Wednesday, 10 October 2012 11:30

Survey for farm tree database

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Farmers wanting information about planting and managing trees in the working landscape will soon be able to access a new online – and free – database.

It will list the most useful and credible information resources available.

This database will range from practical aspects of growing and harvesting trees for timber through to establishing riparian plantings and management information such as budgeting and forest ownership options.

As a vital step, the project organisers are looking for input from farmers, via a short online survey as to how they prefer to receive this type of information. This survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Trees_on_Farms.

The project is being funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund, the NZ Farm Forestry Association and Scion Research, with support from Rural Women NZ and the NZ Institute of Forestry.

"Since the 1950s, there have been many initiatives aimed at encouraging farmers to plant more trees, and manage existing plantations and native bush for all sorts of reasons," says project manager Harriet Palmer.

"At the same time there has been a large amount of research centred around small-scale forestry, resulting in a plethora of information resources and tech-transfer activity. Much of the experience and information generated over the years is very high calibre and still relevant but the resources are scattered and sometimes hard to find."

Farmers already involved in or considering tree ventures, and organisations whose role includes advising farmers on integrated land management strategies, will benefit from the planned database. All listings in the database will be assessed by leading farm foresters, forestry consultants and researchers to ensure they reflect current knowledge and best practice.

As well as unlocking existing resources and research to wider access, the project will help identify information gaps. It will also provide information on how farmers prefer to learn about planting and managing trees.

Farmers and landowners are being asked to participate in an online survey to ascertain their specific information and training needs related to trees on farms, and also their preferred methods for receiving new information – formally and informally.

To participate in the survey go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Trees_on_Farms All surveys completed before December 31, 2012 will go into the draw for $100 fuel vouchers, a copy of Native Trees of New Zealand and Their Story by John Wardle, or Rural Women NZ's cookbooks 'A Good Spread' and 'A Good Harvest'.

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