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Grains & Cropping

19 August, 2020

Virtual map leads the way to cotton’s biodiversity management

COTTONINFO, the Australian cotton industry’s joint extension program connecting growers with research, has launched new online management guides for the nation’s 36 cotton-growing shires.

By Edwina Watson RURAL LEADER JOURNALIST

For the first time, the innovative resources give cotton growers detailed biodiversity information and outline beneficial practices to support biodiversity on their farms.

CRDC Research and Development Manager, Stacey Vogel, said the management guides brought together valuable data to support boots on the ground action to improve conditions for biodiversity in cotton landscapes.

“Growers can select their local government area on CottonInfo’s new clickable map to see a snapshot of biodiversity in their shire, and then to receive practical tips to improve conditions for the species of that area,” Ms Vogel said.

“The biodiversity data presented in the map was collated through CRDC research projects to help the cotton community understand and prioritise the conservation value of areas of native vegetation within cotton-growing regions.

“The research looked at 315 threatened and iconic plant and animal species in eastern Australia, from the NSW-Victorian border to the Fitzroy Basin in Queensland, and used that data to develop targeted biodiversity management profiles for each of Australia’s 36 cotton-growing shires,” Ms Vogel said.

Ms Vogel said each management profile specified the biodiversity assets including vegetation types, watercourses and adjacent public land reserves, and then recommended strategies to best protect the particular species represented in each of the shires.

“The guides build on previous research funded by CRDC, Forest and Wood Products Australia, CSIRO and the Australian Government’s Rural R&D for Profit Program,” Ms Vogel said.

“The cotton landscapes of eastern Australia contain an abundant diversity of native plant and animal species that occur in a mosaic of forests, woodlands, wetlands, grasslands and cropland systems."

Ms Vogel said protecting such biodiversity was critical to all Australian cotton-growing communities.

“Biodiversity delivers ecosystem services on which businesses and communities both enjoy and are dependent. These new online guides are yet another useful addition to the cotton-grower’s toolbox.”

The biodiversity management guides are an outcome of the Cotton Landcare Tech Innovations 2021 project funded by CRDC in partnership with the Australian Government’s National Landcare Smart Farming Partnership Initiative. They can be accessed via the CottonInfo website: https://www.cottoninfo.com.au/managing-biodiversity-cotton-landscapes.

 


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