The Heartlands initiative is a collaborative research project between the CSIRO, the NSW , Victorian and Australian government , Catchment Management Authorities and local landholders in NSW and Victoria. The project aimed to improve land use in the Murray-Darling Basin by combining a research program directly with the implementation of on-ground works such as tree planting, establishment of perennial pastures and erosion protection measures.
The research guided the on-ground works to ensure maximum environmental benefit from the works expenditure. The close linkage with on-ground implementation ensured that the research remained relevant and well focused.
The project was conducted in four catchments within the Murray-Darling Basin: Billabong Creek (NSW), Kyeamba Creek, (NSW); Honeysuckle and Sheep Pen Creeks (Victoria) and Mid Ovens basin (Victoria).
On-ground achievements included:
- planting 800 hectares of perennial pastures
- establishing regeneration trials on 436 hectares of land
- establishing 360 hectares of farm forestry
- establishing native vegetation thinning trials on 34 hectares of land
- establishing 2 stream gauging stations.
Practical research included:
- social research on landholder values and adoption of landscape change
- biodiversity benchmarking
- salinity modelling
- designing landuse change
- production systems, and
- airborne salt mapping.
The outcomes of the project will help Catchment Management Authorities target limited funds to parts of the landscape that will have the biggest impact in ameliorating dryland salinity.
The next stage of this project is to provide an overview of the processes followed and the key lesson learnt from the project focussing on aspects of community engagement and on-ground works. The information gained from this knowledge audit will inform catchment management authorities, state agencies and community groups on the application of research to inform strategic land use change.
Further information and project reports can be accessed on-line at www.clw.csiro.au/heartlands.
Page last updated: 26 February 2011