The Landholder Collaboration project is an action research project aimed at supporting landholders who wish to increase their level of collaboration on activities relating to conservation and sustainable agriculture. The project involves the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology Sydney, along with Landcare NSW, Local Land Services (Central Tablelands and Greater Sydney) and a number of local landholder groups. It has been funded by the NSW Environmental Trust from 2016 to 2018.

The aim of this site is to generate discussion around ways in which landholder collaboration can be enhanced on issues that cut across property boundaries and combine conservation and production objectives. It will provide outputs from the 2-year project as well as other resources  for landholders interested in increasing their level of collaboration.

While landholders generally focus on land management at the property scale, many environmental issues cut across property boundaries, including biodiversity conservation, management of riparian areas, weed and pest management and water quality. Cross-property collaboration could increase the viability of a range of enterprise options, including ecotourism, agroforestry, wind farms, biobanking, carbon farming and kangaroo management.

Landcare has successfully promoted collaboration, but new models are needed that can integrate commercial and conservation opportunities and link actions strategically across the landscape.

This project aims to develop models for collaboration amongst landholders to be tailored to the issues they wish to collaborate on and the appropriate level of collaboration. One such option is a Landscape Corporation that could undertake strategic planning, invest in profitable ventures and apply for grants for environmental projects. Beneath this would be other models forming a “ladder” of increasing collaboration, from Landcare groups (neighbour partnerships/networks) to alliances, associations and cooperatives.

Send us a message via the contact page stay posted on the results that emerge from our reviews of successful collaboration examples and from the trials we’ll be undertaking in the Central Tablelands and Central West of New South Wales, Australia, from 2016 to 2018. You can also follow us on Facebook.

Project team

Dr Peter Ampt has expertise and experience in participatory research that seeks to integrate production and conservation. His role include manager of the Future of Australia’s Threatened Ecosystems (FATE) program and steering committee member for the Communities in Landscapes (CiL) project, which was aimed at improving the management of Box Gum grassy woodlands under the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country program. The CiL project focused on the Central West, Lachlan and Murrumbidgee regions of NSW and involved the application of social research tools such as Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and environmental monitoring tools such as Landscape Function Analysis (LFA). Dr Ampt also has applied these social and environment research tools in other participatory research projects such as the Central Tablelands Agroforestry Bioenergy Project, funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture (formerly DAFF) and the Barrier Ranges Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise Trial in far-western NSW (funded by RIRDC).

Professor Graciela Metternicht has extensive experience in geospatial analysis, land use planning and integrated environmental assessment and has worked at a range of prominent institutions around the world. Prior to becoming Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies (IES) at UNSW, she worked for UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) as Regional Coordinator of Early Warning and Assessment for Latin America and the Caribbean. This role involved capacity building and the provision of technical assistance to governments of the region as well as contributing to global and regional environmental reports of the UNEP and the UN, such as the 5th Global Environment Outlook (GEO 5). Prior to joining UNEP, Professor Metternicht served as Head of Discipline and Professor of Geospatial Systems and Environmental Management at the School of Natural and Built Environments of the University of South Australia (UNISA) and as Professor of Spatial Sciences at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM), Curtin University of Technology. She has published over 100 research articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and has attracted research funding from the ARC and other funding bodies on research topics such as geospatial modelling of land degradation, salinity and invasive species, along with the incorporation of geospatial analysis into land use planning and policy development.

Dr Alex Baumber is a Scholarly Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). His research interests relate primarily to rural land use issues, including revegetation, bioenergy, agroforestry and carbon accounting. He has direct experience with social analysis tools, including Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), semi-structured interviews and the administering of questionnaires. His project management experience includes the management of research grants relating to his postdoctoral research on low-carbon tourism, PhD case studies on the potential for woody energy crops on degraded or vulnerable land, a previous role as project officer for the Future of Australia’s Threatened Ecosystems (FATE) Program at UNSW (2005-2008) and consultancy work for the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute (2012-present). His PhD thesis, completed in 2012, considered the potential for bioenergy production from woody crops to assist with the protection of degraded or vulnerable land. He also has experience with policy development while working for the Australian Government Department of the Environment (formerly DEH) between 2002 and 2005.

Dr Baumber has collaborated on a number of successful research grants, with projects including Low Carbon Tourism: Building Sustainable Communities (CRC for Low-Carbon Living 2013-2015), Optimising revegetation management for regent honeyeater recovery (NSW Environmental Trust 2013-2016), the Central Tablelands Agroforestry Bioenergy Project (RIRDC and DAFF 2010-12) and the Barrier Ranges Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise Trial (RIRDC 2006-2009). Of particular relevance to the study region are the current revegetation project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust in the Capertee Valley and the Central Tablelands Agroforestry Bioenergy project.

Dr Rebecca Cross is a research associate and casual academic at the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, University of Sydney (USYD).  She completed a PhD in 2015 at the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of NSW, which examined the socio-cultural and psychological dimensions of sustainable broadacre farming transformations.  Her research interests are founded in rural geography and sociology, with a focus on natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, farming sub-cultures and extension.  Rebecca has extensive experience with qualitative and quantitative social research methods, including Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), interviewing, surveying and facilitating focus groups, particularly with rural landholders.  She has worked on several projects including Communities in Landscapes (CiL) (funded by Caring for Our Country, 2010-2012), Mining and biodiversity offsetting in agricultural landscapes in Mudgee, NSW (funded by XX, 2014) and the Burdekin, QLD (funded by UNSW, 2014), and A historiography of cotton growing in Australia (funded by Cotton CRC, 2010-2012).  She has been employed by Dr Peter Ampt since 2013 at USYD and guest lectures and tutors in agriculture, as well as human geography at UNSW.

Project partners



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