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Land Capability

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Land capability describes the ability of the land to sustain a certain type of land use without causing permanent damage. If land is used beyond it’s capability it will lose productive capacity and degrade.

Land capability is an essential part of mapping your farms resources. A land capability map is a set of guidelines for how your property should be managed to sustain productivity and property health.

When assessing land capability, features such as slope, soil type and erosion risk are examined. By looking at these factors and limitations, parcels of land that have the same capability can be identified and managed according to its capability. Land capability is a very important section of a Property Management Plan (PMP).

Our Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives of the Namoi CMA are to protect and improve the condition of land, water and vegetation resources that underpin the catchments natural ecosystems and our productive agricultural industries. This can be achieved through adopting Best management Practices (BMP), using land within its capability and conducting Integrated Land Use Planning.

Science and Knowledge

A wide range of land types occur across the Namoi Catchment. With each land type there are limitations caused by differences in soils, slope, aspect, position in the landscape (such as valleys, ridges or flowlines) and limitations such as nutrient imbalance, acidity, salinity, structural degradation, drainage, stoniness, degree of slope, lack of organic matter and lack of soil organisms.

Land capability can be indicated in two ways, 1) the eight class land capability system and the Liverpool Plains catchment Land Management Units. The eight class system developed by the Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) uses a 1 to 8 class where the higher the number of the land class, the more protection the land needs or the less safe land use it has. The Land Management Unit (LMU) system of land classification was developed by Dames & Moore-NRM for the Liverpool Plains Catchment area. The LMUs are based on soils, topography and some hydrogeology. LMUs allow the application of appropriate management options at both property and landscape scales to deliver catchment outcomes.

Planning

The main point about land capability is to recognise the differences that exist between different parcels of land and map them on your PMP so you can consider management of each area during planning. Through identifying the most limiting factor for each parcel of land on your property a land manager can manage these different parcels separately to ensure sustainability across the property. Consider the nature of any problem areas. These can indicate whether the land has been used beyond its capability in the past. The most limiting factor determines the capability of the area.

Consultation

Through engaging the Namoi CMA technical staff such as property Planners can assist a landholder to develop a Property Management Plan (PMP) incorporating land capabilities within the PMP.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation will be based on changes in management practices across the whole catchment as determined by survey, with supporting output information from the Namoi CMA contract database, which will provide the area changed using investment funds.

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Namoi Catchment Management Authority, 2013