Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

EMUs in the Rangelands

What’s in an EMU? Rangelands is working with a number of pastoralists to prepare Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU) summaries to help build natural resource management skills and environmental sustainability.  The EMUs are an environmental plan prepared by rangeland rehydration specialists that can be used within a whole of business management plan.

Joy Sherlock, Rangelands NRM Program Manager, recently visited a number of stations around Meekatharra with specialist consultant Hugh Pringle to undertake the initial stages of EMUs.

Their first task for each property was a whole of station assessment of lands, vegetation and drainage make-up, which then informed EMU overlay mapping comprising two base maps for planning management strategies – a land systems map and satellite image map.

Once an overall picture of the station is obtained, we look in more detail at the component parts, such as drainage, its status and trend – whether stable, eroding or accumulating sediment.  We then map the drainage patterns of the whole station, identify where flooding and erosion occurs and what this signifies.

The exercise of overlay mapping of problem areas such as erosion and productive areas is central to the EMU process of land management, and both the pastoralists and the visiting facilitators learn and benefit from the process.

All of this information helps us develop a toolkit in conjunction with the pastoralists to develop successful management responses for healing or maintaining healthy land function.  But the initial EMU is just the start of the process, as one of the most important aspects is protracted observation and annotating changes on the station’s overlay maps, allowing information to be gathered over time.

If you’re interested in finding out more about EMUs in general or for a specific property, please contact us.