EverGraze Action – Assessing conservation value of native vegetation on farm in Nth NSW

Native vegetation on farms, particularly woodlands and little disturbed grasslands on gently sloping country, can be important for biodiversity conservation and for providing ecosystem services. While on-farm areas managed for biodiversity may contribute to conservation objectives at farm and landscape scales, these areas also contribute to outcomes of ground cover management, reduced soil erosion and wholefarm water balance.

As part of EverGraze, a series of studies was undertaken between 2008 and 2011 to determine the plant conservation value of vegetation on farms grazed by both sheep and cattle.

In particular, the studies aimed to:

(1) provide new information on the diversity, phenology and ecology of native perennial pastures;

(2) investigate the biophysical and management determinants of grassy vegetation composition in the region;

(3) provide region-specifi c plant conservation recommendations, and

(4) evaluate the likely economic impact of implementing different plant conservation strategies.

The main recommendation from these studies was that conservation efforts at the ecological community level need to

focus on communities that are under-represented in the reserve system due to their occurrence on low sloping fertile land - in particular, box gum grassy woodlands.

Use of a biodiversity tool, such as this one, can help identify plant conservation value of native vegetation on farms.

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