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A sustainable agricultural landscape for Australia: A review of interlacing carbon sequestration, biodiversity and salinity management in agroforestry systems

George, S. J., Harper, R. J., Hobbs, R. J. and Tibbett, M. (2012) A sustainable agricultural landscape for Australia: A review of interlacing carbon sequestration, biodiversity and salinity management in agroforestry systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 163. pp. 28-36. ISSN 0167-8809

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2012.06.022

Abstract/Summary

Transformation of the south-western Australian landscape from deep-rooted woody vegetation systems to shallow-rooted annual cropping systems has resulted in the severe loss of biodiversity and this loss has been exacerbated by rising ground waters that have mobilised stored salts causing extensive dry land salinity. Since the original plant communities were mostly perennial and deep rooted, the model for sustainable agriculture and landscape water management invariably includes deep rooted trees. Commercial forestry is however only economical in higher rainfall (>700 mm yr−1) areas whereas much of the area where biodiversity is threatened has lower rainfall (300–700 mm yr−1). Agroforestry may provide the opportunity to develop new agricultural landscapes that interlace ecosystem services such as carbon mitigation via carbon sequestration and biofuels, biodiversity restoration, watershed management while maintaining food production. Active markets are developing for some of these ecosystem services, however a lack of predictive metrics and the regulatory environment are impeding the adoption of several ecosystem services. Nonetheless, a clear opportunity exists for four major issues – the maintenance of food and fibre production, salinisation, biodiversity decline and climate change mitigation – to be managed at a meaningful scale and a new, sustainable agricultural landscape to be developed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:42838
Publisher:Elsevier

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