Sustainable Development of Catchment Land-Use for Multifunctional Agro-Ecological Landscapes Under a Changing Climate


Incorporating the likely impacts of climate change into regional and rural planning is vital to accommodate their profound effects on anthropogenic systems such as agriculture that interact with natural environments. The importance of agriculture to feed the growing world population without compromising the already scarce and depleted resource base, makes it a challenging, yet promising domain full of opportunities. In Australia, we see adaptation already occurring at local and regional levels through regulatory shifts, new natural resource management strategies, and land-use change, both voluntary and forced by regional policies and strategic priorities. For example, the economy of southwest Victoria was historically underpinned by wool production. After the industry's 1980's boom due to a favourable climatic period and high commodity prices, the subsequent collapse of the Australian Wool Reserve Price Scheme saw the local wool industry collapse. Since then, agricultural land-use in the region has been undergoing a transformation. The continuous optimisation of adaptation activities provides regional authorities with the opportunity to ensure that both economic and environmental benefits are maximised. This paper outlines research assessing potential land use changes over a long planning horizon (to 2070), by looking at likely impacts of climate change on agricultural sector. The analysis (via modelling crop yields) indicates that the future biophysical environment will not inhibit livestock industries, but efforts to de-carbonise the economy may. The modelling indicates that a transition to intensive horticulture is bio-physically possible and economically feasible. Phasing out livestock farming and replacing it with optimally diversified horticulture would enable protection of existing carbon stocks and guide further carbon sequestration efforts. Well managed land-use would also increase resilience of the natural and economic environments, while making sure it contributes to a less carbon-intensive future of the industry. The outcomes will be used to formulate strategic regional development policies that take into account risks and opportunities presented by projected land-use shifts.

Author Information
Jana Mrazova, Deakin University, Australia
Robert Faggian, Deakin University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: IICSEEHawaii2017
Stream: Environmental Sustainability & Environmental Management: Land Use & Misuse

This paper is part of the IICSEEHawaii2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon