Rangeland inventory and condition survey of the Pilbara region, Western Australia

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The Pilbara region rangelands were surveyed between 1995 and 1999. The report provides land managers, advisers and administrators with a baseline record of the natural resources of the region’s pastoral leasehold land to assist with planning and implementing land management practices.

How to use this survey

The survey survey report provides pastoralists and others with informaiton that can help to improve sustainable use of pastoral natural resources, and protect degraded areas or areas at risk of degradation.

This survey:

  • identified and described the condition of soils, landforms, vegetation, habitat, ecosystems, and declared plants and animals
  • assessed the impact of pastoralism
  • recommended land management, including recommended carrying capacities, for each pastoral lease.

Survey area and inventory summary

The Pilbara region was surveyed between 1995 and 1999 by AME Van Vreeswyk, A Payne, K Leighton and P Hennig. This survey was published in 2004 as Technical bulletin 92 An inventory and condition survey of the Pilbara region, Western Australia.

The area surveyed covers 181 723 square kilometres. Seven towns fall within the survey area: Port Hedland, Onslow, Pannawonica, Wittenoom, Marble Bar, Nullagine and Newman.

Pastoralism was the most extensive land use. Forty-four pastoral leases fell wholly or partly within the survey area and collectively occupied about 105 240 square kilometres (58%) of the area.

Mining was an important land use and was largely confined to ironstone ranges and greenstone belts.

Twenty-one broad soil groups were identified within the survey area. The most outstanding characteristic of the soils was the predominant red colour. Stony mantles and shallowness were a feature.

The flora of the area was diverse, with 1137 vascular species recorded during the survey. Of these, 1094 were native species. Forty-one of the 95 plant species on the Declared and Rare Priority Flora listing for the survey area were collected during the survey.

Condition summary

The survey report provides condition statements – for the time of the survey – for the whole survey area and for each land system. Pasture condition and soil condition were assessed at points throughout the survey area.

The survey found that:

  • 77% of the points were in good or very good rangeland condition
  • 11% were in fair rangeland condition
  • 12% were in poor or very poor rangeland condition.