Valuing ‘natural capital’ for lamb survival

Ewes and lambs among wattles


Sheep producers are invited to participate in a nationwide survey that aims to put a dollar figure on the benefits native vegetation provides for lamb survival in Australian sheep production systems.

Establishing dense shelter belts of vegetation on farms can improve the survival rate of newborn lambs; for example, by protecting them from extremes of temperature, windchill and rainfall. This survey seeks to quantify the link between investing in this ‘natural capital’ and farm productivity and profitability.

Take the survey


The survey is part of a broader research project by Greening Australia that aims to develop credible metrics and standards around the financial benefits of native vegetation to landholders, by collecting and analysing data linking natural capital investments and financial performance on-farm.

While anecdotal and scientific evidence shows that integrating native vegetation into farming systems can mitigate risk, enhance productivity, and provide an array of ecosystem services, these proven benefits are rarely translated into demonstrable economic value.

As a result, property valuers and banks still tend to consider native vegetation and other natural features on farms as having ‘zero productive value’.

At the recent Regenerative Agriculture Conference in Western Australia, 78% of attendees identified hard proof of return on investment and investment readiness as key barriers to private investment and lending in regenerative agriculture.

“Given the key role regenerative agriculture can play in simultaneously tackling the climate crisis and land degradation, these barriers desperately need to be hurdled,” said Greening Australia’s Science and Planning Manager, Dr Blair Parsons.

“It is vital to understand where producers can improve the profitability and productivity of their businesses by investing in natural capital.”

“Ultimately the results of the project should help improve decision making about integrating native vegetation into farming enterprises for all involved: landholders, financial institutions and land management planners. Putting a dollar figure on the value of native vegetation for farming systems could also stimulate further investment in the environment and agriculture sectors.”
Are you a sheep producer?

We want to hear from you – please participate in our research. The deadline for responses has been extended to 8 November 2019.

Take the survey


This research project is part of our Great Southern Landscapes program, and has been made possible by support from National Australia Bank. For more information about this project, or if you are willing to provide additional financial data to support and validate the survey, please contact Dr Blair Parsons on 08 9280 8310 or email [email protected]