The Regional Land Partnerships (RLP) component of the National Landcare Program (NLP) is a 5-year $450 million investment of the Australian Government. One of its priorities is to improve soil condition to benefit our environment, farms and communities in partnership with land managers. Maintaining total vegetation cover (trees, shrubs, grasses and herbage) above critical levels is a well-established way of improving soil condition.
The key challenge is to help land managers make land management practice changes and report the outcomes of the program. Total vegetation cover was identified by project stakeholders as a good indicator of soil condition.
This project has delivered:
- a method to monitor the risk of soil erosion by wind and water, anywhere in Australia, by anyone with an internet connection
- accessible information on total vegetation cover to inform decisions about tillage and stocking rates, which are critical to achieving NLP outcomes
- guidance on setting and reporting against total vegetation cover targets as part of the RLP Evaluation Plan for regional natural resource managers and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture
- a series of workshops for regional natural resource staff to apply and improve the methods and tools.
This project involved wide consultation over a 1-year period with natural resource management and agricultural agencies.
The project was a collaboration between the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Environment, Energy and Science (DPIE–EES), the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, CSIRO and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.