness and, importantly, their perceived implications and their acceptance by stakeholders (papers by Sinclair, Stephen McLeod and Waters and their co-authors).  The Issue concludes with consideration of prospects for the future.

Although I am not still sure how the issue of TGP will be finally resolved, having been associated with editing all the papers, I am now certainly far more aware both of the range management aspects of the situation, as well as the plethora of social concerns and opinions that need to be considered.  It’s a complex situation, but one that is easier to understand now I have read through the papers.

This is a relevant Issue of The Rangeland Journal in the context of contemporary discussion, and I strongly recommend it to anyone either involved in TGP management, or perhaps involved in a situation where a wide spectrum of stakeholders, and therefore opinions, is paramount.  This latest Issue of the Journal provides plenty of insights and things to think about.