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

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Cobon, D.H., Stone, G.S., Carter, J.O., Scanlan, J.C., Toombs, N.R., Zhang, X.K., Willcocks, J. and McKeon, G.M. (2009) The climate change risk management matrix for the grazing industry of northern Australia. Rangeland Journal, 31 (1). pp. 31-49.



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.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Open access PDF attached
Keywords:Impact; adaptation; vulnerability; policy; decision making; adaptive action.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural education > Agricultural extension work
Live Archive:24 Aug 2009 06:45
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:43

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