The climate change risk management matrix for the grazing industry of northern Australia

Cobon, David H. and Stone, Grant S. and Carter, John O. and Scanlan, Joe C. and Toombs, Nathan R. and Zhang, Xike and Willcocks, Jacqui and McKeon, Greg M. (2009) The climate change risk management matrix for the grazing industry of northern Australia. The Rangeland Journal, 31 (1). pp. 31-49. ISSN 1036-9872


The complexity, variability and vastness of the northern Australian rangelands make it difficult to assess the
risks associated with climate change. In this paper we present a methodology to help industry and primary producers assess risks associated with climate change and to assess the effectiveness of adaptation options in managing those risks. Our assessment involved three steps. Initially, the impacts and adaptation responses were documented in matrices by 'experts' (rangeland and climate scientists). Then, a modified risk management framework was used to develop risk management matrices that identified important impacts, areas of greatest vulnerability (combination of potential impact and adaptive capacity) and priority areas for action at the industry level. The process was easy to implement and useful for arranging and analysing large amounts of information (both complex and interacting). Lastly, regional extension officers (after minimal 'climate literacy' training) could build on existing knowledge provided here and implement the risk management process in workshops with rangeland land managers. Their participation is likely to identify relevant and robust adaptive responses that are most likely to be included in regional and property management decisions. The process developed here for the grazing
industry could be modified and used in other industries and sectors. By 2030, some areas of northern Australia will experience more droughts and lower summer rainfall. This poses a serious threat to the rangelands. Although the impacts and adaptive responses will vary between ecological and geographic systems, climate change is expected to have noticeable detrimental effects: reduced pasture growth and surface water availability; increased competition from woody vegetation; decreased production per head (beef and wool) and gross margin; and adverse impacts on biodiversity. Further research and development is needed to identify the most vulnerable regions, and to inform policy in time to facilitate transitional change and enable land managers to implement those changes.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Australian Rangeland Society 2009. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2014 06:38
Last Modified: 13 May 2015 03:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: impact; adaptation; vulnerability; policy; decision making; adaptive action
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 83 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 8304 Pasture, Browse and Fodder Crops > 830403 Native and Residual Pastures
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/RJ08069

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