Cotton Landcare Tech Innovations: Improved natural capital (biodiversity) on Australian cotton farms
- review existing literature and expertise on revegetation on vertosols;
- develop a database of germination requirements for native plant species commonly found on cotton farms;
- determine the potential to use drones for revegetation on cotton farms;
- determine methods to increase germination and establishment success of revegetation on cotton farms;
- develop a cost–benefit analysis of different revegetation methods on cotton farms.
- Key finding: While direct seeding and broadcasting of native seeds appear to have success in more temperate regions, even after two of the wettest years on record, we have not recorded any germination of seeds in our study areas. This is not surprising, natural regeneration events are exceptionally rare in nature. As such, we advocate a considered approach to revegetation centring on the use of tubestock seedlings for revegetation on the inland floodplains where cotton is grown. A number of factors to consider are outlined in project outputs. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts when it comes to revegetation in these difficult, highly variable weather environments and in the heavy clay soils commonly found on cotton farms, some of which naturally do not support trees due to the shrink-swell, churning action of the soil and ability of the tight binding of moisture in the clay structures.