Integrating Science to Support Sustainable Agriculture

By Considine, Mary-Lou | Ecos, February-March 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Integrating Science to Support Sustainable Agriculture


Considine, Mary-Lou, Ecos


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

CSIRO's new Agricultural SustainabUity Initiative looks at ways landholders can shift their approach to farming and reduce their impact on the environment.

It's no news that Australian farmers are struggling to keep up with the challenges of globalisation, volatile markets, increasing costs and fussier consumers. There is also pressure to meet changing expectations of what agricultural lands can deliver--not only food and materials but also biodiversity and ecosystem services such as carbon storage.

And let's not forget climate change, with its prospect of a drier, hotter climate for much of Australia, with less water available for irrigation.

What is required of our land managers are not local, short-term responses, but 'transformational shifts' in their approach to farming--for example, changing the mix of agricultural production systems in high-rainfall zones and the drier margins.

Dr Peter Carberry, one of the theme leaders from CSIRO's new Agricultural Sustainability Initiative (ASI)--which involves eight CSIRO divisions and business units (1)--says a series of such shifts will be required of our agricultural industries to meet challenges such as the introduction of new technologies, climate change, (2) land degradation, biodiversity conservation, globalisation and changing rural demographics.

'Agriculture is important to the Australian economy--75 per cent of the country is under agriculture, so we need to look at the productivity and environmental performance of land management systems in an integrated fashion,' says Dr Carberry.

'Adoption of new technologies has allowed our farmers to increase productivity by an average of 3 per cent a year for the past two decades.

'But we've had these gains without paying too much attention to environmental performance. Now we are at the toughest point in the history of Australian agriculture. We are looking at transformational land use, not business-as-usual.'

The ASI has identified seven priority research areas:

* reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farms and increasing carbon storage

* assessing northern Australia's land and water resources to support new investment in agriculture

* farming 'smarter' to maintain the high productivity gains of recent years

* adapting farming systems to reduced irrigation water availability

* supporting environmental stewardship initiatives for biodiversity conservation

* investigating soil health as a foundation for sustainable agriculture

* transforming high-rainfall zone agriculture for sustainable food production and environmental outcomes.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Integrating Science to Support Sustainable Agriculture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?