Decision support framework and tool supporting Australian producers to make informed decisions about the relative benefits arising from their actions for production, natural capital, and/or natural ca

University of New England

  • Project code: PRO-017240

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Friday, May 5, 2023

  • Project completion date: Sunday, June 30, 2024

  • National Priority: NCO - National Challenges and Opportunities - M

Summary

A large number of resources, tools and calculators exist to support producer decision making around entering carbon markets and other natural capital projects. However, information for informed decision-making about the on-farm benefits relative to those from entering markets and projects is largely fragmented and requires a large time commitment from producers to consolidate the available knowledge and weigh up options. The Discovery, Opportunity and Decision (DOD) framework and online tool will identify, then bring together existing resources and research, and identify knowledge gaps around the benefits of managing natural capital and carbon on farm for multiple benefits. The DOD framework and online tool will support changed practices by providing high quality educational and extension resources in an easy-to-use decision support package for Australian producers.
 
The DOD framework will be populated with key resources identified from a global literature review of the benefits of improving soil carbon, biodiversity and environmental stewardship in the farming system.  It will be applicable across commodities, supporting Australian producers to make confident and informed decisions regarding natural capital and carbon management in their farming system prior to exploring associated markets. To ensure optimal outcomes and impacts from the DOD framework and tool, Australian producers from a variety of AgriFutures’ industry advisory panels covering levied and emerging industries will be engaged at an early stage through an interactive and integrative consultation phase to ensure effectiveness of use, relevance and validity, and to obtain critical information on the key drivers of the DOD framework.

Program

National Rural Issues

Research Organisation

University of New England

Objective Summary

There has been an evolution of carbon and natural capital markets, increased pressure on landholders to demonstrate sustainability and environmental stewardship, and proliferation of projects, markets and recognition schemes proposing a multitude of benefits to growers. In response to these market developments, there is need for a clear and informative analysis of different options against best management practices focused on maximising on-farm production and environmental outcomes in the farming system.

This project supports, through an integrated Discovery, Opportunity and Decision (DOD) interactive tool, Australian producers to have confidence and capability to make informed decisions around management of carbon and natural capital in their farming systems, and to determine where the greatest benefit is to their operation, i.e. managing natural capital to support production, or entering a market project.

This project has four objectives:

1. Conduct a global literature review of existing resources and research related to the benefits (outside of environmental market access) of improving soil carbon, biodiversity and environmental stewardship across farming systems;

2. Develop a decision making framework and associated online tool to be utilised by Australian producers, across commodities, to make informed decisions regarding natural capital in their farming system prior to considering the exploration of associated markets;

3. Co-design and test the online tool developed in objective 2, with Australian producers from a variety of AgriFutures industry advisory panels covering levied and emerging industries to ensure ease of use, relevance and validity;

4. Deliver the decision-making framework and tool in a final format to AgriFutures Australia