Why does planting trees have benefits for agriculture and productivity?
Below are some of the benefits to be gained from integrating native trees and shrubs into a wide variety of farming systems.
Biodiverse native plantings provide habitat for:
- native bees
Which help by pollinating crops and pastures.
Land protection and restoration
The iconic scatter of paddock trees is rapidly disappearing from Australia’s farmlands partly due to old age, disease, and a lack of natural regeneration. This has an impact on livestock welfare and productivity, due to a decrease in natural shade and shelter. As a result, livestock fertility, energy levels and the successful carrying of newborns, as well as wool, meat and milk production are all negatively affected.
In many agricultural regions, the replacement of woodlands with short-lived, shallow-rooted, winter-growing crops and pastures has resulted in increased groundwater recharge and rising saline water tables.
If a variety of deep-rooted native trees and shrubs are planted, they are effective at drawing water from deeper in the soil and so reduce the risk of salinity.
Greening Australia’s plantings can therefore help replace this natural shade and shelter and also provide benefits to adjacent crops by reducing wind and water erosion, and by conserving soil moisture.
Native vegetation provides habitat for wildlife, such as birds and bats, and predatory insects such as spiders and wasps. These act as a natural control on insect pests and so reduce the need for chemical insecticides.