Trees and Grass Survey

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Is there a ‘sweet spot’ for the optimal amount of tree cover in livestock production?

Sweet spot between livestock productivity and tree cover graphFollowing on from our popular Trees in Grazing Systems webinars this year, RCS is conducting a survey of livestock producers in Queensland to gauge the importance of trees in grazing systems.

Tree and grass cover impact both the environment and production. This vegetation is essential for storing carbon and preserving biodiversity and soil health. It also plays an important role in productivity, affecting profitability and the livelihood of people and communities in the industry.

Some recent research examined the relationship between vegetation and grazing, with 30% and 40% identified as the optimum tree canopy cover for both the livestock and the landscape. RCS invites livestock producers in Queensland to share their views on the right amount of tree cover and the advantages and disadvantages of trees in grazing systems.

The purpose of the survey is to gain an improved understanding of the relationship between tree cover and animal productivity in Queensland grazing systems. This will contribute to:

  • understanding the opportunity costs associated with tree carbon farming projects on grazing properties in Queensland;
  • providing information to assist Queensland graziers in decision-making about vegetation management on their properties;
  • on-farm information to support biodiversity conservation on grazing properties in Queensland;
  • guiding the structuring of future incentives to enhance biodiversity or retain woody vegetation on productive farms, such as carbon farming, carbon-neutral commodities, biodiversity stewardship programs and environmental offset schemes.

RCS invites 200 beef and sheep producers in Queensland to participate in this short online survey. The survey involves:

  • a free 12-month subscription to MyFarmKey by Cibo Labs valued at $250, where you can view your property’s ground cover and tree cover every year over 30 years (from 1990) and benchmark your property against neighbours or your region;
  • telling us your known or estimated animal production over the last ten years; and
  • telling us about your views on the relative pros and cons of trees in your grazing system.

By sharing basic property and carrying capacity/stocking rate information with us and identifying your property in MyFarmKey, we hope to build a picture of the relationship between native vegetation and animal production across a range of Queensland environments.

MyFarmKey benefits:

MyFarmKey allows you to verify property boundaries and link these to the digital farm record to “spatially enable” current and future biosecurity, sustainability and supply chain accreditation and reporting systems. You can see and analyse 30 years of satellite imagery over your property and analyse trends in seasonal ground cover and annual tree cover change. You can also generate benchmark reports showing your property’s performance compared with the neighbouring district every three months for the last 30 years.

To access the short survey and your free 12-month subscription to MyFarmKey, click the button below.


The survey is funded by the Queensland Land Restoration Fund and is the first survey as part of the Trees and Grass Study. RCS is working with WWF and Cibo Labs to deliver the study.

Leanne Sommer
Landscape Ecologist

Leanne loves working in great teams, tackling challenges and searching for practical, balanced and sustainable solutions. Leanne is also passionate about partnerships, where multiple parties combine resources and talents to create meaningful outcomes that exceed what each party could achieve individually.

Leanne’s career has taken her across four World Heritage Areas, many national parks and marine parks. Through outstanding Defence training areas and major infrastructure developments to local governments and their stewardship of natural areas, to demonstrating and promoting the strong environmental benefits of good livestock production management in Australia.

Leanne’s role with RCS is to advise and support ecological outcomes of regenerative production and investigate mechanisms for recognising and rewarding high performing ecosystems and ecosystem services on-farm. She can also advise you on tree carbon farming, environmental offsets, and other environmental markets for your great outcomes on-farm.