Matthew Fletcher on behalf of the Conference Organising Committee  Email:


The 22nd Biennial Australian Rangeland Society Conference was held from 18-22 September 2023 in Broome, Western Australia. The Conference was a great success, surpassing the Organising Committee’s expectations in three crucial areas: early career participation, Indigenous engagement and pastoralist involvement.

The event was a busy week, including informative field trips, a remarkable turnout with 252 registered delegates, and a diverse program featuring 101 oral presentations and 25 posters.


Field Tours

The conference opened with field tours to three unique locations: Dampier Peninsula, Gumaranganyjal (Roebuck Plains Station), and a Broome cultural tour. These tours offered delegates insights into local cultural, land management, and tourism aspects. Attendees had the chance to interact with Bardi Jawi, Nyul Nyul, and Yawuru Rangers, fostering meaningful discussions and interactions regarding their important work.


Bardi Jawi Rangers discussing prescribed fire planning on the Dampier Peninsula Tour


Tour participants at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Skuthorpe research pivot


Conference Presentations

Keynote addresses for the conference were:

  • Nini Mills – Holistic Development – Yawuru Gumaranganyjal (Roebuck Plains) Station
  • Dr Beverley Henry – Soil carbon sequestration in rangelands: Realities and Risks
  • Dr Tony O’Grady – Natural capital: what it is, the opportunities, risks, and the pathway forward
  • Amelia Nolan – A baton of storytelling
  • Bob Shepherd – Effective property visits to rangeland pastoral owners and managers
  • Dr Andrew Marshall – BoM in the Bush – Linking Climate Science and Decision Making
  • Dr Wendy Williams – Biocrusts, ecological indicators in the Australian rangelands
  • Dr Phil Vercoe – Virtual fencing and other matters
  • Dr Cuan Petheram – Prospects for agricultural intensification in northern Australia’s rangelands
  • Ben Dwyer – Managing the Rangelands and Herd for Sustainability and Profitability


Dr Beverley Henry delivers a keynote address on day 1 of the conference


Concurrent session themes were:

  • Traditional land use and management
  • Coming to grips with carbon and natural capital
  • Resilience in a land of drought and flooding rains
  • Collaboration and partnerships
  • From the Drought Hub
  • Modelling and planning
  • Pass the Baton
  • Climate extremes and drought
  • Biocrusts and soil properties
  • Diversification, large feral herbivores and weeds
  • Managing and measuring grazing impact, and
  • From the sky


Presenters from the “Traditional land use and management session” chaired by Dean Mathews from Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd (NBY)


No need to worry if you missed any of the presentations. All presentations are now available to the public through the conference website ( – please note that you will have to register to gain access to these presentations.  In the coming weeks the conference presentations and papers will also be uploaded and made available on the ARS website ( – we will let all ARS members know when this process is complete.


Thank you to our Conference supporters and sponsors

The Conference Organising Committee wishes to express its gratitude to our Conference supporters and sponsors. Their early support, when resources were scarce, was greatly appreciated.

A special thanks to CSIRO for enabling 13 early career delegates to participate. These individuals would not have had the opportunity to attend otherwise. We also thank them for facilitating Millie Nolan’s captivating keynote plenary, ‘Passing the Baton,’ which took place on Wednesday morning.

Lotterywest sponsored the attendance of ten rangers from the West Kimberley at the conference. A highlight of the event was the impressive presentation by Preston Cox (Nyul Nyul Ranger) and Azton Howard (Bardi Jawi Ranger) on collaborative fire management and its impact on changing landscape fire regimes in northwestern Australia. The presentation was delivered with enthusiasm, expertise and received positive feedback from the delegates.




Social Events

It is always a challenge making enough time for networking/socialising, especially when a large number of abstracts (all hoping to present) are received; but we did our best to get the mix right with:

  • Welcome reception at Broome Fishing Club
  • Drinks/nibbles around posters on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and
  • The conference dinner on the Thursday night


Scenes from the welcome reception, afternoon drinks and conference dinner


Conference Feedback

We received ninety-one responses to our post-conference survey and would like to thank the respondents who took the time to complete the survey. The feedback included positive comments, constructive criticism, and valuable suggestions for how to enhance future events. We will share these notes with the Organizing Committees of the International Rangelands Congress in Adelaide 2025 and the 23rd Biennial ARS Conference in NT in 2026 to assist them in their planning.

The first graph below illustrates the primary reasons why delegates attended the 22nd Biennial Conference (note that multiple reasons could be selected). The second graph, on the other hand, reveals a significant presence of long-standing rangeland practitioners, while also showing a high number of early career participants.





Conference Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the Conference awards which were announced during the Conference Dinner.  These include:

Best Presentation – Andrea Tschirner “Digging deep to better manage pastoral country – understanding soils in arid landscapes”


Best Lightning Presentation  – Geoff Moore “Risk of agricultural plants becoming environmental weeds in the northern rangelands”


Best Early Career Presentation – Lucy Gardner “Rapid assessment of Mitchell Grass on Southern Gulf rangelands using drone imagery and machine learning”


Best Poster – Vanessa Anderson and Louise Turner “The Ecosystems Quilt”


Further Thanks

I would like to extend a sincere thanks to my fellow members of the Conference Organising Committee, which included Don Burnside, Quinton Clasen, Jennifer Duffecy, Josh Foster Chris Hetherington, Grey Mackay, Jardine McDonald, Tahlia Payne, and Kath Ryan, and the AA&P staff, including Rosie Peace, Sita Carolina, and Emily Smigowski, for their outstanding efforts in making this conference a reality.


The Organising Committee for ARS23 Conference


In closing, I would like to thank delegates for making the effort to attend the Broome Conference, we recognise that it was a considerable journey in terms of both time and expense.