Land

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Vision: A diverse and productive landscape with healthy, functioning soils.

Photo of a group of farmers walking through mixed-species cover crop.

Land and soil across the catchment are fundamental to the natural environment, supporting ecosystems and the lifestyle and livelihood of the community.

The catchment covers 2.4 million hectares. Seventy percent is privately owned (1.68 million ha), with about 63% managed primarily for agricultural production and the remaining 7% a mix of rural residential and urban development. Approximately 30% (800,000 ha) is public land that is primarily reserved for environmental and cultural conservation, nature-based tourism and timber harvesting. Public land is co-managed by Traditional Owners and government agencies.

The diversity of private enterprises is increasing with growth in areas such as horse studs, wineries, solar farms, glasshouse horticultural production and tourism. At the same time, traditional agricultural businesses such as cropping, livestock, horticulture and dairy production remain dominant, although the area of irrigated land is decreasing.

Diverse land use and values means assessing land condition is subjective, as good condition for one use maybe poor for another. However, in terms of NRM, good condition is defined as healthy, functioning land systems that provide ecosystem services and deliver on a range of cultural, lifestyle and economic outcomes.

Overall catchment condition for land is rated as satisfactory and has remained stable since 2009. While there was an upward trend in land health during the 1990s and early 2000s, this has plateaued with ongoing land health issues such as reduced litter cycling, poor soil structure and reduced water infiltration and holding capacity. This is in part because of historical land management on public and private land, such as vegetation clearing, some grazing practices, fuel reduction burning and more recently the impacts of climate change.

Land management practices continue to adapt, and in some cases transform, however, there is more complexity around land use. Private land is increasingly valued for housing development, lifestyle and amenity, solar farms and a range of agricultural enterprises. Public land is co-managed by government and Traditional Owners and has competing uses such as nature conservation, firewood collection, recreation, cultural and forestry. This means that engagement, and the adaptation of land management practices, needs to be more flexible to ensure relevance to the diverse range of managers and recognises tension between historical and new land use.

A snapshot of the land theme of the strategy is provided in Figure 42 below, click on the tabs below for further details.

A diagram summarising the land theme content of the strategy, with four main sections: current situation in 2021, critical attributes, medium-term outcomes and what success looks like in 2040. The content of the diagram is described in the information below the diagram.
Figure 42: Summary of the land theme of the Goulburn Broken Regional Catchment Strategy

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