Sustainable Practice Targets - an overview

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Dr Michele Barson

Dr Michele Barson

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  • In summary, outcomes we are looking for from all industriesMaintenance of good ground cover to reduce the risk of soil loss through wind and water erosion and to help build soil carbonBetter management of the soil acidification process to avoid surface and subsurface acidification problemsThese practices are also being promoted through state agencies, industry bodies and community groupsContribute to on farm resilience and profitability as well as ecosystem services
  • Caring for our Country commissioned the Australian Bureau of Statistics to develop the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) to help report on rates of adoption of land management practices being encouraged through C4oC fundingSome data from the 2007-08 survey are currently on the webAnticipate having the data for 2009-10 at the NRM region, state and national levels in DecemberVery keen see any data on land management practices collected by industry, state agencies and other groups to see if trends are similarAim of this survey go broad, large sample to complement industry surveys which generally have smaller samples , more depth
  • Some data back to 1995/96No cultivation – no of farmers using no cultivation apart from sowing is now 4x greater than in 1995-96 and a 55% increase in area under this practice since 95-96Crop residue retentionNo of farmers using this practice x3 since 1995-96 area increased by 47% since 1995-96Soil acidification management needs improvement
  • Generally positive
  • Most of our progress has been with monitoring wind erosion, bring together on ground obs. of erosion, dust monitoring, remote sensing and modellingMost progress here because the science and some of the technology in placeChange can occur quite quickly – poor ground cover plus wind leads to dust stormsCarbon and pH change – hard to detect over measurement periods of less than 5 years. Have funded CSIRO and state agencies to look at how a national monitoring system could be implemented, but will need significant investmentWatter erosion reviewed options more work needed here to develop methods

Transcript

  • 1. Sustainable Practice Targets
    - an overview
    Presented by: Dr Michele Barson,
    Science Adviser to Caring for our Country
  • 2. Caring for our Country objectives
    … initiative that seeks to achieve an environment that is healthy, better protected, well managed, resilient, and provides essential ecosystem services in a changing climate. Essential ecosystem services include protected biodiversity, clean air and water and healthy soils which support sustainable food and fibre industries.
  • 3. Caring for our Country Targets – background to development
    • Outcomes agreed by Ministers
    • 4. International obligations
    • 5. EPBC Act matters
    • 6. National strategies
    • 7. National Land and Water Resources Audit recommendations for soil condition
  • Factors taken into account in developing the targets
    Assets to be protected and supporting policy
    Availability of information about the assets
    Confidence that the actions to be supported will make a measurable difference
    Likely levels of funding
    Capacity to monitor and report on the impact of the investment
  • 8. Why soils?
    Soils
    are the engine room for food production
    contain vast quantities of carbon and water and support the majority of terrestrial biodiversity
    supply key ecosystem services
    Provide: food, fibre, clean water, biodiversity
    Regulate: water storage, carbon sequestration, filter contaminants, absorb organic waste
    a part of the landscape closely managed by farmers
  • 9. Key soil condition factors being addressed in Caring for our Country
    Soil carbon
    Soil pH
    Wind erosion
    Water erosion
  • 10. Choosing practices to improve soil condition…Those that deliver…
    • Productivity/profitability gains (to encourage adoption by farmers). Note food and fibre production is also an ecosystem service! AND
    • 11. essential ecosystem services (protected biodiversity, clean air and water and healthy soils) in a changing climate (C4oC’s objective) AND
    • 12. improved farm and landscape resilience in a changing climate
  • Some practices expected to improve soil condition
  • 13.
  • 14. Monitoring progress – ABS’ biennial Agricultural Resource Management Survey
    • 2007-08 baseline assessment of 55 land management practices associated with C4oC’s sustainable farm practices targets
    • 15. follow up in 2009-10 and 2011-12
    • 16. 33,000 farm businesses (EVAO > $5000 surveyed)
    • 17. national, state and NRM region level reporting for 4 major industry groups
  • Broadacre cropping industry -preliminary ARMS results
  • 18. Preliminary ARMS results - Landscape scale conservation target
  • 19. Resource condition reporting investments – will practice change make a difference?
    Foundation investments include:
    • Integrated wind erosion monitoring, including ground cover monitoring in the rangelands
    • 20. National methods for soil carbon and pH monitoring
    • 21. Investigation of potential for improving detection and monitoring of water erosion