Title: Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management (ESRM) Planning and EMU™
Overview: ESRM planning is used to underlie the sustainable pastoralism work that Rangelands NRM undertakes. It takes a whole-of-property approach, to strike the right balance between maintaining the rangeland natural resource base and achieving the business goals of the land manager. Through the ESRM planning process, the land manager identifies land systems, notes their productive potential and degradation risks and prioritises them into action/response categories. The land systems with the greatest productive potential as well as the highest risks of on-going or future degradation are chosen to be prioritized for future works to ensure sustained productivity.
A Rangelands NRM staff member works with the station owner/manager and a specialist ESRM facilitator to organise the resources required for the property visit. The initial phase is usually conducted around the kitchen table and includes discussion on goals for the property, enterprises, the property’s natural resources and any particular areas of interest or concern. A landscape mapping exercise also occurs. A charter flight around the station is usually conducted to gain a different perspective of landscape function and some areas of the station are also inspected by vehicle. Typically, this takes two to three days in one block and the property’s manager will need to be available and involved throughout.
After the station visit, the specialist ESRM facilitator prepares a draft ESRM plan. This includes maps and diagrams integrating the production elements of the business with resource sustainability and nature conservation. The plan outlines the managers’ goals for the property and business, describes and analyses key property and business resources, identifies the important issues to be addressed and lists the potential actions the manager can take to reach their goals.
The content of an ESRM plan is flexible, depending on the needs/interests of each property, and can include:
Delivery organisation: Original ESRM plans were created working with the Department of Agriculture and Food and then consultancy Biota, specifically Richard Glover. Richard now runs his own consultancy Contour Environmental and Agricultural Consulting Pty Ltd and continues to complete ESRMs. Richard (or another specialist ESRM facilitator) will visit properties together with a Rangelands NRM staff member for initial discussions. There is currently no cost to pastoralist, and Rangelands NRM funds from a range of sources.
Outcomes: Pastoral properties throughout the rangelands of WA have been supported in producing their properties in an ecological way. Ninety have been completed through this process. Examples of management actions implemented following the development of ESRM plans have included changes to grazing management systems, construction of earthworks and other structures to combat erosion and restore landscape function and relocation and/or development of new fences and watering points.
ESRM flyer (Jan 2016)
‘I would have loved to have done this when I first started here. I might have done a few things a bit differently!” Chris Daniells (Manager, Myroodah Station, via Derby)