Centre for Coastal Agricultural Landscapes

Cane production on coastal floodplain in northern NSW

Cane production on coastal floodplain in northern NSW

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The Centre for Coastal Agricultural Landscapes conducts research, extension, education and training projects to successfully integrate agriculture with improved management of natural resources in coastal catchments and with growing coastal urban development. The centres focus is on issues that are regionally relevant whilst also examining their national and international significance.


Coastal catchment landscapes around the globe are highly valued for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, urban development and environmental protection. They often have highly dynamic physical and social environments and areas of great natural beauty.

The face of coastal catchments has been shaped by historical changes in their patterns of land use, particularly agricultural uses. The landscape of coastal catchments that we view today is predominantly an agricultural landscape. However growing coastal populations are causing increasing subdivision of rural lands and urbanisation. This has also resulted in the emergence of many small industries that have the potential to grow and diversify regional economies. Agricultural enterprises require sound research, extension, education and training to be efficient, competitive and profitable, and to responsibly manage their use of natural resources and environmental impacts.

There are significant interactions between management of agricultural land, the quality of water in streams and rivers, estuary health, and conservation issues that concern landholders, rural industries and community groups. The biophysical and social aspects of these interactions are complex. The centre aims to increase understanding of these complex issues by bringing together the complementary expertises of NSW Department of Primary Industries and Southern Cross University.

Strengths of Centre

The centre provides:

  • a structure to link the complementary R&D resources and capabilities of NSW Department of Primary Industries and Southern Cross University to establish strategic approaches to problems affecting coastal agriculture and communities.
  • coordination and integration of basic and applied research; extension and commercialisation; education and training; and policy development.
  • students with a wider range of project and research training options.

Areas of focus include:

  • agriculture and coastal catchment processes,
  • the interrelationship between coastal urban development and agriculture, and
  • enhancing social and economic development of coastal agricultural regions.

Current joint project areas include:

  • managing acid sulfate soils,
  • managing and reusing effluents for irrigation,
  • environmental contamination from agricultural chemicals.


  • Dr Peter Slavich, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongbar. Ph 61 2 6626 1352.
  • Associate Professor Leigh Sullivan, Southern Cross University, Lismore. Ph 61 2 6620 3742.