Guiding small scale property owners to become land Stewards
This project will engage smaller landholders in catchment management and empower them to adopt environmental best practices through tailored land management workshops.
The project will target smaller properties with intensive land uses, specifically:
- artisan/small producers,
- lifestyle/bush block owners and
- horse owners
This project aims to increase landholder skills, knowledge and confidence in natural resource management and support landholders to implement practice change including pest plant and animal control, soil health and native vegetation improvements. It aims to develop landholders into ‘catchment stewards’ who can act as mentors for their neighbours and the local community.
Existing programs primarily focus on full-time farmers with large enterprises and specific industries (e.g. livestock and cropping).
However, the region has a significant number of landholders using their land for non-farming purposes and small farms, with decreasing block sizes and a decline in full-time farmers, particularly in the region’s growing eastern wedge.
Recent surveys show landholders with NRM knowledge are more likely to implement best-practice NRM and there is declining knowledge from full-time to non-farmers (Curtis 2020). There is also strong interest from community members in supporting smaller landholders.
Most non-farmers occupy blocks of less than 20 ha, with their main land use for aesthetics (39%), recreation (20%), horses (15%), goats and alpacas (10%).
Such land use can result in negative natural resource outcomes, including biosecurity issues, overgrazing, pugging of sensitive areas, soil erosion, stock accessing waterways, increased nutrient/sediment loads in waterways and remnant vegetation loss.
This project will address knowledge gaps among small block landholders and empower them to think strategically, make informed management decisions, increase active stewardship, improve land, water and vegetation management and increase community landscape resilience in rapidly changing areas. The program will also prove the opportunity for Landcare members by catering for previously unengaged smaller landholders.