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The challenge

Advancing agricultural productivity and environmental health with limited resources

In Australia, as in the wider world, the food production challenge is now set in an environment where land, water, energy and labour resources are more constrained and competition for these resources is more intense.

To achieve the goal of increasing productivity and maintaining or if possible improving the health of the environment, we need to understand the landscape. The interactions between our natural resources, how we use them and the health and productivity across the whole landscape, from the farm to the consumer.

This requires integrating a range of information such as the effects of land degradation or drivers of resource use efficiency and productivity, to understand and measure what is happening in the system.

Our response

Innovative and practical solutions

To address these challenges, agricultural production requires innovative and practical research. For example, trialling new land-use systems, innovative farm and industry management practices and improving the efficiency of using resources such as soil, water, fertiliser.

Our research encompasses both the biophysical elements of agricultural landscapes and the social, institutional and economic structures. This view improves our understanding and ability to describe the extent to which the landscape interacts with and influences agricultural systems.

It also allows us to explore the impact on the landscape; degradation or enhancement of the soil, landscape, communities and their resilience and productivity.

Our priority research areas include:

  • developing integrated data and information that describe our agriculture and landscapes across space and time
  • assessing productivity and environmental impacts across industries, regions and life-cycles focusing on the use of resources such as water and energy
  • developing policy-relevant science to understand drivers of changes in landscapes and enable better land use decisions.

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