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Call to farmers to speak up on climate change

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FROM THE MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
DATE: Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Farmers across north east Victoria are being urged to help shape Victoria’s future environmental policy by contributing to a Land and Biodiversity white paper.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Steve Herbert, said farmers held much needed land and biodiversity expertise and the Bracks Government was keen to hear their views.

“With CSIRO projecting temperature rises of up to five degrees by 2070, we all need to better understand how managing our biodiversity can help the productivity of our land in the face of climate change,” Mr Herbert said.

“Many land managers in the region are adapting their farming techniques to cope with the impacts of less rain and warmer temperatures, and we want to learn from their hands-on experience.”

Lindsey Humphry, a dairy farmer from Springhurst, is overhauling his farm practices together with a group of 10 other landholders, by using worms, aerating soil and using less chemicals and antibiotics.

“We’re now seeing fewer problems with cattle health and testing is showing that nutrient levels are up in the soil,” he said.

Lindy Lumsden, a senior scientist in wildlife ecology at Arthur Rylah Institute, said farmers in the region were also beginning to understand the importance of protecting tiny bats that live in old trees, which are vital in controlling pests.

At a property at Numurkah, Ms Lumsden recently trapped 50 bats from seven different species, which the landholder didn’t know were there.

“Many farmers think birds control pests but these tiny bats eat half to three quarters of their body weight a night and are free pesticide controllers,” she said.

“But they are dependent on native vegetation for habitat, so it’s important to keep the trees in the paddock.”

Mr Herbert invited landholders and residents in the North-East to make a submission to the Land and Biodiversity White Paper as a practical way to mark World Environment Day today.

“The White Paper, Land and Biodiversity at a time of climate change, will set the agenda and help identify investment priorities for managing land, biodiversity and natural resources for the next 20 to 50 years.

Mr Herbert said Victorians had until Friday 22 June 2007 to make a submission for the first stage of the 18-month White Paper consultation process. People could also join online discussions through Landcare networks and have their views heard.

For more information about the Land and Biodiversity White Paper – including the consultation paper – visit http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/landwhitepaper or join an online discussion at http://www.landcarevic.net.au/climate-change/the-white-paper-on-land-and-biodiversity.

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Written by Greg Naylor

7 June 2007 at 8:54 pm

Posted in media release

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