Grow­ing trees – data now on­line

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Farm­ers look­ing for in­for­ma­tion about any as­pect of plant­ing and manag­ing trees in the work­ing land­scape will soon be able to ac­cess a new free on­line data­base list­ing the most use­ful and cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion avail­able.

This data­base will range from prac­ti­cal as­pects of grow­ing and har­vest­ing trees for tim­ber through to es­tab­lish­ing ri­par­ian plant­ing, and man­age­ment in­for­ma­tion such as bud­get­ing and for­est own­er­ship op­tions.

The project is be­ing funded by the Sus­tain­able Farm­ing Fund, the New Zealand Farm Forestry As­so­ci­a­tion and Scion Re­search with sup­port from Ru­ral Women New Zealand and the New Zealand In­sti­tute of Forestry.

‘‘Since the 1950s, there have been many ini­tia­tives aimed at en­cour­ag­ing farm­ers to plant more trees, and man­age ex­ist­ing plan­ta­tions and na­tive bush for all sorts of rea­sons – tim­ber, shade, shel­ter, or fod­der, con­trol of soil ero­sion, con­ser­va­tion, car­bon stor­age, or amenity ben­e­fits,’’ project man­ager Har­riet Palmer said.

‘‘At the same time there has been a large amount of re­search cen­tred on small-scale forestry, re­sult­ing in a plethora of in­for­ma­tion re­sources and tech-trans­fer ac­tiv­ity.

‘‘Much of the ex­pe­ri­ence and in­for­ma­tion gen­er­ated over the years is very high cal­i­bre and still rel­e­vant but the re­sources are scat­tered and some­times hard to find,’’ she said.

Farm­ers al­ready in­volved in or con­sid­er­ing tree ven­tures and or­gan­i­sa­tions whose role in­cludes ad­vis­ing farm­ers on in­te­grated land man­age­ment strate­gies, will ben­e­fit from the planned data­base. All list­ings will be as­sessed by lead­ing farm foresters, forestry con­sul­tants and re­searchers to en­sure they re­flect present knowl­edge and best prac­tice.

As well as un­lock­ing ex­ist­ing re­sources and re­search to wider ac­cess, the project will help iden­tify in­for­ma­tion gaps.

It will also pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on how farm­ers pre­fer to learn about plant­ing and manag­ing trees.

As a vi­tal first step, project or­gan­is­ers are ask­ing farm­ers and land own­ers to par­tic­i­pate in an on­line sur­vey to as­cer­tain their spe­cific in­for­ma­tion and train­ing needs re­lated to trees on farms, and also their pre­ferred meth­ods for re­ceiv­ing new in­for­ma­tion – for­mally and in­for­mally. – lmer


To par­tic­i­pate in the sur­vey go to: https:/ /www.sur­vey­mon­­Farms. All sur­veys com­pleted be­fore De­cem­ber 31, 2012 will go into the draw for $100 fuel vouch­ers, a copy of by John War­dle, or Ru­ral Women New Zealand’s cook­books and

AW­HOLE LOT EAS­IER: Farm­ers can now look on­line for agri­cul­tural in­for­ma­tion.

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