Balancing Land Use to Manage River Volume and Salinity: Economic and Hydrological Consequences for the Little River Catchment in Central West, New South Wales, Australia
Agricultural Systems, Vol. 103, pp. 161–170. DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2009.12.003
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 Last revised: 25 Sep 2012
Date Written: 2010
It has been widely suggested that changing land use from annual to perennial crops reduces land and stream degradation due to salinization. However, annual crops are financially attractive and increases in perennials can reduce stream flows with adverse effects on stream values. As such, salinity control is likely to involve tradeoffs between public and private costs and benefits. This study quantifies the expected on-farm economic and catchment-level water yield and salinity effects of altering land use among trees, perennial pastures and cereals. The structure of a two stage linear-programming (LP) process is described. The first stage is the MIDAS farm-level model of mixed cropping and sheep enterprises which provides inputs to a second stage catchment-level LP. It was concluded that perennial pastures can be used in conjunction with trees as a stream salinity-management tool in low to intermediate rainfall areas in New South Wales. The results indicate that land-use decisions should be informed by site-specific information if adverse effects on streams are to be avoided.
Keywords: bio-economic models, linear programming, model of an integrated dryland agricultural
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