Cattle and Conservation Can Be a Costly Mix: What Is the True Cost of On-Farm Conservation, and Who Will Pay?

By Pyper, Wendy | Ecos, October-December 2002 | Go to article overview

Cattle and Conservation Can Be a Costly Mix: What Is the True Cost of On-Farm Conservation, and Who Will Pay?


Pyper, Wendy, Ecos


Native biodiversity conservation and beef production may seem unlikely allies. But until recently, few studies on whether the two could coexist had been conducted. In a project just completed, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems economist, Neil MacLeod, and his colleagues in the Grazed Landscapes Management Team, considered the costs and barriers involved in implementing conservation strategies with livestock production on Queensland's grassy eucalypt grazing lands.

`We looked at the on-farm impacts of adopting best practice conservation management in Queensland to optimise biodiversity on rural landscapes,' MacLeod says.

`The grassy eucalypt woodlands are under-represented in formal conservation reserves because they're among the richest grazing lands in the country, and they're some of the oldest settled. But they're also ecologically diverse, and maintaining that biodiversity is a high priority.'

The first questions typically asked of any strategy to conserve resources are: how will changing management practices affect production, and what are the economic implications of such change?

MacLeod's study sought real-world answers to these questions.

Down on the farm

Four beef cattle properties were selected for the study, at Crows Nest, west of Brisbane, and further north at Mundubbera. Two properties were small, intensive farms of about 900 hectares, and two were larger farms of 1700 ha and 10 000 ha.

The properties were chosen to represent the diversity of enterprises in the region, in terms of their vegetation structure and commercial activity. All four contained `variegated landscapes', that is, 60-90% of the original native vegetation remained. This definition is important as it influences landscape management.

`Treating them as "fragmented" landscapes and seeking to only protect a few of their component species is likely to eventually lead to their degradation,' MacLeod explains.

MacLeod and his colleagues assessed the ecological health of each property under their present management systems, through vegetation and ground surveys, air photo interpretation and landowner consultations. Using geographic information systems, the ecological information was turned into spatial maps showing the distribution of different land uses and ecological elements.

Principles and thresholds

The maps were then compared to a set of ecological principles for the sustainable management of grazed woodlands. These principles promote improved ecological function through the management of pastures, soils, trees, watercourses, wildlife and habitat.

`The principles were developed through a partnership between our project team and 11 scientific specialists with expertise in different aspects of landscape management, such as soils, hydrology, wildlife, tree grazing ecology, and farm forestry,' MacLeod says.

Some of the management principles contain threshold values for minimum levels of native vegetation. For example, `there should be a minimum of 30% woodland or forest cover on properties'; `woodland patches should be a minimum of 5-10 ha'; and, `at least 10% of the property managed for wildlife values'.

`Thresholds are naturally contentious, but we've included them to show that as tree or grass cover gets below a certain threshold, some key ecological processes change for the worse,' MacLeod says.

`Woodland bird populations decline or tree dieback increases, for example.'

The health assessment revealed that the soils and pastures on each property were in good condition. The most significant issue for the four properties, however, was the state of their treescapes and the health of riparian vegetation.

While many paddocks had significant tree populations with a reasonable diversity of species, there were also many paddocks with non-viable tree populations. In all cases, MacLeod says the riparian zones had been extensively cleared (which is common practice), and continued access by livestock had significantly modified the bankside timber and soil structure. …

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

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Cattle and Conservation Can Be a Costly Mix: What Is the True Cost of On-Farm Conservation, and Who Will Pay?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.