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Promoting the advantages of trees and drought resilience

FWPA recently held discussions with the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, sharing R&D and marketing expertise to help rural economies adopt new drought resilience practices through a focus on trees.

It is a national priority for all RDCs, including FWPA, to collaborate with other industries and rural sectors in addressing common challenges and draw on experience.

Eight adoption and innovation hubs have been established across Australia thanks to funding announced last year by Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud. The hubs are designed to connect farmers, agribusinesses and communities with drought resilience experts, and contribute to the design of new technologies and practices.

This network of innovation hubs has a strong overlap with the forest and wood products sector, especially in the Green Triangle, Gippsland, Gympie/Maryborough, South West Western Australia, and Northern Australia.

FWPA has supported the efforts of the hubs around drought resilience by providing links to the existing network of dedicated regional forestry hubs in these regions, funded by the Department of Agriculture, to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice.

The mechanism through which trees and forests help prevent flooding also helps to mitigate drought. Essentially, during periods of heavy rainfall, forests soak up excess rainwater, preventing flood damage. By the same token, releasing water during dry spells means forests can feed clean water into nearby lakes and rivers.

“The forestry sector has various approaches to help the broader rural sector build drought resilience,” said Ric Sinclair, Managing Director at FWPA.

“One incentive is for farmers to diversify their on-farm income by planting commercially viable trees. In time, this would allow farmers to generate income from trees when their other sources of revenue are drought affected.

“And the great news for farmers is that tree planting also assists with wind impact and improvement of soil salinity.

“Importantly, the long-term nature of forest management reduces the impact of droughts on productivity over the entire growing cycle of a plantation,” said Sinclair.

Posted Date: October 6, 2021

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