Sarah and Tom Clarke are planting trees and improving their farmland to benefit future generations

Sarah and Tom Clarke are planting trees and improving their farmland to benefit future generations

Posted 27 August 2023

Timber Economics Carbon Biodiversity

Sarah and Tom Clarke own and operate two farms, one in Ellendale and their larger farm, The Back Run, in Westerway. Living in Westerway with their young family, the Clarkes farms are home to sheep, cattle and brassica seed crops. Having already seen the benefits of planting trees at Westerway, Tom and Sarah are excited by the opportunity to plant additional pines and leave their farms in the best possible condition for future generations to come.

Sarah and Tom planted a block of eucalypt nitens on their Ellendale block two years ago and were saddened to see the trees did not grow well in the area. They have since had the nitens cleared and logged so that the area can be replanted with the more durable radiata pines.

“We want to show that it is possible to re-plant trees in areas where previous plantations haven’t done so well. In this instance, we are planting the trees in between the stumps of the ex-nitens, and we plan on planting an entire block of radiata pine which we can invest in for future profit,” explains Sarah.

“We will leave the front part of the block to go back to paddocks as it’s productive ground and we can incorporate some shelterbelts there too. Again, we’re hoping to show that you can still return the area back to paddock after harvesting trees.”

Agroforestry at the Back Run

Strategically planting trees to maximise profit and productivity

By replacing the failed nitens with pines on the steeper grounds, Sarah and Tom are maximising the use of these areas that cannot be utilised for crops and livestock.

“We are ultimately making sure that whoever we pass this land on to next, we are handing it over in a better condition than what it was in when we bought it. So, we are thinking and planning for as long term as possible, as we have seen first-hand the benefits of established shelterbelts in Westerway,” explains Sarah.

Agroforestry at the Back Run, Tasmania

Trees are regenerating the land

Sarah also notes the added benefits that trees have on improving the farm’s aesthetic.

“From our house we can look back to the block where we planted trees ten years ago and we can now see them on the skyline which adds to the view. When we take the kids for walks in the afternoon through the trees and bush it is a lot nicer than walking through bare paddocks,” adds Sarah.

Sarah and Tom say that they are excited to see the benefits of being involved in the demonstration site project.

“Being involved in Private Forests Tasmania’s demonstration site project was appealing to us because we are quite new to planting trees and could see the potential for useful shelterbelts which can be commercially harvested. Tom and I are always looking to learn new things and see how others are harnessing the latest industry innovations. We are really hoping to inspire other farm owners to plant more trees not only for the environmental benefits, but for the future of their farms”.

Species: Pinus Radiata

Total area planted: 32ha

Seed source: STBA Level 7

Total seedling numbers: 38,400