Photo Credit: Chris Curnow / Rangelands NRM

“Sunrise on the Pollock Hills” – Ecotone between Great Sandy and Gibson deserts, Kiwirrkurra Indigenous Protected Area. Photo Credit: Chris Curnow / Rangelands NRM


Australia’s desert country is the healthiest and most ecologically intact arid landscapes remaining on Earth.

The Ten Deserts Initiative will work to build collaborative partnerships across state and territory borders to support the protection of the natural and cultural values of Australia’s outback.

A vibrant future for the arid lands will recognise the interdependence of people and nature with social and economic development being built on healthy and sustainably managed landscapes.


The Ten Deserts Initiative will focus on achieving outcomes under three themes:


  • Increase the profile and public awareness of the value of Australia’s desert country, and the challenges of solving complex issues in remote regions
  • Attract additional resources for land management activities in the arid zone
  • Promote opportunities for collaborative partnerships within and across the arid lands



Simpson Desert after rains. Photo Credit: E Baxter

  • Connect disparate and remote partners to promote knowledge sharing, and better use of available land management resources
  • Support capacity building for traditional owners and other land managers to manage desert country in a healthy and sustainable manner


  • Achieve landscape-scale management of critical ecological threats through integrated cross-border and cross-tenure approaches
  • Contribute to regional climate adaptation and the growing movement towards continental connectivity conservation across Australia.


Ten Deserts will work through:


Sand Dune near Kata Tjuta. Photo Credit: E Baxter

  • Bottom up collaborative processes with coordination driven by shared purpose and agreed priorities
  • Building broad support through community engagement
  • Building on and improving existing projects, plans, processes and partnerships to identify gaps to address and opportunities for collaboration
  • Defining priorities based on good science, traditional knowledge and available resources
  • Focusing on long-term ecological-functional connectivity rather than physical connectivity
  • Connecting country through connecting people
  • Developing opportunities for social and economic development through sustainable and integrated land management approaches
  • Creating a framework for non-competitive collaboration, not another bureaucratic layer.

(c) Ten Deserts Initiative 2015 – 2020