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

Page last updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2018 - 9:50am

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development surveyed the Pilbara region between 1995 and 1999. The report provides land managers, advisors 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.

The department has surveyed and reported on 14 rangeland areas since 1972.

How to use this survey

Inventory and condition surveys can help people in the pastoral industry to plan for the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of those areas suffering from degradation or at risk of degradation.

The Pilbara region survey was undertaken 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 report identifies and describes the condition of soils, landforms, vegetation, habitat, ecosystems, and declared plants and animals. It also assesses the impact of pastoralism and makes land management recommendations, including recommended carrying capacities for each pastoral lease.

The department has surveyed and reported on 14 rangeland areas since 1972. Most of the rangeland pastoral leases have been surveyed, except for leases in the Southern Goldfields region and to the north-east of Wiluna-Meekatharra. The 15th rangeland survey — in the Southern Goldfields region, covering the area known as the Great Western Woodlands — is in progress and will be published in 2018.

Survey area and inventory summary

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

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

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

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

The flora of the area is 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 whole survey area and for each land system. Pasture and soil condition was assessed at a number of points throughout the survey area. Findings include:

  • 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.

Contact information

Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019

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

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