Power Equipment Australasia

NEW CSIRO HANDBOOK TO GUIDE BUSINESSES TOWARDS NATURE POSITIVE FUTURE A new handbook released by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, aims to guide businesses – including farmers, forest growers, mining companies and non-governmental organisations – on how to report and account for their natural assets to better protect the environment. Much of the value and growth from the economy is drawn from natural resources as a variety of industries depend on, and profit, from them. However, that growth has coincided with a catastrophic decline in our natural systems; a decline that includes a 70 per cent reduction in the average species population size since 1970. Natural capital accounting is gaining momentum as a way to quantify and integrate the value of nature into decision-making processes, fostering more sustainable and responsible practices to promote long-term environmental and economic well-being. The Natural Capital Handbook delivers practical step-by-step guidelines on how to measure and incorporate natural assets such as clean air, water, soil and living things into their operations. Lead author and CSIRO scientist Dr Greg Smith said the failure to account for nature in decision-making has led to environmental decline over time and is increasingly recognised as a material risk to business. “While nature underpins our economic growth, the value of nature is excluded in dominant financial analysis tools and not always factored into decision-making by businesses,” Dr Smith said. “This is now being recognised as a critical component in helping to reverse environment decline, and in future, is expected to become a mandatory requirement for businesses globally.” The handbook harmonises resources, frameworks, and indicators to help Australian businesses across all sectors measure, track and manage their natural capital assets, enabling them to make informed decisions on nature-related risks and invest in opportunities to help reverse ongoing environmental declines. DISCOVERY OF FRESHWATER PLANT AND ALGAE WITH METHANEREDUCING PROPERTIES A mix of algae scooped out of a Victorian waterway and a species of amphibious grass plucked from a stream have both been found to reduce methane production by up to 24 per cent, in world-first research by a team led by Deakin University’s Centre for Regional and Rural Futures and funded by AgriFutures Australia. Methane from the digestive process of ruminant livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats accounts for the majority of Australia’s agricultural emissions. Aquatic ecologist Professor Rebecca Lester said the project was prompted by a landholder who asked about ways to limit their on-farm emissions having heard about the success of the red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis, a macroalgae which can reduce methane emissions in cattle by more than 90 per cent. Professor Lester and a team that included chemists, biochemists, and animal nutrition experts, assisted by the expertise in measuring methane emissions at University of Western Australia, set about finding if there were freshwater alternatives, and started by collecting samples from waterways in Victoria’s Barwon River catchment. “We were looking for species that were already widespread, native and not likely to be toxic or become environmental weeds – we don’t want to create more problems than we solve,” Professor Lester said. The team collected two different samples, a natural mix of algae, as it does not grow in a monoculture in the wild, and the amphibious grass Montia australasica. When fermented by rumen microbes in vitro, testing showed the algal mix reduced methane production by 24 per cent at a 20 per cent dose, and Montia australasica reduced OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… STIHL are proud to have been rated Australia’s #1 brand in garden power tools in the 2023 BIS Oxford research project on the Garden Power Market in Australia. Charged with over 97 years of German engineering excellence, your local STIHL Dealer is the #1 destination for all of your gifting and gardening needs this Christmas with their wide range of battery and petrol powered garden power tools and genuine STIHL accessories. There are over 600 stores nationally, all equipped with the tools, knowledge and advice you need to make the most of your time in the garden and enjoy getting the job done easily, and efficiently. To find your nearest store, visit stihldealers.com.au. MORE INFORMATION STIHL Australia stihl.com.au GIFT AUSTRALIA’S #1 RATED BRAND THIS CHRISTMAS^ ƒ AUSTRALIA’S #1 BRAND FOR GARDEN POWER TOOLS^ ^Claim based on BIS Oxford Report 2023. Print Post Approved PP 100002231 www.power-equipment.com.au INSIDE Review Preview Robotics Fast and Furious Volume 44 No. 6 November - December 2023 OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… NEWS Deakin University researcher, Mariah Sampson. NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 5