Adapting to Climate Change
The Northern United Forestry Group is working with its members to develop information, tools and strategies that support their need to respond to changes in the climate. The project is as much about philosophy as it is about science. It builds on the group's experience in developing farm forestry and land rehabilitation programs in salt prone landscapes at Kamarooka.
The project focuses on five landholder members with properties at Leichhardt, Kamarooka and Drummartin in the south and Gunbower in the north. Each of these farms is being set up to monitor some of the fundamental aspects of the water balance, including rainfall, rainfall intensity, evaporation and groundwater relative to common land uses such as grazing and farm forestry.
The idea is to involve people making the decisions on farms in the data collection and have them actively participate in the research. The concept is one of bringing the realities of climate change down to a local level so that they are better understood. NUFG aims to allow people to appreciate the things happening on their own land, to understand the consequences, and to work out the most appropriate ways of responding.
The discussion might occur around the kitchen table one week and at an NUFG meeting the next. The principle does not focus on telling people how to manage their land in the face of climate change, but to give them the tools they need to make their own assessment and the opportunity to discuss the results with their peers.
The project also recognises that most people have an interest in the science of the natural world. In this sense it is far more interesting to be an active participant than a simply a recipient. It actively encourages people to gather information and make their own assessments of things happening in their own backyard. How much rain did we get? Did we get any runoff? Did the depth to the watertable change? What difference was there under the pasture compared with the farm forestry?
The adapting to climate change project is a good example of a community based research project supported by a grant from the Australian Government National Landcare Program.
The first evaporation pan arrives
In July 2007 the prototype A class evaporation pan arrived ready for installation on the Leichhardt site. The pan was constructed to accommodate data logging technology and this will soon be fitted to make the unit operational. The NUFG plans to trial the technology on the Leichhardt property prior to constructing similar units for and deploying them on the other participating farms.
Electronic rainfall recorders operational
Electronic rainfall recorders have been installed on each of the farms participating in the project. The technology affords these farmers immediate access to high quality daily rainfall data for their land. It also provides ready access to more detailed information including rainfall intensity.
The images below shows rainfall data being downloaded to laptop computer.