A picture of salinity-affected paddocks.

CSIRO is developing profitable systems for traditionally marginal forestry regions.

Developing profitable systems for dryland farm forestry

CSIRO is focused on providing knowledge and tools to help develop sustainable and profitable forestry systems that provide both economic and environmental benefits in low to medium rainfall areas.

  • 15 September 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011

CSIRO is contributing to the development of profitable systems for traditionally marginal forestry regions by applying research into:

  • the best species (including selection, breeding and development)
  • appropriate forest management techniques
  • potential new products and value-adding
  • the environmental benefits that can result from plantation establishment.

What we are doing

Based on research, CSIRO develops sound technical information on the profitability of a range of forestry systems and the ecosystem services provided by plantations, including:

  • tree breeding
  • salinity management
  • biodiversity enhancement
  • carbon sequestration for greenhouse gas mitigation
  • utilisation of wastes
  • bioenergy systems
  • environmentally-sound wood products
  • rehabilitation of degraded lands.

Our expertise covers:

CSIRO develops sound technical information on the profitability of a range of forestry systems and the ecosystem services provided by plantations.
  • genetics
  • tree physiology and morphology
  • nutrient dynamics
  • growth modelling
  • plantation water balance
  • silvicultural practices
  • waste management
  • irrigation technology
  • wood product development
  • bioenergy.

How CSIRO uses it

Our current activities include:

  • tree breeding for marginal environments, including the Australian Low Rainfall Tree Improvement Group (ALRTIG).
  • commercial environmental forestry
  • production of seed for growers
  • integrating trees into farms for dryland salinity management
  • landscape hydrology and implications for siting of plantations
  • irrigation management
  • groundwater uptake by plantations
  • identification of environmental limitations for key tree species - matching species to specific sites and predicting growth rates.

We use or have developed a range of tools for research into dryland farm forestry, including:

  • specialised equipment for measuring water use (heat pulse) and physiological characteristics of trees in the field, including:
    • transpiration
    • water stress
    • leaf areas
    • photosynthesis
  • spatial models for predicting and mapping the commercial and environmental benefits of forests
  • computer models for design and management of effluent and saline-water irrigated plantations.

We have also published Australian national guidelines for sustainable effluent irrigated plantations.

Who else is involved

CSIRO works closely with the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Forestry and the Future Farm Industries CRC to develop dryland farm forestry solutions.

Learn more about CSIRO’s work in Sustainability.