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Woodlots in rotation with agriculture

Hatton, T., Dawes, W. and Harper, R. (2002) Woodlots in rotation with agriculture. In: Stirzaker, R., Vertessy, R. and Sarre, A., (eds.) Trees, Water and Salt – an Australian guide to using trees for healthy catchments and productive farms. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, ACT, Australia, pp. 43-55.

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Woodlots are generally established on land previously used for agriculture, and following the harvest of trees, the land may be returned to agriculture. Land used for agriculture generally has more stored soil water and higher nutrient status. Thus, the initial productivity of a woodlot established on such land may be relatively high, particularly in the lower rainfall zones where water would otherwise be limiting. However, productivity may decline as the stand develops and consumes these resources, even to the point of tree mortality due to drought.

This chapter explores the performance of woodlots in areas considered too dry for conventional forestry. It examines the implications of climate, soil, salt and groundwater for the length of rotation required to achieve a balance between groundwater control and tree productivity. And it suggests a strategy in which woodlots can be moved around the farm to 'mine' soil water, thereby increasing the impact on recharge.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
Copyright: © Joint Venture Agroforestry Program 2002
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