A structured approach using a world cafe session to bring together practice, policy and research.

This is an interactive session meant to create discussion and obtain input from all conference participants. A core group is outlining each world café topic before the conference and will facilitate a moving round table discussion on the day, with the focus on stimulating the exchange of ideas on each topic. Then, the core group with others who are interested aim to write up the outcomes as a paper for the special issue. Though the following topics are the main ones planned, there is space for a couple more topics that may emerge during the conference.


Horizon scan – identifying key questions / points to address for future rangelands

Convenor: Uffe Nielsen. Core group: Amy Churchilll, Mark Stafford Smith, Graciela Metternight

This horizon scan will build on ongoing efforts to identify and prioritize key questions and challenges facing rangelands nationally and internationally. The outcome of the horizon scan will be published in a special issue of the Rangelands Journal following the conference.

To accomplish this we envision i) a pre-conference survey of conference attendees and key Australian rangeland stakeholders to identify key questions and challenges broadly, ii) a targeted discussion during the conference (i.e. the World Café session) to rank questions and challenges and illicit feedback from experts in the field, iii) a post-conference assessment of survey results and targeted discussion outcomes will form the basic structure for the article to be written up by a core group of authors with input from the community more broadly.

Value of traditional knowledge

Convenor: John Leys. Core group: Mal Ridges

There are numerous examples now about the value of Aboriginal traditional knowledge to managing natural landscapes (cf Muir et al 2013).That that knowledge is valuable is not the emerging challenge. As scientists, land managers and Aboriginal people work together more, new aspirations are emerging.

  • For this world café session we would like to discuss and explore:
  • The rangelands are a shared space which is valued by many stakeholders and value-sets. Traditional knowledge is just one of many knowledges we value. How do we realise and value knowledge-integration?
  • How do we value traditional knowledge as living knowledge – and value the living culture it is embedded within? How do we value culture itself?
  • How do we move beyond valuing traditional knowledge as ‘data’; to valuing the meaningful cultural knowledge exchange based on the principles of ‘two-eyed seeing’ (Bartlett et al 2012)?
  • How do we create value in the sharing of knowledge and perspective?
  • What can a vision of valued traditional knowledge look like for the Australian Rangelands?

By exploring these topics we hope to outline a research paper that is forward-looking for traditional knowledge partnerships in rangelands management in Australia

Private custodianshop of native species

Convenor: George Wilson. Core group: Wendy Craik, Neil Byron, Rosie Cooney, Mel Edwards

Private landholders can trade in deer, alpacas, bison, heritage breeds of sheep, cattle, horses and other livestock. Zoos and not-for-profit conservation organisations can trade in Australian native species. Private landholders cannot, although they can sell kangaroos after they are dead.
Most declines of threatened species and overabundance of kangaroos have occurred on private lands due to habitat change and to altered predation.
This café session asks if a form of private custodianship or a lease over wildlife would improve biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Would landholders invest in better management of both abundant species (kangaroos) and threatened species (iconic wallabies, numbats, bandicoots, bilbies and koalas) if permitted to do so? Can Australia emulate overseas conservation projects in which tenure is a vital component of wildlife conservation?

Success in implementing novel technologies

Convenor: Kate Forrest. Core group: Glen Norris, Claire Krause

New technologies are coming on the scene all the time. What facilitates or impedes their uptake in rangeland Australia?
Who/how decides what technology is developed? What are the processes for uptake? What don’t ley people understand about the system that frustrates development and uptake of new technologies? Where are the main costs and benefits in that system for the people developing technologies, those delivering them to end users and the end users?

Building capacity and supporting future leaders

Convenor: John Taylor. Core group: Gus Whyte, Jodie Gregg-Smith

A bright future for rangeland livelihoods and ecological integrity will depend on human interventions. Thinking of a bright future for our rangelands in 10-15 years’ time, how do we determine the priorities for: i) human capacity and ii) capability building and ensure the skills are available to rangeland management.
• Where are the gaps and what are the priorities for building capacity and future leaders?’
• Which of these needs are being met – largely or in part – and by whom &/or what current initiatives?
• How can we raise awareness of these avenues for capacity and capability building?
• What are the big emerging gaps in the number(s) of people working in the rangelands, and how could we fill these?
• What are the remaining skills and knowledge gaps, and how could we fill them?
• What novel ways will become available to fill skills and knowledge gaps in the future?

Governance of rangelands and improving policies for future rangelands

Drought risk management

Convenor: David Phelps

Federal and State governments have escalated the support for drought affected communities, including the national Future Drought Fund. How can we ensure this results in the desired improvement in resilience of rangeland communities and landscapes? The frequency, intensity and duration of multi-year droughts is likely to increase. What more can government, science, industry and communities do to build resilience? Are all actors missing the key element of drought risk management as a key to manage future droughts?

Contribution of rangelands to carbon neutrality

Convenor: Cathy Waters

It seems an unattainable goal for the red meat industry to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 without clear pathways. While it will be important for pastoralist’s to participate in achieving carbon neutrality, it is likely this can only be achieved by purchasing international offsets.

Australia – China collaboration: what can we learn from comparing notes?

Convenor: Ken Hodgkinson

Australia and China have enduring and mutually beneficial cooperation in rangeland/grassland research. What are going to be profitable areas of cooperative research in the future?

Rangeland narratives. what are the changes we are trying to deal with?

please note that the above topics are subject to change without notice