Reflections tour provides benefits to land and enterprise

[May-June 2016]

A three and a half day tour throughout the southern rangelands last month informed pastoralists of the types of land management work undertaken in their region and its benefit to land and enterprise.

The Reflections Tour, supported by Rangelands NRM though funding from the National Landcare Programme, visited six properties through the shires of Leonora, Wiluna, Cue and Murchison, including Yakabindie, Mutawa (Lorna Glen), Cunyu, Nallan, Boolardy and Wooleen from 18–21 April. 

The tour attracted 18 pastoral representatives in total and interested parties including past and present Agricultural representatives.

Rangelands NRM Regional Landcare Facilitator Kane Watson said the tour was an opportunity to meet, observe what is happening on the ground, discuss techniques and learn from each other.

“It took in a range of themes including erosion control, Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU) and Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management (ESRM), partnerships, total grazing pressure infrastructure, low stress stock handling and destocking. 

Land system experts Greg Brennan and Richard Glover were part of the tour and facilitated discussion around total grazing pressure and the application of ESRM in order to promote the uptake of sustainable practices.

“This was a great opportunity to see what people have done for erosion control as well as the contrasting infrastructure approaches by regional champions such as Ken Shaw and Michael Clinch,” Richard Glover of Contour Environmental & Agricultural Consulting said. 

 “Were looking at the effects of eco-rolls and reduced grazing to restore the ecology of this historically over grazed area,” Jim Addison, recent retiree from DAFWA said.

Another aspect of the Reflections tour was to meet with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the Martu rangers and the Martu ladies group on Mutawa (Lorna Glen).

Mr Watson said this was a rare opportunity for the pastoral sector to be guided around Mutawa by past and present land managers and share in their learnings.

“This conversation was further enhanced by the presence of researches and community members who joined the evening meal, and Parks and Wildlife graciously provided access to the wildlife enclosure providing the opportunity to see numerous endangered species,” he said.

Wooleen Station owner David Pollock said, “It would be great to get the Martu ladies to reintroduce some Boodies onto Wooleen.”

Given the range of themes addressed during the tour, the conversation within the group was broad and varied.

“Rangeland function is dynamic; it is a lifetime commitment to regenerate this country. You need to take the science out to the pastoralist to promote sustainability of landscape and economics of enterprise,” said one of the participants.

“I learnt a lot from this tour and it was really interesting seeing what people are doing on the ground,” Damian Priest from DAFWA said. “I will take these lessons with me.”

Images
Left: Erosion control works on Wooleen (©K.Watson)
Right: Discussing land system mapping at Mutawa (©K.Watson)