Agroforestry focus thanks to $3.9 million funding

Boosting the adoption of agroforestry on farms will be the focus of a joint Smart Farming project.

The ‘Perennial Prosperity’ project received a $3.9 million grant from the National Landcare program, which is run by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, and will be led by the CSIRO, in conjunction with Private Forests Tasmania, Greening Australia and Centre for Forest Value (CFV) researchers.

Although the benefits of agroforestry are well known, adoption on-farm has remained low. Integrating trees into farming practice builds on-farm natural capital, increases the flow of ecosystem services and increases the productivity and profitability of the farming enterprise.

CFV’s Senior Research Officer Dr Thomas Baker said the Perennial Project will look at methods to increase the adoption of agroforestry systems Australia wide.

He said the project will apply natural capital accounting to integrate the flow of services associated with agroforestry assets, such as windbreaks, into farm accounts.

“The project will also examine a wide range of agroforestry services both commercial and environmental including services such as carbon sequestration, crop pollination, biodiversity and forest products,” Dr Baker said.

“CFV researchers will focus on the role that agroforestry has in regulating the paddock microclimate and the impact this has on agricultural productivity for both crops and livestock.”

In addition to integrating agroforestry benefits into farm accounts, Dr Baker said the project will establish best-practice demonstration plantings to build knowledge, awareness and capability around enterprise-scale agroforestry and natural capital accounting.

He said demonstration plantings will include both commercial tree species and native species, with demonstration plantings organised by Private Forests Tasmania and Greening Australia.

(Photo): Dr Thomas Baker on site at Quamby Plains.

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