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Tasmanian Midlands socio-economic profile

Gadsby, S., Lockwood, M., Moore, S. and Curtis, A. (2013) Tasmanian Midlands socio-economic profile. University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania.

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The Landscapes and Policy Hub established under the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP), is one of five multi-institutional research hubs established to ‘provide robust science that is essential for managing the sustainability of Australia’s environment’ (DSEWPAC 2011). The hub comprises a team of researchers from the University of Tasmania, the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Australian National University, Murdoch University, Griffith University and Charles Sturt University. The aim of the hub is to develop tools, techniques and policy options that enable biodiversity to be considered at landscape scale. The hub is focusing on two study areas: the Tasmanian Midlands and the Australian Alps.

The Tasmanian Midlands is one of the oldest grazed regions in Australia, with a traditional wool growing region that dates back to the 1820s (Fulton 2000), and is predominately private land. Wool continues to be the largest enterprise in the region (Mooney et al. 2010), however production has diversified to include crops such as peas, cereal, potato and poppies. Expanded irrigation schemes will likely lead to an extension of irrigated agriculture across the region. The land use history of the region has resulted in a number of conservation issues including fragmentation of remnant vegetation, rural tree decline and degradation of native grassland (Mooney et al. 2010).

This report contributes to the Landscapes and Policy Hub by providing a socio-economic profile for areas encompassing the Tasmanian Midlands. The hub’s Social and Institutional Futures Project is investigating the social and institutional elements of these landscapes, with a particular focus on the lowland native grasslands scattered through the region. Lowland native grasslands are the most depleted vegetation formation in Tasmania and are listed as critically endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth). Much of the native grassland cover has been lost since European settlement, with remnants persisting as small fragments that provide vital habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna, including four plant species and at least 11 invertebrate species endemic to the region (Gouldthorpe & Gilfedder 2002).

While there are small remnants on roadsides, in local reserves and in some cemeteries, the majority of the ecological community is on private property, making the conservation activities and commitment of private landholders essential for its survival. This profile is provided to help identify potential futures for the Tasmanian Midlands and shape options for institutional, planning and management arrangements directed towards improving biodiversity outcomes.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: University of Tasmania
Copyright: © University of Tasmania
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