The role of agriculture and its impact on Australia's relatively fragile environment is a continuing source of unresolved concern. In the past, agricultural producers and the environmental movement have adopted polarised views on how the Australian landscape should be managed.
Some environmentalists have perceived primary producers as exploiters of our natural resources while some farmers have viewed environmental groups as achieving legislative changes without regard to the need to earn a living from the land.
In recent times, however, considerable progress has been made. Research has provided a well-advanced understanding of environmental capability and it is no longer seen as acceptable for land managers to continue with practices that exacerbate land degradation. Most farmers desire reclamation and ultimate sustainability.
This book offers a definitive and positive contribution to the significance, responsibilities and accountabilities of agriculture and highlights the underpinning role of science in environmental issues.
Prepared for the Ninth Australian Agronomy Conference on ‘Growing a Greener Future’, the book provides an up-to-date account of the scientific knowledge of some major environmental problems facing farmlands. It also raises many contentious issues that need to be addressed.
Agriculture and the Environmental Imperative will make a positive contribution to the convergence of attitudes of farmers, environmentalists and government in the search for sustainability.
Foreword (Professor John Stocker, Chief Scientist)
The Australian Ecosystem (Timothy Flannery)
Integrating Conservation and Agricultural Production: Fantasy or Imperative? (David Goldney and Johannes Bauer)
Water — Quality and Quantity (Kathleen Bowmer)
Salt-Affected Soils: Their Cause, Management and Cost (Philip Eberbach)
Soil Acidification — An Agricultural and Environmental Problem (Peter Cregan and Brandan Scott)
Soil Structure Decline — Can the Trend be Reversed? (Yin Chan and Jim Pratley)
Pesticides — Friends or Foe (Jim Pratley, Deirdre Lemerle, Lyn Fragar and John Kent)
Natural Resource Policy for Rural Australia (Allan Curtis and Michael Lockwood)
From Farm Management to Ecosystem Management (Alistar Robertson, Jim Pratley and Graeme Sandral)
"Australia has a poor natural endowment for agriculture but through continuous innovation, technical skills and determination, Australian agriculture has often led the world in productivity. However, we now know that this has come at considerable expense... This scientific compilation contains up-to-date accounts of the issues involved." Grass Roots, No. 134, August/September 1999