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CPHMVS Research Vet Science Tropical Rangeland Ecosystems Group

Tropical Rangeland Ecosystems Group


The dry tropical rangelands of northern Australia cover almost a quarter of continental Australia and account for nearly 70% of the Australian beef industry. The Australian Dept. of Environment describes them as “characterised by vast tracts of eucalypt savanna and native grasslands, small areas of cleared land and scattered settlements, and the rivers and wetlands that sustain ecosystems”.  Our research interests are designed to promote sustainable animal production systems and protect catchments and marine environments associated with tropical rangelands through the management of the quality and quantity of plant biomass in these environments.

Facilitates used @ JCU

  • Plant propagation unit
  • Animal house and metabolism units;
  • Access to ruminally fistulated small and large ruminants,
  • Laboratories equipped for wet chemical analyses of forages and other animal feeds;
  • Access to dedicated research and commercial grazing properties through collaborative arrangements within JCU, private landholders, the CSIRO and Department of Primary Industries.

Research and Development

Our current research interests include:

  • Identification, propagation and commercialisation of tropical rangeland adapted legumes
  • Use of NIR technologies to characterise the nutritional value of novel and newer tropical legumes suited to rangeland environments
  • The use of exclosures to manage grazing pressure and productivity from tropical rangeland pasture systems
  • Validation of the metabolisable protein and energy systems to predict productivity of meat goats fed tropical grasses, legumes and protein supplements

Industry Engagement

Current research projects are funded through Meat and Livestock Australia, Agrimix Pty Ltd and Commonwealth Government Australian Awards Scholarship (formerly AusAID) as well as contributions to a range of professional organisations, outreach activities and publications to disseminate knowledge on improving agricultural production.

Staff/ HDR students –research team

Our current research team encompass a diverse range of skills and experiences which are currently contributing to projects which enhance agricultural production within tropical regions. Current staff and their areas of expertise are listed.


Research Expertise

Chris Gardiner

Agronomy and pasture management in tropic rangeland ecosystems

Glen Walker

Ruminant nutrition and productivity in tropical rangeland ecosystems

HDR students

Research focus

Aholiab Aoetpah

Productivity of small ruminants in tropical environments

Immanuel Benu

Productivity of large ruminants in tropical environments

Contacts:   Mr Chris Gardiner, Discipline of Veterinary Science, JCU. E-mail:; Tel: 47815738

Dr Glen Walker, Discipline of Veterinary Science, JCU. E-mail:; Tel: 4781 4258