Monday, 21st Nov 2022
Earlier this month, Ryzo founder and CEO Phillip Mulvey met with members of Parliament in Canberra to discuss current climatic developments and introduce the findings of the soon to be released 2nd Edition of his book; Ground Breaking: Soil Security and Climate Change.
Phil presented his thoughts on an integration of national, state and local policy to bring back the small water cycle, an existential part of Australian soil security and agriculture at large, which is rapidly disappearing as a result of incorrect farming practices, as well as practical suggestions to reduce flood and heat wave intensity. Phil stressed that the solution cannot be created on an individual, single-farm basis and isn't a one-size-fits-all solution that can be replicated identically across the country, but rather must be brought about through regional and federal engagement as well as community collaboration.
For something as fragile and complex as the small water cycle to be restored, agricultural communities must work together on a regional scale, where each farm plays a different role and needs to perform actions in accordance with its position in the regional landscape ecosystem.
In a similar way to urban planning, restoring the water cycle requires regional planning and taking into account factors unique to a farming ecosystem such as rainfall, climate region and farming practices. In order to achieve success, it is crucial to construct an analysis tailored to each specific area.
To ensure adverse externalities do not affect neighbours or other regions, the introduction of Regional Landscape Zoning Plans was suggested. Similar to urban planning with neighbouring houses, one farmer's pursuit of production can adversely impact the neighbours or the district. In this case, regional landscape zoning plans would have restrictions on activities that cause these adverse externalities, where zoning parameters would be dependent on land capability and ecosystem function mapping.
Phil stressed to apply structures that already exist to facilitate a speedier transition towards landscape management that would bring back the small water cycle and make communities more resistant to flooding and heat waves.To this end the most successful approach and rapid uptake is to consider agricultural landscape planning similarly to urban (town) planning. Synergy between farm, regional, and federal planning would foster the right conditions for both farmers and the environment.
Taking a page from aboriginal forms of agriculture, the creation of nature corridors interconnected between farms to maintain the small water cycle would have a stark impact on biodiversity, desertification, and carbon retention and thereby farm profit. Similar to how good linkages in towns, (e.g. roads, public transport, and local shops, schools and medical services) ensure a successful community, well–linked and managed biodiversity corridors, well charged groundwater, healthy wetlands and aquatic systems provide the necessary linkages to support a resilient and profitable farming community. Only a landscape zoning approach involving national, state, and local governments can achieve this.
Amendments to the currently parked 2022 Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill 2022 could easily be undertaken to better reflect increasing Natural Capital through the approach suggested above.
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