The western Australian wheatbelt
A vast and semi-arid area with 4 returns potential
In Australia’s West near Perth there is a threatened global biodiversity hotspot – The western Australian wheatbelt. Farming takes place in semi-arid conditions with less than 400 mm rainfall per year. Young people are leaving town for school and university, but not returning due to a lack of jobs, resulting in a decline in communities. New hope is emerging though as Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) works towards realising 4 returns potential with their partners.
The southern wheatbelt region in Australia is a threatened global biodiversity hotspot as almost 90% of the land has been cleared since 1890. Depopulation is occurring at rates of up to 2% per annum resulting in closure of primary schools, health centres and retail outlets. Young people are leaving town for school and university, but not returning due to a lack of jobs, resulting in a decline in communities. Consolidation of existing farms means there are fewer opportunities for new and existing farmers to enter diversified or regenerative farming systems. High debt leveraging prevents current farmers from transitioning towards diversified and regenerative farming systems.
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This landscape has the potential to turn the losses from degradation into 4 returns. There are already restoration initiatives working towards ambitious goals.
Learn more about who they are and what they do:
The western Australian wheatbelt is an open, wide landscape characterised by golden agricultural fields on which cereals are grown and livestock grazes. Altogether, the Wheatbelt is more than 150,000 square kilometres in area, or twice the size of Tasmania.
The climate ranges from warm-summer mediterranean in the south to hot-summer Mediterranean or even arid climate to the north of the area. Overall, average annual rainfall is very low (below 400mm).