Native agriforestry and bioenergy project for the Western Edge of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

Funded by: Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC)

Timeframe: July 2010 – Dec 2011

Project Team: Peter Ampt (USYD/FATE), Alex Baumber (UNSW), John Merson (UNSW/BMWHI), Crelis Rammelt (UNSW/BMWHI), Sarah Terkes (UNSW/BMWHI)

Project Background:

Three inter-related research projects are being undertaken in 2010/11 in the NSW Central Tablelands. They are jointly looking at the potential for a regional bioenergy industry to be established based around the use of plantation biomass. Electricity generation and conversion to liquid biofuels are being assessed, based on biomass sources including residues from existing pine plantations, residues from wood processing and biomass from new plantations. Biomass from native forests is not being considered within this research. The three projects are being led by:

  1. The University of New South Wales (Institute of Environmental Studies), The Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute and The University of Sydney (Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources)
  2. Industry & Investment New South Wales (Policy and Research Division)
  3. CSIRO (Energy Transformed and Sustainable Agriculture Flagships)

Each project has received funding under the Australian Government’s Forest Industries Climate Change Research Fund, with the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation also providing support for the first two projects.

Project Overview:

This project will focus on the potential for new agroforestry plantations in the Central Tablelands region. The research will look into possible sites, species and plantation designs, as well as social goals and conservation objectives. Through stakeholder consultation, the project draws on the ideas and experiences of landholders, industry, Government agencies and community groups in the region. This will also provide information for the CSIRO bioenergy resource assessment.

Key Project Activities:

  • Participatory Rural Appraisal (August/September 2010): This will involve interviews conducted over 3 days by a team of interviewers followed by a stakeholder workshop to review the information gathered.
  • Data analysis: Results of stakeholder consultation will be analysed – Qualitative analysis of social drivers/barriers, ability of plantations to meet regional NRM goals. Likely to include a survey, GIS analysis and policy analysis.
  • “Ground-truthing” of scenarios and modelling results. This will involve returning to local stakeholders in March/April 2011 for a workshop or interviews.

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