Farm forestry can deliver benefits for farmers, battle climate change and help with timber short

Adding timber production trees to farms can yield significant productivity and financial benefits for landowners as well as increase property values, according to landmark new research.

The Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) paper, which reveals that a take-up of farm forestry would also help strengthen regional economies, has been welcomed by the Australian Forest Production Association (AFPA) and National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).

The research contained in Lifting farmgate profitability through high value modular agroforestry[1], highlights exciting opportunities for Australian farmers to integrate farm or agroforestry to their enterprises. The sites studied showed major benefits including improved cashflow using tree rotations, increased shelter for stock, biodiversity improvements and land restoration benefits. At one location tree planting helped increase pasture productivity by 30 per cent.

CEO of the NFF Tony Mahar said, “Farm forestry can complement traditional farming enterprises, through long-term investment. This research shows that support for integrated trees amongst farmers is high, with recognition for benefits including for shelter, biodiversity, aesthetics, direct economic benefits and land restoration.”

CEO of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “The COVID-pandemic induced building boom has given Australians a glimpse into the future revealing how difficult it will be to source timber if more production trees aren’t planted urgently. Farm forestry in the right places can help solve the timber shortage crisis, with major benefits and payoffs for both farmers and timber processors.”

[1] This project was supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme.

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