of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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Eucalyptus and groundwater: managing plantations to avoid resource depleation and environmnetla detriment in China and Australia

Overview of Project

Commissioned by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Australia - This project looks at the the problems of falling yields, soil erosion and suspected groundwater depletion in eucalypt plantations on Leizhou Peninsula in southern China. The project not only looks at the adverse affects of degredation on Eycalypt growth but also how the plantations appeared to increase soil erosion and deplete the groundwater needed for dry season irrigation of rice and sugar cane

Key Outcomes of Project

Raising awareness with forest managers and researchers, to convince them that appropriate modelling could help allay landholder concerns about adverse effects of plantations on water yields and assist in improving plantation yields. Substantial efforts also went into explaining the project and its potential to improve stand productivity to managers from areas outside the Leizhou study area. Successful parameterization of the process-based 3PG model to predict growth of the eucalypt stands on the Leizhou Peninsula has encouraged acceptance of 3PG and of modelling in general as a tool for forest management - A regional-scale catchment model describing vegetation growth and water use with a resolution of 1 km2 over areas of 1000-10,000 km2 was developed to an advanced stage. Initially the model will incorporate available information on climate, vegetation water use, groundwater recharge and subsurface flows for the Leizhou Peninsula and for one or more Australian catchments.

This work will provide information on how Eucalypt plantations effect groundwater and soil eroison for both Eucalypt growth and irrigation of crop in areads surrounding the plantation.

Project Dates

01 Jul 1999 - 30 Jun 2003


CSIRO Land and Water - Australia
China Eucalypt Research Centre - China
University of Melbourne - Australia
South China Institute of Botany - China
Research Institute of Tropical Forestry - China


Dr Jim Morris



03 9450 8722

Launch Website