Stories in this Theme

By Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers

The latest cullling operation in Mapoon, saw 135 five feral pigs destroyed. Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers and the Animal Management officer conducted an aerial pig cull in early October, a great effort by all involved.

The Land and Sea Management Unit carries out four culls annually, and this effort was the first involving local staff.Huge thanks to Lee Ase, Thomas Pitt and chopper pilot Bungie Scott for their efforts.

Damian and Di Cullenward are farmers from Eugowra, Central NSW.

Damian grew up in the west of the state, and continues to spend time there as a farm contractor.

Damian has drawn attention from his surrounding farming community for the interesting work he carries out on his property. The land had been intensively farmed for a decade prior to his ownership, and sections of the land of were struggling with the impacts of overgrazing, weed infestation and  historic chemical use.

Image: (Above Right) Keith Macdonald, (Above Left) C

By Lyndal Scobell

Predatory raids on turtle egg nests continue to threaten the survival of two endangered turtle species that nest on the shores of western Cape York Peninsula.

Feral pigs are the most common culprits.  Nearly 100% of Olive Ridley and Flatback turtle nests have suffered predation in recent years. Cape York Sustainable Futures (CYSF) hosted the Cape York Sea Turtle Project for the past six years, working  with Western Cape communities and ranger groups to reduce the impact of predators on the turtles eggs, increasing the chances of species survival.

Many species can live in moderately-altered landscapes that retain most of their trees, shrubs and grasses. However, a few species survive only where their habitat has been fenced to prevent grazing, trampling and rooting by feral or domestic animals.

Weeds are introduced plants that reproduce or even proliferate unaided. Most weeds are exotic, however native plants can also be considered weeds if introduced outside of their natural range. In many cases it is not for many years, or even decades after a plant’s introduction that it is considered a weed as they tend to be recognised as such only when they have already spread.

Environmental weeds are plants that represent a threat to the conservation values of natural ecosystems.


The understorey shrub layer is an important component of many vegetation communities across the Northern Territory. Unlike grassy savannas, many forest and woodland communities feature either an open or more closed understorey shrub layer, especially in the Top End. Sometimes the shrub layer is the dominant vegetation stratum, particularly in the arid zone. In general, the structure, density and composition of the shrub layer are largely determined by rainfall, soil type and management history.


Landscapes are often thought of and described in terms of their tree layer, however it is usually the understorey that supports the widest range of wildlife. Grasses and herbs comprise most of the plant diversity in the majority of terrestrial communities across northern Australia. This is particularly the case in the tropical savannas. Some studies estimate that up to 90% of biodiversity is found in the understorey. 


Para Grass is an exotic grass that threatens wetlands across northern Australia. Introduced into Australia in the late 19th century, it is now established in coastal floodplains across the Top End between Darwin and Nhulunbuy. It is a particular problem on the floodplains of the Mary River and Magela Creek, as well as on Croker Island. A small population was recorded on Bathurst Island in the 1990s.