Our Land and Water researchers have published several papers that describe actions to mitigate the loss of contaminants from agricultural land. Our research frequently refers to “mitigation actions” and “management actions”, but if people wanted to find a list of these actions they had to search within academic papers.
These papers also provide useful guidance on cost-effectiveness, co-benefits and potential standardised measurements – but this information hasn't been easily accessible.
We want to take this knowledge out of academic papers, remove complexity, and enable land managers to filter the information to present only the most relevant actions.
As a first step, we have combined information from these papers into a reference tool to support decision-making and communication.
The infographic below (click here to view at full screen width) enables landowners to filter the actions available for their farm system, and zoom in to focus on any of five critical issues (nitrogen, phosphorus, E.coli, sediment and GHGs). Applying both a farm type and issue filter enables a pop-up for each action containing a short description and data on co-benefits, factors that may limit application, and potential standard measurements.
The ‘action boxes' are sized according to estimated cost-effectiveness, with a larger box indicating a more effective and/or lower-cost action.
We have included actions in common use, with cost-effectiveness estimates that have been previously published. We have also included some developing mitigation actions, to which we've applied a non-peer-reviewed estimate of cost-effectiveness (indicated by an asterix). The GHG actions have not yet been assigned cost-effectiveness mitigations.
This tool has been created for information purposes using a free data visualisation service, so it is quite rough around the edges. We're now working with industry to take it up a level.
The next step is to develop a custom tool that can help land managers prioritise actions for their farm environment plans. Planned improvements in the next stage of the tool may include more information about cost and effectiveness, and enabling more specific filtering by dairy farm typology.
We are very interested in feedback from land managers, farm advisors, farmers and industry body representatives. What would you like to see added to this tool? What would make it an effective action prioritisation tool for your farm environment plan?
Please comment below, and we'll consider your feedback when building the prioritisation tool.