"FARM FORESTRY is about farmers growing trees for protit and conservation," says Rowan Reid, convenor of the University of Melbourne's Master Tree Grower course.
Dr Reid works closely with farmers across Australia and sees the usefulness of the publication Design Principles for Farm Forestry in showing how to integrate farm forestry with cropping and livestock enterprises. The guide was produced by the Joint Venture Agroforestry Program (JVAP), to inform farmers how to design tree plantings to capture multiple benefits.
"Trees are a long-term investment," cautions Dr Reid, "so you have to do some solid thinking and planning to get it right." Design Principles for Farmn Forestry maps out seven reasons why a farmer may want to start planting trees: among them, providing shade and shelter, and combating salinity and waterlogging problems.
Farmers may have one or more reasons for planting trees, and the final design for planting may need to compromise between these needs. Dr Reid said, "I know plenty of farmers who decided to modify the best design for wood production in order to gain some other benetits they were looking for, like biodiversity conservation."
Use with environmental management plan
In 1994, Patrick and Anne Francis started a revegetation program with both production forestry and conservation in mind, 'Moffitts' in southern Victoria at Romsey, 30 minutes from Melbourne, is in a 700 mm rainfall zone, which is adequate for production forestry. (However, the average annual rainfall since 1996 has been only 530 mm, making production forestry more of a challenge.)
Mr Francis believes Design Principles for Farm Forestry helped to refine their whole-farm plan, together with an environmental management plan, with the long-term aim of integrating forestry, conservation and perennial pastures into the landscape.
The guide is an easy-to-read, full-colour publication produced by JVAP, with lots of helpful diagrams and pictures, It describes principles that are fairly universal across Australia, and provides some regional examples to help interpret the concepts presented. When it comes to specitic regional considerations, like species selection, seeking advice from a local expert is recommended. Patrick and Anne Francis recommend it as "a worthwhile investment for any farmer contemplating farm forestry".
Obtain Design Principles for Farm Forestry by phoning 02 6272 4819 for $22 inc GST + postage and handling.