A case study of socio-economic returns from farm forestry and agriculture in south-east Australia during 1993-2007

Hugh Stewart, Digby Race, Allan Curtis, Andrew J. K. Stewart

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Abstract

In Australia, a national policy was launched in 1997 to enhance regional wealth and international competitiveness of forest industries through a sustainable increase in plantations. An element of the policy was the development of a commercial forestry and farm forestry culture. In this context, farm forestry was intended to provide the opportunity to integrate smaller-scale plantations into agricultural landscapes on private land. Against this background, a study was undertaken to analyse the socio-economic returns from farm forestry in a case study in south-east Australia. Financial information during 1993'2007 for livestock grazing and 8 ha of blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) was analysed to compare the profitability of farming and farm forestry. During this period, a full cycle of blue gum (14 years) to produce pulp logs was completed with a forestry company under a tree farming agreement. The blue gum was integrated with the livestock enterprise by planting the trees in belts that were mostly 10 rows or 30 m wide positioned 250'300 m apart and located strategically on productive agricultural land along land-class boundaries. For the blue gum farm forestry, the net present value to the farmer expressed in 1993 dollars was $1236/ha compared to $768/ha for livestock grazing during 1993'2007. The farmer reported they had successfully integrated farm forestry as a land-use, and that the farm forestry had provided important environmental benefits and social benefits. The farmer was committed to farm forestry being part of the diversified farming business into the future, with the management of a second crop of blue gum on the farm underway.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

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