Strongly contrasting community views of potential for
agricultural development in northern Australia point to limited
formal analysis of opportunities and constraints.
This project assembled information on land suitability, water
availability, and potential incomes from agriculture in the high
rainfall regions of the Northern Territory.
It identified areas apparently capable of supporting
development, including irrigated agriculture, incomes that might be
generated from such activity under realistic assumptions about
variability in output, and developed a carbon budget that takes
account of the emissions associated with land clearing.
The extent of potential development on lands of different tenure
(including Aboriginal lands) was identified. The project did not
constitute a full cost-benefit analysis and is best viewed as
preliminary to more comprehensive studies that deal with the full
array of potential benefits and costs of various forms of
The proposal addressed issues in viable regional land management
which were at the core of the CRC’s interests. Such analysis
will contribute to regional planning and management options. The
work was of national interest and will be useful for the Northern
Task Force and associated assessments.
- assemble available data on land capability, vegetation pattern,
water availability, agricultural options and incomes in the high
rainfall (tropical savanna) regions of the Northern Territory in
forms suitable for aggregation and analysis at different spatial
scales (rainfall zones, catchments, region)
- estimate land areas potentially subject to development by
catchments and by land tenure
- identify vegetation types affected by developments and estimate
GHG emissions associated with land clearing, taking account of
additional carbon storage or emissions associated with projected
- estimate potential incomes available from areas identified as
subject to development under various scenarios (e.g. using only
best available land, assumptions about access to water etc).
- analyse and summarise the above to identify areas warranting
more comprehensive biophysical and economic analysis taking full
account of carbon and other costs of development
- develop proposals for more comprehensive analysis.