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Site: http://www.reuters.com

A flock of sheep walks through the Charlie Bragg farm in Cootamundra,135 km (83 miles) northwest Canberra March 10, 2011. "Wild dogs are estimated to cost Australia's agricultural sector as much as A$66 million each year through livestock losses, disease transmission and control costs, not to mention the emotional toll," said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce in a press statement. Australia is the world's third-largest sheep rearing nation with three times more sheep than people. However, its population has halved since the 1990s to about 70 million of the animals because of dog attacks and as the industry consolidated. The dogs consist mainly of packs of interbred feral dogs and dingoes, an indigenous Australian canine, and packs of dingoes. The groups are capable of mauling 40 sheep in one night and have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of sheep in the past few years. "In some areas, wild dogs can be the biggest problem to the sheep industry," said Ian Evans, program manager at industry body Australian Wool Innovation. The Australian state of Queensland was the third-largest sheep rearing state a decade ago with 20 million animals but was hit hard by dog attacks that left it with 5 million sheep currently, according to industry participants. "All you ever did was think about dogs and how to stop them," said Fraser Barry, a Queensland wool grower who lost up to 1,500 sheep in one year. "It meant we did not look at other facets about our business." Queensland is now the smallest sheep rearing state with New South Wales and Victoria holding together more than half of the national flock, data from consulting firm Neil Clark shows. The wild dogs "are the driving forces for some farmers leaving the sheep business," said Greg Mifsud, the project leader for the National Wild Dog Facilitator, Australia's feral pest management program. The funds to combat the wild dogs are part of a A$25.8 million national pest management program that is Australia's first nation-wide action plan. The proceeds will help finance cluster fencing around farms to keep out the predators, the government said. Other prevention tools include lethal baiting, shooting and guard animals such alpacas, llamas and donkeys. Exports of sheep meat and wool are forecast to reach A$6.2 billion this season, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), accounting for 10 percent of the nation's agriculture revenue.


Nelson R.,CSIRO | Kokic P.,CSIRO | Crimp S.,CSIRO | Martin P.,Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2010

In the first paper in this series [Nelson, R., Kokic, P., Crimp, S., Martin, P., Meinke, H., Howden, S.M. (2010, this issue)], we concluded that hazard/impact modelling needs to be integrated with holistic measures of adaptive capacity in order to provide policy-relevant insights into the multiple and emergent dimensions of vulnerability. In this paper, we combine hazard/impact modelling with an holistic measure of adaptive capacity to analyse the vulnerability of Australian rural communities to climate variability and change. Bioeconomic modelling was used to model the exposure and sensitivity of Australian rural communities to climate variability and change. Rural livelihoods analysis was used as a conceptual framework to construct a composite index of adaptive capacity using farm survey data. We then show how this integrated measure of vulnerability provides policy-relevant insights into the constraints and options for building adaptive capacity in rural communities. In the process, we show that relying on hazard/impact modelling alone can lead to entirely erroneous conclusions about the vulnerability of rural communities, with potential to significantly misdirect policy intervention. We provide a preliminary assessment of which Australian rural communities are vulnerable to climate variability and change, and reveal a complex set of interacting environmental, economic and social factors contributing to vulnerability. Crown Copyright © 2009. Source


Singh S.,Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics | Davey S.,Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics | Cole M.,Biosecurity Services Group
New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science | Year: 2010

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the level of threats to forests and vegetation will increase in the 21st century. Rising temperatures, drought, forest fires, heavy rains, humidity and cyclones will render forests and vegetation more prone to many threats, including pests and diseases. Pests and diseases adapted to warmer conditions would extend their distribution to the southern direction and higher elevations in Australia. Drought stressed plants may become more susceptible to existing pests and diseases, including bark beetles and Phytophthora spp. A range of exotic pests and diseases, if introduced, may cause widespread damage in Australia. Managing sustainable productivity inter alia requires realistic evaluation of impacts of climate change on potential threats to forests and the ecosystem services they provide, including as a carbon sink. Such evaluations of threats will assist future planning including prudent use of silvicultural practices to mitigate possible threats. Climate models can enable: better understanding of future threats to Australia's forests and vegetation and related ecosystem services; and better preparedness to safeguard Australia's natural resources in a changing climate. Forest management systems and plans can incorporate measures for mitigating the changing risks associated with pests, diseases, weeds, drought and fire. They can include contingency plans for the emergency salvage of damaged or dead standing timber to prevent damaged forest stands from becoming a source of greenhouse gas emissions. © 2010 New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited, trading as Scion. Source


Kompas T.,Australian National University | Dichmont C.M.,CSIRO | Punt A.E.,University of Washington | Punt A.E.,CSIRO | And 6 more authors.
Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics | Year: 2010

The Australian Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) is one of the few that has adopted a dynamic version of a 'maximum economic yield' (MEY) target, and, on this basis, the fishery is undergoing a process of substantial stock rebuilding. This study details the bioeconomic model used to provide scientific management advice for the NPF, in terms of the amount of allowable total gear length in the fishery, for both the MEY target and the path to MEY. It combines the stock assessment process for two species of tiger prawns with a specification for discounted economic profits, where the harvest function in the profit equation is stock-dependent. Results for the NPF show a substantial 'stock effect', indicating the importance of conserving fish stocks for profitability. MEY thus occurs at a stock size that is larger than that at maximum sustainable yield, leading to a 'win-win' situation for both the industry (added profitability) and the environment (larger fish stocks and lower impact on the ecosystem). Sensitivity results emphasize this effect by showing that the MEY target is much more sensitive to changes in the price of prawns and the cost of fuel, and far less so to the rate of discount. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Inc. and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Source

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