Australia and New Zealand

Rangeland ecotypes exist in both Australia and New Zealand with more than 75% of Australia and approximately 50% of New Zealand's land area classified as rangelands. Approximately the same size as the United States, Australia is the lowest, flattest and second driest continent in the world (Antarctica is the driest). Water is in very short supply throughout most of the continent and most of the population lives within 100 km of the ocean. About two-thirds of Australia's land is used for agriculture, mostly grazing by sheep or cattle on native pastures. In the Outback, native aboriginal people use prescribed fire to manage the grasslands. They recognize that fire plays an important role in many Australian ecosystems with a multitude of plant species being dependent on fire for regeneration. Native wildlife species play a major role in Australia and New Zealand's rangeland systems as well, most notably during drought periods kangaroos migrate from the interior (e.g., Simpson Desert) to the higher precipitation, agricultural zones along the Great Dividing Range, often decimating pastoral fields. Exotic invasive species, such as the European rabbit, have been highly detrimental to the rangelands of both Australia and New Zealand.

Videos and Gigapans about Australia and New Zealand


Managing in a Variable Climate