Integrated Pest Management Project
This is a two year $200,000 grant. The project will work with six industry participants and three industry groups to investigate, trial and demonstrate integrated pest management (IPM) in high-value seed potato horticulture (1 site) and viticulture (1 site) on KI. It will examine existing knowledge, including a previous study on the multiple benefits offered by native vegetation on KI, to develop recommendations and strategies for improving native vegetation and habitat management to increase its pest suppression, pollination, amenity, tourism, marketing values and to maintain KI’s disease free status for seed potatoes.
It will survey key areas for pest, vector and weed species and develop KI and industry specific planting lists.
[image above courtesy of the Australian Museum]
On-ground works will include vegetation management, revegetation, installation of roosting boxes and bird perches. Extensive communications and engagement activities will build the skills and understanding of participants, key stakeholders and the public. Resulting costs and benefits will be monitored and assessed (insofar as the time period allows). Novel financing options will be explored.
[image below of bat boxes courtesy of diydoctor.org.uk]
KI’s reputation for an unspoiled environment draws over 200,000 visitors each year. Agriculture is the other economic mainstay, with grazing, cropping, horticulture and viticulture all taking place on KI. Glatz (2015) identified significant ecosystem services provided to agriculture by native vegetation and highlighted the impacts of ecosystem services degradation on KI.
IPM can improve environmental and social outcomes, increase profits, reduce biosecurity risks, and unlock new market potential for KI through the establishment of unique selling points that are commensurate with KI’s ‘clean, green’ brand identity. IPM principles are well developed and have been successfully demonstrated and implemented across agricultural industries elsewhere. IPM is currently employed by some seed potato growers on KI, but the benefits offered by KI’s extensive native vegetation are overlooked.
A range of recommendations were previously identified to improve production and resilience through better on-farm and regional management of native vegetation on KI (Glatz, 2015), e.g. regional suppression of weeds that host specific crop viruses and insect vectors. Other resources exist to guide vegetation/habitat management to increase the desired benefits from biodiversity. The project will examine these resources and work with industry and agency partners to tailor them for implementation on KI.
The project will contribute to improving Kangaroo Island food and fibre business productivity and profitability and will contribute to protecting or improving natural resources in the following ways:
- Improved native vegetation cover (including native grasses) will reduce soil erosion and improve soil health, also reducing runoff and sediment in aquatic systems. Healthy soil is characterized by higher soil organic matter and increased soil carbon levels.
- Improved native vegetation cover and condition will reduce soil erosion and improve soil health, also reducing runoff and sediment in aquatic systems.
- IPM takes advantage of the free ecosystems services associated with healthy vegetation. If a higher value is placed on native vegetation in the agricultural landscape, farmers will be more motivated to effectively manage and it and increase its extent. This will also lead to an increase in carbon sequestration into woody biomass.
- The project will be seeking to improve the management of the extensive native vegetation on roadsides that are managed by the KI council. This will lead to maintained or improved ground cover and reduced erosion as well as reduced runoff.
- As waterways are connected, improvements in on-farm freshwater systems will lead to improvements in off-farm aquatic systems.
- Native flora and fauna will benefit from increased habitat connectivity due to strategic plantings and improved management practices leading to improved condition and greater extent of habitat. A greater appreciation for the free ecosystem services offered by beneficial animal species as well as by native vegetation will lead to their increased protection and improved management.
- IPM takes advantage of the benefits delivered by healthy native vegetation. If higher value is placed on native vegetation in the agricultural landscape, farmers will be more motivated to protect it. It has been demonstrated that maintaining/restoring landscape vegetation cover to at least 30% is the only metric predicted to preserve significant biodiversity under various climate change and land use scenarios. A reduction in agrichemical use reduces stress on ecosystems and increases resilience.
[image above of ladybird courtesy of Matt Cole Photography]
The project is important for:
- developing strategies and partnerships for improving on-farm and regional management of native vegetation to make full use of pest management, biosecurity, tourism and marketing services provided by native vegetation generally and specifically to horticulture and viticulture
- developing strategies and partnerships for delivery of future vegetation management projects aimed at multi-use production, tourism and biodiversity benefits
- reducing agrichemical use and associated costs and impacts
- exploring novel financing mechanisms to reduce cost barriers.
[image of a predatory shield bug above courtesy of Brisbane Insects & Spiders]
It is worthwhile because:
- it will action the latest info on vegetation management and ecosystem services on KI and IPM more broadly
- it will help to maintain and improve the extent and condition of vegetation on KI for biodiversity, tourism, landscape resilience and agricultural adaptation
- it will work with industry partners to address real and perceived barriers to implementing IPM
- it will demonstrate and showcase best practice and the value of IPM, and build the capacity and capability of KI producers, landholders and agencies.
The project will help to disseminate and implement the latest vegetation management science collated for KI, highlighting the value of ecosystem services and production advantages obtainable from native vegetation and fauna and helping to prevent the gradual loss of associated, free ecosystem services that contribute to agricultural productivity, adaptive capacity and the resilience of biodiversity on KI, particularly so given a rapidly warming climate.
KI Natural Resources Management Board