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Farming trees for profit and conservation

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Integrating trees and shrubs into farms and catchments can mean wins for both conservation and profit, attendees heard at a Science in the Paddock breakfast briefing held in Canberra today.

The briefing, titled ‘Farmers leading landscape change: ingredients for success!’, showcased the essential role of farmers in achieving sustainable landscapes and resilient rural communities.

Rowan Reid from the Master TreeGrower program, who spoke at the briefing, said “most landholders want to pass their farm onto the next generation in a better condition than when they took over, both ecologically and economically.”

Farmers want to know more about how trees and forests can reduce their exposure to risk, especially in the face of uncertain market and climate conditions. The prospect of a commercial return is usually seen as a bonus on top of the benefits trees provide, like shelter, natural pest control, and flood control. The spin-off for the wider community is greater environmental and economic sustainability.”

The Master TreeGrower program provides agroforestry education and extension programs for farmers and regional advisers. The aim is to help farmers achieve their own land management goals using trees and native vegetation.

The program has been supported by Land & Water Australia, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, and Forest & Wood Products Australia through their Joint Venture Agroforestry Program (JVAP).  

JVAP began in 1993 and aims to generate the knowledge needed to underpin profitable and sustainable integration of trees into farming systems for multiple benefits to the Australian community.

The research outcomes generated in the past fifteen years of the JVAP were highlighted at the event by Alex Campbell, a leading Western Australian farmer and Chair of the JVAP Technical Advisory Committee, who launched a new publication ‘Fifteen Years of the Joint Venture Agroforestry Program – Foundation research for Australia’s tree crop revolution’. 

Rowan Reid said Science in the Paddock briefings are a great opportunity to show government what is happening regionally, what is working, and how government-funded initiatives are influencing land management. Also speaking at the breakfast was Andrew Stewart, a fifth generation Otways farmer.

Science in the Paddock” breakfast briefings were started many years ago by Land & Water Australia and Greening Australia, and are designed to help build the knowledge and capacity of policy advisers, regional planners and practitioners involved in tackling Australia’s vegetation and biodiversity management challenges. This will be the last Science in the Paddock event operating under the partnership forged between the two organisations.

Media contact:          Jim Donaldson, Sustainable Landscapes             02 6263 6000 


Citation

Land & Water Australia. 2009. Farming trees for profit and conservation. [Online] (Updated July 21st, 2009)
Available at: http://lwa.gov.au/node/3497 [Accessed Friday 25th of October 2013 06:30:34 AM ].

id: 3497 / created: 17 June, 2009 / last updated: 21 July, 2009