Biodiversity Self Assessment Tool project
There are 8 Grain and Graze regions across Australia, with the common goal of improving financial and natural resource management of mixed farming zones.
The Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority's contribution in the Grain and Graze project aims to benchmark native vegetation and the sustainability of farming land uses across 5 focus farms in the Murrumbidgee catchment. This information will be used to test and model profitable and sustainable farming systems, but also provide discrete options to improve on-farm native vegetation, in a heavily modified landscape where biodiversity investment needs to be strategic. The Grain and Grain Biodiversity Self Assessment develops a relative value on various farm vegetation types, and provides a basis for comparison and ongoing improvement. The tool will be consistent with the Property Vegetation Planning (PVP) process.
The tool adopts a pragmatic approach - while larger blocks of 'intact native vegetation' are generally deemed more worthy of investment, substantial self funded native vegetation management activities also require recognition. This tool aims to assist landholders with these efforts.
The project involves:
· The development of a simple Biodiversity Self Assessment Tool which uses native vegetation as a surrogate and uses a range of biodiversity parameters to benchmark property vegetation and isolate areas of active management or investment.
· The application of the tool to Focus Farms to provide a biodiversity snapshot and recommendations aimed at increasing the biodiversity score.
· The development of a landholder-friendly evaluation sheet to facilitate improvement of on-farm biodiversity management.
· Extension of the tool in the mixed farming zone.
Development and trialling of the assessment tool will occur throughout 2006.
The National Grain and Graze research program is funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Australian Wool Innovation and Land and Water Australia. A collaborative partnership between Farmlink, Department of Primary Industries, CSIRO, Charles Sturt University and Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority is implementing the objectives of the Murrumbidgee Grain and Graze project.