The principles and theory of landscape ecology can be used with careful spatial planning to maintain ecosystem function and services in the face of urbanisation and agricultural intensification of the rangelands. In the largely undisturbed catchment of Darwin harbour in Northern Australia, an area of cattle grazing, some agriculture and small urban areas, seasonally waterlogged grassy valley floors known as dambos are demonstrated to be of vital importance for the minimisation of fine sediment transport to the harbour. If the dambos are disturbed fine sediment from them will have potentially detrimental effects on the biodiversity of the upper harbour and may also add pollutants contained in the fine sediment. The incorporation of such important landscape features into landscape planning in rangelands worldwide is critical to the creation of sustainable future landscapes. Techniques that monitor condition and function of the landscape coupled with spatially informed design are able to assist in preserving the important ecosystem services that natural features can provide and thus have a significant contribution to make in landscape sustainability.