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Australian Grassland And Rangeland Assessment by Spatial Simulation

Australian Grassland And Rangeland Assessment by Spatial Simulation

Australian Grassland And Rangeland Assessment by Spatial Simulation

Year to year variation in rainfall has been a major factor contributing to both the degradation and recovery of Australia’s grasslands and rangelands. However the main feature of various documented degradation episodes has been the carrying of too many cattle or sheep, for too long, on areas under stress from drought (Pasture Degradation and Recovery in Australia’s Rangelands – Learning from History). 

AussieGRASS is a tool that was developed in the early 1990s to monitor, at regional scales (e.g. local government areas or bioregions), key biophysical processes associated with pasture degradation and recovery. AussieGRASS also provides a means of early warning as to when and where livestock numbers may be out of balance with likely forage supply. This information, for example, forms part of the Australian Collaborative Rangelands Information System (ACRIS).

AussieGRASS has proved to be invaluable in the assessment of drought and Exceptional Circumstances, as the system goes beyond the analysis of rainfall alone, allowing assessment of the impacts of rainfall on components of the grazing system – in particular pasture growth.

AussieGRASS is, essentially, a spatial implementation of DSITI’s GRASP (Grass Production) model. Within the AussieGRASS framework, GRASP is run on a daily time-step. The observed data are spatially interpolated to construct gridded datasets on a regular 0.05˚ × 0.05˚grid (approximately 5 km × 5 km) across Australia. The AussieGRASS spatial framework includes inputs of key climate variables (rainfall, evaporation, temperature, vapour pressure and solar radiation), soil and pasture types, tree and shrub cover, domestic livestock and other herbivore numbers.

The usefulness of AussieGRASS has now also been realised in applications such as the assessment of bushfire risk.  AussieGRASS provides an indication of both grass biomass and the degree of curing (dead verse green grass).  When linked to seasonal climate outlooks, AussieGRASS produces a unique bushfire hazard alert which is used by rural fire authorities.

Access to AussieGRASS products

Many AussieGRASS products are readily available on LongPaddock through the AussieGRASS ‘public access’ area.   


The AussieGRASS ‘premium access’ area is password-protected (what is available and how to get it).

When using AussieGRASS information, please observe the copyright and conditions for use outlined in the disclaimer.

Last updated 29 April 2015