Farmers more environmental than ten years ago (Media Release), 2006

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May 10, 2006
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Farmers more environmental than ten years ago

Farmers are planting more trees for environmental reasons than they were a decade ago, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures.

The upcoming Agricultural Census, to be conducted by the ABS next month, will help conservationists, foresters, farmers and policy makers determine strategies to ensure sustainable farming.

Results from previous Agricultural Censuses show that a decade ago farmers planted 18 million tree seedlings with close to half of them designated for timber or pulp production. The 2001 Agricultural Census found farmers planted 44.5 million trees with 20.6 million for natural resource management.

Gemma Van Halderen, head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Agriculture Program, said that, since 1998-99, more seedlings were being planted for environmental reasons than for timber or pulp production.

"On average, farmers are planting about 150 seedlings a year for conservation purposes and about 100 seedlings a year for timber," Gemma said.

With the 2005-06 Agricultural Census forms being posted to 190,000 farmers next month, it will be interesting to see if this trend of planting trees for conservation purposes continues," she said.

"Information from the Agricultural Census is vital to understanding the progress and future prospects of all agricultural industries and their products, as well as their farm practices. It is a once in five year opportunity for farmers to contribute to information about their sector."

Initial results from next month's Agricultural Census are expected in early 2007.

graph: Tree Seedlings Planted by Purpose: 1998-99 to 2003-04