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Because horticulture incorporates 140 commodities and is geographically diverse, coupled with
the fact that the impacts of climate change and variability are business specific, research
responses will vary accordingly.
Climate change complex,
but must not be ignored
By ALISON TURNBULL,
HAL Natural Resources and
CLIMATE change is a significant issue for
horticulture. The impacts fall across different and
broad scales. There will be variability of actions
and uncertainty in predictions, and the science is
complex -- linking with social and political
While there are complex economic models and
global climate scenarios being developed to help
industries prepare and better understand the
potential impacts of climate change and
variability, these models do not explain actions in
terms of what can be done now, through existing
business operations and strategies, to help
businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions
(mitigation) and prepare for future climate
Horticulture Australia Limited and the Climate
Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries
network have produced a brochure specifically for
horticulture growers to provide useful and relevant
information on climate change and variability.
The best defence against future climate change
is to continue to develop the capacity and
knowledge to manage our response to current
climate variability more effectively.
The brochure, 'Climate change and the
Australian horticulture industry', is written in an
easy-to-read style and contains information on
predicted climate change impacts on horticulture,
research that is underway to assist growers to
respond to climate change, practical measures to
mitigate and adapt to the challenges and
opportunities presented by climate change, and a
glossary of commonly used climate change terms.
The glossary is a particularly useful component
of the publication, as it will help demystify some of
the climate terms that are becoming more
commonly used in media and Government
For example, the brochure provides definitions
for carbon sinks, sequestration, footprints and the
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
An overview of the Horticulture Climate Change
Action Plan is also provided within the brochure.
Because horticulture incorporates 140
commodities and is geographically diverse,
coupled with the fact that the impacts of climate
change and variability are business specific,
research responses will vary accordingly.
Since 2003, HAL -- in partnership with industry --
has invested about $18.8 million into research
that is helping horticulture growers adapt to
climate change, including projects on water use
efficiency, surviving the drought, pest
management, best management practices and
climate variability projects.
In comparison with extensive climate change
and climate variability research and development
conducted in broadacre agriculture and the
grazing industries, the investment by horticulture
is quite small and mainly involves more recent
investments as a result of the drought.
Investment in climate change research will need
to increase so that the horticulture sector can
compete in new environmental, social and policy
settings. It is important that horticulture industries
have a solid understanding of the anticipated
impacts climate change poses for horticulture
businesses and the required research responses.
The three pillars of investment should be around
adaptation, mitigation and communication.
Details: 'Climate change and the Australian horti-
culture industry' can be downloaded from
www.horticulture.com.au. Hard copies are available
on request from dzin-
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