JCU receives a share in over $350K grant funding

    James Cook University (JCU) is one of four recipients to have received a share in $350,000 in funding, thanks to the TNQ Drought Hub’s Tropical North Queensland Drought Resilience Grant Scheme. The funding will support JCU in evaluating the factors of bare soil conditions, where they will use their findings to shape land management strategies and rehabilitation approaches.

    Senior Research Officer at JCU Dr Jack Koci said this research was crucial in improving productivity and profitability for farmers whilst minimising environmental impacts. "Across the Southern Gulf region of north-west Queensland, there are thousands of hectares of persistently bare soil,” said Dr Koci. Bare soil areas are unable to capture and retain moisture, produce no feed for livestock, are prone to weeds, and are highly susceptible to runoff and erosion. This has detrimental consequences on downstream ecosystems, water quality and water availability."

    "In this project we are seeking to improve understanding of what drives the development of persistent bare soil and how this information can be used to inform land management strategies and guide rehabilitation approaches. “Thanks to the support from the Tropical North Queensland Drought Hub, we can work collaboratively with relevant stakeholders to deliver new knowledge and information that can help improve agricultural and rangeland productivity, profitability and resilience.”

    TNQ Drought Hub Director, Professor David Phelps said the new grant funding initiative was open to organisations throughout northern Queensland who had capacity to deliver projects that would improve drought resilience for farms and communities where agriculture is a strong contributor to the economy and society.

    “We were looking for great ideas from community groups, not-for-profits, primary producers, and agribusiness that would help the agricultural sector and communities become more drought and climate resilient,” said Professor Phelps. “The projects needed to demonstrate tangible benefits in implementing or accelerating the adoption of new technologies, knowledge sharing, and enhancing the capacity for farms and communities to adopt and sustain these practices and programs.

    “JCU’s initiative is a prime example of projects and research that are playing a key role in ensuring the agricultural industry can become more sustainable and drought resilient.”

    Other recipients also included Gulf Savannah Natural Resource Management (NRM), Southern Gulf Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Terrain Natural Resource Management (NRM).

    All projects are due for completion by June 2024, with each recipient also required to commit to a co-contribution.

    Learn more about the grant recipients at www.tnqdroughthub.com.au

    Image: Senior Research Officer Ben Jarihani taking a soil sample from a bare ground restoration project site. Courtesy Emily Harrington

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