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The Bioeconomic Potential for Agroforestry in Australia’s Northern Grazing Systems

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Abstract

Although agriculture generates 16% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, it also has the potential to sequester large quantities of emissions through land use management options such as agroforestry. Whilst there is an extensive amount of agroforestry literature, little has been written on the economic consequences of adopting silvopastoral systems in northern Australia. This paper reports the financial viability of adopting complementary agroforestry systems in the low rainfall region of northern Australia. The analysis incorporates the dynamic tradeoffs between tree and pasture growth, likely forest product yields, carbon sequestration and livestock methane emissions in a bioeconomic model. The results suggest there are financial benefits for landholders who integrate complementary agroforestry activities into existing grazing operations at even modest carbon prices.

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Notes

  1. An Adult Equivalent (AE) refers to a method of comparison between animals of different feed requirements with a recognised standard of a single adult animal feed ration. The international standard being a single non-pregnant, non lactating animal of 455 kilograms live weight equals 1AE.

  2. Clearing woodlands for pastoralism in Queensland generally involved two dozers dragging an enormous chain levering trees out of the ground as it passes. Typically the tress were then pushed into heaps (raked) and burnt (Fensham and Guymer 2009).

  3. Forestry Plantations Queensland, Integrated Tree Cropping (ITC), Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries and the Central Queensland Forestry Association were consulted during the estimation of costs and returns used in developing the forestry models.

  4. Best (2007) is the most recent collection of extensive grazing gross margins published by the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation for central Queensland.

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Donaghy, P., Bray, S., Gowen, R. et al. The Bioeconomic Potential for Agroforestry in Australia’s Northern Grazing Systems. Small-scale Forestry 9, 463–484 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11842-010-9126-y

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