Pasture production in cleared and uncleared grazing systems of central Queensland, Australia

Kamaljit Kaur, Rajesh K. Jalota, David J. Midmore, J ROLFE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clearing land of trees and introducing exotic pastures to enhance pasture and cattle production and hence enterprise financial performance are widely practised in Queensland. The results from many previous studies on tree clearing have emphasised the gains in pasture production, but over periods of less than 10–15 years after clearing. The present study questioned the sustainability of pasture production in cleared systems over a longer time-frame (>10 years of clearing). For this, three different age groups of clearing i.e. 5 year, 11–13 year and 33 year were selected in each of 3 major types of tree communities i.e. Eucalyptus populnea, E. melanophloia and Acacia harpophylla in central Queensland. Paired comparisons of cleared and uncleared (intact) pasture systems were selected for each age group of clearing. The results suggest that the initial gains in pasture production upon clearing were compatible with published studies. However, for longer periods of time since clearing, the gains in pasture production were not sustained and were accompanied by risks of land degradation and loss of pasture plant diversity. For E. populnea and A. harpophylla, the maximum benefits from clearing were achieved at 13–15 years whereas for E. melanophloia, any benefits existed only over a short period of 5–6 years. The study emphasises that each tree community exhibits a specific response with regard to the duration of increased pasture production following clearing. To estimate the total benefits from tree clearing in pasture development, it is important to consider both monetary benefits and non-monetary losses from clearing for different types of tree communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalRangeland Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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