Managing the grazing landscape

Insights for agricultural adaptation from a mid-drought photo-elicitation study in the Australian sheep-wheat belt

Kate Sherren, Joern Fischer, Ioan Fazey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    23 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Globally, and under uncertain climate conditions, the agricultural sector will need to feed more people without degrading the ecosystem services on which production depends. Eastern Australia, coming out of a decade of drought, is at the leading edge of this challenge. Measures to adapt agriculture to increasing climate variability are urgently sought. One particularly promising measure is an adaptive grazing decision-making practice called holistic management (HM), typically involving high-intensity, short-duration rotational grazing and the encouragement of pastures with low chemical input needs. Here, we use photo-elicitation to compare the landscape perceptions of HM graziers with those of more conventional graziers, based on their choice of photo targets and the stories those photographs elicited. During that process, HM graziers described their use of adaptive farm management techniques to gain outcomes for production and ecosystems alike, demonstrating a system-based understanding of their farms conducive to farming under increased climate variability. We conclude that HM grazing should be encouraged so as to adapt the industry to climate change. More widespread uptake of HM practices – for public benefit as well as personal – depends on incentives to reduce start-up costs and expand the instruction of HM principles, first targeting those with high adaptive capacity, and removing policies that delay adaptation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)72-83
    Number of pages12
    JournalAgricultural Systems
    Volume106
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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    drought
    grazing
    sheep
    wheat
    climate
    rotational grazing
    social benefit
    grazing management
    farm management
    agricultural industry
    ecosystem services
    photographs
    decision making
    farming systems
    pastures
    climate change
    agriculture
    industry
    farms
    duration

    Cite this

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    title = "Managing the grazing landscape: Insights for agricultural adaptation from a mid-drought photo-elicitation study in the Australian sheep-wheat belt",
    abstract = "Globally, and under uncertain climate conditions, the agricultural sector will need to feed more people without degrading the ecosystem services on which production depends. Eastern Australia, coming out of a decade of drought, is at the leading edge of this challenge. Measures to adapt agriculture to increasing climate variability are urgently sought. One particularly promising measure is an adaptive grazing decision-making practice called holistic management (HM), typically involving high-intensity, short-duration rotational grazing and the encouragement of pastures with low chemical input needs. Here, we use photo-elicitation to compare the landscape perceptions of HM graziers with those of more conventional graziers, based on their choice of photo targets and the stories those photographs elicited. During that process, HM graziers described their use of adaptive farm management techniques to gain outcomes for production and ecosystems alike, demonstrating a system-based understanding of their farms conducive to farming under increased climate variability. We conclude that HM grazing should be encouraged so as to adapt the industry to climate change. More widespread uptake of HM practices – for public benefit as well as personal – depends on incentives to reduce start-up costs and expand the instruction of HM principles, first targeting those with high adaptive capacity, and removing policies that delay adaptation.",
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    Managing the grazing landscape : Insights for agricultural adaptation from a mid-drought photo-elicitation study in the Australian sheep-wheat belt. / Sherren, Kate; Fischer, Joern; Fazey, Ioan.

    In: Agricultural Systems, Vol. 106, No. 1, 02.2012, p. 72-83.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AB - Globally, and under uncertain climate conditions, the agricultural sector will need to feed more people without degrading the ecosystem services on which production depends. Eastern Australia, coming out of a decade of drought, is at the leading edge of this challenge. Measures to adapt agriculture to increasing climate variability are urgently sought. One particularly promising measure is an adaptive grazing decision-making practice called holistic management (HM), typically involving high-intensity, short-duration rotational grazing and the encouragement of pastures with low chemical input needs. Here, we use photo-elicitation to compare the landscape perceptions of HM graziers with those of more conventional graziers, based on their choice of photo targets and the stories those photographs elicited. During that process, HM graziers described their use of adaptive farm management techniques to gain outcomes for production and ecosystems alike, demonstrating a system-based understanding of their farms conducive to farming under increased climate variability. We conclude that HM grazing should be encouraged so as to adapt the industry to climate change. More widespread uptake of HM practices – for public benefit as well as personal – depends on incentives to reduce start-up costs and expand the instruction of HM principles, first targeting those with high adaptive capacity, and removing policies that delay adaptation.

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