Previous PageTable Of ContentsHome Page

Land use studies in western Queensland

E.J. Turner and N.M. Dawson

Department of Primary Industries, Indooroopilly. Qld 4068.

The wool industry of Queensland, concentrated in western Queensland, has been concerned with fluctuating incomes, property sizes and land degradation. A detailed resource survey of 60 million hectares was initiated in 1970 (Dawson 1974, Turner 1978) so that critical assessments and land use strategies could be formulated.

Land system maps (1:250,000 scale) and maps of major soil types and vegetation associations (1:500,000 scale) were prepared. All data on landforms, geology, soils and vegetation are stored on computer data file which was used to assess their condition under current systems of use and their potential for improvement. (Table 1)

Table 1. Characteristics of major law zones.

Land zone

Existing/potential Problems

Management requirements

Development potential


Woody weed invasion;

Maintain ground cover, manage
drought reserves.

Water harvesting.

Mulga (soft)

Woody weed invasion;
manage drought reserves.

Maintain ground cover, manage
drought reserves.

Selective tree thinning,
water harvesting, improved pastures.

Mulga (hard)

Serious erosion where
overgrazed, overcleared.

Maintain ground cover,
conservative stocking.



Serious scalding in places.

Structural improvements conservative stocking.

Pasture improvement
(in the east).


woody weeds

Selective clearing.
Structural improvements.
Cash flow.

Clearing, improved pastures.


Woody weeds. Erosion on steeper lands.

Selective clearing.
Structural improvements.
Cash flow.

Clearing, improved pastures.


Lack of shade, drought reserves.

Improved husbandry practices,
maintain financial reserves.

Shallow water storage,
opportunity fodder cropping
(in east).

Eucalypt woodlands

Eucalypt regrowth, erosion.

Maintain ground cover.

Limited opportunity for improved pastures.

This study highlights the following points in the two areas of main concern:

a) Land degradation

  • Improved land management practices through property planning using existing research findings, need emphasis.
  • Sensitive yet productive land types identified in the survey need monitoring.
  • Maintaining high stocking rates during drought periods has led to land degradation particularly in the mulga and alluvial land zones.

b) Economics:

  • Property sizes in the sheep lands are marginal. with 20% of properties carrying less than 5 000 sheep. The rural reconstruction program could be used to improve economic conditions.
  • Incentives such as taxation concessions and rent adjustments are preferable to drought assistance.

Dawson, N.M. (1974). Tech. Bull. Div. Ld. Util. Qd. Dep. Prim. Inds. No. 13.

Turner, E.J. (1978). Tech. Bull. Div. Ld. Util. Qd. Dep. Prim. Inds. No. 23.

Previous PageTop Of Page