Marlee Downs sits in the rangelands of Southern Queensland and changed hands recently with a Native Forest from Managed Regrowth project already in place. The current landholders, Jess and Rowan Douglas already knew a thing of two about carbon farming having undertaken a Human-Induced Regeneration project on their existing property.
As experienced carbon and cattle farmers, the Douglases understand the benefits the project brings to the farm environment, their cattle business and their family. Instead of pushing the land, they can reduce stock and let the land recover, which they regard as being better for the cattle in the long term. The periods of rest have allowed mulga mitchell, mulga oats, kangaroo grass and crows foot herbages to regenerate, and this increased biodiversity of plant life also improves soil health and water retention so the land is more productive.
Revenue from the carbon project has gone back into supporting the farm, with over $500,000 spent on fencing and reducing water run-off to date. The Douglases focus on biodiversity also extends to proactive management of native grasses, targeting areas that are becoming encroached in monoculture growth and taking measures to increase diversity of species.
Their efforts are being rewarded with increases in insect life, including native bees, and prolific birdlife including zebra finches, robins and wedge tail eagles which Rowan says is proof that the landscape is improving.
Native Forest from Managed Regrowth Methodology Determination 2013