For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Erica McCoull on Hobart (03) 6222 5977.
This publication presents preliminary estimates of Natural Resource Management (NRM) activities and issues on Australian farms in 2004-05. The estimates have been compiled from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) first dedicated Natural Resource Management survey.
This new survey, to be conducted every two years, was developed in response to a demand for a more extensive range of NRM statistics. While the ABS has previously collected data on NRM topics (e.g. water, salinity), the NRM survey will allow for the ongoing collection of a range of NRM topics.
In developing the NRM survey, five priority topics were identified; native vegetation, weeds, pests, land and soil, and water. These form the focus of the Natural Resource Management Survey 2004-05.
The survey asked farmers to identify the extent and type of NRM issues present on their land and the activities they undertook to prevent or manage them. The results provide an important perspective into NRM issues and activities occurring on Australian farms during 2004-05 and may differ from scientific or satellite assessment.
An important objective of the Natural Resource Management Survey 2004-05 was to collect and publish regional data. Estimates from the 2004-05 survey are being released at the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT2) region level. Appendix 2 contains a map of the regions used in this publication.
Final results from the survey will be made available in September this year. The final publication will provide more detailed NRM estimates, including areas affected and managed within the five priority NRM topics, and a summary of the labour and financial costs associated with the activities undertaken.
The ABS welcomes feedback on this publication in terms of its relevance, usefulness, quality and range of data presented. Also, more detailed information may be available on request. Please send any comments or questions to the Director, Environment and Energy Business Statistics Centre, GPO Box 66, Hobart, TAS 7001, or phone (03) 6222 5804.
INTERPRETING THE DATA
As the NRM survey relies on the perceptions and attitudes of the person completing the form, care should be taken when comparing data from this publication to data from other sources (see paragraph 20 of the Explanatory Notes). To assist in interpreting the data included in this publication, the following key terms and data quality issues should be taken into account.
Management of our natural resources - land, soil, native vegetation, biodiversity and water (both fresh and sea).
Issues relating to or impacting on the environment's natural and physical resources or the management and long term sustainability of those resources. Some relevant examples for this survey include the decreased value of agriculture production due to weed infestation, crop damage due to the presence of pests, blocked waterways, soil acidity, salinity, erosion, habitat fragmentation, and thickening or insufficient native vegetation. The reporting of NRM issues does not necessarily mean any management activity has been undertaken. The NRM issues identified may have affected part or all of the holding and may have been of varying severity.
Any activity undertaken on the holding to prevent or manage native vegetation, weed, pest, land or soil and/or water issues. The reporting of NRM activity does not necessarily mean the presence of NRM issues or that NRM issues that do exist are being fully addressed. Activities may have been undertaken on part or all of the holding.
Any indigenous plant community, either naturally occurring or regenerated with human assistance. Native vegetation covers a range of vegetation types, including forests, woodlands, scrub, native grasslands, wetlands, and remnant and regrowth. It excludes commercial plantations.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Natural Resource Management (NRM) was an important activity on the majority of Australian farms in 2004-05.
NRM issues were present on 86% of agricultural establishments in 2004-05, and 91% of agricultural establishments undertook some form of activity to prevent or manage NRM issues. These results suggest some farmers preventatively manage their holdings in order to avoid NRM issues affecting their land.
At the national level, weeds were the most commonly reported NRM issue. Weed-related issues affected 73% of Australian agricultural establishments during 2004-05. Similarly, weed-related activities were the most commonly reported NRM activity at the national level, with 80% of agricultural establishments undertaking activities to either prevent or manage weeds.
Although weed-related issues were the most commonly reported NRM issue at the national level, pest-related issues rated higher in four of the states and territories (Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory).
At the regional level, weeds and pests were consistently the most commonly reported NRM issue, although the extent of reporting and the level of management activity undertaken by agricultural establishments varied considerably across the regions.
Native vegetation management also formed an important part of NRM on Australian farms in 2004-05. Approximately 63% of agricultural establishments which reported the presence of native vegetation undertook some form of native vegetation management activities during the year.