Benefits or losses from tree clearing in pasture systems of central Queensland, Australia?

Kamaljit K. Sangha, John Rolfe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedings

Abstract

Broadscale tree clearing has been widespread in Queensland as landholders try to increasepasture production. The recent government policies aim to stop broadscale clearing by2006, but the debate over the opportunity cost of the regulatory controls continues.Previous studies of the pasture production gains following clearing have identified keyimprovements, which can be expected to increase livestock production. These studies have all been focused at relatively short term impacts (less than 10 years), raising questions of whether pasture production gains are sustainable over the longer term.
The key focus of the research reported in this paper was to determine if pasture productiongains following clearing were maintained over the longer term. For this, the pasture yieldand the ecological effects of tree clearing over three different time periods for three different vegetation communities in central Queensland. The results indicate that pasture production increases post-clearing, but then declines over the longer term (more than 30 years). A bioeconomic model applied to develop scenarios for pasture production over the 50 years of time frame of clearing, also suggested a decline in pasture yield with age of clearing based on the yearly average increase estimated from the old (30 years) to 50 years of age clearing. Although, the cleared pastures could be economically beneficially as predicted in bioeconomic model, however, it is difficult to predict how the change in ecosystem functions in old pastures (> 30 years of clearing), by implication, affect pastureyield. The opportunity cost of clearing to achieve production gains in terms of loss ofecosystem functions and their implication for future production gains, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationABBSA Conference Proceedings 2005
Pages739-754
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)0646450328
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventABBSA Conference - Cairns, Australia
Duration: 5 Aug 20057 Aug 2005

Conference

ConferenceABBSA Conference
CountryAustralia
CityCairns
Period5/08/057/08/05

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