If a cow grazes in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
This goes to the core of the Australian beef industry's challenge with deforestation; we can productively produce beef in a forest.
Deforestation is a significant focus of global sustainability initiatives.
There are a number of global commitments in development in the EU, USA and UK and within our supply chain. They all seek to define a forest, define what deforestation is and define land use change.
The beef industry needs to create a nature-positive goal to demonstrate to our customers and stakeholders what we all already know - that beef production can maintain and enhance the environment in which we operate.
What happens on the ground matters and creating one-size fits all regulations across varying bioregions can generate negative outcomes for our environment.
Our industry set a goal for no net release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 2030.
We defined a problem, our obstacle, and set about driving research and development to address the challenge, informed by the drivers of industry - productivity and cost.
Because of this initiative, we are driving the narrative on emissions reduction globally.
We need a similar nature-positive environmental goal to focus our efforts and build an evidence base, demonstrating the good we do for the environment and the role active management plays in driving environmental outcomes.
Once we truly start to measure our outcomes, we can optimise practice change to deliver greater benefits and greater productivity on-farm.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Recognising the role of active management in our environment would create opportunities for forest gain on farm by allowing producers to feel comfortable electing to convert Category X to 40 per cent or more canopy cover in an actively managed state.
The vegetation created would be of a higher environmental quality, could generate carbon and biodiversity income - or be an offset to manage non-category X land.
Revenue from carbon in vegetation can offset regrowth management costs across broad areas.
We need to get to a stable non-partisan regulatory environment, because regulation is the number one cause of deforestation.
We must be optimistic and solutions-focused, we need to measure, report and engage with customers and stakeholders on the environment.
Because we can produce beef in a forest, a forest that is thickening and that we can selectively manage to remain productive, continue to regenerate and store carbon, harvest biodiversity and produce beef to feed a hungry world.
- Mark Davie, Australian Beef Sustainability Framework chair
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