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Integrated biosystems for sustainable development

Proceedings of the InFoRM 2000 National Workshop on Integrated Food Production and Resource Management

Edited by Kev Warburton Usha Pillai-McGarry Deborah Ramage

February 2002 RIRDC Publication No 01/174 RIRDC Project No MS001-14

2002 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. All rights reserved.

ISBN 0 642 58393 5 ISSN 1440-6845 Integrated Biosystems for Sustainable Development Publication No. 01/174 Project No. MS001-14 The views expressed and the conclusions reached in this publication are those of the author and not necessarily those of persons consulted. RIRDC shall not be responsible in any way whatsoever to any person who relies in whole or in part on the contents of this report. This publication is copyright. However, RIRDC encourages wide dissemination of its research, providing the Corporation is clearly acknowledged. For any other enquiries concerning reproduction, contact the Publications Manager on phone 02 6272 3186.

Researcher Contact Details Dr. Kev Warburton School of Life Sciences, University of Queensland Phone: (07) 3365 2979 Fax: (07) 3365 1655 Email:

RIRDC Contact Details Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Level 1, AMA House 42 Macquarie Street BARTON ACT 2600 PO Box 4776 KINGSTON ACT 2604 Phone: 02 6272 4539 Fax: 02 6272 5877 Email: Website:

Published in February 2002 Printed on environmentally friendly paper by Canprint


Integrated biosystems, where connections are made between different food production activities, can take a wide variety of forms. Such integrated systems offer many opportunities for increasing the efficiency of water and nutrient use, productivity and profit, and represent practical, creative solutions to problems of waste management and pollution. Environmental pressures and economic drivers such as the rising costs of water, fuel and other inputs are stimulating growing interest in eco-efficient production options that minimise resource consumption and pollution. Integrated biosystems satisfy these requirements. Because they conserve soil and water, increase crop diversity and can produce feed, fuel or fertilizer on-site, integrated biosystems are relatively sustainable and resilient and can do much to support local economies. They can help farmers diversify or combine forces with other complementary operations. Integration can be achieved over a range of scales and can assist in community, catchment and regional planning. Biosystem integration therefore helps to achieve the economic, environmental and social aims of sustainable development. Many examples of integrated design now exist worldwide and appropriate technologies for ecological engineering have been developed. Given these advances, how can we apply such ideas to construct cost-effective, ecologically sensible solutions for Australia? What is our vision for the future? This book shows how integrated biosystems can contribute to sustainable development and includes a wide array of current examples drawn from different production sectors. This publication was funded from RIRDC Core Funds which are provided by the Federal Government. The InFoRM 2000 workshop was co-sponsored by the University of Queensland, RIRDC, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. This book, a new addition to RIRDCs diverse range of over 700 research publications, forms part of our Resilient Agriculture Systems R&D sub-program, which aims to foster agri-industry systems that have sufficient diversity, flexibility and robustness to be resilient and respond to challenges and opportunities. Most of our publications are available for viewing, downloading or purchasing online through our website: downloads at purchases at

Peter Core Managing Director Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation


The editors would like to extend special thanks to: The University of Queensland, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, for workshop sponsorship RIRDC, for workshop and publication support Peter Peterson, for invaluable help with workshop planning Eddie Chan, for extensive administrative assistance Andrew Gaines, for excellent workshop facilitation Roger Swift and Joe Baker, for their perceptive opening and closing comments George Wilson, for thought -provoking ideas Joe Baker, Bob Pagan, John Mott, Jacky Foo and Peter Peterson, for chairing workshop sessions The Bardon Centre, for providing an ideal workshop environment


(* indicates summary contribution)


Integrated biosystems and sustainable development, Kev Warburton and Usha Pillai-McGarry




2 3

What is an integrated biosystem? The InFoRM 2000 workshop Opening InFoRM 2000 address by Professor Roger Swift


Catchment issues: land and water use, planning and regulatory frameworks, Scott Spencer Waste Management and Environmental Engineering, Paul Greenfield Sustainable Economics and Business, Mark Diesendorf The Natural Step and Natural Capitalism, Andrew Gaines Sustainability and integration: a farmer's perspective, Paul Ziebarth Integrated systems and rural community development: possibilities for partnership. Ingrid Burkett Integrated Bio-Systems: A Global Perspective, Jacky Foo Integrated Farming for Sustainable Primary Industry: Water and Nutrient Recycling through Integrated Aquaculture, Martin S Kumar Israel Multiple Water Use and Aquaculture - Ten Lessons, Peter Peterson Integrated Agri-Aquaculture in Australia: virtual industry or commercial reality? Gooley, G. J.* and Gavine, F. M. Integrating food production with urban consumption: some issues Rebecca Lines-Kelly

4 9 12 15 17

19 37

51 65




Processing of Biomass and Control of Pathogens - Concept of a Bio-Refinery Horst W. Doelle Biofuel Generation, Horst W.Doelle Cleaner Production and Integrated Biosystems, Robert Pagan and Marguerite Lake Adopting Vermiculture Technology to Manage and Utilize Organic Waste Steve Capeness

88 98 103


Processing of organic materials by the soldier fly, Hermetia illucens Kev Warburton1 and Vivienne Hallman2 Organic Production a part of the Sustainable Future of Farming, Andrew Monk Mobile Biodigester a Platform Mounted Biogdigester for On-farm Demonstration David Tay and Phil Matthews Biological Remediation of Aquaculture Waste, Dirk Erler Biofilm Substrates in Integrated Biofiltration, Doug Pearson Wetlands for production and purification, Vivienne Hallman

115 127

128 129 130 131


Integrated Biosystems in Southern Australia, Paul Harris1 & Phil Glatz2 Integrating Multiple Water Use in Cotton and Grain Production, Paul McVeigh Beef Feed Lot Integration, Ian Iker Convergence is the Key, Geoff Wilson Permaculture Approaches, Janet Millington Eco-Efficient Settlements, Vivienne Hallman Multi-use water systems Environmentally sustainable aqua-agricultural farming system. David Tay A Community Development Model for Mixed Enterprise Land Development Beth Mitchell and Michael Rooney

133 139 141 143 148 153 159 159 160 160


Future vision Action for change: promoting integrated biosystem development in Australia

161 162

Address to InFoRM 2000 by Dr. Joe Baker, Chief Scientist, Queensland Department of Primary Industries


A wish list for Australias future: comments from workshop participants



176 176


This publication collates, summarises and reviews information relating to integrated biosystems presented at the InFoRM 2000 National Workshop on Integrated Food Production and Resource Management held in Brisbane on 9-10 November, 2000. The workshop was attended by more than 50 delegates representing government agencies, researchers, social scientists, planners, industry stakeholders and producers. A list of workshop participants and their contact details is provided in Appendix 2. The desired outcomes from InFoRM 2000 were: Documentation of current examples of integration in Australia and overseas Development of action plans, models and options for Australia A clearer framework for planning, research and demonstration Collaboration between stakeholders Papers were presented on future trends and opportunities for integrated biosystems, constraints on the development of these production systems, the technologies involved, and local and overseas examples of integrated biosystems. Workshop sessions addressed issues relating to integrated systems such as resource use efficiency, economic viability, accreditation and quality control, and community development. Participants also discussed prerequisites for the future development of integrated systems in Australia.

Priorities and recommendations

The key themes identified in this book are: RESPONSIBLE RESOURCE USE Multiple use of water and nutrients, especially in agri-aquaculture systems Environmental protection, especially with respect to water quantity and quality COORDINATION More emphasis on systems-level thinking and interdisciplinary cooperation Development of policy, legislation and planning frameworks RESEARCH Increased funding for research and development National and international research collaboration INFORMATION Dissemination of research findings and information to stakeholders Development of communication, demonstration and education strategies vii

Benefit-cost analyses that place value on the social and environmental benefits of integration This information builds on the RIRDC Research and Development Plan for Integrated AgriAquaculture Systems and describes many alternative and interchangable integrated options that promise to increase the diversity, flexibility and resilience of Australian production systems.


Executive Summary of InFoRM 2000

Integrated biosystems and sustainable development
Kev Warburton and Usha Pillai-McGarry The University of Queensland Abstract Integrated biosystems make functional connections between agriculture, aquaculture, food processing, waste management, water use, and fuel generation. They encourage the dynamic flows of material and energy by treating wastes and by-products of one operation as inputs for another. In this way food, fertiliser, animal feed and fuel can be produced with the minimum input of nutrients, water and other resources. Biosystem integration can help achieve sustainability objectives by: treating the management of wastes and residues as a central design feature rather than as something external to the main production function; specifying clear performance indicators and measures of efficiency; encouraging holistic, systems-level thinking in which the dynamics of interconnection and interdependence are as important as the components that are connected; providing a framework for flexible closed-loop applications over a wide range of contexts and spatial scales e.g., in both rural and urban situations, and at single property, sub-catchment and catchment levels; allowing different specialist producers and neighbouring landholders to combine complementary expertise, equipment and other infrastructure to mutual advantage; increasing options for land use planning by placing the emphasis on the functional integration of complementary activities (e.g., by using vermiculture to process wastes from dairy/pig/fish farming, or by combining cane/grain growing with fuel generation), rather than just coexistence. Sustainability objectives will be best served by the progressive introduction of carefully planned integrated systems capable of satisfying food production, fuel and fertiliser needs with near-zero environmental impacts. To this end, operational initiatives by individual producers and others will need to be complemented by legislative and government-led incentives, coordinated research and development, and the incorporation of integrated biosystem principles in land use planning. In this paper we consider how integrated biosystems (IB) can advance the sustainability agenda, and foreshadow some of the themes developed later in this volume. The names of contributors are cited in bold font. Over recent decades, growing problems of resource scarcity and environmental degradation have put pressure on conventional systems of food production and resource management. Responses have included a shift in community concern and a re-evaluation of natural capital and its relationship to our quality of life. In consequence, there is now widespread agreement as to the need for a long-term vision, increased community participation in resource management and a search for viable approaches to ecologically sustainable development.


At the same time, there have been increases in the costs of environmental non-compliance, advances in renewable and other environmentally benign technology, and growing consumer demand for product quality assurance. These are fast making efficient, green approaches to production and resource management economically viable. The pace of change makes it imperative that the assessment of appropriate systems is based on careful analyses of future trends using principles of true cost accounting. We tend to compartmentalize our thinking and assume that problems of resource use, environmental quality and community self-reliance require independent solutions. But what if a single targeted approach can help to satisfy economic, ecological and social sustainability objectives simultaneously? This is the possibility offered by biosystem integration. Integrated biosystems make explicit connections between agriculture, aquaculture, food processing, waste management, water use and fuel generation. They are life-support systems based on the dynamic flow of material and energy, where wastes and by-products of one operation become inputs for another. In this way food, fertiliser, animal feed and fuel can be produced with the minimum input of nutrients, water and other resources. In biosystem integration, the management of wastes and residues is treated as a central design feature. Thus, in contrast to other production systems where waste disposal and remediation are essentially treated as externalities, sustainable design features are intrinsic to integrated biosystems. Such design features include the following: minimise resource inputs by redirecting "waste" outputs within the system; contain material flows within the system; treat production and consumption as a continuous cyclical process, rather than a linear one; tighten production-consumption loops to minimise losses, transport costs etc; maximise efficiency of natural conversion processes (e.g., microbial decomposition and trophic links) and of nutrient / water retention. These design features make for increased system efficiency. Further, integrated biosystems take advantage of natural ecological processes, and as a result some components of such systems can be low technology, requiring less management, less maintenance and less capital expense (Harris and Glatz). Integrated biosystems are scalable both in size and in technical complexity and can be developed in stages, possibly through joint enterprise arrangements. These features help in the take-up of local farm-based systems. At the same time, the range of integrated options is very broad, and Doelle's designs for biorefineries for processing biomass are good examples of how genetic, biochemical and other forms of biotechnology can be applied to produce a rich diversity of products. A single integrated biosystem may produce biogas, microbial protein, mushrooms, compost, animal feed, biogas, ethanol, antibiotics, vitamins and acids. With its emphasis on holistic, multi-component design, permaculture can contribute valuable insights relevant to biosystem development. The overall design philosophy of permaculture, plus particular design principles such as sector/zonal planning, closed systems and species complementarity (Millington) can be applied when setting up many forms of integrated biosystem. The overall aim of permaculture is to construct a balanced production system that mirrors a real ecosystem. The aim is to minimise the amount of land under cultivation while maximising ecosystem services from the surrounding landscape, and in this respect permaculture systems represent good models of sustainable land use. Because no designs are perfect there should be an openness to change, experimentation and improvement. The relative advantages and efficiencies of different alternatives should be evaluated. In line with this, Pagan and Greenfield propose that life cycle analyses and cleaner production

strategies for assessing and minimising the environmental impacts from production and consumption be used. This would allow a review of the opportunities in an integrated biosystem in order to optimise the interplay of the components and ensure that full use is being made of different parts of the system. Several authors stress the increases in efficiency that can be achieved by biosystem integration when compared to conventional monocultures. A major concern in contemporary Australia is water conservation, and the multiple use of water is a theme taken up by Peterson, Kumar, McVeigh, Tay and Gooley and Gavine, who illustrate how aquaculture, hydroponics and modern plastic-house technology can be effectively integrated with irrigated agriculture. Models of optimal water use developed in Israel and other countries where water has always been a scarce and expensive resource can be used as reference points for Australian systems (Peterson). Although still in the developmental stage, McVeigh's integrated farm provides encouragement for other producers keen to explore options for low-cost diversification and the production of high-quality fish in an environment where pesticides are conventionally used on crops such as cotton and grain. Tay notes that such integrated, waterefficient solutions can help to solve important environmental problems such as soil and water salinity, ground water contamination, reduced river flows and ecological pollution. A parallel concern to water management is waste management. Capeness indicates how large-scale vermiculture can be used to process a wide variety of organic wastes, and that new system designs greatly increase the intensity of production while minimising the land area required. Additionally, the vermicompost produced by these systems is almost pure humus. It acts as a rich carbon energy source and contains high densities of beneficial bacteria and useful quantities of non-leachable macronutrients, trace elements and rock minerals. Iker and Monk similarly highlight the role of manures and green matter in conditioning and protecting the soil and reducing disease and pest problems. Iker stresses the advantages of integrating animal husbandry with cropping, so that organic soil quality can be maintained by manuring in areas where all above ground plant matter is removed for silage. Warburton and Hallman note the high efficiency with which insect larvae can reduce a wide variety of organic materials and convert them to a high-protein food source for livestock or fish. Despite the development of successful insect-based systems overseas, there has been little recognition of their potential in Australia. In the aquatic environment, the papers by Pearson and Erler describe new developments in biofiltration media and their ability to improve the quality of wastewaters and reduce sludge accumulation. Nutrients are recovered from the water through the provision of substrates for the growth of bacterial and algal films, which are then grazed by finfish, crustaceans or molluscs. Constructed wetlands are alternative, cheap and highly efficient systems for simultaneously purifying water and capturing nutrients. So far, the opportunities for such systems to generate products with an economic value (such as food, fertiliser and animal feed) have not been seized in Australia (Hallman), but this is likely to change as integrated biosystems become more widespread. In a global overview of biosystem integration, Foo notes that while traditional IBs tend to be labourintensive, low-input, micro-level systems, the new millenium will bring challenges that will make integrated biosystems relevant solutions at larger dimensions. Global challenges will include the sustainable use of natural resources and biodegradable wastes from cities and farms in the interests of food security and poverty reduction. Integrated biosystems can contribute to solutions through diversification, intensification and urban agriculture. In a similar vein, Ziebarth contends that reliability and intensity of production must complement sustainability. To these ends, Wilson identifies a trend towards the convergence of different technologies - such as aquaculture, agroforestry, hydroponics, probiotics and aeroponics - to create new opportunities in both food production and waste management. Gooley and Gavine contend that, while relevant to subsistence scale enterprise, an integrated systems approach in a developed country like Australia will see the greatest flow of benefits to rural and regional communities through the adoption of industrial scale enterprise.


Biodigesters commonly feature in integrated system designs, and play an important role in converting organic wastes to biofuel, reclaimed water and relatively pathogen-free fertiliser. Tay and Mathew note that in Australia biodigester technology has a long history, but is currently used only in largescale operations. However, with the advent of new environmental protection legislation, farm automation and diversification into on-farm value adding of farm produce, there is likely to be increasing demand for smaller units to service average-sized piggery, feedlot, dairy and poultry operations. The fact that the Australian electricity supply industry is becoming increasingly disaggregated and privatised, leading to questions regarding its commitment to power security and upgrading of the grid may encourage this trend. Under these circumstances, higher standards of local self-sufficiency may be in order (Zimmerman 2000; Harris and Glatz). Integrated biosystems can enhance local economies in a range of ways - for example, by minimising the need to import chemical fertilisers (Capeness; Iker) or foreign oil (Doelle); by allowing farmers to diversify into additional value-added areas (McVeigh); by helping to meet potential new markets for tradeable emissions such as salt and nutrients (Gooley and Gavine); and by creating jobs in new sectors (McKinnon et al. 2000; Harris and Glatz; Wilson). Doelle makes the point that Australia could reap significant economic and social benefits by investing in IB-compatible technologies such as ethanol production, that are already the basis of important industries in other countries. An important consideration is the fact that the costs of essential resources like fuel and water are projected to rise very significantly in coming years, and the Australian economy is already shifting in response to such pressures (Diesendorf). There is a need for more strategic support (e.g., in the form of tax concessions) to encourage practitioners to take up more sustainable practices in cases when the capital outlay is excessive relative to current levels of return (Iker). Harris and Glatz and Kumar note that there can be no one "ideal" integrated biosystem, as each application will have different constraints, abilities and aims. At the same time, model or example systems can be used as starting points for site-specific applications so that each system suits local conditions, resource availability, the enterprise mix and the individuals concerned. This will avoid pushing up input costs by excessive demand and depressing the value of outputs by oversupply. Hallman describes how IB principles can be applied, at different spatial scales, to the design of human settlements. Activities at the macro scale include the planning of sustainable communities (e.g., as nodal developments around cities), while those at the micro level include the design of eco-efficient houses. At both levels the guiding principles are the same - circular flow and closed loop ecosystems. Biosystem principles lie at the heart of designs for self-contained communities where recycling of grey water and domestic wastes is coupled with renewable energy use in order to grow food and increase resource economy - these technologies are already crucial in ecologically sensitive locations such as barrier reef islands. In terms of social development, Burkett echoes the need to meld macro and micro approaches. The macro level Integrated Rural Development (IRD) approach to the sustainable development of rural communities emphasises the connections between sectors such as agriculture, forestry, local industry, waste management, social services, education and tourism, such that the interconnections between the pressures facing rural communities can be explored and addressed. At the same time, micro principles of system integration can be applied to enhance the macro approaches of IRD - these principles can be applied not only within individual farms but also in making links between agricultural, ecological, social, communal, political and economic systems within and between communities. In the context of integrated catchment management, a biosystem approach can increase options for land use planning by placing the emphasis more on the functional integration of complementary activities (e.g., by using vermiculture to process wastes from dairy/pig/fish farming, or by combining cane/grain growing with fuel generation), rather than merely on the balanced coexistence of existing practices. Biosystem integration offers a context within which producers and other practitioners with different skills can combine complementary expertise, equipment and other infrastructure to their


mutual advantage. Such developments also stimulate a search for the scale at which system efficiencies and economic returns can be optimised. Integration can be facilitated by the formation of local cooperatives and clusters, which help to unite communities in a common purpose. Initiatives such as these help to build community by encouraging communication, social exchange and sharing (Hallman). It has been argued that prerequisites of sustainability include a strongly democratic civil society as well as the development of economic and ecological alternatives such as green cities, clean production and biologically diversified forms of agriculture (O'Connor 1994). In more general terms, integration also encourages a better awareness of relationships between the biophysical and socioeconomic environments and factors that constrain or enhance the viability of sustainable options. Such awareness is crucial to the development of informed policy with respect to the integrated sector, and is best be fostered through multidisciplinary programs involving specialists who share an holistic perspective. Ultimately, the selection of the correct technology for an integrated biosystem requires a careful study of economic viability, government policy, regulatory direction and market opportunity (Spencer 2000). Spencer's paper indicates that IB developments have to be integrated into a broader framework of natural resource management. Both regulation and planning are available as instruments to facilitate these processes by alleviating constraints and maximising opportunities, but regardless of the type of mechanism, decision-making has to be underpinned by community acceptance. The most effective moves towards sustainability will be those that recognise that resource use, environmental protection and quality of life are interconnected issues that demand to be considered within a common, holistic framework. Several aspects of biosystem integration are consistent with the achievement of key sustainability objectives such as ecological integrity, liveability and equity. In the interests of intergenerational equity, new legislation that places a greater emphasis on preventative action means that (a) waste streams will have to be treated as resources to be recycled or reused, and (b) waste production will have to be reduced or prevented through the efficient design of entire industrial processes (Wright and Clague 2000). Similarly, with respect to the liveability of the physical environment, integrated planning legislation (e.g., the Integrated Planning Act, Queensland 1997) requires the specification both of desired environmental outcomes and quantitative performance indicators with respect to measures of carrying capacity (Wright and Clague 2000). To date, land use planners have not complied well with this requirement (Wright and Clague 2000). Through its accent on sustainable design, biosystem integration lends itself to the definition of clear performance indicators and measures of efficiency. Some indicators of the sustainability of integrated biosystems include species diversity, bioresource recycling, natural resource systems capacity and economic efficiency (Lightfoot et al. 1996). In terms of achieving the objective of ecological integrity, the similarities between integrated biosystems and natural ecosystems help to define a common framework within which appropriate approaches to production and natural resource management can be developed. Indeed, large-scale natural ecosystems (e.g., lakes, forests, and grasslands) as well as smaller-scale mesocosms (e.g., soils, digesters, and ponds) can form vital components of integrated biosystems. There is a growing awareness of the cost-effective services provided by properly functioning natural ecosystems (e.g., water purification, nutrient cycling, soil enhancement, pollination, carbon sequestration, nitrogenfixing), and of the need for improved awareness of ecosystem processes and their potential economic benefits (Daily 1997; Cork and Shelton 2000). Unlike conventional production systems, integrated biosystems are intrinsically diverse and emphasise polyculture and mixed farming rather than monoculture. In this respect they more closely emulate natural ecosystems. Natural ecosystems can be highly diverse (i.e., contain many species) and complex (i.e., exhibit many connections between species in the food web). However, in such systems the component species and sub-systems are not connected at random, and the stability of the system as a whole (i.e., its capacity to resist environmental stress) depends on the sub-systems being loosely


coupled (Kikkawa 1986). The same is true of integrated biosystems, where high overall diversity and strategic links between component activities help to maintain relatively stable yields from the system as a whole and thus minimise economic risk. Natural ecosystems have inspired a wide range of models for balanced and diverse production systems (e.g., permaculture designs). The integrated biosystem approach increases the usefulness of component species - e.g., by using legumes and water ferns to fix atmospheric nitrogen for use in the system as a whole, and by utilising duckweed and other floating aquatic plants to convert dissolved nutrients to protein-rich feed for fish, livestock and humans. It is worth noting that while some such species (e.g., water hyacinth and Salvinia) are normally regarded as "pest" organisms in natural waterways, their aggressive growth can make them a positive asset in an integrated biosystem context. More imaginative use could be made of native Australian species (Ziebarth), and this is an area requiring further research. A planned approach to IB development will ensure that the potential of IB is maximised in a context of appropriate land use (Ziebarth) and the optimal use of locally produced materials. For example, the establishment of biorefineries requires knowledge of land and biomass availability, crop biodiversity, maintenance of soil fertility crop yields, local population growth and demand, and the production of livestock and animal manures (Doelle). Intelligent planning will also help to bring producers and consumers closer together so as to improve resource use efficiency, protect valuable agricultural land and reduce storage, preservation, packaging and transport costs - thereby aiding local self-sufficiency and food security (Lines-Kelly). Community models that satisfy the requirements of both land and community development already exist - for example, in the form of mixed enterprise farms that blend activities such as market gardening, nursery operations, livestock farming, flower and bush tucker production, farm tourism and art and craft production (Mitchell and Rooney). In ways such as these, the integrated biosystem approach can provide sustainable methodologies to help realise the vision articulated in regional plans. By way of example, the SE Queensland plan envisages discrete human scale urban areas framed by green open space; the clustering of mutually supportive economic activity; urban form that is well defined, integrated and efficient in its use of land and energy; protection of natural assets such as air, water, forests, landscapes and biodiversity; a focus on waste minimisation and environmentally responsible technologies; and ongoing participation and commitment by all sectors of the community (QDLGP 1998). Australian agriculture is currently struggling with problems of declining terms of trade, environmental deterioration, declining rural populations and ageing workforces. Solutions to these problems that are based solely on expanding the output of conventional production systems will be ultimately limited by competition for natural resources, declining soil fertility and rising fuel prices. However, there is significant scope for alternative integrated solutions and by increasing the unit value of enterprises. This can be done by producing high quality speciality items and satisfying niche markets (e.g., organic products; sheep cheeses; free range eggs; fine wool; locally branded cheeses, wines, olives; emus, deer, alpacas). Tourism is often associated with successful boutique industries such as those listed above, and is Australia's fourth largest earner of foreign exchange dollars. Niche tourists want to see agricultural production, National Parks, wildlife and endangered species, Aboriginal culture, homesteads and outback towns. There is a huge potential for rural-based eco-tours and homestead visits. Most wild places are on private property (National parks and reserves only cover 5% of the landmass). Niche tourism can therefore play an integrating role by providing benefits for enhancing the landscape, addressing resource degradation and supporting production activities. These benefits can be tapped with minimal changes to current practice and with the multiple use of resources (George Wilson, pers.comm.) Biosystem integration encourages holistic, systems-level thinking in which the dynamics of interconnection and interdependence are as important as the components that are connected. Thus, it


helps to raise awareness of flows and transfer processes and develop a conceptual framework for effective resource management. It also promotes flexibility, adaptability and openness to new possibilities and experimentation. These are essential if innovative design solutions are to be found. Harris and Glatz suggest that the current mindset of separate enterprises and single use / discarding of resources needs to change, and Pagan appeals for holistic approaches to the twin challenges of minimising environmental impacts and maximising utility. Greenfield notes that there has been a progressive move away from neglectful or "end-of-pipe" approaches to waste management, and towards newer approaches based on whole-system analysis and an appreciation of environmental assets. He observes that improved understanding based on the modelling of complex processes can only be achieved through collaborative multidisciplinary research programs. Ziebarth contends that more integrated, less reductionist research programs would greatly improve the quality of extension services aimed at the farming community. As indicated by Roberts (1995), a lack of systems research has been identified as the key obstacle to adopting alternative farming practices, and as the major step necessary to develop sustainable agriculture. As a basis for more holistic approaches, Diesendorf notes that conceptual frameworks for sustainable businesses are evolving in the form of ecological economics, "natural capitalism", sustainable development studies and related transdisciplinary fields. Such frameworks are most powerful when they integrate environmental, economic and social aspects (the "triple bottom line"). Diesendorf also signals the need to develop (among other things) new organisational structures and operations in spheres ranging from the business to nation to international agreements. If integrated biosystems can indeed help to achieve sustainability objectives, what can be done to develop and promote the uptake of viable models and options? Gooley and Peterson contend that moves toward biosystem integration will require institutional change and a fundamental paradigm shift by stakeholder agencies and individuals. They will also require coordination between industries and sectors, supported by Government/industry partnership-based investments in infrastructure, training, marketing, policy development, R&D and extension. Kumar stresses the importance of developing a national strategy for promoting and establishing biosystem integration and providing clear guidance to the stakeholders concerned. In some cases, a degree of diversification of operations, and an increase in overall profit, can be achieved without great cost because existing infrastructure can be used with little modification and without disrupting other activities. Such possibilities have driven recent developments in the integration of aquaculture and irrigated farming in Australia (Gooley 2000; McKinnon et al. 2000). However, if the full potential of biosystem integration to achieve sustainability objectives is to be exploited, it will be important to move towards the progressive introduction of purpose-built integrated multi-component systems capable of satisfying food production, fuel and fertiliser needs with near-zero environmental impact. To this end, operational initiatives by individual producers and other practitioners will need to be supported by: coordinated, regional, multidisciplinary research and development programs, including feasibility studies, foresighting and sustainable economic trend analyses; the inclusion of integrated biosystem principles as key elements in land use planning and integrated catchment management; and legislative and government-led incentives to encourage the development, adoption and public awareness of integrated biosystem designs.


Cork, S.J. and Shelton, D. 2000. The nature and value of Australia's ecosystem services: a framework for sustainable environmental solutions. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Queensland Environment Conference. Environmental Engineering Society: Brisbane. 447 pp. Dailey, G.E. 1997. Nature's services - societal dependence on natural ecosystems. Island Press: Washington. Gooley, G. 2000. R&D plan for integrated agri-aquaculture systems 1999-2004. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication No. 99/153. 29 pp. Kikkawa, J. 1996. Complexity, diversity and stability. In: Kikkawa, J. and Anderson, D.J. (eds.). Community ecology: pattern and process. Blackwell: Melbourne. 432 pp. Lightfoot, C., Prein, M. and Ofori, J.K. 1996. The potential impact of integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems on sustainable farming. In: Prein, M., Ofori, J.K. and Lightfoot, C. (eds.). Research for the future development of aquaculture in Ghana. ICLARM Conference Proceedings 42. 94 pp. McKinnon, L., Gooley, G., Ingram, B., De Silva, S. and Gasior, R. 2000. Directions for integrated aquaculture in Victoria. In: Kumar, M.S. (ed.) Proceedings of National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture Production, 17-19 Sept. 1999. SARDI: Henley Beach. 191 pp. O'Connor, J. 1994. Is sustainable capitalism possible? In: O'Connor, M. (ed.) Is capitalism sustainable? Political economy and the politics of ecology. Guilford Press: New York.. 283 pp. Queensland Department of Local Government and Planning. 1998. South East Queensland Regional Framework for Growth Management (SEQ2001). QDLGP. 125 pp. Roberts, B. 1995. The quest for sustainable agriculture and land use. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney. 245 pp. Spencer, P. 2000. The wastewater treatment industry - technologies and policies for integrated biosystems. In: Kumar, M.S. (ed.) Proceedings of National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture Production, 17-19 Sept. 1999. SARDI: Henley Beach. 191 pp. Wright, I and Clague, S. 2000. Sustainability - the 21st century agenda: future directions in environmental law and policy. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Queensland Environment Conference. Environmental Engineering Society: Brisbane. 447 pp. Zimmerman, L. 2000. The role of the biomass to energy industry in economic and ecological sustainability. In: Kumar, M. (ed.) Proceedings of the National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture. SARDI, Henley Beach, Australia. 191 pp.


1. Introduction
What is an integrated biosystem?
Integrated biosystems connect different food production activities with other operations such as

waste treatment and fuel generation. Integrated biosystems treat production and consumption as a continuous closed loop system where outputs of one operation become inputs into another, thus reusing resources and minimising environmental impact. They can vary enormously in type and complexity, as illustrated by the examples below.

1. Simple connections: e.g., livestock manure is used as a fertiliser for plant crops. 2. Intermediate connections: e.g., organic waste - compost or vermiculture - plant crops 3. Closed loops: e.g., livestock - manure - fodder crop - feed - livestock. 4. Fuel generation: e.g., organic waste - biodigester - biogas 5. Remediation and nutrient recovery: e.g., effluent from sewage treatment is pumped into storage lagoons and used to grow floating aquatic plants (e.g., duckweed). Duckweed growth reduces the originally high nutrient load to a level where the water is suitable for irrigation (e.g., for fibre crops). The duckweed is also harvested as feed for livestock and fish. 6. Multiple water use: e.g., recycling dams allow the same water to be used for growing several crops (e.g., fish, crustaceans, rice, and hardwood). 7. Use of industrial by-products: e.g., fermentation of grain (for beer, spirits, motor fuel) produces organic residues, heat and carbon dioxide. The heat and organics are directed to aquaculture where they increase the growth rates of cultured fish, the carbon dioxide is used in soft-drink production, and both heat and carbon dioxide improve growing conditions in hydroponic greenhouses. 8. Settlement design: integration of on-site biological systems (e.g., for food production and waste treatment) with individual dwellings and local communities.

In the above system combinations, integration allows resources to be converted, recycled or re-used. Such integrated systems offer many opportunities for increased efficiency, productivity and profit and represent practical, creative solutions to problems of waste management and pollution. Integrated biosystem websites:

The InFoRM 2000 workshop

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation has played an important role in facilitating the move toward integrated systems by defining a national strategy and a framework for R&D on integrated agri-aquaculture systems1. This framework includes networking, system-bysystem research and the development of regional demonstration sites. A complementary theme of aquaculture-wastewater integration was taken up in a 1999 workshop organised by the South Australian Research and Development Institute2. The InFoRM 2000 workshop on Integrated Food Production and Resource Management (Brisbane, 910 November 2000) built on this background. Its main rationale was the need to take a broad systems approach and consider how Australia can benefit from the whole field of biosystem integration - in particular, through the capacity of integrated designs to satisfy the requirements of economic, environmental and social sustainability. The workshop was an exciting occasion enlivened by a shared awareness of an emerging paradigm shift towards more holistic, systems-level approaches to food production and natural resource management. The outcomes of the workshop are covered in detail later in this volume, but for many participants the workshop confirmed the general relevance and feasibility of the integrated biosystem approach for Australia. The focus is now on methods of implementation. This will have far-reaching implications for the restructuring of a wide range of Australian industries and local communities. The key themes of InFoRM 2000 were resource utilisation efficiency, economic viability, best practice, quality control and the strengthening of local economies. Its specific aims were to:
bring stakeholders together (especially farmers, industry leaders, technologists, resource

managers and planners)

explore integrated options for food production, waste recycling, water conservation and fuel

identify potential gains (in efficiency, value-adding, environmental quality and community

highlight gaps in knowledge and identify priorities for planning, research and development.

Gooley, G. 2000. R&D Plan for Integrated Agri-Aquaculture Systems 1999-2004; RIRDC publication 99/153. 29 pp.

Kumar, M.S. (ed.) 2000. Proceedings of the National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture; South Australian Aquatic Sciences Centre; 191 pp.

Opening InFoRM 2000 address by Professor Roger Swift

(Executive Dean, Faculty of Natural Resources and Veterinary Sciences, University of Queensland).
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the InFoRM 2000 Workshop. It is particularly pleasing to see so many young people here: they are especially welcome because they will be carrying the scientific baton into the future. As a result of being at this meeting, I hope that they will generate many new ideas. Thanks are due particularly to the University of Queensland, QDPI and RIRDC for their support for this Workshop and to the organisers for their efforts both in developing the idea and promoting it. Meetings such as this need a considerable amount of organisation to ensure smooth and efficient operation. When I read the background to this Workshop, it was clearly focussed on looking at the integration of production and waste management systems. The concept of integrated production systems alone has been around for some time. Such approaches have brought together all aspects of crop and animal production with an integrated farm management system. Linking the system of production at the farm level with the demands of the processor and consumer is more recent. It has taken us quite a long time to realise that there are consumers at the end of this chain who want food products in a particular form, and food processors who need products with particular properties in order that they could work effectively. Consequently, these components were added to the overall system. In this way the system was extended to post-farmgate to link the on-farm production with processing and particularly with marketing and sales. However, what was still missing from the system was a proper considering of the waste management system. Consequently, we kept asking what do we do with all the waste material that comes out at the end? Traditionally, waste materials have not been used effectively or productively and have been seen as a problem rather than a resource and more often than not have been disposed of by dumping them in someone elses backyard (or the equivalent). The important issue that we should be considering here is the extension of the management system into the area of waste management. In this way we could make more effective and efficient use of all the materials that are generated in the production system in a whole number of ways. This would be particularly beneficial for the environment and possibly for the economy. Therefore, I commend the extension of the whole of system approach and I hope that the meeting comes up with some new ideas on this issue. This type of approach is increasingly important in the face of scarce resources and environmental considerations. However, not all of our resources are scarce and some are, some arent, but where they are scarce we need to be looking quite carefully at issues of re-use and recycling. There is no point in wasting valuable resources as has been done so often in the past. In your deliberations, I would offer a word of caution. Although the underpinning science is important and is often our main concern, in the end economics will determine whether or not a process is taken up. So do think very carefully about not only whether a practice is scientifically feasible, but whether it is economically viable. I have seen many excellent ideas for recycling materials which founder on simple economic grounds. I also remember an event from early on in my scientific career when a wordly-wise man from ICI said in response to an idea that I had for making a slow-release fertiliser never build an industry on anyone elses waste materials. The reason is because the waste creators might well find a use for it themselves. You might suddenly find yourself without any raw material. The moral is that there are a number of other factors which need to be taken into account when pursuing an idea. The University of Queensland is a large, research intensive University with considerable range and depth of skills which could be brought together to look at this whole production and disposal system. This also means collaborating with outside organisations where complimentary skills exist. UQ has taken a number of initiatives, particularly a recent one in the Recycled Organics Consortium (ROC) funded by my Faculty. We look to ROC as one of the facilitating bodies that could help to bring people together and establish linkages and contacts and help to develop projects

2. Future trends, opportunities and constraints

Catchment issues: land and water use, planning and regulatory frameworks
Scott Spencer

Department of Natural Resources

In recent years the political focus of the nation has been firmly fixed on economic issues. Virtually every survey conducted of public perceptions of the important issues of the day has seen environmental issues slip in priority. Yet most practitioners in the natural resource management will tell you that all the evidence suggests that the situation, if anything, is getting worse, despite the considerable efforts of government, industry and the general community in recent years. Perhaps of more concern is that the current debate is an us versus them situation. The us tend to be rural communities. They believe that the rest of the community is unfairly blaming the rural sector for the problems that are besetting our natural resources. There is also a strong view that we are asking the farm community to carry an unreasonable share of the costs of addressing the issues. You need go no further than the debate over tree clearing in Queensland to demonstrate this situation. The debate has become one about rights rather than what is the right thing to do? In Queensland we have long been accused of being years behind our southern cousins. In terms of resource management this is probably a great blessing as, in general, the natural resource problems have not yet reached the point of no return in this State as they are in other areas. However, this is no reason for complacency because we could be close to the brink in some areas. I would prefer to see this as indicating that we have a chance of avoiding the disaster. It should not be taken as a sign that the potential (and in some cases existing) problems do not need to be confronted. In recognition of the situation, the Queensland Government has embarked on a major program of reform of the management of our natural resource. In the last two years there have been significant changes to the management regimes of our native forests, vegetation and water resources. To say these reforms have not been uniformly embraced is a massive understatement! Interestingly, our southern colleagues and many respected scientists think that we have not gone far enough. Why then has there been such opposition to the reforms that many think are most desperately needed? A superficial consideration of this question will lead to the rights and compensation debate. Often it is suggested that the response by the rural sector has been characterised as denial but it is my view that the issue runs much deeper. As a person who has worked with rural communities for well over twenty years I think statements of this nature sell the rural community short. At present we have to ask the question "have we got the balance right in terms of our approach to natural resource management?" If one looks at our current practices in the management of our land, water, vegetation and marine resources, most of the regimes we have in place are strongly regulatory. They are designed to stop resources users doing things. Unfortunately, they also directly attack the values of those resource users, basically saying to them that everything they do (much of which they have learnt from their

parents), is wrong. By trampling on their values we are creating fertile ground for those who wish to create conflict for their own ends. We are also greatly reducing the likelihood of a shared and positive outcome. In saying this I should make it clear that a sound regulatory base is essential for good natural resource outcomes. The question to be considered is what level and shape of regulation is necessary to achieve the desired outcome. If regulation alone is not the answer then what is required? While voluntary action has its supporters it would be naive to think that, in a situation where many of the benefits are externalised, all or most individuals will act out of altruism. Obviously there is a mix of mechanisms and regulation must play its part. But it is not the only mechanism. The catch cry and theme of this workshop is integration. To achieve the holy grail of integration I believe you must get the planning right. This does not necessarily mean a single plan but is more likely to require multiple planning processes where, through each step of the process, there are appropriate lateral linkages to other activities. A simple enough statement, but in reality a very difficult thing to achieve. To have good planning you need shared knowledge or at least acceptance of the majority of the facts as we know them, shared vision or outcomes and most importantly from my point of view, a shared perspective on scale and timeframes. At present I do not believe these parameters exist and it is a central role of government to provide the leadership to achieve such an environment. While it is easy to focus on the biophysical because we can in most instances measure it, if we are to take a total landscape approach to resource management, we must get on top of the human issues. It is human intervention that causes degradation therefore we need to be able to influence the decisions of those who manage the land. The reality is that private interests manage the vast majority of land. This means for instance that, even though leasehold land accounts for about 72 percent of Queenslands 1.8 million square kilometres, the day to day decisions are not made by the government. They are made by the individual landholders who are basically trying to maximise their income. It is those decisions we need to influence to improve resource management outcomes. It is this type of situation that leads me to conclude that planning is the key. As I said, this sounds simple enough. But recently within my Resource Management group of DNR I asked the question how many planning processes do we have?. I was not surprised when the answer came back 28! Add to this the planning that is undertaken by other agencies, local government and community groups and its no wonder both agency staff and the community are perplexed and those of us who want to see progress, to put it politely, frustrated. To address this potential gridlock my department and many other natural resource management agencies such as the Murray Darling Basin Commission are attempting to focus more and more on the human dimension. To achieve truly integrated outcomes we need to: ensure that good science about the biophysical is available and understood by all potential participants this will be a challenge for our scientists because it may require them to commit

themselves without perfect knowledge a situation which their training does not always promote ensure that the social and economic issues are a vital part of the information base provide a non-threatening venue for all participants to share views

provide the participants with sufficient authority to see that they can actually influence the final decision allow sufficient time not always an easy thing to do given the drivers from the electoral cycle. A critical part of this process is to allow the stakeholders to be involved well before the process actually starts so that the common understanding of the issue and approach is agreed upon. By way of example, the current fascination in this country with salinity still does not register in Queensland because the problem is yet to emerge in terms of any real impact. If you talk about weeds, which people can see, then you are going to get engagement, but salinity does not rate. Yet our science is ringing alarm bells. We therefore have to allow the time for the community to accept that salinity is a potential problem ensure that the land management decision makers share the common vision allow, as much as is practicable, for the community to determine the mix of policy instruments that are to be used to implement the plan ensure that the Government (as distinct from the public service), as the ultimate representative of the community, clearly articulates the boundaries within which plans are conceived I have a personal belief that this can only be achieved if authority for natural resource management decision making is shared between government and the local community. Some might say that this is unlikely as it represents a release of power and that politicians are unwilling to do this. Certainly there are examples recently where it might be argued that this clearly the case. On the other hand, I can offer to you the South East Queensland Forest Agreement as an example of a process where the stakeholders delivered the outcome. While the process was incredibly painful for those involved it was not until the government said to the stakeholders you solve it that we actually looked like getting a reasonable outcome. All the public service did was facilitate the outcome. The government set a very broad outcome (and in this case defined a timeframe reasonable but not openended). The community representatives cut the deal. The government then used its final authority to implement the agreed agenda. A clear case of shared as distinct from delegated decision making. This process gives me great heart for our water and vegetation planning processes. Although they are currently very contentious, with plenty of claims and accusations, if all the participants genuinely share a desire for long-term sustainability then an acceptable outcome is achievable. Those of you involved in this debate might ask "how?" In my view it comes back to community based natural resource management. For sometime now DNR has been working with a range of community groups to develop arrangements for the community to have greater and more meaningful input into resource management policy. The matter is yet to be considered by the government but suffice to say it recognises the need to clarify the role of government and the broader community in the natural resource management process. It acknowledges the need to better coordinate the multiple planning processes and ensure community greater shared ownership of both the process and the outcomes. Critically in a state as large and diverse as Queensland, it recognises that the nature of the issues varies and therefore the responses will have to be different.

In this context the institutional arrangements will need to vary from region to region a fundamental difference to some of the view coming from southern Australia where its seems that a "one size fits all" approach is often advocated. While I have emphasised the sharing approach, in reality it would seem for this process to be truly successful governments at all levels are going to have to accept that at least some of their power will need to be released. It may be the twenty something years as public servant that has increased my cynicism, but in the end, this is going to very difficult achieve. There are a number of reasons for this. In the era of new accountability you cannot expect a person to be accountable but not actually be responsible for the decision! There also is the simple matter that most people enter politics to get the power (its certainly not for the money!). Therefore they are unlikely to easily let it go. In these circumstances, apart from the actions I have talked about to this point, I believe we need one other vital ingredient if we are to get whole of property, whole of catchment & whole of state sustainability. That ingredient is the assigning of a value to the environmental attributes in the hands of private individuals. While I am just about de-skilled these days there is enough of the economist left in me to believe that the market can provide a very large part of the solution. By developing values for the environmental attributes, most commonly referred to as the environmental services such as carbon, salinity, biodiversity and nutrient credits, we not only dramatically increase the incentives to not degrade, but in the one action define the type of regulation we need for effective markets and allow us focus on better resource use planning. This is why those of us involved in the original COAG Water Reform Agenda pushed so hard for the better definition of water rights. It was not because we wanted to stop farmers from development it was in fact the opposite. If producers receive the right signals about their assets they will manage them better. Lifestyle issues aside, landholders in Australia are in the game for profit and I will go to my grave believing that the last thing producers want to do is run down their natural assets. The problem for the environment is that there is a lag in the appearance of the signals of resource stress. We therefore need to replace the physical signs with economic signals. The Queensland Government, like every other jurisdiction, is working on this issue right now. Creating markets in intangibles is not easy and perhaps the most difficult things is to create the exclusivity that is necessary for a market to work. Put simply, this requires some type of limit on the availability of natural assets. While some landholders react with hostility to this concept, markets can not operate effectively without it. If one of the questions to be answered is how much regulation is required I would ultimately answer it by saying that it is sufficient to do three things: ensure that the fundamental components of the ecosystem are protected ensure that a user's property rights are defined and protected, and ensure that effective markets can develop in the environmental attributes so that there real value is taken into account in the decision making process

The unfortunate thing in the current debate is that those who are opposing much of the natural resource management reform agenda are doing so on the basis that their property rights are at risk. What they are failing to recognise is that that their rights often only exist on some type of moral basis. These perceived rights are not necessarily well enough defined to be recognised in law and until the reform agenda goes forward, that risk will continue to exist. Interestingly, perhaps the most fundamental environmental unit land is bound by a very strict body of law which defines boundaries beyond doubt. The same body of law does not exist for other attributes. Perhaps our efforts should be directed more to this issue. I have a feeling that the problems associated with planning and regulating our resources would decline dramatically and that the common outcome of sustainability would be more likely to be achieved more quickly.

Waste Management and Environmental Engineering

Paul Greenfield The University of Queensland This paper presents a historical perspective on waste management and environmental engineering, describes the evolution of waste and environmental management philosophies and considers the changing role of environmental engineering in waste management. There are valid public health concerns surrounding waste management (e.g., concerning potable reuse) and these concerns must be addressed comprehensively. Traditional approaches to waste management have tended to be design rich and operationally poor. Typically these approaches have: Been microscale operations Had an end-of-pipe focus (e.g., removal of pollutants) Demonstrated limited understanding of ecosystem or social context issues Been successful from the public health perspective within the prevailing paradigm and given the defined constraints However, there has been an evolution of environmental management philosophies, as indicated below: First generation: deny there is a problem. Examples of this philosophy include: Denying the strong likelihood of a significant anthropogenic influence on global warming, or global warming itself. Denying evidence that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is showing strong signs of nutrient distress. A consequence of this attitude in the past is the need to remediate degraded (e.g., salt-affected) land. Second generation: focus on discharge issues to reduce the severity of the problem. Examples of this philosophy include: Controlling the quality of receiving waters or ambient air by setting permittable discharge concentrations. Requiring 100% compliance with such regulations. Best Available Technology or Best Practical Technology approaches (these may require the same levels of technology in very different environments and hence lack flexibility). An inevitable result of this approach (which is widespread at present) is the introduction of increasingly stringent discharge regulations. Third generation: take a systems approach to environmental management. Examples of this philosophy include: Waste minimisation Load-based licensing; tradeable permits.

Requirements of this approach are more sophisticated monitoring and acceptance of a range of management mechanisms. This approach also requires that the concept of a threshold effect be discarded, since in practice a threshold simply means that a given effect cannot be detected over the time frame of measurement. Fourth generation: include environmental assets in the accounting framework Examples of this philosophy include: The development of cleaner production practices (these could be seen as representing both third and fourth generation approaches). Life cycle analysis. Appropriate pricing of environmental benefits and costs. Green accounting practices. A focus on sustainable development and the "Triple Bottom Line". We are at an interesting stage in the evolution of environmental engineering strategies. We know we have to reject traditional approaches - for example, conventional benefit-cost analysis has little credibility for environmental management because the political process has never enforced the requirement that some of the benefits should flow to the losers. On the other hand, we are at a very early stage in our quest for sustainable development, and it could be argued that we don't yet know how it can be achieved. Nevertheless we can be encouraged by real signs of a paradigm shift, as the following examples serve to indicate. Example 1: Cotton First generation: "If it moves, spray it; when it flows, pump it". Second generation: Integrated Pest Management. controls. Reduced water usage as a result of price

Third generation: Biological control (e.g., baculovirus, GMOs). Reduced water usage through better controls. Fourth generation: Change the whole approach to irrigation - don't grow cotton in certain regions. Example 2: Starch processing First generation: Discharge to trade waste sewer. ("It's not my problem"). Second generation: Pretreat prior to discharge in order to reduce charges. Third generation: Recover waste starch and/or energy from starch, so that the starch processing plant is now a key step in energy generation. (This is a monumental shift in approach because integration of the waste treatment process with production makes it more central - there is now more urgency to avoid going "off-spec"). Fourth generation: Redesign the starch extraction process to minimise the use of water. (This stage has not yet been reached with starch but it has in the paper industry). A typical example of these changes in approach is provided by a starch processing company in Melbourne, which originally discharged its waste to Melbourne's treatment plant. However, after Melbourne Water began to recover the costs of treatment by charging the company in question (at a rate $1.5 million per year), it responded by introducing an on-site anaerobic digester to process waste. Later, the methane produced by the digester was used as an energy source for the plant's operations. The driver in this case was clearly a price signal.


With respect to the changing role of environmental engineering in waste management, there are three key technology drivers. These are:
Biotechnology, which uses an understanding of the genetic and metabolic bases of life processes to develop better process management. Materials technology - especially of membranes, which have reduced in cost and increased in

quality over the last decade, and of nannostructured materials, which can be used to create efficient catalysts and absorbents.
Information technology, which includes new instrumentation, remote monitoring and data

mining. These developments have the ability to revolutionise environmental science, which at present is data-rich and information-poor. Examples of applications of these new technologies include: The design of industrial bioreactors based on improved understanding and modelling of the microbial processes involved (e.g., links between different functional groups of bacteria). Improved hydrodynamic modelling involving computational fluid dynamics and high performance computing. This approach has allowed us to use directional aerators to control zones of nitrification and denitrification in wastewater treatment ponds, and so achieve high rates (60-70%) of nitrogen removal. This in turn means that the pond effluent can be discharged to land at a reasonable cost. Large-scale modelling to linking pollutant hydrography to the biological impacts of water quality decline. Current investigations of water quality impacts in Moreton Bay involve a large team of scientists and 18 local councils in an integrated multidisciplinary program. Among the results of the program are those that suggest that extensive Lyngbya (cyanobacterial) blooms can be triggered in part by high iron levels in local waterways, and that humic acids in organic runoff from coastal forests act as chelating agents to make iron more bio-available.

Conclusions Some trends in waste management seem clear: Prevention is better than cure, and prevention is best achieved by adopting a systems approach involving interdisciplinary, high quality science. Increasing standards put increasing pressure on costs, but clever technologies can help to reduce those costs. Increasing community expectations must be matched by good communication systems and full community involvement. In Australia, environmental engineering challenges for the immediate future include: Water re-use Stormwater impacts and treatment Land developmentand land use impacts Catchment management Airshed management Greenhouse gas reduction.


Sustainable Economics and Business

Mark Diesendorf

University of Technology, Sydney

Introduction A starting point for this paper is the growing evidence that it possible to improve economic performance substantially while at the same time reducing environmental impacts. Our work at the Institute for Sustainable Futures has indicated that in Australia this assertion can be supported across a wide range of sectors, including water, energy and urban transport. However, the widespread development of such win-win situations will require changes to social and institutional processes and structures as well as new hardware. If present thinking persists, we will continue to find ourselves making trade-offs between the economy and the environment. The good news is that the economy is changing in the direction of sustainability (e.g., in Australia it has shifted from primarily resources to services and light manufacturing) and should be allowed to change further.

Sustainability and sustainable development Sustainability is a contestable concept, like democracy or justice, and in fact contesting it is important in its implementation. It is can be defined as the goal or end-point of a process known as sustainable development (or ecologically sustainable development, ESD). Sustainable development comprises those types of economic and social development that protect and enhance the natural environment and social equity. Here, development means the unfolding of human potential and the enhancement of human wellbeing in a broad sense, and social equity means equal opportunity. Although sustainability is commonly accepted as involving environmental, economic and social dimensions, it should be recognised that the environment must be the dominant concept, since both society and the economy depend upon it.

Economic approaches to sustainability Economic approaches to sustainability can be illustrated by the following historical figures: 1. Charles Dickens (in the words of Mr Micawber in David Copperfield). Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and sixpence, result misery. It should be noted that there are no savings in this sudden death concept of sustainability. 2. John Hicks (classical economist). Hicks maintained that it was important to live off income, not off capital, and that we should aim to design an economy that generated a sustainable income. However, Hicks was not an environmentalist and his defined priorities did not include long-term ecological sustainability for the planet as a whole. Nevertheless, his concept of sustainable income could become the basis for a useful approach to sustainability. Unfortunately, neoclassical economics has taken a different direction. 3. J.M. Hartwick (neo-classical economist). Hartwick stressed the importance of sustaining consumption (i.e., household expenditure) over a long time period. He believed that this could be achieved by continual linear substitution (e.g., by using profits from one activity to invest in another). This assumption is questionable, given the severe damage to global ecosystems (e.g., soil loss, greenhouse effects) that is caused by many human activities.


There are in fact a number of limitations to neo-classical, environmental economics, notably the following: A neglect of biophysical laws and ecological insights: e.g., conservation of mass and energy; Second Law of Thermodynamics; the fact that humans are totally dependent upon the integrity of pre-human ecological processes and systems). Treatment of the environment as a set of goods and services that are bought and sold in competitive markets, both real and hypothetical. (It is hard to fit essential open-access resources such as the atmosphere into such a scheme). A neglect of social institutions other than firms and households. An anthropocentric, instrumentalist ethical viewpoint that works against ecological sustainability and social equity and ignores the fact that humans can cooperate. One can question the underlying assumptions about competition - an analogous, though logical outcome of this assumption would be that the four chambers of the heart should independently tender for the job of pumping blood around the body, because competition would improve efficiency! It is also important to recognise that we have no ready substitute for natural systems. For example, in the case of the Biosphere 2 experiment to recreate a sustainable environment within large, sealed domes in the Arizona desert, humans had to leave because it proved impossible to maintain a stable atmosphere. Furthermore, we have little understanding of the extent to which we can interfere with natural systems before their capacity for self-regulation is significantly impaired. These considerations have led to attempts to formally recognise the value of ecosystem services (e.g., Costanza et al., 1997). Other commentators contend that, because of their necessity, it is more appropriate to assign an infinite value to such services, rather than partial monetary values. Embarking on a quest for sustainability puts us at the boundaries of a huge new area. What tools do we have at our disposal to help us on our way? In particular, what conceptual frameworks and case studies are available to help us integrate our economic, environmental and social priorities? The following offer the potential to construct transdisciplinary theoretical frameworks: Natural Capitalism (Hawken et al. 1999). This approach embodies the belief that large increases in resource use efficiency can be achieved through redesign. It recommends that we invest in natural capital (i.e., our physical environment) and emulate nature by shifting from linear to cyclic flows of materials. In natural systems nothing is wasted -- all is re-used. Natural Capitalism also urges a shift in emphasis from goods (e.g., coal power) to services (e.g., a hot shower). Integrated Least-Cost Planning (= integrated resource planning; e.g., Mackenzie 1996). In its focus on what people actually want, this approach is highly compatible with Natural Capitalism. It proceeds by defining the service requirement (e.g., cold food, removal of wastes, transport needs) and identifying the associated environmental health, social and economic costs and benefits. The aim is then to find the mix of supply-side and demand-side technologies to provide the service at the least cost to society, and then to plan to remove barriers to this optimal mix. This approach helps to provide an appropriately broad perspective for decision-making and overcoming barriers. For example, it turns out that it is generally cheaper (in cents per passenger per kilometre travelled) to travel by heavy rail than by car. However, normally motorists tend not to recognise this, because they neglect the hidden costs of car transport, such as the land that is taken up by car roads and parks.


Other potentially useful approaches include: Systems Theory (e.g., Bossel 1998); Soft Systems Theory (e.g., Checkland and Scholes 1990); Multicriteria Analysis (e.g., Bogetoft and Pruzan 1997); Participatory Action Research (e.g., Whyte 1991); Grounded Theory (e.g., Glaser 1993); Ecological Footprint (not the original approach of Wackernagel & Rees 1995, but the improved approach by Lenzen and Murray 2001). Moving decisively down the path to sustainability will require a broad approach and a wide range of response measures - including pricing, taxes, institutional and organisational change, education and regulation. There is little doubt that a major driver will be future resource scarcity and that this will lead to dramatically higher prices as the global demand for essentials such as fuel increases relative to global supply. Local operations will become more important than global ones as costs of transport go up. Consumer demand will also become more discerning - as indicated by the fact that in at least some countries, the major supermarket chains have greatly expanded their range of organic food options, and this expansion has been accompanied by a significant reduction in the cost of such foods.

References Bogetoft, P. and Pruzan, P. 1997. Planning with multiple criteria: investigation, communication and choice. Copenhagen Business School Press. 368 pp. Bossel, H. 1998. Earth at a crossroads: paths to a sustainable future. Cambridge U.K.: Cambridge University Press. 338 pp. Checkland, P. and Scholes, J. 1990. Soft systems methodology in action. Chichester U.K.: John Wiley. 329 pp. Costanza, R., d'Arge, R., deGroot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., Limburg, K., Naeem, S., O'Neill, R.V., Paruelo, J., Raskin, R.G., Sutton. P. and van den Belt, M. 1997. The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387: 253-260. Glaser, B.G. 1993. Examples of grounded theory: a reader. Mill Valley, California: Sociology Press. 521 pp. Hawken, P., Lovins, A., and Lovins, L.H. 1999. Natural capitalism: creating the next industrial revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 396 pp. Lenzen, M. and Murray, S. 2001. A modified ecological footprint method and its application to Australia. Ecological Economics 37: 229-255. Mackenzie, S.H. 1996. Integrated resource planning and management: the ecosystem approach in the Great Lakes basin. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. 243 pp. Wackernagel, M. and Rees, W. 1995. Our ecological footprint: reducing human impact on the earth. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers. Whyte, W.F. (ed.). 1991. Participatory action research. Newbury Park, California: Sage. 247 pp.


The Natural Step and Natural Capitalism

Andrew Gaines ECOSTEPS Sustainability Training Integrated design in agriculture is vitally significant: it is another step to becoming sustainable. There are many definitions of sustainability. I like this salty one: sustainability is a way of living that wont self-destruct. There are, of course, many ways of living, representing many different values and aspirations. How can we tell if something is sustainable or not? One useful way is to apply The Natural Steps Four System Conditions for Sustainability. The Natural Step was developed by Swedish cancer researcher Karl Henrik Robrt. He saw too many children with cancer coming through his clinic. Their problems werent genetic they were responding to poisons in their environment. It wasnt enough to try and cure them. If we are serious about childrens health and well-being, we must protect them from being hurt in the first place. We should emphasise prevention. But on what basis? Well, the same conditions that are necessary for the well-being of the cells in childrens bodies are necessary for the well-being of the rest of life. Thinking along these lines led him to a viewpoint that is obvious. If we are going to be sustainable we must redesign our entire global civilisation so that it operates sustainably. Robrt, in conjunction with his scientific colleagues, achieved a succinct expression of the conditions we must adhere to if we are to be sustainable. These are known as The Four System Conditions for Sustainability. In the sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing 1. concentrations of substances extracted from the Earths crust 2. concentrations of substances produced by society 3. degradation by physical means and, in that society 4. human needs are met worldwide. System Conditions 1 and 2 relate to the build-up of toxins. Ecosystems can handle flows of common substances like iron or aluminium that they have already adapted to, but they cant handle excessive flows of uncommon substances like mercury. Similarly there are many man-made compounds that living systems cant handle at all. If we are to be sustainable we will not allow these to build up in the environment. Condition 3 points out that if we are to be sustainable we must not destroy natures ability to renew itself. In other words, if we over-fish to the point where fish can no longer breed, or if we drain marshes and swamps so they can no longer work as oxygenators, water cleansers and breeding grounds, at some point we will have destroyed so much that the ecology will collapse. The fourth System Condition, linking environmental health to the fair use of resources around the world, makes sense when we consider, for example, the connection between the North-South economic imbalance and the cutting of rainforests in the Amazon, or the potential for countries to go to war when water or other resources become dangerously limited. Take together these Four System Conditions form the core of The Natural Step, a framework for redesigning for sustainability.


Considering environmental issues in this way enables us to avoid quantitative arguments such as how much lead is tolerable?. If some people are highly responsive to lead and others show few symptoms of heavy metal poisoning, what is the acceptable level of lead? Scientists disagree, so some politically acceptable number is finally agreed upon, which means that to a degree we settle for living with the problem. In general, this is not a solution. The people who are highly responsive to environmental toxins still get sick, the rest of us get by with lowered vitality, and the damage to other forms of life continues. We can never resolve the question what is an acceptable level of toxins? But we can resolve a related question: if we allow toxins to continuously build up in the environment, will they ever reach a point where they are harmful? Of course the answer is yes, not because of logic, but because accumulating poisons will indeed eventually have an effect. Once we are clear about this with a given substance we can stop debating and begin the creative task of eliminating the toxin from our industrial processes and food supply. Understanding the Four System Conditions is very valuable. We can look at any object or activity through the lens of the Four System Conditions and notice whether it violates one or more of the conditions. If it does, it is not sustainable in the long run. Protecting the environment and therefore ourselves does not mean going back to the Stone Age. I think the real key to becoming sustainable is integrated design. An understanding of integrated design can be expanded by reading Natural Capitalism. Natural Capitalism is a truly great book about integrated design. It may be the most important book of the 20th century. Why? Because the authors show, through hundreds of qualified examples, in every field from agriculture to architecture, and from automobiles to pharmaceutical production, how astute redesign can reduce energy and water requirements dramatically while increasing productivity, quality and profits. Yes, profits. It is always important to mention profits because many people are terrified that if they seriously attempt to adjust to care for the environment they will go broke. But this is not the case unless you are in the oil business. How is it that business can expect to profit by adjusting to care for the environment? The key is reducing waste. Both agriculture and industry, in ways that often have not been recognised until recently, have been incredibly wasteful. For example, if a farmer uses furrow-and-flood irrigation to water a crop on a fixed schedule, he will inevitable apply water when it is not actually needed and in locations where it cant be used. This excess water is wasted it can be as much as two-thirds of the total water use. Monitoring the dampness of soil (and thus only watering when necessary) combined with piping that delivers water directly to the roots, saves all of that. And we get follow-on benefits such as reduced salination, preventing water wars, and leaving more water for healthy river systems. Combining The Natural Step principles with ideas about integrated design stimulates creativity. You identify both problems and productive opportunities that you never saw before. The Natural Step helps us get clear about where we want to go. Natural Capitalism helps us devise strategies to get there.

References Hawken, P., Lovins, A. & Lovins, L.H. (1999). Natural Capitalism: creating the next industrial revolution. Little, Brown & Co., New York, USA. Natrass, B., Altomare, M. & Naijrass, B. (1999). The Natural Step for Business: wealth, ecology and the evolutionary corporation. New Society Publishers, Canada.


Sustainability and integration: a farmer's perspective

Paul Ziebarth Chairman, Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers I would like to offer some thoughts on sustainability as a farmer and farm leader whose key job it is to manage change in agriculture. I'm a specialist vegetable farmer from the Lockyer Valley and my family has been there for five generations. We now consider ourselves eco-farmers and our challenge is to develop an ecologically sustainable farming system that will produce and market credible highly valued products. We are currently wrestling with the challenges of developing a multi-use water system and are asking questions such as: "How can we take waste water and integrate that with a truly organic nutrient source, and what are the implications for soil health and water use efficiency? From a conventional environmentalist perspective, we horticulturalists are viewed as the ultimate environmental vandals because we have totally destroyed the national landscape weve bulldozed almost every single tree, ripped up the soil and introduced monocultures. However, from a farmers perspective we are magnificent. We think we are the ultimate custodians of the land we look after it, care for it, improve it, and hand it on to the next generation. I think we need to consider carefully where we really sit. We need an objective view of sustainability and how to measure it. The topic of sustainability is receiving a lot of attention, but I would like to add a different dimension. I think we need to look at sustainability as part of a trilogy. In terms of food production, we need to consider sustainability, reliability and intensity simultaneously. To take an extreme example, huntergather systems are the most sustainable. Here, there are no inputs - you go into the forest with a sharp stick, you take what you need, and you dont leave your footprints. But the problem for Australia is that our land could only support 500,000 people as hunter-gathers: our population of about 19 million would be clearly unsustainable. From a production perspective, the nearest thing to a sustainable production system is cattle hunting in the northern territory. Here, you hunt cattle once a year, take what you want and let the rest go. There are very few inputs and the animals look after themselves. Its a very low intensity system. However, this system is not very reliable. Because there are no inputs, there is no control. If it doesnt rain, the cattle die. Reliable food production systems capable of feeding large populations require that you add inputs and raise intensity, which can create all sorts of challenges for sustainability. So in the future we shall need to create types of sustainable systems other than low input, low intensity, low productivity farming. One can argue about numbers and time-frames, but the essential point is that by the year 2040 our population is going to peak at about 8.5 billion people. In order to feed those people we are going to have to treble the amount of food that the world produces from its current agricultural land. Given that we have got as much as we can from out of improvement techniques such as conventional plant breeding, high yield fertilisers and plant protection, we have a major challenge on our hands. Science has been honoured with preventing massive third world famine, but its role in protecting the environment hasnt been recognised at all. If agriculture had not trebled yields in the last forty years, we would have ploughed down 10-12 million square miles of wilderness to support low yielding agricultural production systems, with disastrous results in terms of salinisation, erosion etc. To reiterate, sustainability, reliability and intensity must be considered together. The horticultural industry in Queensland includes 3,500 enterprises that turn over a billion dollars. We grow 140 different commodities. Nationally horticulture is worth 5.5 billion dollars. In this State we have 25,000 jobs directly on farms plus a flow-on factor of 5 to 1 in the wider community. And we do all of this in Queensland on 3% of the main irrigated agricultural land. All of the horticultural land in Australia would fit quite comfortably fit into the Australian Capital Territory. So the footprint that horticulture leaves on Australia is very small.


There is a common perception that agriculturists are still in the Dark Ages and not sympathetic to sustainable development. As I noted above, we are often perceived as environmental vandals. However, I think were a lot better than that. For example, two years ago fruit and vegetable growers developed a Farm Care Code of Practice, which has been recognised as the best code of environmental practice in the country and has even gained some credibility internationally. And more recently we have established a strategic link with the Environment Protection Authority so as to integrate sound farming practices with sound environmental practices. Several of our farmers now carry out environmental life cycle assessments and the fruit and vegetable industry is a partner in the Greenhouse Challenge. Approximately 140 farmers are moving to develop environmental management systems and several of them are working towards ISO 14000 accreditation. The challenge for industry is that we really have to drive the agenda in terms of our relationship with the environment. If we dont, then somebody will do it for us because society in general is becoming very environmentally aware. For example, at present there are big environmental debates over issue such as tree clearing, water management, the National Heritage Trust and use of the Great Barrier Reef. Our problem is that farmers are responsible for about 86% of the land mass but represent only about 3% of the voting population. That creates a real dilemma because non-rural people, who have an overwhelming influence on policy formation, have largely lost contact with the country. Several years ago most people had at least one relative that lived in rural Australia. We dont have that any more. And because we are a very affluent country, we can afford to be fussy. Consumers are sending mixed messages about what they really want: while they are often fussy about the environment they are also motivated by self-interest. They want a clean environment but may not be prepared to pay much for it. Part of the challenge for agriculture is to develop new technologies to replace some of the old ones that we dont want. As we proceed we have to be environmentally aware and serious about maintaining environmental standards. For example, while I have the utmost respect for organic growers, motivated as they often are by very high ideals and values, there are some that still do little for the environmental cause - while they focus on the non-use of certain chemicals they may mine the soil, burn carbon fuel, and ignore biodiversity and water use efficiency. A lot of our sustainability problems derive from the fact that we have totally inappropriate land uses. We are growing and raising organisms that are unsuited to the Australian environment. Why dont we look more closely at animals that evolved here, and farm them? I realise that Australians have a problem with eating their national emblem - we'd rather eat a cow than a kangaroo. But cows originally had to be domesticated, so why don't we domesticate our native animals? Instead of trying to use unsustainable systems to grow cattle and sheep, why don't we redefine our approach to farming? Why cant a farmer make a living selling black cockatoos raised in a 2,500 hectare aviary? Finally, we talk about integrated farming systems but we dont do integrated research. Research is currently based on reductionist science. We reduce a problem or situation into its basic parts. We research that and do good work, develop good technology, but the mistake we make is that we dont put it back together again. We dont build the system. And we have a really dysfunctional extension system that sprays 40 bits of unintegrated technology and knowledge at a new farmer who is trying to develop an environmentally friendly production system. We expend a lot of money, effort and skill on making scientific advances, but the application and adoption of those findings is dreadful. So the researchers wonder why farmers aren't using their work and the farmers don't realise what has been done. How do we capture the good science and the right research, but build them into systems that people can actually use and adopt? If we don't solve this problem, in another ten years we may still be focussing on isolated opportunities for sustainable development and as an industry we won't have advanced very far at all.


Integrated systems and rural community development: possibilities for partnership.

Ingrid Burkett University of Queensland Introduction This paper examines how concepts embedded in the practice and theory of integrated biosystems can be effectively aligned with the principles and practices of community development. It is argued that there is great potential for strengthening links between biophysical sciences and social sciences in relation to system integration, such that innovative approaches to building sustainable rural communities can be developed. The development of linkages between integrated biosystems and community development could contribute to addressing future problems and potentials of rural communities in ways which makeislands of success more widespread (Pretty et al., 1995). Both locally and internationally rural communities currently exist in an environment that is characterised by economic, social, ecological and political pressures. In Australia questions are repeatedly and increasingly frequently being asked about how we address the challenges of the bush and create viable rural landscapes. Globalisation, trade liberalisation, rural-urban migration, regional unemployment and environmental degradation are signaling the need for integrated approaches to address the increasingly difficult development challenges faced by rural communities. This paper suggests that system integration could provide a macro framework for developing such approaches. In development practice and social science theory, frameworks of rural development which emphasise systemic or integrative methods of analysis and action are not new, although they are being revived in new forms. Historically, notions of Integrated Rural Development (IRD) emerged in the 1970s, when development policies (mostly in what was then known as the third world) sought to integrate an increase in agricultural production with improved health, education, sanitation and other social services in rural areas. These approaches were heavily critiqued not because they were deemed to be founded on incorrect principles, but because the practices which were used to implement them were top-down, economically unsustainable, and did not take account of differences between local community's needs and contexts. In short what was missing from these approaches was recognition of what Robert Chambers (1997) refers to as the LCDDU principle of rural development that it is Local, Complex, Diverse, Dynamic and Unpredictable. Recently, IRD has once again emerged as representing a framework for exploring approaches to sustainable development of rural communities, often with a focus of stimulating economic regeneration within peripheral rural regions through bringing together interrelated problems and resources (Day, 1998). These approaches have emphasised the connections between such sectors as agriculture, forestry, local industry, waste management, social services, education and tourism, such that the interconnections between the pressures facing rural communities can be explored and addressed. What is recognised in commentaries about this new IRD is the need for further exploration of how connections between these different sectors can contribute in real ways to sustainability and increased self-sufficiency of rural communities. After drawing links between the underlying principles of integrated biosystems (IBS) and community development (CD), this paper examines three case studies which demonstrate how IBS and CD can effectively be aligned in practice, and together, contribute to an IRD approach which is not only consistent with Chambers (1997) LCDDU principles, but which could effectively contribute to building environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable rural communities.


A principled linkage: connecting integrated biosystems with community development At the level of principles, there are a number of interesting links between integrated biosystems and community development. Both focus on how reliance on high inputs of external resources whether that be biological resources or social resources can make systems inefficient, ineffective, dependent and ultimately, unsustainable. Like integrated biosystem approaches which seek to focus on site specific management systems for whole farms (Pretty, 1998), community development seeks to focus on the unique local contexts in which communities exist, and to develop the total human condition of rural places (Keane, in Day, 1998); Both can take time to bring about improved yields whether these be crop yields or social yields such as increased social capital or healthy local social institutions; Both challenge current dominant models in the case of integrated biosystems the challenges are related to dominant models of industrial agriculture which focus on high-input systems; and in the case of community development, the challenges are related to dominant models of development which focus on external solutions for local community issues; Integrated agriculture has been falsely accused of advocating a return to low technology, backward or traditional agricultural practices (Pretty, 1995), which would not generate enough food to feed to worlds growing population; community development has been falsely accused of seeking a return to a nostalgic vision of village life that never was, and of thereby advocating a stance to development which is anti-growth and anti-technology (Burkett, 2000). Just as the use of integrated biosystem approaches to food production and waste management can contribute to more sustainable agricultural systems, I would contend that the use of community development approaches to rural development could underpin the development of more sustainable and stronger local economies and communities. Table One illustrates the alignment of community development with integrated, sustainable agriculture at the level of principles. In order to demonstrate, through the use of case studies, how community development can be linked with integrated biosystems to foster practices of integrated rural development, it is necessary to explore a little further what CD actually is, and how CD workers approach rural development.


Table One. Comparing the principles of integrated, sustainable agriculture and community development Principles of Integrated, Sustainable Agriculture (source, Shepherd, 1998;43-46) 1. Search for effective, productive and economic low external input systems, characterised by internal recycling of energy and nutrients and a high degree of selfsufficiency by comparison with industrial farming. Principles of Sustainable Community Development


Focus on creation of effective and productive, low external input social systems and institutions. Emphasis on cooperation, re-use and re-cycling of human energy, efficient use of human resources through creation of effective social structures to support development of high level of self-sufficiency, whether that relates to financial sustainability (eg. development of community-based banking), food production (eg. development of regionally-reliant food systems), or social support structures (eg. structures which sustain individual and community well-being). Community members become planners, implementors and evaluators of development processes. Emphasis on partnerships and co-development, and valuing of local, indigenous knowledge systems and indigenous social sytems/institutions. Emphasis on integrated, holistic knowledge systems the local people are the development experts. A process of social learning rather than applying prescribed practices. Efforts at enhancement of social and cultural diversity within social structures and institutions enhancing participation of women, marginalised people and groups, and ensuring that a broad range of people participate in and support the systems. Ensuring that human resources are also conserved such that the work and effort is evenly spread amongst community members rather than located with a limited number of individuals makes the system more effective and sustainable.


Greater involvement of farmers in design and implementation of integrated farming systems and the valuing of indigenous knowledge about agriculture and natural resource management. Rejection of compartmentalised scientific research and preference for holistically derived knowledge, linking academics and practitioners, scientists and farmers. A process of social learning rather than applying prescribed practices. Conservation of resources and enhancement of bio-diversity is an integral component of farming systems, rather than being a technically driven bolt-on activity.




Community Development and Endogenous Development Community development (CD) is based on the principles of endogenous development, that is, the:
priority is to look, first, at what natural and social resources are available in rural areas agriculture, people, natural resources and wildlife and then to ask: can anything be done differently that results in the more productive use of these available resources without causing damage to natural and social capital? (Pretty, 1998)

Or, in other words, that:

the well-being of a local economy (at any sub-national scale, from a region down to a village and its hinterland) can best be animated by basing development action on the resources physical, human and intangible that are indigenous to that locality (Ray, 1999)

The dominant models used to address rural development are not based on endogenous development principles or practices. Rather, they are based on exogenous development approaches approaches premised on the notion that the key to enhancing rural development is to maximise external inputs such as government funding, mobile capital (ie. attracting business and industry), and human capital (ie. attracting tourists and migrants to regional areas). Such approaches see the role of agriculture in rural economic development as decreasing, and therefore suggest that there is an increasing need to


invest in alternatives to agriculture in rural sectors. The result is that local authorities offer incentives for industries and businesses to relocate; encourage the development of tourism in regional areas; and lobby national governments for increased funding for large infrastructure projects. Certainly, this has resulted in short-term gains for many rural communities in Australia and elsewhere, but as Table Two highlights, this has not been without its problems. The two major issues are: it is usually already more prosperous communities who gain most benefits from exogenous development; and that reliance on high levels of external input (especially in terms of finances and attraction of industry) results in dependency, instability, and ultimately, lack of sustainability. The corollary of these difficulties is that exogenous development is most problematic for marginalised communities (those communities which are non-coastal, remote, inaccessible, in more difficult environments and with sparse populations) which are already most disadvantaged in terms of service provision and attractiveness for business development. Compounding this problematic feature of exogenous development is the fact that in such models, experts from outside the actual communities are often the drivers of the processes that are imposed on communities to improve their economic and social well being. This leads to two negative consequences; first, that often the unique characteristics of particular localities (in terms of environments, demographics, cultures, and existing social infrastructures) are not taken into consideration and what occurs is a mono-solution to what is interpreted as the rural problem. Secondly, such processes can actually exacerbate the disadvantages of more peripheral rural areas, increasing the likelihood that they become (or remain) poor, depopulated, disorganised, dependent, marginal and apathetic (Bassand, in Day, 1998).


Table Two. Exogenous and Endogenous Development Approaches A Comparison Exogenous Development Aim: attract external capital, technologies or institutions into rural areas in order to promote change (Pretty, 1998) Endogenous Development Aim: to look, first, at what natural and social resources are available in rural areasand then to ask: can anything be done differently that results in the more productive use of these available resources without causing damage to natural and social capital (Pretty, 1998) Development processes should maximise creative use of existing internal community resources and minimise reliance on external resources. Focus on building selfreliance.

Development processes centred on maximising external investments and capital. Local areas should focus on attracting external investments in the form of capital investment and government funding. Development processes seek to modernise regions such that they can attract maximum external capital investment. Emphasis on external funding to improve infrastructure and provision of services in rural communities. Seeking external solutions to internal problems: ..we are waiting for the government to solve our problems; we need a change in exchange or interest rates to give us more money (Pretty, 1998). Advantages: may result in higher social yields in the short term eg. sudden rises in employment levels when a new industry moves into town; Have brought advantages to infrastructure of many rural communities. Problems: Hidden costs of the advantages are often not readily acknowledged; Reliant on external, specialist and expert interpretation of local issues, which are often different from internal interpretation of issues ie. negation of local knowledge; High external inputs are generally capital intensive expensive to initiate and maintain and often remain dependent on ongoing external capital support; First movers benefit, ie. already prosperous rural communities are likely to reap further benefits, marginal, poorer communities are less likely to benefit; competition between localities often creates parochial divisions; businesses gain benefits often at the cost of local communities; Dependency of local communities on external forces and institutions now particularly evident in terms of globalisation; Decreased capacity of local communities to cope with environmental and economic changes Decline of social capital and local institutions for social capacity building. Encourage mono-solutions: one solution fits all rural communities denies the diversity within systems.

Development processes centred on local resources: physical, human and intangible creation of employment opportunities from within, using locally owned / managed resources. Participation of local people in development processes is key to success. Other key elements cooperation, education and awareness raising.

Advantages: Development of higher social yields can be highly effective, efficient and sustainable; Encourage diverse, locally developed solutions to issues and problems; Builds on existing local social organisations and systems; Linkages between different systems within the community are emphasised; Reduction of external resource inputs: more efficient in the long term. Problems: advances in development can remain localised and small-scale; Higher social yields may take a long time; Can be co-opted and become a justification for withdrawal of external resources; In a time of economic crisis for many rural communities it is easy tosee the talk of empowerment, community-based approaches and bottom-up as hollow, a clever means for the state to shift responsibility for land degradation to a community level without allocating commensurate resources (Campbell, 1996). Requires more complex locally specific analysis of issues but this has also been shown to generate more effective, locally owned and sustainable solutions to problems and issues.


Integrated, endogenous development As explored above, endogenous development represents an approach to development that emphasises the importance of localised, participatory analyses and actions. What is also important in endogenous approaches to development is that such development is integrated that is, that approaches to development seek to integrate all elements of rural communities rather than focussing only or singularly on one dimension as is illustrated in the figure below.

Business and Industry Agriculture

Cultural Environment

Social infrastructure Natural Resources Political infrastructure

Figure One. Integrated rural development methodologies are complex and cross-disciplinary boundaries.

Addressing the complexity of rural development demands methods of development practice which seek to be multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary and which emphasise a complex and integrated approach to rural development. This, in itself, is somewhat countercultural as Chambers (1983;41) highlighted almost two decades ago (though he also reiterated this in a more recent book Chambers, 1993):
Disciplinary academics and practicing professionals meet, listen to and argue with those of similar backgrounds. A soils scientist finds his (sic) fellows among other soils scientists, or physical or perhaps biological scientists, but scarcely among sociologists; a political scientist meets and discusses with other political scientists, or other social scientists, but scarcely with research agronomists. It is not strange that there should be little overlap in their views of the problems of rural development. All have been conditioned to focus on a few aspects to the implicit exclusion of others; and members of each specialised group reinforce each others narrow vision

Though there have, since this time, been efforts at incorporating more complex analyses into approaches to rural development (through, for example, stakeholder analyses, Farming Systems Development (FSD) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) (see Shepherd, 1998; Chambers, 1995)), such efforts still tend to be rather limited in terms of actual cross-disciplinary interest, and consequently, there is still plenty of scope for further holistic methodological development (Shepherd, 1998).


Further, genuinely interdisciplinary analyses and approaches are still not orthodox practice. There remains a tendency to bolt on perspectives of other disciplines rather than engage in genuinely multidisciplinary work in rural development. As a social scientist interested in inter-disciplinary rural development practice, I have encountered difficulties from without and with-in my disciplinary area. From outside my discipline area I have encountered some interactions which demonstrate that it is often (though not always) still the case, as Chambers (1993) argues, that the harder professions set the style and the main agenda, and that the professions concerned with people tend to come later, and their value is questioned
they are rather a nuisance. Their contributions often appear negative. They often explain why things should not be done, or should be done more slowly. They raise objections and slow down disbursements and implementation.

From within social science, if it is accepted that interest in rural development practice is a valid academic pursuit (which is not always the case see Lawrence, 1996;xiii) then there is an implicit expectation that the interest will centre on the social dimensions of rural development, rather than being focussed on the pursuit of integrated, interdisciplinary analyses and action. In other words, it is the case in social science too that normal is narrow and that professions are inbred and look inwards (Chambers, 1993). It is probably not surprising then that, as Rling (1996) argues:
despite the urgency of the problem, the development of an operational social science to complement technical disciplines is comparatively slow. Complex problems require multiple perspectivesCurrent approaches are dominated by technical and economic perspectives but lack an effective complementary social perspective.

Despite the barriers to engaging in multi- and inter- disciplinary work on integrated approaches to rural development, there is a growing body of literature which is seeking to do just this both in Australia and internationally. This is emerging from both a sociological perspective (see for example, Vanclay and Lawrence, 1995; Campbell, 1996; Lawrence, Vanclay and Furze, 1992), and from an agricultural/bioscience perspective. Indeed there have recently been some very fine attempts to integrate dimensions of sustainability in rural areas such as Prettys (1998) integration of sustainable agriculture, localised food systems and rural community development (see also, Rodriguez et al., 1998). It is clear from these analyses that the development of sustainable agriculture is not enough in itself to create stronger local rural economies and communities. What is required is not only the integration of agriculture, aquaculture, food processing, water use and fuel generation, but an integrative and wholistic approach to rural development which links sustainable agricultural development, with economic development and social development. As Rosset (2000) argues:
sustainable land use should be an opportunity to improve the quality of the environment, including its physical (increased soil fertility, better quality air and water), biological (healthier and more diverse animal, plant, and human populations), and social, economic and institutional (greater social equity, cohesion, peace/stability, well-being) components.

In effect, what is required is the development of integrated bio-social-systems approaches to rural development the linking of sustainable agriculture with sustainable economic and community development. In the second part of this paper then, I examine three case studies in which such integrated approaches have been adopted. They all centre on the use of integrated approaches to food production or waste management, but my focus will not be on the technical aspects of these systems. Rather, I will illustrate how principles of integrated, endogenous development have been utilised to link such approaches to broader community development processes in effect, how integrated biosystems can be become part of the development of stronger local communities. Each of the case studies focuses on a particular aspect of developing a more wholistic, integrated approach to rural development. I have had some direct involvement either with the work or the NGOs involved in two of these case studies (cases one and three), and learnt of the third one through my involvement with the NGO who


coordinated the work. I present them, not as definitive case studies which demonstrate answers, but as examples of how integrated food production and waste systems can become part of endogenous development processes which aim to build sustainable local communities. How technical capacity building can contribute to building social capacity: using a community development approach in the construction of an integrated waste-management system. All around the world it is currently very fashionable to speak of encouraging local participation of people in rural development, whether that be in terms of technical projects or social development programs (see for example, Burkey, 1993; Haverkort et al., 1991; Oakley et al., 1991). Yet in many rural development projects participation has remained at a very idealistic and ideological level (Shepherd, 1998), and as a consequence, actual participation of stakeholders particularly marginalised members of communities has often remained a feature of report rhetoric rather than being a lived reality. Ensuring actual participation of people in development processes is difficult yet important as Campbell (1996) highlights:
Involving the community can be time-consuming and frustrating, and it is scary for people, who are not naturally disposed to dealing with people and/or have not had relevant training. Seen through the prism of technocratic institutional cultures, involving a range of stakeholders in an ill-defined, openended facilitation process is tedious, its outcomes are often intangible and its cost/benefits debatable. But the complexities of developing new ways of using the land which meet environmental, social and economic objectives mean that genuine stakeholder participation in generating, using and exchanging knowledge, in decision-making, and in resource use negotiation, simply cannot be side-stepped or fudged (Campbell, 1996).

Further, it is clear that interactive participation, where people participate in all stages of the development process, from planning to action and reflection (Pretty, 1998) actually results in greater effectiveness and higher levels of sustainability (see particularly Narayan, 1993). The first case study that I wish to present takes the inclusion of participation to a new level. The participation of people in a water-supply and integrated waste management project in this example actually constituted a primary goal of the project. Projected outcomes for the whole community go a long way beyond participation in the technical aspects of designing and building the water supply and sanitation system.

Case Study I: Water-supply and integrated waste management project in East Timor This situation involves an indigenous East Timorese NGO working with a remote hamlet in mountainous country whose residents had identified problems accessing safe water supplies and disposing safely of their waste, with the result that the health of villagers was low and infant mortality much higher than surrounding areas. Furthermore, the poor soils in the area meant that food production was limited particularly given the unavailability of fertilizers due to cost and political barriers. Long-term consultation with the community has resulted in plans to build locally maintainable water supply infrastructure and composting toilets which will eventually provide some compost material for use in agriculture. The NGO has been working with the community for a period of three years, and the project is continuing. What was particularly interesting in this project was the way in which the technical dimensions of building the water supply and waste-management system was integrated with social capacity building dimensions of rural community development. Although the project received external funding for the cost of non-locally available materials such as concrete, pipes and sand, most other materials were locally produced. All labour required for the development of the systems was locally supplied from residents of the hamlet both men and women were involved, and children and young people attended and participated in training and maintenance workshops. The system was designed, implemented and maintained by the local people in conjunction with the community worker from the NGO.


Interestingly, for the first 18months of the project no technical work was begun. It was the policy of the NGO that no technical works begin until the social foundations had been laid which would ensure the sustainability of any infrastructure that was eventually built. A worker was based permanently in the hamlet during this period, and his work focused on building the social capacity and social institutions necessary for the villagers to be involved in designing, implementing and maintaining a water supply and waste-management system. This involved a number of stages of work. First, it involved an analysis of the existing local social systems and local institutions of village management. Secondly, it involved linking with these systems and institutions in such a way that the social fabric of the community would not be radically altered ie. that the project would enhance rather than replace existing social infrastructure whilst at the same time identifying and integrating groups marginalised within this traditional fabric (eg. women, poorest people). Thirdly, it involved working with the villagers to build upon these systems and institutions in such a way that they could engage in the design, implementation and maintenance of the physical infrastructure. This involved particularly residents organising management structures which could support the physical infrastructure such as user groups, maintenance rosters, training groups, working bees and so on. Finally, it involved working with the villagers to identify local sources of materials for the building of the systems, local knowledge which would enhance the design of the system, and local wisdom about the nature of natural systems (such as conditions in the wet season) which could enhance the sustainability of the system over time. Due to the impact of the crisis which engulfed East Timor after the vote for independence, this process was severely interrupted and is only now beginning to be re-established. It is too early to evaluate exactly how effective the process has been, but there are a number of elements which have already been identified by members of the community and NGO workers as representing important achievements or outcomes: 1. Villagers have participated in and managed initial phases of the technical work, including building containing structures to channel water from the source to piping infrastructure; identifying and agreeing upon sites for building water access tanks and composting toilets; and sourcing local renewable materials for the building of water cleansing systems. 2. Villagers have used the enhanced social institutions developed over the course of the social capacity building phase of the project to initiate other projects and programs concerning their village, thus indicating the transferability of social capacity to other dimensions of rural development within contexts; 3. Village leaders have shared their learnings from the project with networks beyond the one hamlet involved in the particular project creating possibilities for broader sharing of results. This case study illustrates how the integration of technical and social capacity building can strengthen not only the results obtained within a defined project, or within one dimension of rural development, but can enhance rural development in a whole village system. Integrating realms of development: an integrated rural development project in Thailand A number of commentators have recently highlighted the indirect social and economic benefits which can be gained from sustainable land use and agriculture for example, Campbell (1996) argues that though Landcare began with a focus on land degradation issues:
Landcare groups tend to broaden their concerns, initially from a sole land degradation issue (say salinity) to a range of degradation issues, then to a more positive focus on developing a more sustainable


farming system, which then leads to the integration of social and economic concerns into group activities.

Pretty (1995) also highlights how sustainable, integrated agriculture can have broader benefits:
There is less need for expansion into non-agricultural area, so ensuring that valuable wild plant and animal species are not lost. There is reduced contamination and pollution of the environment, so reducing the costs incurred by farming households, consumers of food and national economies as a whole. There is less likelihood of the breakdown of rural culture. There is local regeneration, often with the reversal of migration patterns as the demand for labour grows within communities. And, psychologically, there is a greater sense of hopefulness towards the future.

The second case study demonstrates how an integrated agriculture-aquaculture system not only contributed benefits to social, economic and environmental development in a particular group of villages in rural Thailand, but actually resulted from a complex, integrated analysis by the villagers of what factors were influencing the environmental, social and economic issues they were confronting. What is illustrated in this case study is, in effect, how an integrated biosystem can be one part of a much larger, integrated rural development process.

Case Study II: Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture Project in rural Thailand This project was implemented through a partnership between a community-based organisation in Northern Thailand, and an Australian development NGO. The project centred on a number of villages in a catchment area surrounded by forest that was being illegally logged by both villagers and external corporations, resulting in deforestation, increased erosion and exacerbation of drought conditions in the area. There was also a range of social issues effecting the villages including high rates of ruralurban migration amongst the younger population, increasing income disparities amongst villagers and resultant breakdowns in community cohesion. The project began when some of the villagers associated with a small community-based organisation involved in sustainable agriculture, identified the relationship between their decreasing agricultural yields and the degradation of the land caused by the illegal logging operations in the forests around the villages. And then continued to map the interconnections between various factors influencing the life of their villages. Figure One illustrates the mapped out interconnections between the issues facing the villages.


Extra income for villagers participating in logging Deforestation Extensive logging - primarily illegal Severe drought and erosion Silting and water contamination Increased exposure to AIDS Decreased yields Decreased income Increasing economic inequalities

Increased rural-urban migration - particularly of youth

Increased malnutrition

Increased borrowing Increased debt Increased social division & decreased community cohesion Employed people send home large amounts money

Figure One. Complex of Issues and Problems in villages in Northern Thailand


Figure Two illustrates how action concerning this dimension of the problems surrounding the villages led not only to the development of an integrated agriculture-aquaculture project, but also to a variety of initiatives aimed at addressing the complex environmental, social and economic concerns of the villages.

Development of alternative employment for villagers in illegal logging

Link with other forest groups in province lobbying government for increased forest protection

Establishment of CO to address conservation issues forest and agriculture Establishment of integrated agriculture-acquaculture system villager designed and developed (rice-fish)

Increased income, Increased availability of food.

Participatory action research to establish extent of damage

Farmers realise relationship between deforestation, drought, erosion and decreased yield

Establishment of savings group and microcredit initiatives Increased local opportunities for young people Investment in social development projects eg. AIDS support centre; employment initiatives

Reforestation project

? Possibility of reducing rates of AIDS contraction

? Possibility of reducing ruralurban migration

Figure Two. Complex Intervention: Toward endogenous integrated rural development


Integrating Rural and Urban Development: Integrated Farming and Community Supported Agriculture A concerning aspect of rural development in Australia is the increasing tensions between bush and city a divide which led one government minister to comment recently that Australia is now comprised of two separate societies, one urban, the other, rural. Media portrayals of the situation in rural Australia often fuels this divide, with environmental degradation increasingly blamed on rural areas, and the depiction of rural social problems as draining government funds. What is often missed in analyses about the problems of rural communities, is the interconnections between rural and urban development. Indeed, one could go so far as to say that people in urban communities actually need to engage in a great deal of learning about how their consumption habits and unsustainable resource use is integrally linked to pressures on rural environments and communities. This is particularly the case given what Falvey (1998) sees as the:
increasing separation of urban population from food production which worldwide has reduced knowledge of food production while increasing concern for environmental care.

Integrated approaches to sustainable rural development thus need not only to integrate processes at the local rural level, but also to integrate analysis and practice across urban and rural contexts. In terms of agricultural sustainability, this implies that:
Sustainability ought to meanmore than just agricultural activities that are environmentally neutral or positive; it implies the capacity for activities to spread beyond the project in both space and time (Rodriguez et al., 1998)

The final case study I wish to present centres on an attempt to integrate an urban-rural analysis of the environmental, economic and social impacts of modern industrial food production which is, according to some commentators now a truly global food system focussing on distance and durability as key features of food products (Lezberg and Kloppenburg, 1996). It illustrates a model of cooperation between farmers and consumers which originated in Japan and Europe, and which is now increasingly popular in the United States, and is emerging (though in different forms) in parts of Australia. Community Supported Agriculture is the generic name given to a diversity of such initiatives which provide a forum for enacting the belief that in the arena of food production and processing, farmers and consumers need to collectively determine appropriate production techniques that are environmentally and economically sustainable, and which enhance social relationships both between farmers and consumers, and amongst consumers (Lezberg and Kloppenburg, 1996). The practices which have emerged from such forums are varied, ranging from direct farmer-consumer marketing and farmers markets; subscription farming; development of farming cooperatives or collective farm management (such as those initiated by David Brunckhorst around the New England region of NSW); and farmer-consumer cooperatives which aim to link consumers in various ways directly with farmers (such as the example provided below) (for examples see, Pretty, 1998; Greer, 1999). There is plenty of scope for the development of such initiatives in Australia, though they must evolve out of the particular conditions facing rural communities and farmers in Australia, rather than be developed as a copy of overseas examples where more densely populated rural areas and smaller distances are the norm.


Case Study III: An Urban Initiative to Support Integrated Food Production This action learning project grew out of a learning circle initiated by an urban-based development education NGO in Brisbane. The learning circle focussed on developing understandings of how sustainability, poverty and technology were linked it was a program focussed on a collection of readings, videos and sets of suggested discussion questions. The group involved twelve people who previously did not know each other, and who met over a period of ten weeks to engage in the discussions and learnings. After the completion of the set program, the members of the learning circle decided to keep meeting to discuss the possibilities of engaging in actions concerning what had been learnt during the course of the ten weeks. One of the major modules of the readings had focussed on food production, and this was chosen as the area around which the group would focus its first action. The group members were predominantly low-income people (a high number of students and unemployed people); ranged in age from 22 to 58; lived in inner suburbs of Brisbane; and the group had a fairly even gender balance. They identified the following concerns about food production and consumption within their own lives: A disconnection from the food they bought, and an increasing concern regarding its safety and nutritional value; An interest in purchasing organic food, but difficulties enacting this because of the extra expense of organic food purchased at specified organic produce stores, or in supermarkets; A concern regarding the dominance of major supermarket chains in the sale of food, and a desire to initiate community-based food distribution operations which de-commodified food and enhanced social relationships between people. As a result of these concerns, the group formed a food cooperative, and initially purchased organic food (fruit and vegetables, eggs, nuts, grains, dried products and organic cleaners) in bulk from a distributor. The group then met once a week to distribute the food and products amongst themselves (following a communal meal). Although the group increased in size during the period when this was the model which the group adopted (to a group of twenty people), a number of difficulties arose concerning this chosen model: There was a growing recognition of the fact that much of the organic produce was grown at large distances from Brisbane, and a concern by group members that sustainable food production should also mean local food production; That distributors were still making large profits from the produce sold, and that group members were concerned at what was considered an unfair distribution of income between distributors and actual growers; There was also a concern that the members of the group still did not really have a connection to the food, as the growers and producers were still anonymous in the process and therefore, the members were still not convinced that they were supporting sustainable, organic and integrated production. Because of these concerns, the group decided to initiate a direct relationship with an organic grower on the outskirts of Brisbane, who agreed to provide a range of organic vegetables and fruits to the group in exchange for a guarantee that the members would pay the same rate as was being paid for the produce at the market (ie. the farmer would benefit from an increased income because there were no distributors involved). The group negotiated with the farmer as to what could be grown in different seasons, and what crops could be effectively companion planted to enhance yields and reduce inputs. The group also developed a roster through which each member of the group would collect the produce at least once every six months, spending the day with the farmer to harvest the produce.


Although the group disbanded after six months of this relationship beginning (due to the urban-rural migration of five of the most prominent members(!!); and financial hardships experienced by the grower involved), there were many learnings from the process. Most importantly, the members of the group have maintained an interest in the links between urban living and rural development, and the interconnectedness of urban and rural sustainability. A number of the members have gone on to form other food cooperatives based on the principles of community supported agriculture and permaculture, and continue to be involved in exploring possibilities for sustainable and socially integrated food production and consumption.

Conclusion: Two core ideas lie at the heart of what I have presented in this paper: 1. That, at the level of principles, there are commonalities of approach between integrated systems methodologies and community development methodologies; 2. That these principles could form the basis of new integrated rural development methodologies that see sustainability as having biological, social, economic and political dimensions. Three case studies illustrated different dimensions of how the two methods (IBS and CD) could be used in such integrated rural development processes. In conclusion I wish to draw attention to a number of broad learnings from the three case studies and the preceding discussions concerning endogenous development processes, and link them with literature concerning both IBS and rural CD. In addition, I would like to signal some areas which require both further attention, and further exploration such that effective, integrated bio-social systems can be developed. Each of the case studies illustrated the social context of an implemented integrated biosystem, and demonstrated the interconnections between such systems and their broader social and economic functions in communities. A number of conclusions can be drawn from these illustrations: Focus on integrating the social and technical dimensions of sustainability can improve not only the sustainability and long-term viability of individual projects, but can actually contribute to the creation of enhanced social mechanisms for building resilience (Folke et al., in Coop and Brunckhorst, 1999) thereby developing stronger local economies and communities. There is a need to further explore how certain kinds of social relationships are embedded in our systems of resource use and management, and thereby recognise that: when people change the way they use their resources land, water, plants, and animals they are liable to alter their social relationships as well (Gabriel, 1991). Thus, a change in resource use which emphasises the importance of integrated systems changes not only the relationship between farmer and resources, but has the potential to impact on the nature of social relationships also generating social capital in addition to natural capital (Pretty, 1998). Integration of methods such as CD (which focus on mobilisation of communities to define and address their needs) could assist in addressing concerns such as that raised by Rose (1999) when he recommended that in order to progress the uptake of integrated waste-management systems: research should be directed toward the development of methods to mobilise local community groups in self-help sanitation schemes centred on key technologies. This further indicates that sustainability is multidimensional, requiring multidimensional and multidisciplinary approaches and methods, and that addressing sustainability requires greater degrees of cooperation and a recognition of the interconnected nature of rural social development, agricultural sustainability and ecological sustainability (Vanclay and Lawrence, 1995). Further, if sustainable agriculture is to succeed, what is needed is the full participation and collective action of rural people and land


managers (Pretty, 1995). Mobilising communities to engage in collective action to enhance sustainable resource management, production and consumption is a most challenging, complex task - one which needs integrated approaches which recognise that sustainability is a North-South issue, one which involves rural and urban interactions, one which is the responsibility of both producer and consumer, and one which is increasingly important not just for individual farmers and landholders, but to whole communities, locally and globally. In an age in which things global seem to be emphasised, integrated rural development needs to focus on the potentials and benefits of encouraging local approaches to creating ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable systems: there is increasing evidence that local-level institutions learn and develop the capability to respond to environmental feedbacks faster than do centralised agencies (Coop and Brunckhorst, 1999); What is also required (for the success of sustainable agriculture) will be increased attention to community-based action through local institutions (Pretty, 1995); What is needed is an alternative conceptualisation of food security that is based on sustainable, self-reliant, local/regional food productionfounded on the regional reinvestment of capital and local job creation, the strength of community institutions, and direct democratic participation in the local food economy (Lezberg and Kloppenburg, 1996).

Care needs to be taken to ensure that integrated rural development practice recognises that sustainability is a contextually based social learning process rather than a set of techniques to be applied universally. This is a learning which is key both in terms of the diffusion of technologies and of methods of social organisation as Pretty (1995) highlights:
If resource conserving technologies and social organisationsare forced on rural people, then they too will go the way of modern agricultural technologies. The emerging danger is that agricultural professionals, in promoting new technologies that are low cost, sustainable and productive, will forget the diverse conditions and needs of rural people.

Finally, there is a need for more opportunities to dialogue across disciplines about notions of sustainability, such that genuine integrated approaches can emerge at the levels of analysis and practice, and such that Chambers (1993) assertion that disciplines, professions and departments are so organised and interlocked that gaps between them have low priority and low status, can begin to be reversed. Integrated rural development that emphasises ecological, economic and social sustainability is a complex business. It should not be idealised nor based on nostalgic, unrealistic notions that reflect neither the difficulties nor the complexities of change whether that be technological change or social change. Perhaps it may be apt to conclude with a passage from Bertrolt Brecht a piece which translates as common understanding which could gives a clue as to how to further develop a partnership between integrated systems and community development:
it takes a lot of things to change the world: Anger and tenacity. Science and indignation. The quick initiative, the long reflection. The cold patience and the infinite perseverance. The understanding of the particular case and the understanding of the ensemble: Only the lessons of reality can teach us to transform reality


Burkett, I. (2000). The Challenges of Building real and virtual human communities in the 21st Century, The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, UNESCO, forthcoming. Burkey, S. (1993). People First: A Guide to Self-Reliant, Participatory Rural Development, Zed Books, London. Campbell, C. (1996). Land Literacy in Australia: Landcare and other New Approaches to Inquiry and Learning for Sustainability, in A. Budelman (ed), Agricultural R&D at the Crossroads: Merging Systems Research and Social Actor Approaches, Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherlands, pp. 169-184 Chambers, R. (1983). Rural Development: Putting the Last First, Longman, Harlow, Essex, England. Chambers, R. (1997). Whose Reality Counts? Putting the First Last, Intermediate Technology Publications, London. Coop, P. and Brunckhorst, D. (1999). Triumph of the commons: age-old participatory practices provide lessons for institutional reform in the rural sector. Australian Journal of Environmental Management 6: 69-77. Day, G. (1998). Working with the Grain? Towards Sustainable Rural and Community Development. Journal of Rural Studies 14:89-105. Falvey, L. (1998). Food Production and Natural Resource Management. Australian Journal of Environmental Management 5: 9-15. Gabriel, T. (1991). The Human Factor in Rural Development. Belhaven Press, London Greer, L. (1999). Community Supported Agriculture, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, available at: Haverkort, B., van der Kamp, J., and Waters-Bayer, A. (eds) (1991). Joining Farmers Experiments: Experiences in Participatory Technology Development. Intermediate Technology Publications, London. Lawrence, G., Vanclay, F., and Furze, B. (eds) (1992). Agriculture, Environment and Society: Contemporary Issues for Australia. Macmillan Press, South Melbourne. Lezberg, S. and Kloppenburg, J. (1996). That We All Might Eat: Regionally-Reliant Food Systems for the 21st Century. Development (Society for International Development) 4: 28-33 Narayan, D. (1993). Focus on Participation: Evidence from 121 Rural Water Supply Projects, UNDP-World Bank Water Supply and Sanitation Program, World Bank, Washington DC Oakley, P. et al. (1991). Projects with People: The Practice of Participation in Rural Development, International Labour Office, Geneva. Pretty, J. (1995). Regenerating Agriculture: Politics and Practice for Sustainability and Self-Reliance, Earthscan Publications, London. Pretty, J. (1998). The Living Land: Agriculture, Food and Community Regeneration in Rural Europe, Earthscan Publications, London. Pretty, J., Guijt, I., Scoones, I., and Thompson, J. (1995). Regenerating Agriculture: The Agroecology of LowExternal Input and Community-Based Development, in Kirkby, J., OKeefe, P., and Timberlake, L., The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Development, Earthscan Publications, London, pp125-145. Ray, C. (1999). Endogenous Development in the Era of Reflexive Modernity, Journal of Rural Studies 15: 257267. Rodriguez, L., Tohomas, J.,, Preston, R., and Van Lai, N. (1998). Integrated Farming Systems for Efficient use of Local Resources, in E. Foo, and R. Senta, (eds) Integrated Bio-Systems in Zero Emissions


Applications: Proceedings of the Internet Conference on Integrated Bio-systems, available at: Rling, N. (1996). Creating Human Platforms to Manage Natural Resources: First Results of a Research Programme, in A. Budelman, (ed) Agricultural R&D at the Crossroads: Merging Systems Research and Social Actor Approaches, Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherlands, pp. 149-158 Rose, G. (1999). Community-Based Technologies for Domestic Wastewater Treatment and Reuse: Options for Urban Agriculture, IDRC Research Programs: Cities Feeding People: Report 27, available at:

Rossett, P. (2000). The Multiple Functions and Benefits of Small Farm Agriculture in the Context of Global Trade Negotiations, Development (Society for International Development) 43: 77-82. Shepherd, A. (1998). Sustainable Rural Development, Macmillan Press, London. Vanclay, F. and Lawrence, G. (1995). The Environmental Imperative: Eco-Social Concerns for Australian Agriculture, CQU Press, Rockhampton.


Integrated Bio-Systems: A Global Perspective

Jacky Foo

Integrated Bio-Systems Network


The holistic approach to utilise a resource fully is not a new concept or a new practice. It is common sense. In the ancient Egyptian painting of about 2000 BC that was found from the Tomb of Thebaine, it seems to present an integrated bio-system for pond aquaculture and where nutrients in pond water were used for cultivation of flowers, vegetables and fruits. Other early civilisations such as those in Mexico and China have also developed integrated farming systems that are unique to their regions. The Chinampa system (Foo, 2000) at one time provided food and flowers to Mexico city. Integrated bio-systems are still widely practised in China where there exists numerous types of systems of different sizes for the production of food, fuel, biofertiliser and fibre (Ruddle et al. 1983, Ruddle & Zhong 1988, Li, 1993, Wang, 1998). What is new with the approach in today;s application is the incorporation of new technologies and a better understand especially on the material and nutrient flows of such integrated bio-systems. "Integrare" is the latin verb that means to make whole and to complete by adding parts or to combine parts into a whole. To the biologists, an integrated biosystem would contain at least two biological activities or subsystems and a generic focus is balancing the flow of materials and how nutrients from one sub-system can be used for food production in another.

Figure 1: A schematic diagram on the material flow in an integrated biosystem


In Nature, there are many integrated biological systems that are often complexly interlinked with one another. Examples of such systems, like those on the food chains for different animals, are commonly presented to primary school students. Natural food production systems are limited by their low productivity per unit land or water space. These systems are now less attractive as there is an increasing demand to produce more food or resources from a unit space. The failure to control human population has already led to disastrous consequences in many countries. In India, as an example, the human population between 1940 to 2000 increased from 400 million to more than 1200 million. Correspondingly, food grain production rose 4 times from 50 million tons to 200 million tonnes between 1950 and 2000. However, consumption on a per capita basis increased only slightly to 435 gm cereals per day from 400 gm in 1950 (Khosla, 2000). By 2025, 50 % of the world's population are predicted to be living in cities and this will further aggravate the food and resource situation as the major portion of the world's population will be consumers rather than producers. Many countries already know that they need to produce or import 2 or 3 times more food in order to cope with their local needs in the future. To an industrialist and a farmer, integrated biosystems make it possible to generate new products by using by-products produced from a factory or a farm. Agro-food processing industries and marketing of crop produce often use only a small fraction of the primary biomass generated. A major part is crop residue or industrial by-products or wastes that need to be disposed of. As environmental pressures and costs in incineration or landfilling increases, there is a need to change from the linear model for production and waste management to a more integrated approach that can generate income or make savings. At the same time it should also contribute to sustainable development in a more environmentally sound manner. This challenge is now paving the way to the revival of traditional practices and new opportunities to apply the integrated bio-systems approach for household, commercial and large scale bio-systems. The Integrated Bio-Systems Approach The Integrated Bio-Systems (IBS) approach follows three basic principles. The first principle is to use all biological organic materials and wastes instead of throwing them away. The second principle is to obtain at least two products from a waste. The third principle is to close the loop for the material and nutrient flows to achieve total use of a resource and zero waste disposal. The IBS approach has many benefits and potentials but it also has limitations. IBS principles were originally developed from situations where natural resources were limited and when the full use of resources is crucially interlinked with human survival. So low-input and subsistence farming systems often used the IBS approach with livestock-crop integration or in livestock-aquaculture integration. These practices may just involve recycling of nutrients by direct use of wastes as animal feed or application of manure on crop fields or in fish ponds. Today, IBS principles are also used to solve problems related to waste management and to inprove inductrial productivity. Integrated bio-systems currently use a rather limited number of biological technologies for converting wastes into biofertilisers, energy, food and animal feed. The commonly used ones are composting, vermiculture, and anaerobic digestion and they are crucial processes that make nutrients readily available to plants or to stablise wastes. There is a need to improve the efficiency of these technologies, and in some cases even to simplify them further. One such improvement is the use of polyethylene to construct biogas digesters. The cultivation of insect larvae, ensilaging and microbial protein enrichment of plant material or agro-industrial wastes are a few potential technologies that can be rapidly incorporated into some integrated bio-systems. The IBS approach has only been applied recently by industry for utilisation and management of agroindustrial wastes. One such application is by breweries, e.g. in Fiji, (Foo, 1995), Samoa (Foo & Dalhammar, 2000) and Namibia (Foo, 1998) where brewery spent grainis also used for mushroom cultivation, yeast in feeds and treated waste water for aquaculture. Detailed information from other


types of industries that use the IBS approach is however still lacking. The IBS approach can enhance sustainability of industries through savings by reducing the cost for disposal of wastes and via income generation from new value-added products from wastes. The use of agro-industrial by-products has become an interesting area for future business opportunities as the price of raw materials and products derived from petroleum. At the national level, policy makers are attracted to the IBS approach because it provides employment and reduces pollution at the same time. There are many case studies using the IBS approach in agriculture and aquaculture with a lesser number in industry, forestry and human habitat. This paper provides a global perspective of some interesting integrated bio-systems for small and large scale operations. They are: 1. the pig-biogas-duckweed-cassava IBS in Vietnam 2. brewery wastes-duck-insect larvae-aquatic plants-earthworm IBS in Samoa 3. compost toilet and graywater garden system in Fiji 4. the St. Petersburg Eco-house, Russia 5. Pozo Verde Farm in Colombia 6. Sewage-duckweed-fish-banana IBS in Bangladesh 7. Rice-Flower-fish IBS in China

Example 1: Pig-Biogas-Duckweed-Cassava IBS in Vietnam

Figure 2: Livestock-biogas-duckweed-cassava IBS in Vietnam

This example is unique because it requires only 108 m2 of land and achieves zero waste disposal. The schematic chart (Figure 2) shows an integrated livestock-biodigester-duckweed-cassava biosystem (Rodrguez, Preston & Nguyen, 1998). The pig sub-system can raise 4 Mong Cai sows. Each sow is fed with basal feed (400 g/day boiled whole soya bean seed with added lime and salt and 500 g/day


water spinach) with sugar palm juice and any other vegetation or root crop that is available. Manure is fed to a 3m3 plastic biogas digester to produce biogas (used for boiling soya bean) and the effluent goes into eight duckweed ponds of 7m2 each (total 56 m2). Duckweed yield (fresh weight) is 100 g/m2/day with about 6% of dry matter and 35% crude protein or about 5.6 Kg of wet weight of duckweed is available daily. Live weight gains of pigs ranged from 350-450 g/day. The cassava trees are heavily fertilised with sludge from the duckweed ponds and can produce about 1 kg of leaves/m² every 2 months. This amounts to an annual yield of up to 60 tonnes leaves/ha (Preston et al., 1998). The dry matter content is around 25% and the protein content of the dry matter is 25% (Nguyen & Rodriguez. 1998). Cassava leaf can contain a high content of HCN and is ensiled anaerobically with 5% of molasses using a plastic bag (Nguyen et al 1998) for 6 weeks and then fed directly to the pigs. The system has been demonstrated to be more profitable and provides better nutrition to the family than a sugar production system for sugar palm. This crop system often leads to deforestation because firewood is needed to concentrate the juice. In the IBS system, except for the plastic and PVC pipes for the digester, all other construction materials (bamboo, roofing materials) needed are locally available at the site.

Photo 1: Livestock-plastic biodigesterDuckweed system in UTA-Vietnam. Picture by Lylian Rodriguez

Photo 2: Biogas-Duckweed-Cassava in UTA-Vietnam. Picture by Lylian Rodriguez

Photo 3 : A mixture of Duckweed-Rice Bran feed to laying hens in UTA-Vietnam. Picture by Lylian Rodriguez

Photo 4: Farmer taking the sap from the sugar palm. Picture by Khieu Borin


Example 2 : Use of Agro-Industrial wastes at a household level in Samoa Breweries and vegetable oil industries generate high-protein residues and pressed cakes that can be used directly as animal feed rations. Yet in some locations such as in Apia, Samoa, these residues are not fully used and are dumped. Brewery spent grains is given away free of charge while coconut meal is sold at US$ 2.00 per bag (using recycled 40kg-flour bag) at the factory sites. This example demonstrates that fresh and stale brewery spent grains and yeast can be used as duck feed and to grow insect larvae. Duck manure is washed into ponds to grow aquatic plants (Salvinia and duckweed (Leng, 1999)) and mosquito fish. Feed residues are buried into the ground to grow earthworms which are dug out periodically to feed the ducks.

Figure 3: Schematic diagram of IBS for raising ducks using agro-industrial wastes.

The project started in July 2000 and so data on the material flow are not available yet. There is the potential to produce 3-5 kg (fresh weight) of aquatic plants per day from about 100 m2 pond area. The project will provide information for its economical operation at a household level for 20 ducks. Plans to develop a large scale operation have been made.

Photo 5 : Picture of ducks of integrated bio-system in Samoa. Copyright: IBSnet, 2000

Photo 6 : Picture showing play-pond in front with duckweed pond on the back right and Salvinia - mosquito fish pond on the left background. Copyright: IBSnet, 2000


Example 3 : Compost Toilet and Graywater Garden System in Fiji The compost toilet and washgarden system is used by the Lalati eco-resort on the island of Beqa in Fiji. It is an example of an on-site zero sewage discharge system with a strategy in creating beautiful gardens while preventing pollution with ecological integrity. The system has a micro-flush toilet and the flushwater is led into a modified rollaway trash container serving as the composter. The composter is fitted with a hanging net to catch solids and allows flushwater to flow into a concrete trench filled to stones with a top soil. Different varieties of broad-leaved gingers and canna lilies are used in this case to absorb and transpire the water into the air. Lalati Eco-Resort has won an award for this system from the WHO for best eco-tourism practices. The system below is designed for warm countries and offer an appropriate solution with ecological integration to provide a better sanitation where central sewage treatment plants are lacking.

Photo 7 : General view showing washwater garden and bungalow at Lalati eco-resort. Below the vertical vent/exhaust chimney is the composter for the compost toilet. Photo: Sustainable Strategies and Affiliates

Photo 8 : Composter of toilet system with a hanging net to hold and separate solids from liquid. Liquid flows through pipe on right into wastwater garden. Photo: Sustainable Strategies and Affiliates

Photo 9 : Washgarden protected by transparent Lexan roof from rain and with different varieties of broadleaved gingers and canna lilies to absorb and transpire water from concrete 1 m deep and 1.5. m wide trench. Photo: Sustainable Strategies and Affiliates


Example 4 : The St Petersburg's EcoHouse The Eco-house in St. Petersburg is an example of sustainable urban community development (Yemelin & Mehlmann, 2000). Among the massive standard apartment blocks in the Moskovsky district of St. Petersburg, Russia, an average nine-stories building was chosen as the site. It has 267 apartments with 500 residents (60% senior citizens) in cramped apartments built in 1966. It had 1700 m2 of flat roof and 600 m2 unusable wet basement that was infested with rats and breeding mosquitoes. After 3 years, 50 people from 25 apartments are now involved in the project to (a) separate inorganic garbage, including selling some for recycling (b) process in-house organic waste into compost, using worm culture in the basement (c) produce organic food, flowers, tuff grass and plantlets on the roof-top. Monthly the vermiculture sub-system processes 200 kg of food garbage in winter and 300 kg in summer. The roof-top garden is 25 m above ground and has better air quality. As access to the rooftop is controlled, theft is nil. Two greenhouses are constructed between chimney stacks to use the heat to extend growing period in spring and autumn. Food grown on the roof-top represents a significant savings especially for the elderly. Products for sale are: currant berry bushes grown from cuttings, flowers, tuff grass and biohumus product of worm composting. There are many positive sociopsychological effects of the project, such as empowerment of residents, bettering of psychological climate especially with the senior citizens.

Photo 11 : Vermi-composting in the basement Photo: Valentin Yemelin

Photo 12 : Harvesting Tomatoes from the roof-top greenhouse Photo: Valentin Yemelin

Photo 13 : Watering roof-top lawn/nursery with plantlets Photo: Valentin Yemelin

Photo 14 : Inside view of roof-top greenhouse Photo: Valentin Yemelin


Example 5 : Pozo Verde Farm in Colombia This is an example of a large IBS farm. Pozo Verde Farm is a livestock farm of 50 ha in size, of which 2 ha is used for building space and the rest for forage (42 ha of sugar cane, taro, grass, forage trees, aquatic plants) with an additional 5 ha of wetlands. It buys ingredients and formulated feed for the sows, growing and fattening pigs and broilers. All manure (920 tons/yr) is used in the farm (Figure 4, Table 1) to produce energy (19,200 m3 biogas), vermi-compost (160 tons), feed additives (52.6 tons as chicken manure) and forage (6,323 tons) for cattle and pigs.

Figure 4: Integrated Bio-System at Pozo Verde Farm, Colombia.(Chara, J.D. et. al. 2000).


Table 1 : Material flow at the Pozo Verde Farm, Colombia (modified after Chara, J.D. et al. 2000) SUBSYSTEM INPUTS (purchased or produced in Farm) Formulated feed: 384 ton Aquatic plants:109 ton Giant taro: 5.6 ton PRODUCTS (To the market) Pork meat: 107.4 ton BYPRODUCTS (To other subsystems) Wastewater: 10,477m3 Pig manure: 48.1 ton Manure: 230 ton Wastewater: 2,883 m3 Manure: 37 ton Animal draught: 657 Kwh

Pigs 73 breeding sows 595 growing & fattening 166 Dual Purpose Cattle

Chicken litter: 52.6 ton Pizamo foliage: 46 ton Star grass: 5,920 ton Sugarcane tops:340 ton 52 Buffaloes Molasses : 23.2 ton Vinaza : 15.5 tons Rice bran: 6.9 tons Calcium Carbonate: 0.7 Poultry (29,000 broilers kept Formulated feed: in 41 day cycles) 579 ton Forage production Biodigester effluent: (42 hectares and 1 ha pond) 15,000 m3 Chicken litter:450 ton Earthworm compost: 80 ton Earthworms Cattle dung: 230 ton (300 m2 area) Buffalo dung: 37 ton Wastewater Wastewater:13,360 m3 Decontamination Pig manure: 48.1 ton systems (4 digesters with total 178 m3 digester volume, 1 ha pond)

Milk: 159,200 litres. Weaned calves: 6.25 ton Milk: 13,600 Cheese: 2.2 ton "Kumis": 4,160 liters Six trained draught buffaloes Broilers: 303 ton

Chicken litter: 600 ton Foliage biomass: 6,323 ton

Worm compost: 80 ton

Worm compost: 80 ton digester effluent: 15,000 m3 Biogs: 19,200 m3 aquatic plants: 109 tons

Example 6 : Sewage-Duckweed-Fish-Banana IBS in Bangladesh The Mirzapur Farm Complex (Iqbal, 1999) is more than 11 hectares in size and uses chemical fertiliser to grow duckweed to raise fish. The sewage-duckweed-fish-banana integrated biosystem is a special unit (2.5 ha) that uses nutrients from sewage to grow duckweed instead of commercial fertilisers. Community waste water of 2000-3000 inhabitants from a school, residences and a hospital (125-270 m3 / day) flows into a 0.2 ha duckweed covered sedimentation pond (retention time=16-7 days). Wastewater is then pumped into a 500 m plug-flow lagoon (width=12.6 -13 m, depth=0.4 m at inflow point, 0.9 m at outflow point, retention time=about 20 days). Duckweed is manually harvested to feed fish that is raised on 3 ponds of 0.2 ha each. Duckweed harvest average 650 kg ww/ha/day (Feb93-Mar94) while in the wet season it is 1000-1200 kg/ha/day. This is extrapolated to about 17 tons (dw)/ha/yr. Stocking of carps (18,000-20,000 fish/ha) is done in July and harvested after 10-12 months. The feed is duckweed (60% dw), and mustard oil cake (40% dw). Fish yield in 1994 was 10.58 t/ha/yr (FCR=2.8) and in 1995 - 12.62 t/ha/yr (FCR=3.3). 60 % harvest is sold to the hospital while the remainder is sold at local market. Bananas is grown on the dikes and yield about 100 tons per year.


Figure 5 : Diagram showing overview of Sewage-duckweed-fish-banana integrated bio-system. (Sascha Iqbal. 1999)

Photo 15 : Plug-flow lagoon for cultivation of duckweed. Photo: Gregory Rose (1999)

Photo 16 : Harvesting duckweed. Photo: Gregory Rose (1999)

Photo 17 : Harvesting Fish Photo: Gregory Rose (1999)

Table 2 : Typical wastewater parameters of a duckweed-covered plug flow lagoon during dry/winter season in Bangladesh. (Sascha Iqbal, 1999) Loading rate (kg/ha/day) 48-60 4.2 0.8 ------Influent (mg/l) 125 (80-160) 10.5 1.95 0.95 (0.5-2.5) 8 (3-20) 0.03 (0.05-1) Effluent (mg/l) 5 (8) 2.7 0.4 0.05 (0.05-1) 0.03 (0.1-1) 0.05 (0.05-1) Reduction in concentration (%) 96 (90-95) 74 77 95 (90-95) 99 (90-99) ---

Parameter BOD5 Kjeldahl-N Total P o-PO43NH4+ NO3-


The values in paratheses are based on a 4-year monitoring (from 1990). Influent data was corrected for dilution effect caused by groundwater supply. Concentration of NH4+ and NO3- are expressed in mg N/l. The concentration of o-PO43- is given in mg P/l. Values were corrected for a leakage-free lagoon. Faecal coliforms in the influent occur at 45,700 cfu/ml while the effluent contains less than 100 cfu/ml. This is within the maximum WHO standard for wastewater discharge. Kabir 1995, Islam et al 1996 and Edwards et al 1987 considered the water quality as safe. Krishnan & Smith (1987) reported acceptable levels of heavy metals and pesticides but as duckweed can tolerate and accumulate high concentrations of heavy metals and organic compounds, monitoring of heavy metal content in the influent is advised. Example 7 : Rice-Flower-fish IBS in China The application of surface aquaponics has developed in China since 1989 (Song et al 1991, Song et al 1996) because of decreasing area of arable land and to fully use inland water surface. In 1996 the area of pond culture alone was 1.96 million ha in China with the fish production of 8.11 million tons (Chinese Agricultural Almanac 1997). Eutrophication in fishponds and deterioration of the water quality of fishponds is resulting in increased occurrence of fish diseases and fish mortality. Discharge of nutrient rich pond water further accelerates eutrophication in rivers or lakes. The strategy with the application of surface aquaponics is to clean the pond water by absorbing the nutrients and at the same time generate products of economic value. Rice and flower cultivation have proved to be economically useful crops. The integration of crop-aquaculture using less than 25 % coverage of the water surface is beneficial. Rice yield reached 7.92 t/ha and to the fish yield of 5,638 kg/ha and at the same time a higher water quality of pond water can be obtained.

Photo 18 : Cultivation of rice on floating bed in lake in a rice-fish integrated bio-system Photo: Kangmin Li (2000)

Photo 19 : Flowers and sedge grass on floating beds Photo: Kangmin Li (2000)

Photo 20 : Canna and money plant on floating beds Photo: Kangmin Li (2000)

Photo 21 : Comparison of the water from outside and inside the test area Photo: Kangmin Li (2000)


Conclusion The 21st century has inherited many major and global concerns related to increasing population and diminishing fossil energy, water and land resources, and pollution. All these have multiple effects on sustainable development and maintaining the quality of life in the future. The integrated biosystems approach holds the promise to alleviate the problems in many ways, as shown in the examples provided above. The IBS approach can reduce the need for fossil fuel (Mansson & Foo, 1998; Kranert & Hillebrecht, 2000). Biogas technology will play a unique role as it provides energy, nutrients and better sanitation. Where large amounts of biogas are generated, it can provide electricity to the grid or to local communities and industries. The increase in fossil oil prices will favour the application of biogas technology. Another major concern is how to increase food production with less land, water, energy and chemical fertilizers. The integrated bio-systems on small farms are still traditional but are crucial in sustaining livelihoods using low-inputs intensive farming systems. There is therefore the potential for research to improve productivity by understanding nutrient flows, and for the adoption of tested models by farmers. A few large farms, industries and municipalities have used the IBS approach successfully but little notice has been given by others who could also adopt and use them. So there is a need to increase public awareness on economic and environmental aspects in their use. A major concern of the 21st century will be environmental pollution from solid wastes and wastewaters from mega-cities, intensive animal farms and industries. Again, the integrated biosystems approach will have a multipurpose role in sustainable environmental protection as it cleans the environment and can generate products of economic value at the same time.

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Ruddle K., Furtado J.I., Zhong G.F., and Deng H.Z.. 1983. The mulberry dike carp pond resource system of the Zhujiang (Pearl River) Delta, P.R. of China. 1. Environmental context and system overview. Applied Geography. 3,45-62. Ruddle, K. & Zhong G.F. 1988. Integrated agriculture-aquaculture in South China. Cambridge Univ Press. 3-68. Song Xiangfu, et al. 2000. Study of Agriculture-Aquaculture Ecological Economic System With Nutrient Flow Analysis. In: Foo, E.L. Della Senta, T. and Sakamoto, K. (Eds). 2000. Material Flow Analysis of Integrated BioSystems. Proceedings of the Internet Conference on Material Flow Analysis of Integrated Bio-Systems. Song Xiangfu, et al. 1991. Study on rice cultivation on floating-beds in natural waters. Scientia Agricultura Sinica, 1991,24 (4): 8-13 Sustainable Strategies and Affiliates, 50 Beharrell Street, Concord, Massachusetts USA 01742-2973 E-mail: David Del Porto < Wang Rusong, Yan Jingsong, Lu Bingyou and Hu Dan. 1998. The Practice of Integrated Bio-Systems in China. Eds: Eng-Leong Foo & Tarcisio Della Senta. Integrated BioSystems in Zero Emissions Applications. Proceedings of the Internet Conference on Integrated Bio-Systems.


Integrated Farming for Sustainable Primary Industry: Water and Nutrient Recycling through Integrated Aquaculture
Martin S Kumar SARDI Aquatic Sciences Centre Abstract Integrated farming has significantly enhanced agricultural production and sustainability in many parts of the world. An underlying process in integrated farming is recovering resources such as nutrients and water for reuse. This improves the sustainability of the system and minimises environmental pollution. The incentive to reclaim nutrients from wastewater, releasing clean effluent and simultaneously producing fish has proved successful in many parts of the world. The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) is actively involved in projects promoting sustainable farming practices and the integration of aquaculture with more traditional land based farming. Consequently SARDI hosted a national workshop, Integrated waste water treatment and aquaculture on the 17-19th September 1999, which proved a landmark national event, to progress the development of sustainable farming practices into the next millennium. This national workshop brought together international speakers from Australia, India, Vietnam, USA, Samoa and Malaysia. The event also brought out some excellent papers on integrated farming all over the world. When an industry must comply with environmental standards that require treatment of effluent, it often constitutes an added operational cost. However, if the treatment itself produces income, minimises pollution and complies with environmental standards, it not only increases the profitability, but also enhances the sustainability of the industry. The waste which provides income by producing a valuable product in effect becomes a resource. While treating the organic waste produced by livestock, a number of by-products such as bio-energy (gas and heat), aquaculture products (fish) and aquatic plant and agricultural products can be produced. Currently, Australian research focussed on three important areas: 1. Enhance productivity, water use efficiency and water conservation by introducing aquaculture into existing agricultural farm practices. Water and nutrient recycling through integrated aquaculture for resource management and prevent organic pollution. Nutrient stripping and effluent treatment from intensive aquaculture systems or from organic waste.



Research is being planned to undertake a number of models and the projects are under various stages of development. Aquaculture is a key element in all these models, which include: a) b) organic waste treatment through integrated bio-systems; aquaculture system management for sustainable development: health management and biological regulation of aquaculture environment; and integrated sub-system models which could be tailored to suit various industrial needs to manage waste resources: I Comprehensive bio-system model (livestock bio-energy agriculture/horticulture aquaculture)




Horticulture/agriculture-aquaculture (including winery and aquaculture) Livestock aquaculture Bio-energy and aquaculture

There are successful operations of integrated wastewater treatment in Germany, England, China, Thailand and India. However, the suitability of these operational models is highly dependent upon local circumstances. To install a system in a new location, the successful model in one country or a particular area cannot simply be copied. Site-specific adaptations must be made to meet local requirements and constraints. There are a number of models that can be designed to suit individual farming situations. The type of model will be highly dependent on the local conditions and resource availability. There is a need to develop a national strategy for promoting and establishing integrated farming practices to provide a clear guidance to the industry representatives, policy makers, researchers and extension authorities for developing a health and vibrant primary industry.

Introduction The integration of livestock, agriculture and aquaculture as "integrated farming" is an ancient tradition in China and India. However, it is a relatively new practice in Australia with most projects in a research and development phase. The basic principle of integrated farming is the minimisation of waste to enhance the profitability of farming. Waste minimization is achieved through complementary use of resources where one sub-system's waste product is used as a resource for another. As the wastage is minimized, the coincident prevention of pollution and efficient resource utilization increases the sustainability of the farming system. The major aim of such a practice is to complement individual farming systems and to use scarce resources such as water and nutrients more effectively. SARDI conducted a national workshop on integrated wastewater treatment aquaculture production (Kumar 2000 a). This workshop brought together international participants including speakers from India, Vietnam, USA, Samoa and Malaysia. Integrated farming and wastewater treatment embraces a diverse set of technologies, which link fish culture to terrestrial farming activities such as agriculture and livestock. This concept was unanimously accepted during this workshop. Researchers from Vietnam and India presented papers on sewage treatment aquaculture production within their respective countries. However, in a developed country like Australia, there were concerns with respect to the environmental impact and health issues in the development of integrated farming practices and its produce. These issues were raised in the workshop. It is increasingly being recognised that organic waste including sewage is not necessarily a pollutant but a nutrient resource that can be recycled through integrating farming practices. Traditional practices of recycling sewage through agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture, being basically biological processes, have been in vogue in several countries. The sewage-fed fish culture of Munich Germany and the bheries in Calcutta, India are world famous. The emphasis in these practices has been on the recovery of nutrients from the wastewaters. Taking a cue from these practices and deriving information from the new databases in different disciplines of wastewater management, aquaculture is being recognised as an important tool in many developing countries and adapted as a standardised technology for treatment of domestic sewage. Presently, waste fed aquaculture is a proven nutrient recycling technology that is practiced successfully in many countries. A wealth of technical, economical and social data were presented in the Proceedings of International Seminar on Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse for Aquaculture, edited by Edwards and Pullin (1990), organised by the UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, the Government of India and assisted by Environmental Sanitation Information Centre, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand in 1988. Several countries including China, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Peru and Thailand contributed research and development information at this


seminar. . The proceedings included a consensus statement based on the discussion and on research and development experience. It was made clear that excellent potential exists to expand sewage fed aquaculture. Properly designed and managed sewage-fed fishponds may offer a viable low cost wastewater treatment cum usage opportunity. Scientific papers published in the proceedings clearly demonstrated that 5-7 tonnes/ha/year fish production is achievable in tropical climates where yearround growth is possible. Principle of integrated farming An underlying process in integrated waste treatment is the recovery of resources such as nutrients and water for reuse. The objective is to make the system sustainable and prevent environmental pollution. By incorporating aquaculture into waste treatment, the incentive to reclaim nutrients from wastewater, release clean effluent and simultaneously produce fish has proved successful in many parts of the world. Purification levels have reached those attained by the best alternative treatment methods. There are successful operations in Germany, England, China, Thailand and India (Ryther 1990; Edwards 1990). Waste or Resources: Usually any kind of wastewater treatment involves additional cost. However, if the treatment itself produces income, prevents pollution and complies with environmental standards, it not only increases the profitability but also enhances the sustainability of the industry. The waste which provides income through producing a valuable product in effect becomes a resource (Kumar 2000 b). While treating the organic waste in the sewage, aquaculture products (fish), and aquatic plants and agricultural products can be produced. There are a number of models that can be adapted to suit individual situations. The type of model will be highly dependent on the local conditions and resource availability. Aquaculture and wastewater treatment The quantity of wastewater generated has grown with increasing population. Apart from the domestic sewage, a number of industrial effluents and solid wastes are also generated in such huge quantities that their treatment has become almost an impossible task. Several processes of treatments are available, which include conventional activated sludge and trickling filter methods, oxidation/waste stabilization ponding, aerated lagoons and variations of anaerobic treatment system, the latest being the Up-flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) process etc. (Pearson et al., 1987; Sarikaya and Saatci, 1987; Curtis et al., 1992; Mill et al., 1992; Schlegel, 1993; Oron, 1994; Hammad, 1996; Pearson et al., 1996). However, while most of these are energy-based treatment processes, only a few of them lead to any resource recovery viz., root zone treatment, wetland system, aquatic macrophyte and aquaculture. Studies and field monitoring indicate that duckweeds grow relatively well on sewage water (Culley and Epps, 1973; Ozimek, 1983; Oron, 1994) and effectively help in reduction of BOD5, suspended solids and algae (Oron, 1994). Taking advantage of the knowledge that macrophytes can be used as an effective agent for trapping nutrients and the traditional use of wastewater in fish farming, the concept of treatment of domestic sewage through aquaculture was conceived.

Waste-fed aquaculture: international examples Europe - Germany Waste fed aquaculture dates back more than a century in Germany. According to Prein (1990) two groups of systems can be distinguished: polishing and wastewater-fed fish ponds.


The former receive well-treated effluent from wastewater purification systems and are subdivided into: (i) (ii) ponds that receive drainage effluents from sewage fields and ponds that receive effluents from other biological treatment systems.

The latter are designed to purify raw wastewaters that have been only mechanically pre-treated. Net freshwater fish production from waste fed aquaculture average 500 kg/ha/7months (860kg/ha/year) with loading rates equivalent to 2000 persons/ha/year. Perin (1990) recorded over ninety installations across the country ranging from small single ponds, receiving wastewater amounts equivalent to the treatment of only few dozen people, up to large systems e.g. Munich with 233ha designed to treat the wastewater from 500,000 people and to produce a gross fish yield of 100-150 tonnes per year. The main fish species used are common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and tench (Tinca tinca). The German system was designed to operate in temperate latitudes with low stocking densities. Thus the fish yields are low compared to tropical waste-fed aquaculture systems where year round optimum growth is possible due to tropical temperature conditions.

Europe - Hungary In Hungary the first experimental trial sewage-fed fish culture was carried out in the city of Fonyod on a total water surface area of 211 ha (Ponyi et al. 1973, 1974). A five-year research program followed by a commercial operation along with a monitoring program was implemented for the next five years (1979-1983). Hungarian technical guidelines for domestic sewage-fed fishponds were elaborated and approved by the government in 1982 (Olah 1990). The technological package developed in Hungary was the culmination of the five-year research project plus the five years of monitoring of a commercial operation system. The sewage fed fishpond technology in Hungary can receive, process, utilise and purify domestic sewage and produce 12 to 20Kg/ha/day. It applies basic principles of complete grazing pressure on both planktonic and benthic communities by implementing polyculture methods using silver carp and common carp, which are able to utilise completely both the planktonic and benthic fish food resources. The results from the Hungarian farm indicate that the nutrients such as ammonia have been reduced from 48-50mg/l to just 0.3-0.5 mg/l, Total Nitrogen from 50-55mg/l to 23mg/l, Total Phosphorus from 10-12mg/l to 0.70-1mg/l. At the same time the oxygen level has been increased significantly up to 8.3mg/l.

Asia - China According to Zhang (1990) the use of municipal wastewater has developed rapidly since the 1950s. In 1985 the total area of wastewater-fed aquaculture in China involving more than 30 sites was 8000 ha, with a total fish production of 30,000t. In the 1970's people in China, especially environmentalists, started to review the positive and negative sides of waste-fed aquaculture. After the review, government continued its development of waste-fed aquaculture. Most of the waste-fed aquaculture in China is located near the cities and they contribute a large part of commercial fish products to city markets. According to Chen et al. (1982) maximum production of phytoplankton and zooplankton standing crops maintaining 6-8mg/l of Total Nitrogen or equivalent of 3.5-4.8mg/l of ammonia_N in wastewater for fishponds may be permissible. Siver carp and bighead carp are the main species stocked along with common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and crucian carp (Carassius auratus). The stocking density is usually 15000/ha of 20-30g fingerlings In general, fish yields from waste water-fed ponds were 2-4 times higher than those from ordinary fish farms. The production ranged from 1.5-11t/ha/year. In China mostly polyculture practice, using Chinese major carp species along with common carp, is used in the system. The efficient usage of food resources coupled with year round growing condition (temperature) allows the systems to obtain


high production rates. The big problem in waste fed aquaculture in China is that some of the industrial toxic waste is mixed with municipal sewage. Many efforts have been made to separate industrial pollutant from wastewater.

Asia - Vietnam The Research Institute for Aquaculture No1, the Fisheries University and Hanoi University have carried out a research program on the characteristics of wastewater, and its reclamation and reuse for fish culture. Wastewater has been used in aquaculture and agriculture in areas near Hanoi for many decades. Tuan (1990) described the three systems involving fish culture that are used: fish culture fish-rice rotation, and fish-rice-vegetable rotation. Average net yield from fish culture is about 2.1tonnes/ha/year. Also increased gross yield has been achieved (4-7t/ha/yr) by controlling the sewage flow and thereby adjusting the nitrogen: phosphorus ratio along with the organic load. Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus and O.niloticus), silver carp and common carp are the main species utilised in the waste-fed culture system in Hanoi. Luu and Kumar (2000) described the national status of sewage fed aquaculture systems in Vietnam. In medium size towns and cities, where the sewage output is relatively high and the catchment area is designed suitably for aquaculture, fish culture is a common practice. In larger cities, where the sewage is available around the year, the intermediate catchment areas are always used for aquaculture. Aquaculture is also widely practiced in most of the sewage lakes. In Hanoi, there is daily discharge of 320,000m3 of sewage that flows by gravity to the flood plains of Thanh Tri district where it is used and treated by agricultural-aquacultural systems. While other lakes like Truc Bach and West Lake, Bay Mau Lake are simple catchment areas for domestic sewage and are utilized for aquaculture. The sewage lakes or ponds are usually stocked with fingerlings of Chinese (silver carp, grass carp), Indian major carps (rohu and mrigal), tilapia (O. niloticus) and common carp. In the intermediate catchment lakes, where the water level is manageable, and less exchangeable, algal blooms develop quickly sometimes resulting in sudden planktonic collapse and dissolved oxygen depletion to critically low limits. Experience shows that in such lakes, the ratio of species like silver carp and tilapia that feed on phytoplankton, algae and detritus can be increased to 50-60%. On the other hand in sewage lakes and ponds where water is periodically pumped to balance the nitrogen content, the fish species thriving predominantly on detritus, zooplankton and zoobenthos, can be stocked at a higher ratio. Stocking density depends on the quality of sewage. However, the commonly followed stocking density is up to 4 fingerlings/m2 within the size range of 30 to70 g. With a rational stocking density, fish productivity of these ponds/lakes reaches to 5-7 t /ha/year without other inputs like feed, fertilisers and chemicals. Asia - India The concept of using aquaculture as a tool for wastewater treatment has been evaluated through a systematic research program carried out over a period of five years by the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar, India. In the context of increasing production of sewage over the years, the recycling of organic wastes through aquaculture assumes a great significance, not only for fish production, but also as an ecological sound practice for handling wastes.


An Aquaculture Sewage Treatment Plant (ASTP) comprising duckweed and fish culture was designed and its field facility developed by the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar, India in collaboration with the Public Health Engineering Department, Government of Orissa, India under a project called Aquaculture as a tool for utilisation and treatment of domestic sewage". The ASTP comprises a set of duckweed ponds where algae and duckweeds are utilised in the removal of the nutrients and the reduction of BOD and COD levels, complemented by fish ponds and marketing (holding) ponds (CIFA, 1998). The system can receive primary-treated sewage after the removal of solids. The intake BOD levels for the ASTP are in the range of 100-150 mg/l. Consequently it may be necessary to incorporate an anaerobic unit where the organic load and BOD levels are very high. Duckweed culture, before the fishponds, aids in the removal of excessive nutrient concentration and residues. The waste contains BOD5 levels of about 100 mg/l after treatment. In the system with a total retention period of five days, the final effluent BOD5 is brought down to 18 - 22 mg/l, meeting the required Indian standards for discharge into natural waters. Fish ponds are stocked with five carp species viz., catla (Catla catla), rohu (Labeo rohita), mrigal (Cirrhinus migrila), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and common carp (Cyrpinus carpio). The treated effluent from the duckweed culture is released into the fishponds through control valves. Taking advantage of the high productivity and carrying capacity in the sewage-fed system, fishes are harvested when they attain the marketable sizes 8-12 after months of stocking. Harvesting is done by repeated netting and finally draining the water through the outlet. The reported results of the mean individual weights of carp species in fish ponds during the culture period of one year were catla 600 g, rohu 700 g, mrigal 700 g, silver carp 800 g and common carp 650 g. The production levels recorded from the fishponds are in the ranges of 3-4 t/ha/year. Health issues and waste-fed aquaculture One of the major issue raised during the national held at SARDI (Kumar 2000 a) was health concerns related to waste fed/integrated aquaculture. Fishponds serve as facultative ponds for sewage treatment and the system also provides for oxygen input from the photosynthesising algae and macrophytes (CIFA1998). The macrophytes also serve as nutrient pumps, reducing the eutrophication effects that the sewage is likely to cause in the natural waters. It has been demonstrated that ponding reduces the bacterial loads by 2-3 log units and bacteriophage loads by 3-4 log units even at a sewage loading of 100 kg COD/ha/d. With no evidence of a build-up in the concentration of excreted micro organisms in pond water with either an increase in organic loading or time, it has been shown that the faecal coliform concentrations reduced by 4 log units within 24 hours of retention in the ponds. Studies in the Indian system has shown that about 1 million litres per day of domestic sewage could be treated over an area of one hectare through water hyacinth, reducing the BOD and COD by 89 and 71% respectively, along with removal of nitrogen and phosphorus to the extents of 89 and 50% respectively. Public health concerns are raised with regard to the suitability for consumption of fish/shellfish from such systems. This pertains to the microbial load of the produce, possibilities of harbouring human pathogens, accumulation of pesticide residues and heavy metals, etc. Accordingly, the sewage-fed aquaculture models are being modified with the incorporation of plant cultivation prior to application of wastewaters to the fish ponds, followed by necessary depuration measures. Vietnam uses domestic sewage for fish culture and livestock waste for pond fertilisation in aquaculture production (Luu and Kumar 2000). Edwards (1990) explained an alternative sewage reuse strategy for aquaculture for the production of high-protein animal feed. Aquaculture has been used for as fish resource-recovery systems in China and Taiwan. In Munich, the waste-fed aquacultured fish are regularly monitored by the government laboratories. The published information indicates that all values are below critical levels required by the German Federal Bureau of Health. Human pathogens have never been found in fish flesh. Values of heavy metals and aromatic hydrocarbons in fish are said to comply with government standards (Prein 1990).


Counts of bacteria, including coliforms reveal that properly functioning wastewater and fish culture installations have high reduction values of over 99%. Demoll (1926) described that: the fish do not differ from any fish which are grown in well-kept fish ponds. Since a number of pathogenous germs stay alive over longer periods of time in the guts of fish, apparently without affecting the fish itself, strong attention should be paid to cleanliness when eviscerating the fish freshly removed from the ponds". A survey conducted in the fish farming area of Wuxi, Jiansu Province, China on animal manure, the manured pond water and fish body surface mucus of Chinese carps indicated that no human intestinal pathogenic bacteria were found. When the fish from the manured pond were descaled and rinsed, the counts of coliform bacteria were reduced by 100-1000 times to almost the same level in the fish from the non-manured pond. Studies also indicated that after proper washing, fish cultured in the manured pond is hygienic as human food, and it is not harmful to human health (Jieyi et al. 1994). In a full scale demonstration study in Suez, Egypt, about 400M3/day of raw sewage was treated using a multi-compartment stabilisation pond system. The effluent was used for rearing two types of local fish (tilapia and grey mullet). The produced fish were subjected to an extensive monitoring program. Bacteriological examination revealed that in all samples the fish muscles were free of bacterial contaminants. The study concluded that fish reared in the treated effluent at Suez experimental station are suitable for human consumption (Easa et al. 1995)

Key issues and challenges Successful integrated systems can not be copied without adaptive research Integrated farming systems with aquaculture as a component differ greatly from traditional extensive and intensive farming systems. In the process aquaculture is used as a tool for recycling wastewater and recovering nutrients. Nutrient recovery is facilitated by combining dissolved nutrients in the water with energy from sunlight to promote primary and secondary production as useable organic material for consumption by aquatic organisms (eg fish). As explained earlier there are successful operations in Germany, England, China, Thailand and India (Ryther 1990; Edwards 1990). However, integrated waste treatment operations are highly dependent upon local circumstances. To install a system in a new location, the successful model in one country or a particular area cannot simply be copied. Sitespecific adaptations must be made to meet local requirements and constraints. Oxidation ponds have been used for many years for the treatment of domestic wastewater. Nutrients and carbon dioxide produced by decomposing organic wastes enhance the growth of unicellular algae, which in turn provide oxygen for bacterial decomposition. However when such ponds release effluent, the algae themselves represent a loading of particular organic matter that would fail to meet most discharge standards. As such algae must be removed from the water. Conventional harvesting techniques could be used, but they are often uneconomical unless the algae produced are of high commercial value. A viable alternative is to allow the algae to be consumed by filter-feeding or grazing invertebrates or fish in aquaculture situations. Polyculture systems involving fish that feed low in the food chain in ponds enriched with a variety of organic wastes have been used in many Asian countries. Alternatively, carnivorous fish can be used which utilise the algal consuming invertebrates or herbivorous fish. Different models are necessary to suit various climatic situations. Species diversification and climatic condition vary significantly across Australia. There is a need to develop models for both temperate and tropical and subtropical climate


Current Australian research focus Enhance productivity, water use efficiency and water conservation by introducing aquaculture into existing agriculture farm practices. According to McKinnon, et al. (2000) integrated aquaculture research and development in Victoria has been underway since 1994. Several stand-alone projects have been commissioned, but all projects consist of a common agri-aquaculture systems integration thread. Integrated aquaculture projects include the integration of semi-intensive cage culture of silver perch into existing irrigation farming systems, including irrigation supply channels, an on-farm storage and in tanks where groundwater is used for irrigation. Other projects include examining the potential for semi-intensive cage culture of silver perch, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon in public lakes and reservoirs and the production of a wide variety of euryhaline fish, mollusc and crustacean species in saline groundwater evaporation basins. The trial production of finfish in industrial wastewater treatment ponds has also being studied. Water and nutrient recycling through integrated aquaculture for resource management and pollution control. The South Australian Research Institute (SARDI) in its work to build a technology base for integrated farming and waste recycling systems has developed twin projects in this area. These projects are focussed to increase sustainable production through integrated farming and to enhance the efficiency of waste treatment systems through aquaculture production. As such, both projects were built around the same principle. A production-oriented project was created for Vietnam and a waste treatment program was developed for the Australian domestic project. The approach involves interdisciplinary research with the targeted resource systems. Currently the South Australian and Commonwealth Governments are funding a $19 million refurbishment of facilities at Urrbrae Agricultural High School to accommodate a TAFE College of Education. The aim is to provide a base for integrating horticultural and agricultural training on the Urrbrae site. The Urrbrae Integrated Wastewater Treatment and Aquaculture production system (UIWTA) is part of this development. The joint development will create a premier centre for education, training and research into these disciplines in Australia. The UIWTA initiative has resulted in collaboration between Urrbrae Agricultural School, the Environmental Health section of Flinders University S.A. and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). The system comprises an aerobic reactor, two algal ponds, two fish ponds and constructed wetlands. Animal waste is collected in a reception pit from the piggery and dairy and then fed semi-continuously into an aerobic reactor. Following aerobic treatment the slurry is separated into solid and liquid phases. The solid phase can be composted. The liquid phase is diluted using water from on-site wetlands and passed into two algal ponds. These are shallow ponds mixed slowly using a paddlewheel. Prolific algal growth occurs in these ponds which is accompanied by nutrient removal via biotic and abiotic processes. Furthermore, conditions within the ponds are antagonistic to potential pathogens residing in the aerobically pre-treated waste. Treated effluent from the high rate algal ponds is fed into two aquaculture ponds for the production of fish using the algae as a source of nutrients and energy. Fishponds are an integral part of the waste water treatment system and can also be used for commercial fish production. The final effluent from the fishponds can then be returned to the constructed wetlands and also used for irrigation. RIRDC has funded a pilot project, SAR-16A, that produced excellent results in the micro (aquarium) and mesocosm (tanks) levels. The results include: optimum concentration for biological treatment of wastewater treatment; optimum water retention time; optimum nutrient concentration for fish culture; suitable species composition and winter summer influence (temperature) on biological waste water treatment


Project Model Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Biosystems, South Australia

Algal Pond


Digester Bio-energy

Macro & Micro Algae

Organic Waste

Fish Pond

Fish & Aquatic Plants


Horticulture/ Agriculture

Nutrient stripping and effluent treatment from intensive aquaculture systems or organic waste The Aquaculture Development Unit of the Fremantle Maritime Centre is currently undertaking a twoyear investigation into the potential use of the marine macro-alga, Ulva rigida, in aquaculture discharge water management. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the suitability of Ulva for stripping nutrients from effluent waters typically discharged from land-based, marine aquaculture farms. A pilot tank system has been constructed at the Fremantle facility for demonstration purposes. In addition, the development of suitable uses for the Ulva by-product, (eg as abalone feed), is seen as a key component of this investigation, as adoption of this technology is seen to be dependent upon displaying a commercial advantage to the aquaculture industry (Jenkins 2000). Bribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre is involved in nutrient removal from prawn farm effluent that is rich in nutrients and can contribute to the eutrophication of coastal waters. The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a combined finfish, artificial substrate system for the reduction of the total nutrients released from prawn farms (Erler 2000)

Future research and development plan and approach There is a need to develop a national strategy for promoting and establishing integrated farming practices to provide a clear guidance to the industry representatives, policy makers, researchers and extension authorities for developing a health and vibrant primary industry. Research is being planned to undertake a number of models and the projects are under various stages of development. The ultimate aim is the establishment of demonstration biosystems that will serve as the Australian models for pig and other intensive industries and give farmers' best practice sytems to establish a commercial biosystem. Information will also be disseminated as appropriate to Australian farmers through networks and publications and the demonstration of the commercial model to encourage industry uptake. Also, the recommendations of the studies will be made available to the policy makers in Australia in the renewable energy resource sector. Aquaculture is a key element in all these models, which include: (a) organic waste treatment through integrated bio-systems;


(b) aquaculture system management for sustainable development: health management and biological regulation of aquaculture environment; and (c) integrated sub-system models which could be tailored to suit various industrial needs to manage waste resources: I II IV Comprehensive bio-systems (livestock bio-energy agriculture/horticulture aquaculture) Horticulture/agriculture-aquaculture III Bio-energy and aquaculture Livestock aquaculture

Outline of research strategy Aquarium Small Tank Pond level (Commercial scale trial and implementation)

RIRDC SRA 16 Project proposed

Regional demonstration site for temperate

Regional models need to be developed to suit tropical and subtropical areas of the country. Key issues for the research is provided in the flow chart. It is important to develop a team comprising multidisciplinary experts to undertake a coordinated work to achieve desired results.


Integrated farming (Biosystem)

(Sustainable farming practice and Environmental Protection)


y Diary 61 Key research issues Health and hygiene Nutrition Feed quality control

Organic waste Bioenergy


Water Recovery/ Recycle System eg wet land

Research focus Maximise economic return by optimising the digestion and energy harvest process

Research Focus Water storage quality control recycling

Research focus Maximise nutrient recovery; wastewater utilisation; prevent aquatic pollution and maximising the production

Conclusion Use of wastewater is an issue gaining importance through out the world, as water sources become scarcer and competition for them increases. The degradation of aquatic environments is of current concern in Australia. Recently, in South Australia, the Environmental Protection Authority has introduced guidelines for the controlled disposal of animal waste from milking sheds with the specific objective of protecting surface and groundwater quality. The concept of integrated wastewater treatment and aquaculture is attempting to deal with two important issues faced by intensive farming industries. They are: Prevent Organic Pollution: issues such as disposal of organic waste and ground water eutrophication/contamination are some of the problems associated with the intensive industries. One of the major objectives of this project is to recover organic nutrients from organic waste and water and use the same for other primary production activities such as aquaculture or agriculture/horticulture. Enhance farm income and sustainability: agro-industrial growth, a vital factor for economic improvement including employment generation, is highly dependent on the sustained growth of primary industries such as pig, chicken meat and egg production. Availability/accessibility of water is another critical limiting factor. Sustainability of industries also depends on the efficiency in managing the scarce, fragile and expensive water resource in farming situations. There is a need to develop technology thatminimises usage of domestic, ground or surface water and allows water recycle/reuse. This project is attempting to develop a viable technology for recycling water. National demonstration units: The most important element of this program is to provide farmers a technology demonstration facility with range of various options to adapt best and sustainable farming practice. In summary the direct benefits include: technology demonstration and provide options to farmers for best farming practice. contribution to environmental protection. economic improvement through sustainable farming and industrial growth. contribution to freshwater aquaculture. employment creation. improved understanding of basic ecological principles.. provision of sustainable integrated farming models.


Chen, Q.Y., Y.L. Liang and T.H. Wu. 1982. Physical and chemical characteristics of two highly productive small lakes in the suburbs of Wu Han Shi wit reference to the analysis of their biological phase. J. Fisheries of China 6(4): 331-343. (In Chinese, English abstract). CIFA, 1998. Sewage Treatment Through Aquaculture. Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar, India, 8 pp. Culley, D. D. Jr. and E.A. Epps, 1973. Use of duck weed for waste treatment and animal feed. J.Wat. Pollut. Control Fed., 45: 337-347. Curtis, T.P., D.D. Mara, and S.A. Silva, 1992. The effect of sunlight on faecal coliforms in ponds: Implications for research and design. Water Science and Technology, 26(78): 1729-1738. Demoll, R. 1920. Das Abwasserfischteichverfahren. Frickhinger, H.W. (ed) Einzeldarstellungen aus dem Gebiet der angewandten Naturwissenschaften, No. 1, Verlag Natur und Kultur Franz Josef Voeller, Munich, Germany 48 p. (In German). Easa.M.El.S., Shereif.M.M., Shaaban.A.I and Mancy.K.H., 1995. Public health implications of wastewater reuse for fish production. Wat.Sci.Tech. Vol.32.N0 11pp 145-152 Edwards,P., 1990. General dicussion on wastewater-fed aquaculture, p.281-291. In P.Edwards and R.S.V. Pullin(eds) Wastefed aquaculture, Proceedings of the International Seminar on Watewater Reclamation and Reuse for Aquaculture, Calcutta, India,6-9 December 1988 xxix+296 Edwards, P., Pullin, R.S.V., 1990. Wastewater-fed Aquaculture. Proceedings of the International Seminar on Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse for Aquaculture, Calcutta, India, 6-9 December, 1988. Haines, T.A. 1973. Effects of nutrient enrichment and a rough fish population (carp) on a game fish population (smallmouth bass). Transactions of the American Fish Society 102:346-354. Hammad, S. M., 1996. Performance of a full-scale UASB domestic wastewater treatment plant. J. Inst. Public Health Engineers, India, 1: 11-19. Jenkins.G., Boarder.I., Patridge.G., Shipigel. M. 2000. Preliminary results for the project Demonstration of seasweed nutrient-stripping for aquaculture waste-waterp 137-141. In Kumar.M.S.(ed) National workshop on Wastewater treatment and Integrated Aquaculture Production, 17-19th September 1999, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, ISBN 073085253 9 Jieyi.D., Xianzhen. G., Xiuzhen.F., Meizhen.L., and Wenyou.Z. 1994. Preliminary studies on the effects of animal manure application upon fish bacterial diseases and fish food hygiene. Research papers. Published by Freshwater research centre of Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences.pp 257-268 Kumar. M., 2000. (Edited). Proceedings of the National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture, p191 Edited, Kumar M.S. SARDI Aquatic Sciences 17-19th September 1999. ISBN 073085253 9. Kumar. M., 2000 b. Linkage Between Wastewater Treatment and Aquaculture; Initiatives by the South Australian Research Development Institute (SARDI) In Kumar. M.S.(ed) National workshop on Wastewater treatment and Integrated Aquaculture Production, 17-19th September 1999, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, ISBN 073085253 9 Luu.L and Kumar.D.2000. Aquaculture- An effective biological approach for recycling of organic waste into high quality protein food, p49-53. In Kumar. M.S.(ed) National workshop on Wastewater treatment and Integrated Aquaculture Production, 17-19th September 1999, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, ISBN 073085253 9. McKinnon.L., Ingram.G., De Silva.S., Gasior.R., 2000. Directions for Integrated Aquaculture in Victoria, P 142-148. In Kumar.M.S.(ed) National workshop on Wastewater treatment and Integrated Aquaculture Production, 17-19th September 1999, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, ISBN 073085253 9. Mills, S. W., G. P. Alabaster, D. D. Mara, H. W. Thitai, 1992. Efficiency of faecal bacterial removal in waste stabilization ponds in Kenya. Wat. Sci. Tech., 26: 1739-1748.


Olah,J. 1990.Wastewater-fed fishculture in Hungary, p. 79-89. In P. Edwards and R.S.V. Pullin (eds.) Wastewater-fed aquaculture, Proceedings of the International Seminar on Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse for Aquaculture, Calcutta, India, 6-9 December 1988,xxix+296 p. Environmental Sanitation Information Center, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. Pearson, H. W., D. D. Mara, S. W. Mills and D. J. Smallman, 1987. Phsico-chemical parameters influencing faecal bacterial survival in waste stabilization ponds. Wat. Sci. Techn., 11(12): 145-152. Pearson, H. W., D. D. Mara, L. R. Cawley, H. M. Arridge and S. A. Silva, 1996. The performance of an innovative tropical experimental waste stabilization pond system operating at high organic leadings. Wat. Sci. Techn., 33(7) : 63-73. Ponyi J., Biro.P., Olah.J., Zankai.N.P., Tamas.G., Csekei.T., Kiss.G., Morvai.T and Banesi.I., 1973. Limnological investigations of a fish pond supplied with sewage water in the vicinity of Lake Balaton.I.Annal.Biol.Tihany 40:227-284 Ponyi J., Biro.P., Olah.J., Zankai.N.P., Tamas.G., Csekei.T., Kiss.G., Morvai.T and Banesi.II., 1974. Limnological investigations of a fish pond supplied with sewage water in the vicinity of Lake Balaton.I.Annal.Biol.Tihany 41:235-288 Prein, M. 1990. Wastewater-fed culture in Germany, p. 13-47. In P. Edwards and R.S.V. Pullin (eds.) Wastewater-fed Aquaculture, Proceedings of the International Seminar on Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse for Aquaculture, Calcutta, India, 6-9 December 1988, xxix+296 p. Environmental Sanitation Information Center, Asian Institute of Technology, Bankok, Thailand. Ryther.J.H., 1990. Wastewater treatment through aquaculture: A review of experimentation undertaken in the United States, with discussion of its wider implications, p.201-208. In P.Edwards and R.S.V. Pullin(eds) Wastefed aquaculture, Proceedings of the International Seminar on Watewater Reclamation and Reuse for Aquaculture, Calcutta, India,6-9 December 1988 xxix+296. Sarikaya, H. J. and A. M. Saatci, 1987. Bacterial die off in waste stabilization ponds. J. Environ. Engg., 113(2) : 366-382. Schlegel, H. G., 1993. General Microbiology (7th Ed.). Cambridge University press, 655 pp. Tuan.P.A and Trac.V.V. 1990. Reuse of wastewater for fish culture in Hanoi, Vietnam, p 69-71. In P.edwards (eds) Wastewater-fd aquaculture, Proceedings of the International seminar on Wastewater reclamation and Reuse for aquaculture, Clacutta, India, 6-9 Decemebr 1988, xxx+296, Environmental Sanitation Information Centre, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. Oron, G., 1994. Duckweed culture for wastewater renovation and biomass production Agriculture Water Management, 26 : 27-40. Ozimek, T. 1983. The role of duckweeds in cycling of heavy metals in ponds supplied with post-sewage waters. Proceedings of international Symposium on Aquatic Michrophytes, Nijimegon, pp. 172-176. Zhang, Z.S. 1990. Wastewater-fed fish culture in China, p. 3-12. In P. Edwards and R.S.V. Pullin (eds.) Wastewater-fed aquaculture, Proceedings of the International Seminar on Wastewater reclamation and Reuse for Aquaculture, Calcutta, India, 6-9 December 1988, xxix+296 p. Environmental Sanitation Information Centre, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand


Israel Multiple Water Use and Aquaculture - Ten Lessons

Peter Peterson Department of Primary Industries This paper is about opportunities and lessons. Lessons those who went to Israel in 1999 on a study tour learnt and lessons I hope we can bring back to our colleagues in rural Australia. When does thinking change? I believe there are two reasons for change. The first is when you can see a personal advantage in the change. The second, and most important reason, is changing because you have to - this necessity really makes you understand your real needs. In Israel there are nine million people in a total land area similar to Tasmania, but a tiny fraction of the water and natural resources of Tasmania. Tasmania supports three to four hundred thousand people and is often reported to be in a perilous economic state. So why isn't Tasmania producing so much more than Israel? Perhaps it's because it doesn't have to. Australia has no real threat of war, and community and personal economic and social viability are not under threat, so there is little incentive to optimise the use of our resources or conserve those resources. It's really about what you can do and what you are driven to do with scarce resources. Not so long ago I supported an Israeli scientist cum developer cum soldier in looking at Queensland's natural resources. This stern faced man with a reputation of having a key role in developing the US catfish industry and facilitating industry development around the world, said to me at the conclusion of his visit:

YOU KNOW, PETER, YOU (MEANING AUSTRALIA) HAVE SO MUCH AND DO SO LITTLE WITH IT. (Lesson 1) Let's think about how we use our bucket of water. With respect to irrigation, the practice has been to apply water to crops with no pre use, allowing any surplus to evaporate or drain away - carrying residues of various sorts and leading to pollution. To our credit we are now thinking about the need to conserve water and optimising application (costs) but not addressing the optimisation of production (income). In Israel this not an option as all resources and threats are at a high level. Hence the need to gain returns from resources at the highest level to finance other sustenance activities on a sustainable basis The diagram below illustrates one of the best examples of multiple water use currently practised in Israel.


41oC Heat Greenhouse Tourist Spa

100% Feed Eels 50% is Waste = Feed Tilapia 100% is Waste = Feed Catfish (Catfish Australia) Hydroponic Tomatoes Hydroponic Herbs (Murray Cod) 50% Feed (Silver Perch) Broadacre to Dates, Melons, etc GROUND WATER

Recycle Balance

Source P. Peterson. Based on the work of Sam Applebaum, Israel.

Through the clever use of recirculation systems and multiple water use Israeli inland fish production far exceeds Australia's.

WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER. (lesson 2) There are three main farming systems in Israel: Kibbutz- essentially a socialist concept limited to a particular farming area. All people work for the kibbutz and all returns are ploughed back into the kibbutz. This concept was born of scarce economic resources and the wish to survive. The benefits of this extended to the free sharing of knowledge and skills. This led to the other two types of operations and provides a sound building block in Israeli society. Moshav- a cooperative of families who share natural resources and the costs of managing them. They also plan the overall operation cooperatively and achieve economies of scale in buying in resources. However they are responsible for their own component of the farm and families retain individual profits in proportion to their operations. Individual Business- as per the usual Australian farmer


Incubators Let me describe to you the challenge for Israel in 1991. Communism in the old USSR was at an end. Close to 900,000 Jews arrived at Israel's doorstep. Remember Israel had only around 6 million people then so a potentially great social problem was looming. This was not seen as a problem but rather an opportunity and challenge. A winning solution was found. First, the fact that the immigrants were heavily academically biased and had minimal commercial skills was recognised. A system of incubators was established in which academic cells were established. These were supported by business managers from the existing Israeli population, and by just enough operating funds. The key was incentive - the incentive to gain personally and as a society. These two elements are of necessity linked.

PARADIGMS WILL CHANGE WHEN THE INCENTIVE IS STRONG ENOUGH. (Lesson 3) Funding for anyone selected for participation in an incubator was for one year only. So there was a strong incentive to succeed. Direct profit from research was prescribed. A return to the incubator, a return to the prospector and a return to the researcher were all considered essential and necessary.

RISK PROVIDES RETURNS AND NEEDS TO BE MANAGED POSITIVELY. (Lesson 4) This experiment was astoundingly successful with 60% of projects achieving commercial reality. This elevated Israel's standing in the world's R&D community significantly, particularly in Information Technology. But of course a lot of the focus was in Israel's base primary industries, including aquaculture. But what about those that did not succeed? The only penalty was that they could not use this scheme again. They moved to another learning situation and were able to contribute to other projects. They also provided lessons about what not to do. In fact nothing was lost! Kibbutzes and moshavs have continued to prosper and the economic status of Israel is sound despite its ongoing challenges. In Australia we have a relatively high degree of separatism in our research, our administrative structures, our management and our administration. Australia remains prosperous but perhaps not optimally efficient in using its resources.


Perhaps this is the most important lesson of all. THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS WASTE IN THE ISRAELI LANGUAGE. IN FACT WHEN YOU THINK RIGHT, NOTHING SHOULD BE LOST. (Lesson 5) We all know this - we read about it, talk about it and perhaps think we do something about it. "It" is wasted resources that are taken out of functional systems. The most costly of these to Australia in the long term will be water. Through our study tour in Israel we saw that we could and should do so much more and we gained a belief in change. But for me personally the visit by Sam Applebaum of the Blaustein Desert Aquaculture Institute to outback Queensland provided me with a real change to my existing paradigms. We were in outback Queensland visiting a small aquaculture site operating an open bore. A strong and steady flow of hot water was evident. The aquaculture facility was small, the balance of water was employed for pastures and only a fraction of the amount discharged was employed. Our Israeli visitor's reaction was one of distress. He suggested that this was a 'criminal waste' worthy of severe punishment. Our experience in Israel suggested there was a point in what he was saying. This situation is not unusual and the farmer concerned agreed. He saw the flow as a waste but said that he could not cap it because the natural resource managers would not reconcile the real farm needs with the water cap. He felt this would be resolved in time but it was impracticable to act proactively. In essence if he capped he would then have an inadequate water supply, while if he didn't cap there was a major net water loss.

Aquaculture as component of traditional agriculture My own vocational focus is fish and most particularly aquaculture. It seems to me that if the multiple use of water is to work then aquaculture has got to be a key consideration. Why? RURAL ECONOMICS OF THE FUTURE WILL BE ABOUT WATER, IN PARTICULAR THE RETURN IN DOLLARS PER MEGALITRE OF WATER. (Lesson 6) In Israel we learned that the most serious offence in farming was the misuse of water. The punishment was not a dollar fine but deprivation of future water access. In fact it was frequently said in Israel that the next world war will be fought over access to water. To this end we were amazed to find a moshav in total desert country. In an area of approximately 80 hectares of sheds it was growing a major capsicum crop which supported sixty families and produced enough to meet the entire capsicum needs of a major European city throughout the winter months. Use of water was limited to sixty cubic metres per family per week and this enabled the community to enjoy a high standard of living in the desert.


We are beginning to see water prices rise here but they rarely exceed $50 per megalitre. In Israel the following rates applied when we visited: Town water Ground water Sewage reuse water Other water $1,000/meg + $250-500 per meg $175+ $200 per meg +

What is the best return on a megalitre of water, current and future? I would like to say aquaculture, but I'd only be partly right. In reality it's about holistic planning of rural production enterprises. Life style farming is fine in Australia now and for some time in the future but I do not believe that will last. To get the best out of each megalitre of water it must be used more than once. Fish do use water, but they don't drink it, they live in it. Some lost by evaporation but by and large it's there for use in some form of irrigation (hydroponics, drip, flood etc). So if you can obtain a supplementary net income you can succeed. But to do that: IN AQUACULTURE YOU HAVE TO FIND A MARKET, PLAN YOUR BUSINESS AND HAVE A SOUND RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY, AS IN AGRICULTURE. (Lesson 7) So what's the world scene for aquaculture? Since 1980, global production from marine and freshwater aquaculture has grown dramatically, and is now greater than 40 millions tons and worth about A$100 billion per annum (Figure 1)3.
Figure 1. Global Fisheries Production
140 120 Tonnes (million) 100 80 60 40 20 0 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
Total Capture

World wide, aquaculture is increasing in value by 10% per year, making it one of the fastest growing food industries in the world4. While there is an uneven contribution from different countries to the global aquaculture volumes Asia is dominant - most aquaculture producers are experiencing significant production increases, including output in Queensland (which is 6% of national, and 0.04% of global output)

In Australia, can we replace imports with fresh Australian farm quality fish? Remember that 20,000 tonnes of cheap fish are imported into Australia every year. A better product at the same price would be a sound proposition if it could be economically produced.

Global Aquaculture Production:1984-1996 Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Service (FIDI)


I believe there is a major opportunity for Queensland primary industries to optimise the value of their water supplies by building in aquaculture following the rules below: Firstly, consider potential markets Look at existing markets domestic and overseas But also consider developing markets (eg the US catfish industry)

Secondly, consider the realistic production capacity As an individual As an industry sector and Perhaps as a co-operative

Figure 4. Queensland Vs neighbours

160 140

(000' mt p.a.)

120 100 80 60 40 20 0

Oceania Australia N.Z. Q.L.D






Remember lesson 2 from Israel because lesson 8 is:


So what are the opportunities for agriculturists? Our cotton representative to Israel, Paul McVeigh, has already started growing fish in his cotton ring tanks and the prospects appear good at this early stage. Paul Ziebarth our horticulturist is also moving into holistic farming systems with Commonwealth government support. But other industries also hold prospects. For example the sugar industry has provided the basis for the development of the farmed prawn industry. Aquaculture is not an instant panacea and there will be lags to profitability as set-up costs are amortised. The agriculture sector does have a major advantage. If existing infrastructure is available (as it is for most farmers, particularly irrigators), then the lag to profitability is greatly reduced. One can also see that aquaculture is not the way to 'get rich quick'.


Aquaculture investment will to some extent be governed by the nature of aquaculture pond operations. These can be classified as follows: 1. Extensive- simply placing fish in pond, allowing them to feed from natural production, followed by cropping. This is a very low cost, very low return and low risk system. However it must be noted that there is a return and there will be a net gain to the overall integrated agri-aquaculture farming enterprise. 2. Semi intensive- this is the same as the above except that the fish are fed their needs. This is low cost and low return but carries the risk of eutrophication - and hence requires monitoring and feed management regimes. 3. Intensive/extensive- this is as per 2., but aeration is added so this is a moderate cost option dependent upon the level of stocking. It has a good return and risk is higher as human management of the entire system is essential on a continuing basis. 4. Intensive cages- under this regime fish are held in cages to optimise production in ponds and waste management is carried out using biofilters, an external crop of fish or another methodology. Returns are high, costs are becoming high, and a high level of farm management and systems monitoring is essential. 5. Recirculation systems- These are usually contained in sheds. Maximising profitability is relatively costly and inbuilt monitoring should be in place as the failure of any factor can lead to major stock losses in a relatively short period of time.

THE SYSTEMS ADOPTED SHOULD BE APPROPRIATE TO THE EXISTING AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM, THE OBJECTIVES OF THE FARMER AND THE NATURE OF AVAILABLE NATURAL RESOURCES. (Lesson 9) I believe that through the promotion of multiple water use through integrated agri-aquaculture systems and similar holistic systems, we can create: A good return per megalitre of water A common water use and conservation ethic for primary producers throughout Australia Rural growth and new jobs A strengthening of existing agricultural enterprises A fascinating and enjoyable new industry or diversification (remember it's only fun if it's profitable) So the last lesson is: WELL MANAGED MULTIPLE WATER USE IS GOOD FOR REGIONAL GROWTH. (Lesson 10)


Integrated Agri-Aquaculture in Australia: virtual industry or commercial reality?

Gooley, G. J.* and Gavine, F. M. Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute Abstract Globalisation and environmental sustainability imperatives now dictate that the Australian irrigated agriculture sector move towards Best Practice production systems which optimise the use of water and nutrient resources, and place a greater emphasis on higher value products for both domestic and export markets. To accomplish this farmers need access to new technologies that allow them to realise the opportunities presented by the increasing separation of property and water rights within established irrigation areas. Possible future developments in this area, such as the creation of economic markets for tradeable emissions (eg. salt and nutrients), are also likely to facilitate the transition to more sustainable Best Practice systems. In this context an Integrated Agri-Aquaculture Systems (IAAS) approach to agribusiness development offers many advantages to the irrigation industry in Australia. However new entrants should be cognisant of a range of key IAA investment criteria, including: the need to achieve appropriate economies of scale through the establishment of relevant business networks, and the need to ensure that the integration of the aquaculture enterprise within the existing farm operation be based on thorough business planning and market research. An IAA systems approach within a developed country such as Australia will see the greatest flow of benefits to rural communities through adoption of industrial scale enterprise. This will require a coordinated effort between the agriculture and aquaculture sectors at an organisational level, supported by Government/industry partnership-based investments in infrastructure, training, marketing, policy development, R&D and extension. Accordingly, from this point, and with an eye to the next decade, the question remains as to whether IAA in Australia will achieve commercial reality, or simply remain a virtual industry, forever qualified by theory and definitions.

Introduction The concept of integrated aquaculture has been variously defined to accommodate a range of system designs and applications. In general terms these definitions seek to link aquaculture with human activity systems to capitalise on the use of by-products (Edwards 1998). Such systems typically incorporate the integrated use of natural resources, including land, water and nutrients, and capital infrastructure (including ponds, canals, pipes and pumps etc). Various models of integrated aquaculture systems have been developed and/or mooted for application within Australia, based on multiple use of: surface and artesian irrigation waters: saline groundwaters; industrial, domestic and agricultural wastewaters; and public waters (lakes, reservoirs).


It is suggested in this paper, however, that the most significant opportunity for use of this technology in Australia lies in the development of integrated agri-aquaculture systems (IAAS) which commercially link aquaculture and irrigated farming enterprises as integral components under a common business management objective. Accordingly, and within this context, the following definition of IAAS is proposed:
Integration of aquaculture and irrigated farming systems to optimise the economic and environmentally sustainable use of existing energy, resources and infrastructure.

Integrated agri-aquaculture in Australia The irrigated agriculture sector in Australia accounts for about 25% of total agricultural production worth AUD $5-6 billion annually. There is existing irrigation infrastructure in every state, with more than 2 million ha of irrigated land utilising an estimated 13,000 GL of water per year. However it is becoming increasingly apparent that water is presently under- utilised in Australian irrigated farming systems as a result of routine single-use only, typically with a net loss of nutrients (and therefore energy) to the environment (Gooley, 2000). The integration of aquaculture and agriculture has been happening informally and on an ad hoc basis in Australia for many years, as farmers have continually sought new and innovative ways to diversify and consolidate their respective agri-business enterprises. The advantages of integrated agriaquaculture systems over conventional farming systems include their ability to: increase farm productivity without any net increase in water consumption enable farm diversification into higher value crops, including aquatic species; enable re-use of otherwise wasted on-farm resources (capture and re-use of nutrients/energy); reduce net environmental impacts of semi-intensive farming practices; achieve net economic benefits by offsetting existing farm capital and operating expenses. IAAS were first formally recognised as a potential agribusiness sector in Australia in 1998, with the establishment of a comprehensive, five year Research and Development plan by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) (Gooley, 2000). The purpose of the R&D Plan was primarily to identify and prioritise relevant industry R&D needs, and to facilitate a coordinated, more structured and orderly approach to industry development. This plan followed the completion of a previous RIRDC funded R&D project investigating various aspects of agri-aquaculture integration to enhance farm productivity and water use efficiency within the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District of Victoria (Gooley et al. 2000). A suite of other related R&D projects were also completed or initiated during the same period, broadly based around the central theme of integrated bio-systems incorporating aquaculture as a key component (eg. Ingram et al. 2000; McKinnon et al. 2000; Kumar et al 2000a, b; Blackwell et al. 2000; Gooley et al. 2000a,b). These projects, and the individual efforts of many farmers, have investigated various aspects and applications of integrated aquaculture including: use of irrigation and nutrient-rich wastewater, first for aquaculture production and secondly for conventional irrigation use on land-based crops and pasture; concurrent/simultaneous use of water for aquaculture and crops; aquaculture use of water subsequently used for hydroponics, also referred to as aquaponics;


aquaculture use of shallow saline groundwater, increasingly associated with irrigation areas, which is pumped and stored for evaporation or other forms of disposal (Figure 1). Case studies on many of these and other initiatives, which in fact have a viable commercial outcome, will be the focus of a RIRDC-funded IAAS Resource Handbook which is presently in preparation and is intended for use as an industry extension tool.

Trees Saltbush Evaporation basins Tile Drainage Basin 1 Basin 2

Groundwater pump Decreasing water volume Increasing salt concentration

Salt harvest

Figure 1: Integrated Aquaculture in Saline Groundwater as part of a Serial Biological Concentration System (Heuperman et al. 1999)

The systems approach In many developing nations in Asia, food security for resource-poor rural communities is a key driver for integrated aquaculture. The key driver in Australia, however, is more simply in terms of economic prosperity that is pursued predominantly through industrial scale production. The emphasis in these systems is on profit-driven access to premium domestic and export markets. The one notable Asian exception to this rule perhaps is China, which has developed a comprehensive suite of economically viable, commercial enterprises based around quite sophisticated integrated aquaculture models (Wang, 1997). Another relevant large-scale application of the IAAS definition upon which Australian industry may be able to observe some limited precedence occurs in Israel (Cohen 1997). The combination of limited surface water resources within the largely arid Israeli landscape has necessitated the development of sophisticated farming systems that integrate industrial scale aquaculture and irrigation practices to achieve multiple fresh and saline, surface and groundwater use. Although recognising the fundamental differences between the subsistence needs of many resource poor Asian nations, and the agro-industrial scale approach to farming of developed countries, Edwards (1998) rightly points out many of the commonalities which apply to development of integrated aquaculture, independent almost of geo-political circumstances. The systems approach to integrated aquaculture development described by Edwards (1998) advocates the need to holistically address the interrelated aspects of: production technology socio-economics, and environmental issues. 74

This approach, based on these three key system drivers is therefore directly relevant to the Australian situation. Indeed using this approach much can be learned about the principles and practices of integration of aquaculture and agriculture from the long-standing Asian experience. What will vary in Australia however is the actual relative significance between the three system drivers and to a varying degree the actual mechanisms used to address them.

Production technology Technical considerations for IAAS need to ensure that an effective balance can be achieved between internal and external energy and associated natural resource inputs. The innovative use and re-use of such inputs, and the optimal management of outputs to maximise quantity, quality and value of products, and to minimise wastes and associated impacts, will be essential to achieve Best Practice. Either fresh or saline water could theoretically be used in most integrated systems. However, the use of saline groundwater would dictate the need to store and ultimately dispose of effluent in an appropriate evaporation basin. Conversely, re-use of freshwater aquaculture effluent potentially has many irrigated agriculture applications. Production system design for any one integrated farming model is likely to fit into one or more of the following categories: Intensive systems These systems are typically based on tank culture using either a flow through or recirculated water supply. They could be located on farms within a structure such as an existing or purpose built shed or greenhouse, which will allow the environment to be controlled to varying degrees to optimise production. Intensive recirculating aquaculture systems typically operate at relatively high stocking densities (>25kg/m3), utilise smaller volumes of fresh water (<10% make-up/day), and discharge smaller volumes of more concentrated effluent. As the degree of water recirculation decreases, the amount of freshwater required and effluent discharged increases proportionately. Relatively highenergy inputs are required through use of artificial pelleted feeds, and for the operation of plant and equipment such as pumps, aeration and heaters. The attendant high operating costs therefore typically necessitate the production of higher value aquaculture species in order to be cost effective, with the final choice also based on market demand and preferred husbandry attributes (see following). Semi-intensive systems These systems are typically based on the use of ponds and/or floating cages, the latter located within larger existing or purpose built water bodies, including farm ponds, evaporation basins, and irrigation storages and channels. Fresh and saline waters are suitable, depending on species choice and availability. Energy inputs are primarily related to the reliance on artificial feeds and/or artificial fertilisation regimes, and to a lesser extent energy for pumps, aerators etc. The use of cages and pens often enables otherwise unsuitable waters to be retrofitted for aquaculture production, and facilitates the application of a range of routine aquaculture practices such as inventory control, grading, fish health management, artificial feeding and harvesting; all at a relatively low cost compared with intensive systems. Stocking densities tend to be in the order of 5-25 kg/m3 and the species selected will be primarily determined by ambient climatic conditions. A combination of ambient climatic conditions and, where appropriate, some supplementary control such as aeration and/or water exchange also influence production. Extensive systems Extensive systems are typically pond-based or located in open waters in which the culture species are able to free-range. External energy inputs for aquaculture are relatively low or non-existent with feed being typically supplied by natural or low level artificial fertilisation regimes and associated primary


production. Stocking densities (< 5kg/m3) and associated yields are relatively low, but external energy inputs and associated costs of production are likewise relatively low. Production control is limited and largely influenced by ambient conditions, although supplementary controls such as mechanical aeration and water exchange may still apply in pond-based systems as for many semi-intensive systems. Harvesting may be problematic and labour intensive, where the culture waters cannot be drained or easily netted/trapped to remove fish, and bird predation may also impact significantly on final yield. This is often the case for aquaculture in waters which have not been purpose built.

Agri-aqua species/crop selection Some of the aquaculture species which have been successfully produced within integrated systems to date, at least technically if not commercially, include: barramundi (Lates calcarifer) in cages and tanks (fresh and saline) silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) in ponds and cages (fresh and saline) yabbies (Cherax destructor) in ponds (fresh only) snapper (Pagrus auratus) in salt evaporation basins (saline only) carp (Cyprinus carpio) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) in cages and ponds (fresh and saline) rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in cages (fresh and saline) The criteria for selecting commercially viable aquaculture species for integrated production will differ little from the process used in conventional, stand-alone aquaculture systems, and will be dictated by: biological/husbandry attributes system design and cost of production geographic area and ambient climate availability of water and land resources value/demand of intended market availability of seed level of proposed capital investment and projected revenue/income quality and quantity of effluent and associated disposal/re-use options. Specifically, some species will perform more efficiently under high density and others at lower density. Also, non-endemic species may need to be maintained in a bio-secure tank-based system if the level of risk with less secure systems such as ponds or cages is deemed to be unacceptable. Where production is to be carried out under ambient conditions, the growth rates of target aquaculture species will be a major factor in determining economic viability. Where seasonal variability, characteristic of temperate climates at more southerly latitudes in Australia, limits optimal growth over a sufficiently long enough period of time to reach market size for some cold or warmwater species, it may simply not be viable to attempt aquaculture production. Alternatively producers may have to utilise advanced stockers to shorten the production cycle, or simply rely on agisting fish for short periods before onselling to other producers to finish off to market size. Other relevant criteria include matters to do with legislative and regulatory constraints, including national and state translocation policies, which will impose certain restrictions on species usage outside of the natural range.


Options for final disposal and/or re-use of aquaculture wastewater within an integrated farming system will largely be dictated by normal irrigated agriculture limitations. More specifically, nutrient-rich, freshwater effluent could be readily used for irrigation of a range of traditional land-based pasture and crops, the latter including rice, wheat and cotton, and various horticulture (eg. stone fruits, citrus, vegetables and grapes), as well as various agroforestry and aquaponics crops (eg. lettuces, tomatoes, strawberries, cut flowers, and Asian herbs such as wasabi). Saline aquaculture effluent is less useful for irrigation purposes. Despite the likely need to store and evaporate much of this resource, it may also be possible to re-use some for irrigation of other increasingly salt tolerant crops (with or without additional freshwater dilution) before final evaporative disposal. Social and economic considerations Socio-economic considerations are likely to play a critical role in the large-scale adoption of IAAS in Australia, where profitability is likely to be one of the dominant system drivers. The effective marketing of aquaculture produce from small-scale IAAS operators will be an important factor in the long-term economic sustainability of the industry and will demand innovative ideas, and strategic, cooperative and sustained action on behalf of the industry. Where an existing aquaculture industry sector is already catering for the market demand for a certain species, significant constraints to market access for small-scale operators may impact on the economic feasibility of the integrated operation. Existing market pricing structure, contractual agreements (between producers and buyers) and quality assurance/food safety standards may again eliminate certain species from consideration, or may force small-scale IAAS operators to strategically align themselves with existing aquaculture industry producers. Certainly, it is suggested that IAAS investors need to ensure that they meet minimum production levels and Quality Assurance/food safety standards to realistically access seafood markets in a costeffective manner. The primary means by which this can be achieved is through business networking, including pooling of produce, sharing of infrastructure (eg. purging, processing, packaging, storage, and freight facilities), and collaborative and/or coordinated marketing. This approach would also allow small-scale producers to achieve the economies of scale that they could not otherwise realise by working more autonomously. Environmental issues water industry reform In a relatively dry country like Australia, pertinent environmental issues relate to the sustainable utilisation and protection of water resources. Threats to water resources in irrigation areas occur through over abstraction, salinisation of surface and groundwaters and catchment-scale nutrient enrichment (eutrophication). The traditional single use of irrigation water is intrinsically inefficient and the increasing cost of irrigation water and fertilisers for agriculture highlights the benefits of IAAS to the traditional farmer. In addition, farmers with lands already degraded through salinisation have an opportunity to recover some productivity and perhaps rehabilitate existing salinised land through integration into the farming system of inland saline aquaculture practices. In the long term, globalisation and environmental sustainability imperatives dictate that the Australian irrigated agriculture sector must move towards Best Practice production systems which conform with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) (ESDSC 1992). Industry must also move towards achieving full cost recovery of water-use externalities (HLSGOW 1999), at the same time as placing more emphasis on higher value products for a combination of both domestic and export markets. Recent outcomes from Australian water industry reform have seen the establishment of commercial markets for trading of water entitlements, and the progressive separation of water and property rights within the agricultural sector. In the future it is anticipated that the development of tradeable


emissions policy at a state and/or national level will see the commercial trading also in nutrient and salinity quotas for primary producers. This will occur as part of a more equitable, economically driven resource allocation process designed to encourage more efficient and effective use of water and recovery of external costs. In this context it is suggested that the integration of aquaculture within irrigation farming systems will be able to meet all reasonable financial and environmental targets set by farmers/investors, environmental regulators, and the community in general. An example of the potential enviro-economic benefits of integrated aquaculture compared with existing irrigated agribusiness sectors in the Goulburn-Broken catchment of Victoria is provided by Gooley et al. 2000 (Table 1). In this example, integrated aquaculture was trialed within an open system through the use of cage culture in public irrigation storages. In such a system, nutrient discharge to the environment can be readily assessed and monitored, and therefore the attendant environmental costs can equally be readily identified and quantified for regulatory purposes. In a hypothetical cost-benefit scenario, economic returns from the cage farm enterprise are shown to reasonably accommodate these costs and still remain profitable. In this comparison (Gooley et al. 2000), for the purpose of estimating Gross Margin for different hypothetical aquaculture enterprises, the full cost of phosphorus (P) discharge to the environment is included as an environmental levy set at commercial rates. The actual Gross Margins quoted for the other established agribusiness sectors in this comparison include no such cost recovery for the impacts of P discharged to the environment.

Table 1.

Comparison of Gross Margins per ha of surface area occupied and per ML of water consumed/utilised by the enterprise for existing major irrigated agribusiness sectors in the Goulburn-Broken catchment of Victoria, and a hypothetical lake or reservoir-based finfish cage culture operation with one, five or ten tonne annual production (all other key parameters set to achieve average profitability). From Gooley et al. (2000) Gross Margin AUD$/ha 14,010 6,296 801 13,237 1335 12,696 26,863 Gross Margin AUD$/ML 2,802 1,049 133 1,927 273 2,539 5,372

Industry Sectors Viticulture (Wine grapes) Viticulture (Table grapes) Dairy Horticulture (Stonefruit) Cage aquaculture @ 1 tonne pa Cage aquaculture @ 5 tonne pa Cage aquaculture @ 10 tonne pa

The primary economic benefit from aquaculture integration is clearly from producing marketable aquatic products without any net increase in water consumption. However, the subsequent use of the nutrient-rich aquaculture effluent for traditional irrigation, where in fact this water can be retained and redirected, can result in enhanced productivity of the soil, further resulting in reduced need for fertiliser application and an associated reduction in farm operating costs. From another perspective, the aquaculture use of low-value saline groundwater pumped into evaporation basins offers the potential to generate increased farm revenue to offset otherwise prohibitive groundwater management costs. The same can be said for aquaculture use of nutrient-rich wastewater trialed in Victoria where final disposal is limited to on-site options only. Indeed aquaculture in saline and/or nutrient rich wastewater, which in a stand-alone system may be at best economically marginal, can become viable as part of an integrated system once the broader synergies are recognised and the associated economic benefits are quantified eg. the value of returning salinised


land to a productive state through groundwater pumping, the value of stripping of excess nutrients from industrial and domestic wastewater before final disposal via pasture irrigation etc.

IAAS - the reality Despite the compelling long term environmental imperatives dictating the need to make more efficient, multiple use of our valuable inland water resources, in all probability the final business decision by individual farmers as to whether they should invest in agri-aquaculture integration will be primarily financial: Can the proposed diversification enhance the financial bottom line for the farm? Can the farmer produce a marketable product that can be sold at an acceptable profit? Is this an investment which, over a short to medium term timeframe, will provide a financial result at least as good as the alternative options (including doing nothing)? On the other hand, governments, resource managers and the general community are more likely to consider the regional or catchment scale flow of benefits and attendant environmental risks before committing themselves to supporting IAAS development. What are the environmental risks and associated costs? How are the full external costs of water use recovered? What are the potential resource use conflicts? What is the likely return on investment for the community in relation to exploiting common pool natural resources (land, water etc)? What is the most equitable, cost-effective and efficient resource allocation process to underpin development? Is an investment in IAAS compatible with the principles of ESD?

Investment criteria In the present circumstances, an IAA systems approach to agribusiness development seems to offer many advantages to the irrigation industry in Australia. IAAS is an elegantly simple concept that very much relies on proponents having an appropriate mix of common sense and imagination. However IAAS is not a panacea for rural sector woes. The lead-time for implementation is relatively short, but financial success is a somewhat longer process and new entrants need to be cognisant of key IAAS investment criteria before proceeding. These criteria include: Technical identification of optimal system design/capacity and associated production levels. system design should optimise the use of readily available/existing resources and infrastructure in a way to minimise start-up and recurrent costs and external energy inputs, without compromising fundamental system requirements and profitability. the need to ensure that the choice of culture species, system and scale of investment is based on commercial opportunities which are cognisant of whole-of-production chain needs of the existing seafood industry.


the need to ensure that the integration of the aquaculture enterprise within the existing farm operation is based on thorough whole-of-farm business planning. integrated aquaculture produce by any definition needs to conform to the premium standards set by the Australian seafood industry for quality control and food safety. relevant technical training and support services need to be accessed as a matter of routine. Social and Economic the need to achieve appropriate economies of scale through establishment of relevant business networks. the need to fully assess economic viability of the proposed development prior to implementation based on an objective and comprehensive analysis of cost-benefit which includes setting a priori realistic/reasonable profitability targets for the enterprise. cost-benefit analysis to factor in the economic value of linked environmental benefits associated with integration, particularly in relation to land rehabilitation, reduced nutrient and/or salt emission and multiple water use. the need to focus aquaculture production on high value markets where possible for both export and domestic consumption Environment where possible, natural resource utilisation should not result in any net increase in environmental emissions or associated external environmental costs, or any net increase in water consumption. In addition to the above criteria, there is a need to objectively assess economic and environmental risk as part of the investment analysis, preferably as part of an independent audit of the final proposal before proceeding to implementation. There is also a need to conform with all existing regulatory/legislative constraints particularly in relation to translocation of species, fish health/disease management and environmental impacts, without compromising economic viability of the enterprise.

Industry development conclusions and future directions Farmers need access to new integrated aquaculture technologies that allow them to effectively realise opportunities presented by the increasing separation of property and water rights within established irrigation areas, and also in anticipation of possible future developments such as the creation of economic markets for tradeable emissions (eg. salt and nutrients). Once the full cost of water-use externalities for the irrigation industry are factored in to catchment-scale socio-economic analyses in which nutrient budgets have been established, the commercial competitiveness and investment potential of integrated aquaculture is considerably enhanced against traditional land-based agricultural alternatives. The added bonus of course is that the water is simply borrowed by aquaculture and not consumed. Certainly it is suggested that the development of an effective IAAS capacity within Australia will see the greatest flow of benefits to rural and regional communities through adoption of industrial scale enterprise. This will require institutional change and a fundamental paradigm shift within stakeholder agencies and individual farmers. It will also require coordinated effort between the agriculture and aquaculture sectors at an organisational level, supported by Government/industry partnership-based investments in infrastructure, training, marketing, policy development, R&D and extension.


The RIRDC R&D Plan for IAAS (Gooley, 2000) provides the necessary strategic direction and describes some of the actual mechanisms for consolidating, coordinating and facilitating the development of a viable IAAS sector within Australia. The Plan offers the following vision: A diverse and innovative Australian primary industries sector which on a routine basis effectively and efficiently integrates aquaculture and agriculture practices into farming systems which are both profitable and ecologically sustainable. The extent to which this is both an enlightened and pragmatic view, or just enlightened, remains to be seen. The IAAS concept is intrinsically sound, and the resources, expertise and opportunity exist within Australia; the makings of a virtual industry perhaps. What is now needed is for government, industry and the community at large to adopt and apply an entirely new approach to water resource utilisation and management for IAAS to become a commercial reality.

Blackwell, J., Biswas, T.K., Jayawardanel, N.S. and Townsend, J.T. (2000). A novel method for treating effluent from rural industries for use in integrated aquaculture systems. In Proceedings of the National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture, SARDI, West Beach, South Australia, 17-18 September 1999. (Ed M.S. Kumar) pp. 80-92 (South Australian Research and Development Institute, West Beach, South Australia). Cohen, D. (1997). Integration of Aquaculture and Irrigation: rationale, principles and its practice in Israel. International Water and Irrigation Review. 17:1-16. Edwards, P. (1998). A systems approach for the promotion of integrated aquaculture. Aquaculture and Economics Management. 2, No. 1, pp1-12. ESDSC (1992). Draft National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development. A discussion paper.Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering Committee. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, ACT. 148pp. Gooley, G. J. (2000). R & D Plan for Integrated Agri-Aquaculture Systems, 1999-2004. RIRDC Publication No.99/153. Rural Industries Research and Development Coproation, Barton, ACT. Gooley, G. J., Mc Kinnon, L.J., Ingram, B. A. and Gasior, R. (2000a). Agriculture / Aquaculture Systems Integration to Enhance Farm Productivity and Water Use Efficiency. Final Report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, RIRDC Project No DCM1-A. (In press). Gooley, G. J., De Silva, S. S., Ingram, B. A., McKinnon, L. J., Gavine, F. M. and Dalton, W. (2000b). Cage culture of finfish in Australian lakes and reservoirs: a pilot scale case study of biological, environmental and economic viability. In Proceedings of Reservoir and Culture-Based Fisheries: Biology and Management. An International Workshop, Bangkok, Thailand, 15-18 February, 2000. (In press). Heuperman, A., Mann, L., Heath, J., Gooley, G., Ingram, B. and McKinnon, L. (1999). Value adding to serial biological concentration for improved environmental management. Final Report to Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Project No. I6061. Institute of Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture, Tatura Centre. HLSGOW (1999). Progress in implementation of the COAG water reform framework. Report to the Council of Australian Governments by the High Level Steering Group on Water. Occasional Paper No. 1, Canberra, Australia. 113 p. Ingram, B. A., Gooley, G. J., McKinnon, L. J. and De Silva, S. S. (2000). Aquaculture-agriculture systems integration: an Australian prospective. Fisheries Management and Ecology. 6: 1-11. Kumar, M., Ingerson, T. and Lewis, R. (2000a). Wastewater treatment and integrated aquaculture: South Australian initiatives and international collaboration. In Proceedings of the National Workshop on


Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture, SARDI, West Beach, South Australia, 17-18 September 1999. (Ed M.S. Kumar) pp. 14-18 (South Australian Research and Development Institute, West Beach, South Australia). Kumar, M., Clarke, S. and Sierp, M. (2000b). Linkage between wastewater treatment and aquaculture; initiatives by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). In Proceedings of the National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture, SARDI, West Beach, South Australia, 17-18 September 1999. (Ed M.S. Kumar) pp. 153-159 (South Australian Research and Development Institute, West Beach, South Australia). McKinnon, L., Gooley, G., Ingram, B., De Silva, S. and Gasior R. (2000). Directions for integrated aquaculture in Victoria. In Proceedings of the National Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Integrated Aquaculture, SARDI, West Beach, South Australia, 17-18 September 1999. (Ed M.S. Kumar) pp. 142148 (South Australian Research and Development Institute, West Beach, South Australia). Wang, H. X. 1997. Current status and prospects of integrated fish farming in China. In: Mathias, J. A., Charles, A. T. and Baotong, H. 1997. Integrated Fish Farming. Proceedings of a Workshop on Integrated Fish Farming. held in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, Peoples Republic of China, 11-15 October 1994. CRC Press.

Acknowledgements Much of the content of this paper is based on experience drawn from various recent R&D projects undertaken by the Aquaculture Program, Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and funded by the following agencies: Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment (Fisheries Victoria) Rural Industries R&D Corporation Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Murray-Darling Basin Commission The support of these agencies is gratefully acknowledged. Comments and advice on the manuscript from Wayne Fulton, Lachlan McKinnon and Brett Ingram (Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute) and Anthony Forster (Fisheries Victoria) are also much appreciated.


Integrating food production with urban consumption: some issues

Rebecca Lines-Kelly NSW Agriculture In Australia 1.6% of Australians population is employed in agriculture and some 86% of the population live in urban areas. This means that just under 300,000 people feed Australias 18 million people, most of whom live in urban areas. Australian farmers also export a large percentage of their products, so they are extremely efficient food producers. However, the imbalance in numbers between production and consumption has important implications for the integration or lack of integration of food production and resource management.

Energy use Because most Australians live in urban areas, their food often has to be transported long distances from where it is grown. Food that is not consumed immediately, or near its point of production, requires storage, often refrigerated; transport, often refrigerated; and storage at the retail level, usually air-conditioned. All this requires large amounts of energy, an increasing cost given the recent rises in fuel prices, and increasing numbers of freight trucks on the road. Consumers also use fuel driving to food shops, particularly when they are in shopping centres situated out of main shopping areas. It is clearly more energy-efficient to consume food near to where it is grown. The less distance food has to travel between harvest and consumption, the less energy is required to store it and transport it, the fresher it is, and the more nutrients it contains. This issue is attracting some attention in sustainability discussions. In the UK, Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, has conducted a food miles campaign to reduce unnecessary food mileage and make fresh, local foods more widely available. Sustain quotes statistics that show the amount of food transported on UK roads has increased by 20% between 1978 and 1998 but the average distance travelled has increased by 50%. A tonne of food in the UK now travels an average distance of 123km compared with 82 km in 1978. Food accounts for the largest amount of freight of any single commodity, and the largest increase in road freight over the last two decades. "foodstuffs are being hauled over longer distances and the main beneficiaries are the intermediaries such as the freight companies, the major food manufacturers and retailers. The food filling the roads is more processed than ever before. The costs to society are rarely accounted for. (Sustain, 1999)" Lack of understanding The tiny number of farmers and the declining rural population mean that few links are maintained between agriculture and the city. Without country relatives to visit, city people lose their links with the country and become unaware of the intricacies of food production. Unless they grow their own fruit and vegetables, or run a few chickens, their relationship with food is confined to purchase and consumption. This leads to a fetishisation of food, where food becomes an object of desire rather than a recognised element of the natural cycle of growth, decay and regrowth. As consumers we cannot usually taste food before they we it, or find out how it was grown, so we have to rely on what we can see. As a result we want food that is perfectly shaped and unblemished. The power of consumer demand has led food producers to breed species for appearance, and to use pesticides to deter insects and organisms that blemish the product. Supermarkets demand food that will last a long time on the shelves, with a minimum of wastage. As a result we buy tomatoes that can look perfect for weeks yet taste of nothing at all, and buy apples on the basis of their colour but eat them with their peel removed because of our concerns about chemicals. We want food that looks good, so farmers are catering to the demands of what is in effect, an ill-informed, market.


Loss of agricultural land Market gardening has always been a periurban land use around urban centres, particularly on alluvial land, providing fresh food to nearby consumers. However, as land values increase, market gardens give way to houses and food production is pushed further away, often on to less productive soils. If consumers do not understand the importance of retaining productive agricultural soils, particularly near the point of consumption, they have no interest in protecting them. This issue is receiving some attention in NSW where NSW Agriculture has been working with the Western Sydney community to promote the community values of agriculture in the Sydney Basin. These include fresh food production close to the point of consumption, green space and a sense of being close to nature. There is also a food security issue. If large urban communities are reliant on food brought from long distances, and there is a fuel strike, where will they obtain food? Every human being has to eat three times a day, so to call a system efficient that separates people further and further from their source of food is nothing short of madness. (Helena Norberg-Hodge, quoted in Maddocks, 2000) The farmland protection issue is high on the agenda in US cities, where farmers are often paid not to develop their land for residential purposes. It does not seem to rate the same level of attention in Australia, perhaps due to the separation of urban decision makers from agricultural concerns. Sewage No one likes talking about sewage, so we tend to treat it as an engineering problem rather than a food issue. Sewage is essentially a food product, containing materials the body does not need or want after food intake. We tend to say it is an end product when it is actually a valuable source of nutrients obtained from food production. Cities produce massive amounts of sewage from food, and agriculture needs to look at ways of integrating this resource into its production cycle, rather than allowing it to be piped out to sea as happens in most coastal urban areas. The logistics of integration are formidable, and require close working together of urban and agricultural organisations. Already in NSW, NSW Agriculture has worked with Sydney Water to use biosolids as fertiliser on agricultural land. Some issues that need to be considered are, again, the cost of transport of the biosolids to rural areas, and the long term environmental impacts of biosolids application. The nutrient value of sewage is encouraging many organisations to look at ways of integrating it into agriculture. As InFoRM 2000 showed, Vermitech is producing a soil conditioner from human sewage at Redlands Bay, but still has to find a commercially viable use for the product. Jackie Foos research shows that many developing countries have long used human and animal sewage as fertiliser for a range of food products. The potential of sewage pathogens to transfer to food products grown this way requires development of techniques to ensure human health is not jeopardised. How do we improve links? If we are to improve consumers knowledge and understanding of food production, and help them make intelligent choices about their food needs we need to overturn traditional notions of agriculture as a rural enterprise. We need to bring agriculture to the city, where most consumers live and where political power is based. Agricultural shows have a successful history of showcasing agricultural industries and enterprises but the emphasis is on spectacle rather than direct involvement of consumers in learning about the role they play in food production. There are also a number of school programs that educate students about the importance of food and agriculture in their lives. Victorias Food and Agriculture in the Classroom program provides resource books and curriculum materials to schools, professional development for teachers, and school excursions to farms to promote food, agriculture and links between rural and urban communities (FAITC, no date) Queenslands AgAware program is writing curriculum materials for several subjects using agricultural examples, and offers school excursions, and an urban-rural schools link to promote knowledge and understanding of agriculture and food issues. (AgAware 2000)


These are excellent programs and certainly provide strong production-consumption linkages at the schools level, but we also need to look at innovative ways of linking adult consumers and producers. Market mechanisms Farmers markets are a small but increasingly popular way to build real and strong connections between producers and consumers. They have a long history in most communities but their use declined with the rise in supermarkets. In the US the number of markets doubled from 1200 in 1980 to 2400 in 1996, and the US Dept of Agriculture has found they play a vital role in enabling small to medium-sized growers gain access to consumers (Festing, 1998). In Britain the National Farmers Union is supporting the revival of farmers markets to allow farmers to take advantage of the huge gap between farmgate and retail prices. Farmers like to be involved to talk to consumers personally about their food production methods. (Economist 1999) Other consumer benefits include freshness, and community building. Communities benefit from Certified Farmers Markets in many ways. Certified Farmers Markets are non-profit community organisation which contribute to the social and economic welfare of the town or city they operate in. The markets produce a strong sense of community identity, bringing people from diverse ethnic and other backgrounds together. They also serve to unite the urban and rural segments of the population. This rare meeting of farmers and consumers serves as an educational experience whereby customers learn about their food sources have access to nutritional information, engage in a multi-cultural experience and become aware of agricultural issues. CFMs truly have become the face and spirit of the communities they serve. (California Federation of Certified Farmers Markets, no date) In Australia farmers markets have yet to take off in a big way, but fresh farm produce is appearing at local mixed markets in many areas and many cities and regions now host annual or seasonal food festivals to promote locally grown produce. The expanding trend of product labelling to identify growing regions and production techniques such as vine ripening is also helping to link consumers more closely to producers. In Sydney, NSW Agriculture has been closely involved with the establishment of the Hawkesbury Food Program which has identified agriculture as one of the five major industries in the Hawkesbury. The program aims to improve access by consumers to nutritious foods, promote nutritious and safe foods, encourage establishments to serve nutritious foods, ensure food security, encourage community participation and promote and sustain local agriculture. As part of the program a Hawkesbury Harvest project has been developed to provide consumers with direct access to producers through farm gate sales. Another market mechanism that closely links producers and consumers is Community Supported Agriculture through which consumers subscribe to a local farmer who provides them with food. It is a mutual commitment between the farmer and the consumers. The consumers pay for their vegetables in advance and thus share with the farmer both the risks and the benefits associated with food production. Consumers receive a box of fresh vegetables each week during the growing season and have the advantage of knowing where the food comes from. They have input into what is grown, while the farmers have working capital, financial security and better prices for their crops. Farmers also avoid the burden of marketing. (Maddocks, 2000) CSA originated in Japan when housewives became concerned about the demise of local food, and has since spread to Europe and the USA. The Japanese Group for Producing and Consuming Safe Food has 1235 Tokyo householders supplied each week by 30 farmers from a village an hour outside the city. Another Japanese scheme, Radish Boya, supplies 25,000 members with produce from 1100 independent farmers. In the UK there are more than 50 CSAs and vegetable box schemes supplying around 20,000 consumers with a total turnover of around five million pounds. (Festing, 1997)


Community supported agriculture and vegetable box schemes operate in a small way in Australia, but rely on both producers and consumers energy and commitment to initiate and maintain the process. One enthusiast, Peter Kenyon, is attempting to start a CSA scheme in Sydney and finds that the energy required to find interested farmers and link them with consumers, coupled with the lack of institutional interest and support, makes the process daunting. (pers.comm.) Urban agriculture Urban agriculture is attracting interest internationally. It is becoming particularly important in developing countries as more and more people move from rural areas into cities, but it is also a growth area in developed world cities as people try to regain some connection with their food. Its theoretical advantages are better nutrition, less loss of food from transport and storage, poverty reduction through home food production and income opportunities, and an improved ecological environment. The ecological benefits include greening of the city, potential for recycling and reuse of urban organic wastes and waste water, reduction of energy use by provision of food close to consumers, and the resultant reduction of the citys ecological footprint. (Deelstra and Girardet 2000). However, there are health issues surrounding the use of possibly contaminated soils and water, and strong linkages need to be made between producers, consumers and planning authorities. An international workshop on urban agriculture held in Cuba in October 1999, Growing Cities, Growing Food Urban Agriculture on the Policy Agenda, (Bakker 1999) found that three main purposes of urban agriculture are to achieve food security of urban poor (a big issue in developing countries), improve the economic efficiency of commercially oriented urban agriculture (also important in developing countries) and improve the urban environment , of relevance to developing and developed countries such as Australia. Important policy issues for this environmental aspect are the decentralised recycling of organic solid wastes and waste water, integration of urban agriculture in urban zoning and city development plans, and enhancement of direct producer-consumer linkages such as the market mechanisms described earlier in this paper. (de Zeeuw et al., 1999). Achieving the linkages The market mechanisms described above are developing out of the needs of both farmers who want to bypass the traditional marketing channels, and consumers who want a closer connection with and knowledge about the food they eat. Currently these mechanisms involve only small numbers of people in Australia, but their power lies in their initiation by consumers and farmers in response to a perceived need. Urban agriculture is also a small player when it comes to Australian food production, but it is an important mechanism for encouraging consumers to be directly involved in production, and for improving urban environments, both ecologically and socially. It is currently very difficult for anyone interested in urban agriculture or alternative food market mechanisms to find information and technical assistance. As the Cuba workshop found, historically urban agriculture does not have an institutional home. Organisations like a Ministry of Agriculture usually lack a political mandate for urban agriculture. Urban agriculture projects are rarely integrated in overall urban planning. Generally there is little coordination between NGOs and municipal agencies, and urban farmers are often not organised. Hence, stakeholders in urban agriculture lack channels to voice their needs and lack the power to participate in policy preparation and city planning processes (de Zeeuw, 1999) The US Department of Agriculture has taken a step forward in providing an institutional home through its Community Food Security Initiative (CFSI), established in 1998. The basis of this initiative is to help reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and strengthen local food systems. One of its goals is to improve the livability of communities by preserving farmland and open spaces, increasing local gardening and food production, reducing the distances families need to travel to obtain food, helping community gardens create safe places that reduce neighbourhood crime, and promoting farmers markets that improve nutrition while aiding community development (USDA 2000)


If Australias largely urbanised society is to link more intelligently to food production, we need to develop mechanisms for linking production and consumption in ways that have environmental, social and health benefits for both consumers and food producers. Whether this should be achieved through extension of current agricultural services or through new planning mechanisms is up for debate. What is important is that we develop the mechanisms so that consumers, the majority of our population, understand food production so that they can make intelligent consumption choices that contribute to our bottom line economic, environmental and social sustainability.

AgAware (2000) Agaware News No 2, Summer 2000, Department of Primary Industries, Toowoomba Anon (1999), Rus in urbe Farmers Markets, The Economist, 4 September 1999. Bakker, N., Dubbeling, M., Guendel, S., Sabel-Koschella, U. and de Zeeuw, H. (1999), Growing Cities, Growing Food : Urban Agriculture on the Policy Agenda, A Reader on Urban Agriculture, California Federation of Certified Farmers Markets (no date), de Zeeuw, H. Guendel, S. and Waibel, H. (1999), The integration of agriculture in urban policies in Proceedings from the International Workshop on Urban Agriculture, Growing Cities, Growing Food Urban Agriculture on the Policy Agenda, Havana, Cuba, October 1999, website Deelstra, T and Girardet, H. (2000), Urban agriculture and sustainable cities in Bakker et al., Growing Cities, Growing Food : Urban Agriculture on the Policy Agenda, A Reader on Urban Agriculture, website Festing, H. (1997) Veg box schemes and community supported agriculture, website Festing, H. (1998) Farmers markets, website Maddocks, C. (2000) Growing together, Good Weekend Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2000. FAITC (no date), Food and Agriculture in the Classroom, Natural Resources and Environment, Melbourne. Sustain (1999) Food Miles, still on the road to ruin? London USDA (2000), Year 2000 progress report on the USDA Community Food Security Initiative, website


3. The technology of integration

Processing of Biomass and Control of Pathogens - Concept of a Bio-Refinery
Horst W. Doelle MIRCEN-Biotechnology Brisbane and Pacific Regional Network International Organisation for Biotechnology & Bioengineering The processing of biomass and control of pathogens in waste management depends entirely on the particular socio-economy adopted for rural and urban sustainability. In order to sustain life and improve the standard of living, the general advancement of scientific knowledge should be used for the application of clean technology strategies, which support the natural cycles of matter. These strategies should drive towards a pollution-free environment, resulting in the prevention of diseases and an improvement of our natural cycles of matter to increase our renewable resource production. At the same time they need to be flexible to guarantee the rural farmer and the urban workforce a sustainable per capita income. Sustainability refers therefore to the ability of a society, ecosystem or any such ongoing system to continue functioning into the indefinite future without being forced into decline owing to exhaustion of key resources, weather conditions or world market price forces. A sustainable community effort consists of a long-term integrated system approach to developing and achieving a healthy community by jointly addressing economic, environmental, and social issues. Fostering a strong sense of community and building partnerships and consensus amongst key stakeholders are important elements of such efforts. The focus and scale of sustainability efforts depend therefore on local conditions, including resources, politics, individual actions, and the unique features of the community. Socioeconomic strategies have therefore to be designed in a way that individual choices are shaped by values, emotions, social bands and judgements rather than a precise calculation of self-interest. Such a strategy requires a sound knowledge of the natural cycles of matter as well as consumer demand and gives domestic markets a much higher priority over foreign or export markets. Furthermore, it is highest time that we make everybody, including many scientists and the majority of expert advisers, aware of the fact that microorganisms are the most powerful creatures in existence as they play an integral part in determining life and death on this planet. As we know, some can kill mercilessly (=pathogens), but the vast majority can be harnessed to sustain life. We have also to realise and to admit that over the past decades we have managed to foster the killer-type pathogens through population growth and density, overuse of antibiotics, use of raw waste onto farms, and reduce and/or eliminate the beneficial type (eg soil microflora) through overuse of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and farm management resulting in ever-increasing areas of soil infertility. I only have to remind you of the salt problem of our agricultural land here in Australia. In addition, our present waste management approach destroys immense natural resources for energy and value-added product formation. Here I draw your attention to the flares over our sewerage plants, use of anaerobic ponds, reduction of biochemical oxygen demand through aeration etc etc. In order to reverse this trend, it should be a first priority of any region, eg sugarcane area, grain area, vegetable area, urban area etc to establish so-called Bio-Refineries, where agriculturists [responsible for maximal biomass production], microbiologists [responsible for encouraging beneficial microorganisms and controlling pathogens] and chemical engineers [responsible for plant design and construction] together with other advisers work together to fully exploit our natural renewable resources using clean technologies with no useable waste accumulation. Such a bio-refinery would be totally based on biomass and human and animal wastes as raw materials.


Biomass in the form of plants and trees captures solar energy through photosynthesis and stores it as chemical energy in the bonds between the carbon, hydrogen,nitrogen and oxygen atoms that form lignocellulosic plant material together with starchy, sugary, fatty and proteinaceous crops. Biomass is solar energy stored in a chemical form, which is available for bioenergy, biofuel, food, feed, fertiliser and the formation of many other products. It should be the aim of each bio-refinery management to assure self-efficiency in food, feed, fuel, fertiliser and energy production. It should also market products depending on the surplus encountered after the first priority, which must also include improved health standards, has been satisfied. In order to establish such bio-refineries, a sound knowledge of the following is required:

a) land availability b) biomass availability c) biodiversity of crop production d) maintenance of high soil fertility e) maintenance of high crop yields f) population growth and demand g) type of animal production (sheep, chicken, pigs, beef etc) h) type and amount of any waste accumulation from the production unit and from human and animal
populations. Figure 1 exhibits what I regard as a general outline for the functioning of a bio-refinery. Each region consists of biomass, people and animals. Let s concentrate first on the biomass itself. The lignocellulosic material can be used very efficiently for energy, food, feed and fertiliser production. While energy production will be dealt with later under the topic biofuel generation, mushroom production, composting and silage are very important industries. Of these, mushroom production is a multimillion dollar industry because of its nutritive value, particularly in our region of SEAsia and Asia itself. It is an evergrowing industry, because of the protein and medicinal value of these fungi. Australia could easily expand in this field of food production. A new development in the mushroom industry is the production of nutriceuticals and you may be surprised to learn that the leading world authority and expert in mushroom is an Australian, Prof. S.T.Chang of Canberra. The residuals from a mushroom cultivation are excellent fertilisers, or can be additives for composting and/or anaerobic digestion. Composting is a controlled microbial bio-oxidation process involving biodegradable organic matter, conducted under controlled environmental conditions. The oxidation produces a transient thermophilic stage which is followed by a period of cooling of the now degrading organic matter. The material is held at ambient temperatures for maturation purposes, which results in a stable, volumereduced, hygienic, humus-like material, that has retained the mineral elements beneficial to soil and plants. Emphasising a controlled process distinguishes composting from uncontrolled rotting or putrefaction of organic matter. This oxidative metabolism of beneficial microorganisms is exothermic and the heat produced is sufficient to increase the temperature of organic matter to between 60 and 75 C, thus offering a self-sanitising mechanism by which pathogens, seeds and heat-labile microbial and plant toxins will be destroyed. The final humus-like material, the compost, is a dark, crumbly, earthy material usually containing less than 2% (w/w) each of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Apart from their availability to plants, the compost offers improved soil structuring characteristics. The related process of vermicomposting (ie. composting which involves the use of earthworms in conjunction with aerobic microorganisms to bring about the bio-oxidation and subsequent stabilisation of biodegradable organic matter) requires the addition of anaerobic digester sludge and increases the


valuable humic acid content of the compost. Vermicomposting is becoming increasingly popular in SEAsia and the USA on small to large scale. Earthworms can also be used as a supplement to animal feed. Silage is forage, crop residues or agricultural and industrial by-products preserved by acids, either added or produced by natural fermentation. Fresh forage is harvested, or crop residues and by-products are collected. The material may be chopped or conditioned, additives may be added, and it is then stored in the absence of air so that facultative anaerobic bacteria, present in the forage, or added as inoculants, can rapidly convert soluble carbohydrates into acids. The resulting pH of a well-ensiled product becomes so low that all life processes come to a halt and the material will be preserved so long as it remains in airtight storage. Silage making is practised widely in intensive animal production systems in temperate regions, mainly to bridge periods of the year when there is no high quality feed available in the fields and to supplement feed to improve milk production in the dairy industry. Bioenergy production, composting, silaging and mushroom production ensure that no lignocellulosic biomass is wasted, but fully exploited. Depending on the crop cultivated in the region, it will consist of either the polymer starch, sucrose, protein or oil. Although all of these polymers are useable as food for people, any excess can be transformed enzymatically into monomers, which are the preferable raw materials for microbial conversion into hundreds of different products. Nature has also provided us with starchy crops which are not very popular for food consumption in certain communities ( e.g. sagopalm), which could be exploited for product formation as they would not compete with natural food. The higher the crop yields, the more products can be produced. In order to obtain these monomers economically, each bio-refinery should have its own enzyme manufacturing facility to produce the starchy enzymes alpha- and glucoamylase, proteinases as well as esterases. The microorganisms to be used for these enzyme production units should be selected not only for their production rate, but also for non-pathogenicity and non-toxin producing capability which makes them available for feed supplementation after the production process. It is often forgotten that microbial biomass can also be a serious cause of environmental pollution. As an example, I may mention amylase production, which at present uses the strain Aspergillus niger, a fungus with strong capabilities for the production of the toxin aflatoxin . A simple change to Aspergillus oryzae or Rhizopus oligosporus would solve the problem. The monomers can now be converted into products of demand, ranging from antibiotics, biopolymers and surfactants to enzymes, alcohols, amino acids, organic acids and new products depending upon the choice of microorganism and the needs of humans and animals. All these technologies outlined in Figure 1 are readily available and are proven technologies. It is, however, important to realise that biorefineries must work on a multi-product system in order to be sustainable. Past agricultural practices have clearly shown that monocultures are far too vulnerable to pests and adverse weather and soil conditions. Turning to the right hand side of the figure, the management of human and animal waste for such a bio-refinery is outlined. Household wastes can either be used for electricity generation with the lignocellulosic material and/or mixed with the human and animal manure waste and transferred into the anaerobic digestion reactor for biogas production, the details of which are dealt with under biofuel generation. It is important to stress, however, that anaerobic digestion, similar to composting, is a selfsanitising system and very important for the good health of both people and animals. Under no circumstances should any of the raw waste be used directly for whatever purpose. We have to realise that the days of our grandparents are gone and we cannot use the techniques used in those days. Our grandparents and parents had no antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens and none of the virulent mutants. The incredible death toll in developing countries amongst children and the re-occurrence of rare infectious diseases in developed countries has always been traced back to inadequate selfsanitation systems.


The solids and liquid effluents from the anaerobic digester can safely be used directly as fertiliser, but would be much more effective in the soil after vermicomposting. Furthermore, the liquid effluent has a great potential for food production and should not be wasted on the fields. The liquid effluent is an excellent nutrient source for aquaculture, in particular for algae. These plants are phosphate and nitrogen scavengers, cleaning up our water resources. They are an excellent feed source for cultured fish and are also rich in proteins, vitamins and carotene, which enjoys an excellent market in health food stores. ,. In particular Spirulina can have a protein content of up to 72%, a remarkable resource for feed supplementation and vegetarians. Some countries, eg Chad, use algae as their main protein source in the place of fish, beef, pigs or other meat. Here again it is very important to realise that a proper selection of microorganisms is vital, since some algae are also producing toxins, as we have experienced all over the world with algal blooms occurring due to the waters being rich on phosphates from the leaching of phosphate fertilised soils. We must pay respect to the microorganisms to be used in any process, whether natural or biotechnological, as they are a part of the waste stream and have to be re-used or destroyed. The implementation of clean and healthy sustainable technologies means therefore

a) that the selected microbial catalyst has to be a non-pathogenic, non-toxic, natural (not genetic
engineered) strain, if it is being recycled as a protein supplement [MBP = microbial biomass protein]

b) that the use of genetically engineered microorganisms in processes requires special precautions, as
they cannot be used as protein supplements or fertiliser and must be incinerated. It is very distressing to realise that culture collections with expertise in microbiology are receiving almost zero support in Australia. Other developed and developing countries give much more support to these collections and have realised the most important part microorganisms play in our environment and the application of clean technologies. I have attached two additional figures [Fig. 2 and 3], which outline the concepts of a bio-refinery for our sugar industry and our grain industry. In Thailand we are now helping to establish a bio-refinery in one of the most important agro-industries of that country, the palm oil industry. Figure 4 shows the concept my Thai colleagues are trying to implement. It is my firm opinion that such regional biorefineries would not only stabilise but also enhance significantly our rural economy and sustainability, but their establishment depends on the initiatives and involvement of local communities and support from some government agencies. In the future we in Australia will not be able to afford our current extremely high levels of renewable resource wastage. As noted in my paper on biofuel generation, if the 250 million litre ethanol plant approved by the Bjelke-Peterson Government with the strong support of the Cane Growers Association had eventuated, we would not be paying today's high prices for transportation fuel. Further, if we used all our presently flared biogas, properly produced biogas from animal farms and feedlots plus all our bagasse for electricity etc, we would have a much healthier State of Queensland.







simple polymers [starch,sugar,oil]


MBP feed energy silage enzymes anaerobic digestion

mushroom compost feed monomers [glucose etc]






Waste utilisation [Anabaena, Dunaliella, Spirulina] catabolic regulatory endproduct mut ation MBP feed autotrophic mutation ethanol etc biosynthetic endproducts [antibiotics] gene technology aquaculture new products food MBP vitamins effluent extraction

biosynthetic catabolic intermediates [amino acids etc] [citric acid etc]


Processing of Biomass and control of pathogens within the concept of a Biorefinery

Figure 1: General outline of bio-refinery


Sugarcane Biorefinery





Waste Harvesting Tops Trash Energy M ill Bagasse Bagasse Mushroom Cane J uice MBP Biofertiliser Tops Trash Compost

Clarifier Filt er cake Evaporator Filt er cake

Anaerobic Digestion

methane syrup sugar A- molasses

eff luent


po nd [Ana baena, Dunaliella, Spirulina, Nosto c]


Fructose residue MBP Feed Ethanol residue CO2 MBP


eff luent

ext raction

Dry Ice

aquacult ure eff luent Food O2



Biof uel

Figure 2: Sugarcane bio-refinery











dry mill

wet mill

biofertiliser MBP amylase flo ur residue compost A naerobic digestion MBP DDG







DDG + MBP effluent CO2 ethanol dry ice feed biofuel

ponds [Ana baena, Dunaliella, Spirulina]



a quaculture vita mins food effluent O2 MBP

Figure 3: Grain bio-refinery



Fresh Fruit Bunches





residues diesel








Figure 4: Oilpalm bio-refinery


Articles Charters,W.W.S. and Lu Aye 1998 - Renewable energy market potential in APEC Songklanakarin J.Sci.Technol. 30: 107-113. DaSilva,E.J. and Doelle,H.W. 1980 - Microbial technology and its potential for developing countries Proc. Biochem. 15(3) :2-6. Doelle,H.W. 1989 - Socio-ecological biotechnology concepts for developing countries. MIRCEN J. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 5: 391-410. Doelle,H.W. 1994 - Microbial Process Development. World Scientific Publ., Singapore Doelle,H.W., Doelle,M.B. and Prasertsan,P. 1998 - Biotechnological process strategies for a sustainable development using environmentally clean technologies. Songklanakarin J.Sci.Technol. 30: 121-128. Doelle,H.W. and Foo,E.-L 2000 - Socio-Ecological strategies for future sustainabiliyt. A review of an internet conference. Acta Biotechnol. 20: 203-218. Ehrenfeld,J., Gettler,N. 1997 - Industrial ecology in practice - The evolution of interdependence at Kalundborg. J. Industr. Ecology 1: 67-79. Preston,T.R. 1995 - Research, extension and training for sustainable farming systems in the Tropics Livestock Research for Rural Development 7(2): Wibulswa,P. 1998 - Sustainable energy development for Thailand. Songklanakarin J. Sci. Technol. 30: 87-96. Wohlmeyer,H. 1987 - Biotechnology as an opportunity for the future. Nat. Resource Devel. 26::95-105 Webpage Information Agricultural Biotechnology - Bioenergy Australia - Bioenergy Information Network - Biofuels Program - Office of Fuels Department - Biogas Forum - CADDET renewable energy - City Farmers Urban Agriculture - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Network [EREN] - European Foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions FAO - Biomass Energy Technology - Greening Industry : New roles for communities, markets and governments


ISAT [Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology] - Living Technologies - M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation - National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Renewable Raw Materials - Survey - The Australian Renewable Energy Site - The Tropical Ecological Farm - University Tropical Agric. Foundation [UTA] -


Biofuel Generation
Horst W.Doelle MIRCEN-Biotechnology Brisbane and Pacific Regional Network International Organisation of Biotechnology and Bioengineering Biofuels are alcohols, ethers, esters, and other chemicals made from lignocellulosic biomass such as herbaceous and woody plants, agricultural and forestry residues, polymers [eg starch, sugar and plant oils], and a large variety of municipal solid and industrial wastes. Biofuels can be in the form of solids, gas and liquids [Fig. 1]. Biofuels offer many benefits, since they are good for the environment and health because they add fewer emissions to the atmosphere than petroleum and coal fuels and use wastes that have currently no use. Biofuels, in contrast to petroleum and coal fuels, are a renewable, inexhaustible source of fuel, reducing dependency on foreign oil as their use grows domestically - thus helping local communities to become self-sufficient in energy supply.





co-generation & gasification

anaerobic digestion

pyrolysis fermentation

electricity & heat

electricity & heat


Figure 1. Forms of biofuels, processes and their uses

Modern applications of biofuel generation cover not only heat and power generation from biomass, but also include domestic applications such as improved cooking and heating stoves. Besides direct combustion of solid fuels, the application of gaseous fuels [gasification and biogas] and liquid fuels for transportation [ethanol, biodiesel] made from biomass are also considered as modern. Direct combustion deals mainly with primary fuels in the form in which it is available in nature or after some form of processing [briquetting, pelleting, heat, charcoal]. Briquetting and pelleting are densification processes of loose organic materials such as rice husks, saw dust, coffee husks, municipal wastes etc, aiming to improve handling and combusiton characteristics for stoves, fireplaces, kiln etc. Biomass-fired power plants have been installed in a number of countries in Asia and Europe. These plants have the option to deliver electricity to the grid, so-called dendropower, utilise the electricity to satisfy the power demand of a stand-alone production process, or a combination of both. Combined heat and power (cogeneration) plants [CHP plants] are often integrated with a pellet-manufacturing process. They have been installed in Scandinavia and are becoming increasingly popular in Asia. At a cost of SEK 216 million [approx. A$ 41 million], a Swedish company uses unprocessed biomass residues producing 120 GWh electricity and 210 GWh heat or in an integrated operation 170 GWh 98

electricity, 230 GWh heat with 130,000 tonnes of pellets. The electricity consumption in the pellet plant is around 100 kWh/tonne. While the heat is connected to a district housing system for heating houses and schools, the surplus electricity goes into the grid and the pellets are transported to the market place. The worlds first straw-fired CHP plant was constructed in 1989 in Denmark. The plant uses about 26,000 tonnes of straw annually and has a nominal production capacity of 5 MWe and 13 MJ/s heat. The annual electricity production is around 17 GWh, corresponding to the consumption of around 3,000 households. Heating output in 1998 was around 228 TJ. Around DKK 102 million [approx A$ 22 million] has been invested in the plant itself and around DKK 12 million in transmission pipes. Co-generation of both heat and power is increasingly applied in various wood and agroprocessing industries such as sugar, palm oil and rice mills in Asia, in particular in the Philippines. It is encouraging to learn that the Australian Government is at last introducing programmes which will require the electricity industry to achieve a significant increase in the contribution of renewable energy generators. Currently the dominant fuel in the Australian biomass industry is sugarcane bagasse. About 60 years ago, mills started to generate electricity mainly for their own needs. Bagasse currently fires 14% of Australia's cogeneration capacity with 302.8 MWe installed. Estimates made by the Sugar Research Institute suggest that there is enough waste bagasse currently produced in Australia to provide fuel for an additional 3,000 MW. The questions we have to ask ourselves are What about the available bagasse and what about the straw in our grain growing areas and other residues?.Why is not more done with this biomass in Australia ? It looks even worse in Australia when we consider gaseous fuel. The most profitable use of gaseous fuel is biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide. Biogas production using anaerobic digestion is a commercially proven technology. Whereas our sewage plants burn the gas in flares, biogas usage is growing at a dramatic pace in Asia and Europe. Anaerobic reactors are generally used for the production of biogas from manure and crop residues. In general, a mesophilic digester produces 1 m3 biogas from every m3 digester volume. Biogas can be used for electricity generation as well as cooking and heating. Biogas has a very similar heat value to natural gas and LPG, but is a renewable resource. Depending on availability of raw material, digesters range from 6-2,000 m3 in size and cost from US$ 50 [polyethylene tube reactor] upwards. If the daily amount of available dung is known, gas production will approximately correspond to: 1 kg cattle dung: 1 kg pig dung: 1 kg chicken droppings: 40 l biogas 60 l biogas 70 l biogas

A 100 l refrigerator requires 30-75 l/h and the generation of 1 kWh of electricity 700 l/h biogas or 1 m3 biogas is sufficient to generate 1.5 kWh. In summary, one can substitute 1 m3 biogas with 1 lb of LPG, 0.52 l of diesel oil or 0.54 l of petrol. By the end of 1998, Finland had established 24 biogas plants. This biogas produced 112 GWh of energy from sewage sludge, 19 GWh from industrial wastes and about 45 GWh from landfill. The total fuel oil equivalent of the Finnish biogas reactors and landfill installations in 1998 was 33,600 tonnes. The amount of bioenergy lost due to flare corresponded to 3,700 t. The amount burned to flare at landfill installations corresponded to 11,400 t of light fuel oil. Why this enormous biofuel energy source is not being used in rural and urban areas of Australia remains a mystery. I would like to see a calculation made of the flare if sewerage plants in Australia and the amount of bioenergy simply being wasted !


In 1998, the Peoples Republic of China reported 7 million family size and 600 large size biogas units, India approx. 3 million family size and 1,231 large size biogas units, Nepal 50,000 family size units, and Thailand 2,000 family size units. Finally we arrive at the liquid fuels, such as ethanol and bio-diesel. Biodiesel can be manufactured by adding transesterification equipment to existing oil seed crushing and refining facilities. Its use as a fuel is very comparable to its conventional counterpart. The power generated by an engine using biodiesel is about the same as conventional diesel (128,000 vs 130,500 BTUs, respectively). The result of this is that the engine torque and effective horsepower do not change, despite a change in fuel. Furthermore, this means that the fuel consumption of the average diesel engine running on biodiesel will remain unchanged. The final method of biodiesel manufacture is the transesterification of plant oil with methanol or ethanol in the presence of a catalyst. Essentially, the triglyceride is split so that the fatty acids are cut from the glycerol backbone. These fatty acids are simultaneously converted to their methylesters during this process, which are compounds that have chemical characteristics similar to those of conventional diesel fuel in terms of combustion. Such oils include soybean, canola, rapeseed, tallow and other vegetable oil. In addition, glycerol, a valuable byproduct of the process, can easily be isolated and sold, off-setting some of the production costs. Glycerol is being used in over 1500 applications such as drugs, polymers, paints, cosmetics and many others. The world produced and used almost 700,000 tonnes 0of glycerol in 1995, and Europe alone produces currently about 45,000 tonnes of glycerol per year from the biodiesel process. At the present time, a biodiesel production capability of about 10 million gallons per year [ 1 gallon approx. 4.5 l] exists in Austria alone. Whereas Europe uses rapeseed oil, the US produces biodiesel mainly from soybean oil, where approximately 7 lb of soybean oil are needed to make 1 gallon [about 3.8 l] of biofuel together with lb of crude glycerin. At present, Procter & Gamble, the sole US producer, has the capacity to supply up to 25 million gallons [ approx. 95 million litres] per year. The price of 100% biofuel ranged from US$ 2.20 to US$ 2.90 per gallon [ US$ 0.58-0.76 per litre], but in general, a 20/80 blend of biofuel and diesel is recommended. No engine modification is required. Bioethanol has been talked about in Australia over the past 3 decades. During the last few months in office, the then Premier of Queensland, J.Bjelke-Peterson, saw its potential and was about to legislate an approx. 250 million litre ethanol production facility in North Queensland, a recommendation turned down by the successive government despite the full support of the Cane Growers Association for ethanol production at the time. The cane growers were strongly in favour of a stable domestic market to offset the enormously fluctuating world market price of sugar. There is no doubt that bioethanol would not only consolidate our sugar industry, but also our rural grain industry. Fermented grain, eg sorghum or barley or wheat, has a much higher digestability for cattle than the seed itself. In the US it has been established that fermented grain increases digestibility 6-fold and reduces the odour developing in the feedlots. Sugarcane is the top raw material with an ethanol yield of 5,150 l/ha, followed closely by artichokes (5,000 l/ha), sugar beet (4,755 l/ha), cassava (4,450 l/ha), sweet sorghum (2,500 l/ha) and grain (23,000 l/ha). The world bioethanol production volume is about 33 x 109 litre/year and is estimated to grow to 36-37 x 109 litre/year by the year 2005. The largest market for fuel ethanol can be found in Brazil (14 x 109 l/year) followed by the USA. It is often forgotten that the first cars ever built by Daimler-Benz run on ethanol, that Brazil has used ethanol from sugarcane since 1903 by adding 5% to petrol, and reached a production volume of 650 million litres in 1941. Petrol blended with 30-50% ethanol and named Latol had been used in cars in Latvia before World War II. The price of petrol in the USA varies between US$ 0.11-0.17/l and for ethanol between US$ 0.26 and 0.40, whereas in France the cost of ethanol production from sugar beet varies between US$ 0.56 and


0.64 /ltr and from wheat is around US$ 0.50/l. Two decades ago it was estimated that the costs of ethanol production in Australia would be around A$ 0.50/ltr. As with electricity generation from solid fuels, bioethanol would have an enormous impact on the Australian rural economy. It has to be realised, however, that it is much more economic to produce ethanol from A- and/or B-molasses instead of C-molasses. High ethanol yields can only be achieved from high sugar or starch/glucose raw material. On the other hand, in contrast to sugar or grain production, biofuel production can still proceed profitably in times of bad weather and low sugar content in both sugarcane juice and grain grades. It is totally wrong to compare prices of first grade sugar or grain with ethanol prices, since lower grade standards are excellent raw materials for bioethanol. In a bioenergy production unit, no grain or sugarcane comes to waste. Furthermore, the residuals of the biodiesel and bioethanol production are excellent by-products for the pharmaceutical and cattle industries respectively. In view of all these biofuel generation technologies readily available and proven in the US, Europe, south-east Asia and South America, as well as in some countries of Africa (e.g. Malawi, Zimbabwe) it is very hard to comprehend why our rural industry and governments failed so far to see the benefits coming from these available technologies. Their use would relieve the external world price pressure in favour of a stable domestic market and thus improve and settle the rural economy. As mentioned earlier, all these technologies are still applicable during bad weather seasons, as straw, bagasse and low sugar material would still provide the industry with a good income. The establishment of a biofuel industry would furthermore create thousands of jobs and thus benefit our whole economy as well as making us less dependent on overseas oil imports. The US Department of Energy has reported that the bioethanol industry alone is responsible for approximately 200,000 jobs in the USA and from 1996 to 2001 will add US $ 51 billion to the US economy. It has also helped the rural corn industry to recover and to stop migration from the country to the cities. Based on this success, the President of the USA announced a tripling of the use of biomass technologies by the year 2010 in order to produce fuels and materials, increase farm incomes, lessen oil imports and reduce the impacts of global warming. Biofuel is therefore going into direct competition with the petrochemical products. What is Australia going to do with its enormous potential for biofuel generation?

Bekers,M. and A.Vigants 2001 - Production of alcohol for fuel and organic acids. EOLSS-Unesco BG6.58.3.4, Paris (in press) Lowrier,A. 2001 - Biodiesel. EOLSS-Unesco BG6.58.7.4, Paris (in press) Karki,A.B. 2001 - Renewable energy from organic wastes. EOLSS-Unesco BG6.58.6.10, Paris (in press) FAO-RWEDP - Biomass Energy Technology. Leinonen,S. and V.Knittinen 1999 - Biogas in Finland 1998. Dept. of Ecology, Univ.of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland van Zanten,W. 1999 - Energy from waste and biomass. CADDET Newsletter, October 1999 CADDET 1999 - Straw-fired CHP plant in Rudkobing. Technical Broschure No. 95 CADDET 1999 - The worlds first straw-fired CHP plant offers environmental benefits. Technical Broschure No. 96 CADDET 1999 - Biomass offers integrated solutions in Australia. Newsletter, October 1999


FAO 1998 - Options for Dendro Power in Asia. FAO Report on the Expert Consultation. RWEDP in Asia, Field Document 57, Manila 1998
USAID 1997 - Enhancing Biomass Energy Productoin opportunities in the Philippines.USAID/Nat.Renewable Energy Lab Project DE-AC36-99-GO10337

UIC Energy Resources Center - Economics of biodiesel Kwant,K. and W.van Zanten 1998 - Green electricity from waste wood. CADDET Newsletter 4 Maramba,F.D. 1978 - Biogas and Waste recycling. Regal Printing Comp., Manila Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology: CADDET International Information on Renewable Energy : European Foundation for Sustainable Development: Bioenergy Information Network:


Cleaner Production and Integrated Biosystems

Robert Pagan and Marguerite Lake UNEP Working Group for Cleaner Production in the Food Industry University of Queensland.

Cleaner Production is a relatively recent strategy to assess and minimise the environmental impacts from production and consumption. It has been recognised that it is not sensible to limit impact minimisation to the production process alone. To achieve the kinds of reductions in throughputs needed for the Factor X (4 or 10 or even 20 fold) reduction in materials use, then there must be significant attention paid to the consumption process as well as production. The use of Cleaner Production implies an awareness of many aspects of environmental management and operations, including knowledge of the production process, awareness of alternatives and substitute materials and a holistic approach to minimising impacts and maximising utility of resource use. A Cleaner Production approach offers considerable advantages to companies and to individuals that adopt such a strategy by increasing profitability from decreasing waste and focussing on efficiency gains. It involves a whole-of-life or life-cycle approach to minimising impacts and by its focus on strategic development can optimise resource use and company financial performance. Integrated biosystems are one aspect of the production/consumption chain which have not received a lot of attention in the past, but which can claim to be a true Cleaner Production opportunity. In such an approach, nutrients and energy cascade through a trophic system, with optimal use ideally being made of all aspects of the biota and with beneficial use at every step. Apart from the range of food crops and their synergistic opportunities with other life forms, there is a whole raft of opportunities for integrated biosystems using non-food crops. For example using crops which produce fibre, or fuel and energy, and for products such as pharmaceuticals. Cleaner Production is a strategy which can consider the opportunities in an integrated biosystem to optimise the interplay of the components and ensure that full use is being made of the different parts of the system. In this paper we will examine how Cleaner Production through a life-cycle concept can be applied to the agrifood chain and how it can assist in optimising environmental outcomes, including the adoption of an integrated biosystem approach.

Introduction Different areas of the world and different parts of different countries have different environmental and sustainability needs. These differences are most obvious when comparing less developed countries (LDCs) and more developed countries (MDCs), where needs, wants and priorities are quite different. For less developed countries, the ability to provide growing populations with the most basic of food needs is the number one priority. Therefore, food needs focus on intrinsic requirements of production, such as access to a plot of fertile land and a good water supply with which to grow the food and the ability to distribute products to consumers. The intensity of production required to meet the needs of ever-growing populations means that upstream production processes can have adverse impacts on the environment. In these regions therefore, concerns about environmental sustainability focus on preventing the degradation of arable land, preventing loss of water resources and finding sources of energy (Table 1).


Table 1.Imperatives for food security for LDCs from an environmental perspective More calories More basic foodstuffs Land protection Fuel provision Water protection Prevent starvation Conserve water quality and health Conserve land values Prevent land destruction Conserve water quality and health

In contrast, MDCs are not generally faced with food security issues and many problems are related to over-consumption rather than deficiencies. Due to higher levels of affluence, food is available in abundance and consumers needs are focused on maintaining their particular life styles. Consequently, food is expected to be safe, of high quality, available in abundant variety and prepared and packaged in a convenient form. The downstream production processes required to meet these expectations place additional burdens on the environment as well as those generated by upstream food production. In these regions, sustainability issues are concerned with minimising the resource intensity of downstream processing and packaging activities.

Table 2. Priorities for MDCs in linking food needs and the environment Fewer calories Special foodstuffs Safe and high quality foods Highly prepared foods Water protection Land protection Air, noise and nuisance protection Avoid health problems Encourage healthy life More quality and processing Convenience Nutrient, pesticide run-off Soil degradation and loss Amenity values

Despite these different imperatives, the factors that ultimately govern the environmental sustainability of food production are shared in common, and most nations face challenges in all these areas: the conservation of soils and nutrient status; the wise use of fertilisers; the selection and preservation of productive genetic stock; the careful use of agents for controlling disease and insect blight; the efficient use of resources, in particular water and energy; the protection of water quality though the careful disposal of wastes; and the minimisation of wastes and productive use of by-products. Sustainability issues cut across the entire food production and supply chain, from agricultural production to processing through to packing, distribution and final consumption (see Figure 1). This paper explores how an integrated approach can influence environmental sustainability throughout the food production and consumption chain.


Figure 1. Schematic representation of the food production & supply chain, showing inputs & outputs.
Paper / cardboard Plastic Glass Metals Energy Transport fuels

Soil Water Pesticides / herbicides Fertilisers Energy

Feed / grazing land Water Antibiotics etc. Energy Livestock production

Water Cleaners/ sanitisers Energy


Greenhouse gas emissions Nutrient Greenhouse gas emissions Manure management problems





Soil loss Contaminated runoff Harm to nontarget species

Effluent Food residues

Solid waste

Greenhouse gas emissions Other transport emissions

Solid waste

Resource efficiency and sustainability Resource efficiency means using less to produce more and is relevant to all aspects of food production; agriculture, intensive animal husbandry, processing, packaging and distribution. As the cornerstone of concepts such as Cleaner Production and Eco-Efficiency, it is probably one of the more widely recognised drivers for more sustainable food production, particularly in the food processing sector of developed countries. Especially throughout the fast growing regions of Asia, Cleaner Production (CP) is seen as a sensible way of addressing the need for improved resource efficiency and higher productivity. The CP approach has not yet been widely applied in agriculture, but there are obvious possibilities. In agriculture, resource inefficiencies can occur in water and irrigation management, nutrient and soil management and pest and disease control, as well as energy management. Environmental problems, which are a symptom of these inefficiencies, include erosion of soil, runoff contaminated with nutrients and pesticides, harm to non-target pest species and an increased emission of greenhouse gases. A study undertaken by the German Bureau of Sustainable Agriculture studied nitrogen inputs into German agriculture to determine Figure 2: Precision Agriculture production efficiencies (Isermann, 1998). They found that nitrogen input More precise system was 2-3 times too high and resulted in a net biomass production that was only Increased yield Products 25% efficient. This inefficiency causes emissions of reactive nitrogen into the Just enough & just in hydrosphere and atmosphere that were time application Waste Inputs 2-8 times too high.
Farm System
Reduced loss of nutrient, pesticide and water Lower environment impact

Traditional system
High level of inputs. Managing risk without considering the full cost of waste.


Yield / quality losses


Inputs Farm System

Excess nutrient (N), pesticide and water runoff groundwater volatilisation

A number of techniques under the general heading of Integrated Crop Management (ICM) are slowly evolving to help address some of these inefficiencies. Precision Agriculture (Figure 2) for example, uses monitoring and mapping techniques to supply exactly the right amount of fertiliser, water or chemical control agents to crops at exactly the right time and place.


The processing of many food products generates high levels of waste (Table 3). For example, 50-60% of some vegetables can finish up as waste, while foodstuffs such as seafood and meat, also produce high levels of waste. Since food wastes are organic they have been traditionally viewed as benign (its only food), however, due to increasing production intensity and often production in urbanized areas they can create significant environmental impacts if waste streams are not managed carefully. Many of the wastes generated by food processing do have some value and in many instances they can be reused, recycled, or modified to produce other by-products. Each sector, dairy, beverages, fruit and vegetable, starch and snack food, bakery, meat and seafood processing etc. has its own specific wastes that are produced at different stages of the production process. Often wastes can be minimised by the application of good housekeeping practices and best practices techniques. Some examples of resource efficiency opportunities for a selection of food processing sectors are provided in Table 4.
Table 3: Losses in food processing Food Sector Oils and fats Dairy Brewing Biscuits and starch Confectionary Fish Fruit and vegetable Meat Indicative process losses (% wt) 1 1.5 2 5 15 40 50 76

Source: (Niranjan & Shilton, 1994)

A huge concern for the food processing sector overall is the use of water and the subsequent generation of effluent. Especially in some less developed countries the discharge of food wastes with high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) into open drains can cause considerable nuisance problems.
Table 4: Resource efficiency opportunities for food processors

Meat & poultry plants

For most meat and poultry plants, large quantities of water are used for washing carcasses and for cleaning plant and equipment at the end of each shift. In poultry processing, water is also used for hot water scalding, in water flumes for transporting animal wastes and for chilling birds. Adopting dry cleaning practices, using spray nozzles on hoses and employing more efficient offal washing processes are key areas for water savings. For poultry processing, more water efficient processes and equipment include pneumatic waste handling instead of water fluming and the use of modern scalding systems. There are also opportunities for reusing wastewaters, for example, by using scald water overflow for plucking flumes and by recycling chiller water.

Fruit & processing


Consumption of hot water is an important area of resource efficiency for breweries. Hot water is produced from cooling the wort and is usually used for mashing. However there is generally an excess of hot water, and if not utilised, represents a valuable loss of energy. Breweries also have the opportunity to reduce energy consumption and energy related emissions by improving the efficiency of their boilers. Wastewater generated from breweries is also particularly amenable to treatment by anaerobic digestion. This not only reduces the pollutant load of the wastewater but also generates methane-rich biogas that can be used to supplement fuel in the boiler.

In this sector, considerable amount of raw material may be lost to the waste stream up to 50-60% for some products. Grading and sorting on farm minimises the quantities of reject material and dirt that is transported to the processing operation and allows for more efficient recycling back to the farm. Greater integration along the supply chain and controlling the temperature of the product from harvest to market using systems such as modified atmosphere packaging are becoming important for maximising quality and therefore reducing wastage. Sourcing markets for lower grade products can also help reduce wastage in some instances.


The list of wastes both upstream in agriculture, during processing and downstream in distribution and consumption is long. It is also questionable. When we say waste in food processing there will almost certainly be someone to comment and criticise, because too many food wastes really represent a most valuable resource, if only we can harness the energy, the nutrient and the function inherent in the resource. The Cleaner Production strategy can be applied to this concept to minimise losses and to recover value through various processes including integrated biosystems. The integrated biosystems approach is inherently Cleaner Production in practice it considers all aspects of a food/bioproduction chain and says How can we maximise the value of this food chain?. How can we use all the streams to maximum advantage?. This is an industrial ecology approach where we identify how industry can mimic nature. In a natural system there is no waste - everything is recycled, recovered or reused - and similarly, we want to do this with integrated biosystems. Not just for foodstuffs, but numerous biocrops have been proposed to promote more sustainable use of resources on the planet. For example: CROP
Sugar cane USES Food Fuel (as ethanol) Fuel (tops and bagasse) Antibiotic (ferment to penicillin etc) Solvent (ferment to acetone/butanol) Biopackaging (ferment to biodegradable materials) Fibre Fuel Pharmaceutical Food Drink Construction Fuel Food (as litter for chickens)

Kenaf Aloe Vera


Source: (Benjamin and van Weenen, 2000)

There are numerous other examples of integrated bioprocessing where food/feed materials cascade through the feed chain and value is extracted at every step. Figure 3, which has been adapted from Shober (1988), shows that ideally we usually want to extract maximum value from food wastes as human food. Successive uses bring less successful outcomes.

Hierarchy of Value for Wastes

Higher value Human food


Animal feed

Land application Landfill from Shober, 1988

Figure 3. The waste value hierarchy for food wastes Source: (Shober, 1988)


Where do integrated biosystems fit into this picture? It is our contention that having an integrated system allows us to take the residual or waste components from one process and cascade it through several other processes, retrieving value at every step. It is important of course to ensure that the approach does not start a self-seeking goal of creating more residuals to cascade to lower value and hence lower efficiency products. This is one of the big arguments from many who are opposed to a market in waste. This school of thought contends that because you can make use of a waste, there is a driver to create more waste, instead of using true Cleaner Production principles.

Technology and sustainability The Green Revolution in the agricultural sector is an example of the significant role that technology plays in food production. It includes a whole suite of technologies, which has dramatically improved the yields from staple crops such as wheat, rice and maize, including seed varieties, mono-culture, mechanisation, petrochemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides and irrigation. Such technologies have provided the ability for LDCs to better feed growing populations and for MDCs to further enhance quality of life. However the technologies have not been without their problems, for example, the reliance on agrochemical-based pest and weed control, water management problems arising from the expansion of irrigation areas and the possible genetic erosion due to the introduction of high yield crop varieties. One technology that is evolving rapidly is biotechnology and in particular, the genetic modification of foods has leapt into prominence recently. The question of whether biotechnology is compatible with sustainable food production is highly contentious. Proponents stress the potential of biotechnology to reduce the need for chemicals and for improving quality, safety, cost and convenience of food products. Opponents raise a variety of food safety, ecological, social and ethical issues. A healthy mix of both perspectives, as well as application of the precautionary principle will be required to ensure this technology remains a productive force. Other traditional forms of biotechnology, which involve the use of microorganisms for digestion and fermentation etc., will continue to play an increasingly important role in the area of food processing. This form of biotechnology has been used for centuries for making cheese, yogurt, bread and wine, but its role has expanded considerably to include by-product recovery, value-adding of wastes and biological wastewater treatment. An example is the production of methane-rich biogas from the anaerobic digestion of organic waste streams, which can supplement fuel supplies. Other applications include the production of lactic and propionic acids from whey, production of bioflavours from vegetable residues and the recovery of alcohol and other chemicals from starch wastes. Biotechnology could play a very useful role as part of an integrated biosystem, for example recovering alcohol from sugar waste, then methane from those residuals and possibly other products from growing algae on subsequent streams. Membrane separation technology is another area that has significant potential for resource recovery in the food processing sector and uses are growing rapidly. Examples include the recovery of whey protein concentrate and lactose from dairy processing wastes and the recovery of protein from blood wastes using ultra- and microfiltration. Other physical separation techniques can be used to recover proteins and fats from meat and poultry processing effluents, fish oil from fish processing wastes and citrus oil from waste citrus peels, to cite a few examples. Examples of chemical recovery techniques have also been reported, such as the recovery of chitin and chitosan from shellfish processing wastes. A summary of some resource recovery applications is provided in Table 5. While many of these techniques are still in developmental stages, greater application of these technologies can be expected in the future. They will enable useful and potentially valuable commodities to be recovered from food and beverage processing waste streams. This may provide additional revenue streams for food processors but will also minimise the disposal of waste streams.


This has obvious implications for the concept of integrated systems where the viability of downstream processes may depend on the ready availability of no, low or negative cost streams. According to Shobers hierarchy we should always seek to eliminate or minimise waste at source first before seeking lower value alternatives.
Figure 5: Resource recovery from food processing wastes

Lactic and propionic acid recovery from fermentation of milk whey Bioflavour recovery from the fermentation of vegetable residues Biogas recovery from the anaerobic digestion of food and beverage processing effluents Fuel alcohol recovery from starch

Separation technologies
Whey protein concentrate and lactose recovery using ultrafiltration and nanofiltration Protein recovery from blood using membrane filtration Protein and fat recovery from meat and poultry processing effluent using dissolved air concentration systems Fish oil recovery from fish processing wastes Citrus oil recovery from citrus peel pressing wastewater using vacuum distillation

Chemical processes
Recovery of phenolic food lipids from red grape marc using solvent extraction Chitin and chitosan recovery from the exoskeleton of crustaceans Collagen recovery from animal pelt

Trends in Food Consumption For less developed countries, the most significant dietary related trend is the increase in demand for food of animal origin, which has been referred to as the Livestock Revolution. Unlike the Green Revolution, this has been a demand-driven trend fuelled by population growth, urbanisation and income growth. People in LDCs currently obtain an average of 11% of their calories from animal sources, compared with 27% for people in MDCs (Delgado, 1999). This difference gives an indication of the dramatic changes in store for global food production. It is projected that by 2020 LDCs will consume 100 million metric tons more meat and 223 million metric tons more milk than they did in 1993, dwarfing the increases in more developed countries of 18 million metric tons for both meat and milk. The trend towards higher consumption of animal-derived food in developing regions has been identified by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) as an important environmental issue (Delgado, 1999). The IFPRI believe that livestock can contribute to environmental sustainability in mixed farming systems that strike a proper balance between crop and livestock intensification. However the higher numbers and higher concentrations of animals needed to meet the growing demands can lead to degradation of grazing areas, emission of greenhouse gases and excess levels of nutrients, issues which are rarely reflected in the costs of animal-derived products. This trend may alter the availability of suitable streams for an integrated bio-systems approach. As more people turn to such products it is possible that more streams and more concentrated streams of biologically valuable wastes will become accessible. It is important to harness these streams and convert them into value added products. Similarly the trends mentioned earlier for MDCs to convert to more processed products might also make more concentrated streams available for bioprocessing. The problem to be faced is that these


streams will be in urban areas and with little access to spare land for less intensive processes and the fact that odour generation must be addressed. The Australian Food and Grocery Council recently undertook a survey of the environmental management practices of its member companies. Compared with a similar survey undertaken six years ago, there has been an increase in environmental consciousness and a higher number of executive staff dedicated to environmental issues. It has also been observed that in some instances, the managing director has become the driver of environmental change and not the environmental officer. This implies a change from a more compliance-focused approach to a more longer-term and strategic one. Formalised reform of the industry has only just begun. This is a good time to be concentrating on waste minimisation, waste utilisation and the benefits offered by adopting the precepts of the waste minimisation hierarchy and Cleaner Production.

Conclusions The world is changing and with it, food habits and patterns of consumption. Demographics are changing rapidly and food production is one of the most obvious areas where the world has become globalised. Cleaner Production concepts can be applied at all stages of the food production and supply chain, at the farm level, during processing, packaging and delivery and even at the consumption stage. To achieve a sustainable food industry we need to, and we can, influence each process within the food chain; through greater resource efficiency, through the use of technology, by educating the consumer and by having a better appreciation of emerging trends. The use of an integrated bio-systems approach to make full use of the present long list of discards from the sector will bring about a more rational use of resources and a more efficient society. This approach is still in its infancy, but is destined to play an important role in developing the full potential of the food sector resource chain. A life-cycle approach, to discover the inputs, the outputs and the quantitative resources used and discarded at every step of the chain is required to analyse the production process and point out areas for maximum value conservation.

Benjamin, Y and van Weenen, H. 2000. Crops for Sustainable Enterprise - Design for Sustainable Development. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Dublin, Ireland. (accessed 14/3/01). Delgado C. et al. 1999. Livestock to 2020: The Next Food Revolution. 2020 Vision Discussion Paper 28. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). (accessed 14/3/01). Isermann, K., and Isermann, R. 1998. Food production and consumption in Germany: N flows and N emissions. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems Vol 52, pp 289-301. Niranjan and Shilton 1994. AIChemE Symposium #90. Pimentel, D. and Pimentel M. 1996. Food, Energy and Society. Revised Edition. University Press of Colorado. Colorado. Shober, R T. 1988. Water conservation / waste load reduction in food processing facilities. Food Processing Waste Conference, Georgia Tech. Research Institute, USA.


Adopting Vermiculture Technology to Manage and Utilize Organic Waste

Steve Capeness Vermitech Pty. Ltd.

Introduction Two factors dominate the direction of biosolids disposal - economics and the environment. There is a global need for a range of cost-effective environmentally sustainable solutions for the management of the millions of tonnes of sludge produced daily. Solutions must be capable of being scaled to accommodate variations in volume, climate, urbanisation and industrialisation while meeting strict public health and environmental guidelines. Recovery of resources and safe beneficial reuse are increasingly important criteria. Very large scale vermiculture provides a flexible solution that is cost competitive, producing a highly stabilised, odourless end product (vermicast), which has proven agricultural application complementing and reducing chemical fertiliser requirements. The development of industrial scale, fully commercial vermiculture as a waste management solution has taken extensive research and development of mechanical equipment, systems and processes; waste blend regimes; and the value of the end product.

Mechanical Equipment, Systems and Processes The major design considerations were the natural behaviour and requirements of worms, the need to separate worms from the vermicast once it had been processed, the need to eliminate pollution including odour and leachate; the requirement for large volume processing in limited space in urban and animal production environments and the critical factors of minimising capital and operating costs. The solution was the development of a metal framed raised cage. The cage is open at the top. Waste is fed onto the top surface. Worms process the waste leaving their castings. Castings are removed from the base of the bed. This design is a continuous process. Feeding and harvesting occur daily. The beds are 3.6 metres wide and 70 metres long. Each bed can process 6 tonnes per day. Three systems of this design (the V-tech 1) are now operating, processing 700 tonne per week of biosolids, piggery sludge, green waste, paper and mixed food wastes. The largest V-tech 1 facility was installed at Cleveland. It processes 20,000 tonnes per year of Redlands Shire biosolids and 2,000 tonnes of green waste. It is built in an environmentally sensitive area adjacent to a protected marine environment, koala habitat and 400 metres to residences. The site generates no odour or leachate. The processing surfaces are sealed with bitumen to provide a stable work environment. Odour is controlled through waste blending and management practices. Before waste can be fed to the worms, it must be mixed. Mixing is carried out in batches using a modified mobile animal feed mixer. The mixer is tractor powered. After mixing the feed is discharged to the surface of the bed via a modified conveyor while the mixer is driven alongside each row. The feed is then mechanically raked across the surface of the bed. The beds are kept at optimal moisture using a computer controlled watering system.


The castings are removed from the base of the bed using a rotating cutting head attached to a skid steer loader. Land Area The area required for vermiculture has been a limiting factor. The table below sets out the area required for the processing of 20,000 tonnes per year. Windrow 22,000 V-tech 1 9,800 V-tech 2 4,300 V-tech 3 1,400

Processing Area required (m2)

The on-ground windrow is the traditional process used for vermiculture in India and Cuba. The V-tech 1 system is the current operating system. The V-tech 2 and 3 and new systems are under development. The V-tech 2 will be installed for Sydney Water in 2001. The small footprint of the V-tech 3 system has been developed to allow the system to be housed in a weather-proof building for cold climates. The design will also be used in cities where land is at a premium. Apart from being more space-efficient the new systems will use 60% less labour.

Waste Types All organic wastes can be fed to worms provided the waste is presented to the worm in an appropriate condition. Most vermiculture practitioners pre-compost material before feeding. Our research has focused on developing formulae and processes which eliminate this costly and resource-destructive step. Research and extensive operational practice has established that biosolids, regardless of process origin, can be fed to worms. Even totally undigested sludge can be processed. Sludge age, nutrient content, polymer type and degree of dewatering influence the choice of blend formula and processing technique. The V-Tech systems are ideal for processing seasonal organic waste streams such as discarded fruit and vegetables from processing and packing plants. Worms are tolerant of chemical and metal contamination. The degree to which they bioremediate and/or bioaccumulate is being researched. To date we have not noted any significant drop in heavy metal concentrations.

Mass Balance, Emissions and Energy Use Vermiculture is energy- and resource-efficient. End-product yield is greater than 50%. The V-tech system is dry. No leachate is lost from the base of the beds. Moisture is lost through evaporation. Inwards moisture average 82%. Outwards moisture averages 25%. Gas emissions have not yet been quantified. Worms are intolerant of volatiles, methane and high levels of CO2. Ambient bed temperatures are below 35oC. The high yield, coupled with the forgoing suggests that vermiculture produces very low greenhouse and other gases. An in vessel assessment is being carried out this year in conjunction with the Queensland University of Technology. An analysis of the energy and green house saving will include the net substitution effect for the fertiliser content of the casting.


The V-tech system is energy-efficient. Because the system can be located on site, the pollution and energy associated with transport are eliminated. All process energy is via diesel engines. Diesel use is 2.2 litres per tonne of waste. This will be reduced with the next generation of systems to under 2 litres per tonne.

Pathogen Reduction The V-tech 1 system consistently (100% to date on 15,000 tonnes) achieves Grade A stabilisation. Trials using on-ground techniques failed to achieve stabilisation.

Mean Pathogen Level of Casts from Vermitech Process

Standard Fecal Coliform (cfu/g) E coli (cfu/g) Salmonella Enteric Viruses (PFU/g) Helminth Ova Ascaris Taenia Stabilisation Grade Biosolids >310,000 >110,000 Not detectable, masked by fecal coliforms and E. coli Not tested Not tested Trial seeded to 23/gm NA Base of Bed 270 18 Not detected <1 Not detected <1 A Final Cast 180 4 Not detected <1 Not detected <1 A

Contamination Worms are tolerant to the levels of contaminants received from sewage plants. End product contamination levels are dependent on input contaminants. Some reduction in concentration is achieved through blending of non-contaminated waste but the major difference between vermicast and other biosolids reuse programs is the low application rate of 5 tonne per hectare. Vermicast is applied at less than 5 tonne per hectare. A report by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines concluded that the "impact of metals on soils (from the use of vermicast) is not detectable using standard analytic techniques".

Castings BioVerm* the End Product One tonne of sludge produces 500 litres of vermicast. The value of BioVerm* is undergoing extensive research to establish the long term commercial value in agriculture, particularly horticulture and forestry, land rehabilitation, parks and gardens, golf courses and racetracks. BioVerm* is not a fertiliser, having modest nutrient content. It has a wide range of minerals and micro-nutrients, organic carbon and most importantly is biologically very active. Testing has failed to identify any plant or human pathogens and the material is nematode-free. Currently our field research is focused on understanding the benefits of BioVerm* as a soil conditioner / activator and the interaction between BioVerm*, soils and crops. One of the first observations has been that BioVerm* has an optimum rate of application that could be related to general soil health, including factors such as balanced nutritional management, soil organic carbon


levels and soil biomass. The old manuring mentality of, twice as much is twice as good may apply only if the grower is prepared to take the wholistic approach to soil health and crop nutrition. We already know that soil biomass can influence the performance of specific crops and that certain crops can change soil biomass during their growth cycle. Using soil biomass analysis, it is possible to decide what a soil is missing in the biological spectrum and then add compatible compost for a specific use. Annual row crops such as vegetables, soybeans, cotton, turf and flowers like bacterial dominance in soil while tree crops, permanent pasture and strawberries prefer fungal domination. Plants dont leave this to chance in nature - instead their roots secrete products of photosynthesis that attract the right groups of bacteria or fungi into the rhizosphere. Applying compost with the correct microbial balance for the crop will enhance growth and plant health because the plant is being served by a dominant population of preferred soil microflora. Applying a compost with an incorrect biomass for the crop is not a disaster but it means that the plant loses growing potential while the soil biomass adjusts to a more desirable balance. Most research is conducted on a scientific basis with proper controls and replicates by accredited institutions. During our field extension phase, controlled grower trials are being evaluated by independent consultants. Australian research results to date include: Suppression of plant pathogens (club root, white root rot in apple, white rot in onion) Increased yield and quality in grapes, cherries, citrus, carrots, tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, brassicas, radish, pastures and grasses Earlier development, flowering and fruiting of tomatoes, capsicum and ornamentals Increased yield in cotton More effective establishment of vegetation on mine site rehabilitation

Conclusions Very large scale vermiculture offers an ecologically and commercially sustainable alternative to current technologies. The major advantages are: a pollution free process: no odour or leachate; minimal green house emissions; low energy use; competitive capital and operating costs; capable of being installed within the grounds of a treatment plant, eliminating transport of raw sludge; could be used to process other organic wastes generated in the region; 100% recycling producing a high value end product that reduces fertiliser requirement and improves the soil biodiversity


Processing of organic materials by the soldier fly, Hermetia illucens

Kev Warburton1 and Vivienne Hallman2 1 Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Queensland 2 The Green Food Company

Abstract Soldier fly larvae have attracted attention for their ability to process a wide range of organic materials, including green waste, animal manures and food scraps. This paper describes a successful technique for the culture of soldier fly larvae and studies of their waste processing efficiency. This involved the completion of the soldier fly life-cycle in captivity, and a method for manipulating the life cycle using temperature and food. We found that soldier fly larvae convert food waste more rapidly than earthworms and as such can play a useful role in integrated biosystems. Soldier fly larvae cope with high temperatures (at or above 30oC) better than earthworms and are suitable for applications in tropical Australia, where the processing rate is faster and populations can be maintained through continual egg-laying by wild adults. When sewage sludge was allowed to dry out at 30oC, soldier fly larvae and earthworms showed similar levels of dry matter reduction (>30%) over a two week period.

Background Several studies have demonstrated the viability of insect-based systems for processing organic waste. As with earthworms, efficient and reliable insect-based treatment systems can be built and maintained at extremely low cost. Recent studies (Sheppard et al. 1994; Nuov et al. 1995) have shown that certain dipteran (fly) larvae are able to reduce chicken and pig waste to a non-polluting residue in a matter of days under ideal conditions. One of the most useful species in this regard is the soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, a black fly 13-20 mm in length that resembles a wasp in appearance. This fly is found worldwide, often around buildings, but is not a pest species. The larval stage is maggot-like and usually found in piles of rotting vegetable material. Our studies at the University of Queensland has demonstrated that H. illucens is common in southeast Queensland (having been introduced from overseas) and freely utilises a wide range of domestic and other organic waste. Potential advantages of soldier fly-based waste management systems include the following (Sheppard et al. 1994): Dewatering and reduction of waste (e.g., by c. 50% in the case of chicken manure, more with waste having a higher water content). In the case of putrescible waste, this can significantly relieve pressure on landfill sites. Waste is aerated by large burrowing larvae. Larvae tolerate a wide range of pH and moisture levels. Larvae will self-harvest (migrate) just before pupation. Simple, reliable, low-technology systems. Minimal maintenance requirements. Hygienic (soldier flies eliminate housefly breeding). High insect yield (c. 8% by dry weight - i.e., similar to earthworm systems). High protein larvae; can be incorporated into livestock and fish feeds.


Despite the attractive features of the above systems, there is still a general lack of detailed quantitative information on their capacity and efficiency. Both earthworms and soldier flies have attracted attention through their ability to break down organic wastes. However, they have completely different life cycles. While earthworms may spend their entire life in the top 15 cm of moist composting material, the soldier fly life cycle has four distinct phases (May 1961), as follows: eggs are laid on a dry surface but in a high humidity environment close to a potential food source; larvae live and feed in an actively rotting food source, which is usually of plant origin; pupae move from this moist environment to a drier area of damp soil; adult flies emerge from the soil and deposit egg masses near food sources for young larvae. These differences in life cycles have important implications for the design of any waste management system involving earthworms or soldier flies.

Methods and Results The present research program concentrated on (a) the soldier fly life cycle (with the aim of defining conditions necessary for completing the life cycle in captivity) and (b) the processing of organic materials. Previous workers have documented the ability of soldier fly larvae (usually recruited naturally from the wild) to reduce materials such as manures and green waste (e.g., Fatchurochim et al. 1989; Sheppard et al. 1994; Newton et al. 1995; Newby 1997). We observed soldier fly larvae on a range of substrates but focussed mainly on sewage sludge, as part of an investigation into ways of reducing landfill and stockpiling and improving the value of municipal sludge. We compared the sludge reduction performance and growth rates of soldier fly larvae and earthworms since vermicomposting has been successfully used to convert sewage sludge to a value-added product (Outwater 1994). Soldier fly life cycle In the present study it was necessary to first establish whether stocks of larvae could be cultured as required. This involved demonstrating that the soldier fly life cycle could be completed in captivity, and determining the most suitable conditions for the rearing of eggs and young larvae. The experience gained in this part of the research program allowed us to rear the large numbers of larvae required for the high-density experimental trials. Egg laying (oviposition) by adults. A good egg-laying site was discovered at Mt. Nebo, north-west of Brisbane, and eggs were collected once or twice weekly from this location. The numbers of eggs laid in standard composting bins, and the occurrence of adult flies near the oviposition site, were monitored and related to weather conditions. The rate of adult activity, egg deposition and hatching in May-August (mean temperatures 12-15oC) was only 25-50% that observed during the remainder of the year. During a few weeks of extremely cold weather (in July; mean temperature 12oC) no new egg masses appeared. Adult flies were very active around oviposition sites during September-March (mean temperatures 15.5 - 21.5oC). When egg collection commenced in June 1998, microscopic identification indicated a single species. However, as summer approached and temperatures increased, young larvae of a second species of fly were observed. Eggs collected during the cooler months (May-August) were mainly those of a native species Exaireta spiniger, while those collected in the warmer months (September-April) were mainly those of the introduced species Hermetia illucens.


Based on observations made at Caboolture Sewage Treatment Plant, soldier fly adults do not lay their eggs in sewage sludge piles. Insect larvae were found but these proved to be representatives of other fly species. Under experimental conditions indoors (described below), adults did not lay in open containers of sewage sludge. Hatching of eggs and growth of young larvae After collection, eggs were maintained in containers with different levels of humidity to determine the moisture level necessary for larval hatching. As the eggs have a very soft, fragile exterior coating, desiccation was initially a problem. After experimentation with a number of different media in a variety of containers a system was developed that ensured high rates of larval production (thousands of larvae per week). This system involved keeping eggs in small transparent plastic containers (100 mm diameter x 60 mm height) with sealable lids, together with a tissue saturated with water to maintain high levels of humidity. While eggs did better on a dry surface, larvae needed a moist medium on which to feed. Experiments on larval growth were conducted. Test substrates included chopped fruit and vegetable matter, media for raising house flies (these media contained yeast, milk powder, guar gum and water) and moistened chicken pellets. Of these substrates, chicken pellets (moistened but not saturated) were found to be the most effective feed for larvae, from hatching through to pupation. Completion of the life cycle in captivity Experiments were carried out to determine if the soldier fly life cycle could be completed in a closed environment. Pupae and larvae close to pupation were placed in black plastic trays (600 x 300 x 100 mm) containing food in the form of moist processed chicken pellets. The trays were placed in a small (2.4 x 1.5 x 2.4 m) room with windows that admitted natural light. The closed room was maintained at ambient temperature (15-22 oC in July). Adult flies emerged after c. two weeks, at which point white polystyrene boxes (each 580 x 300 x 300 mm and containing a 50 mm layer of homogenised fresh fruit and vegetable waste) were placed in the room. The boxes had lids that were offset slightly to provide dark conditions but easy access for adult flies. The substrate was not renewed since adult flies are most strongly attracted to decomposing material. After 2-3 weeks, groups of eggs appeared on the undersurface of the lids, and one week later small larvae could be seen in the vegetable waste substrate. Thus, the life cycle could be completed under laboratory conditions. Life cycle manipulation Larval activity and growth slowed considerably as the mean daytime temperature dropped below 25 o C (April-September). Observations indicated that larvae seldom pupated at such temperatures. However, after transfer to 30 oC , some of the larvae used in the sludge processing experiments (see below) then pupated and adults later emerged. These findings showed that the length of time in the larval stage could be increased by reducing the temperature and/or the amount of available food.

Processing of organic materials General observations The feeding behaviour and activity of soldier fly larvae on a wide range of other organic substrates were recorded. The substrates were divided into two broad groups, namely high-carbohydrate foods (moist ground corn, moist brown and white bread , moist brewers grain, moist chicken pellets and fruit processing waste) and high-protein foods (sliced cold beef and fresh fish [silver perch]). At very


high larval densities and temperatures around 23 oC , all the above substrates were fully reduced within 30 minutes. At this ambient temperature the processing of feed (especially carbohydrate-based material) generated high temperatures (up to 42 oC ) within containers having high densities of larvae. In a direct-comparison trial at an air temperature of 25 oC, 350 g of soldier fly larvae were provided with the same weight of feed in the form of (a) moist white bread, (b) fresh sewage sludge, or (c) 175 g moist bread plus 175 g sewage sludge. After two hours, the bread had been reduced to 90 g, i.e., approximately a quarter of its original weight. In contrast, there was little noticeable change in the volume of the sludge, which appeared moist, and the larvae were less active and became coated with sludge. In the mixed treatment, the bread showed some reduction (c. 30%). After four hours, the bread had almost disappeared but there was little reduction in sludge volume. In experimental trials (see below), soldier fly larvae in containers of sewage sludge were found mainly at or near the bottom of the containers, moved very little, and the consistency of the sludge remained wet and sticky. For the first two days at 30 oC, the larvae were very active and consumed the sludge, but their activity then declined. In contrast, worm activity was high in containers of sewage sludge and worm densities were high just under the surface. After a few days (3-5 days at 23 and 30 oC) the sludge became friable and well aerated. Experiments The growth and processing characteristics of soldier fly larvae and earthworms were compared in two experiments. The first experiment was conducted with closed containers in an attempt to maintain conditions of high humidity. A second experiment was carried out with animals and sewage sludge in open containers. Both experiments were carried out at two environmental temperatures: 23 oC (close to the reported optimum for the growth of earthworms) and 30 oC (close to the reported optimum for the growth of soldier fly larvae) in controlled-temperature rooms. Earthworms were a mixture of species: reds (Lumbricus rubellus; 95%), blues (Perionyx excavatus; 4%) and tigers (Eisenia foetida; 1%). A system using corrugated, perforated aluminium sheet was used to separate half grown larvae (up to 5mm) from mixed age cultures and substrates for use in experiments. Larvae crawled through the holes into a collecting tray below. Experiment 1. The aim of this experiment was to compare the performance of soldier fly larvae and worms under conditions of excess food and continuous high-humidity. This was achieved by keeping the densities of animals low and containing the sludge and experimental animals in sealable plastic containers (150 x 120 x 80 mm) to reduce evaporative water loss. Each container was opened for five minutes per day to refresh the air supply. Fresh sewage sludge (250 g) was placed into each of eighteen containers on day one. The containers were deployed in a two-factor design as follows: two temperatures (23, 30 o C) x three treatments (larvae, worms, and sludge-only control). Each temperature x treatment combination was replicated three times. An additional 12 containers were filled with 250 g of fresh green waste (mixed fruit and leaf vegetables) and deployed in a similar way: two temperatures x two treatments (larvae, worms) x three replicates. Larvae or worms (5.5 g in each case) were placed in the relevant containers. Individual larvae and worms averaged 0.15 and 0.32 g wet weight respectively. After one week the animals were extracted from the containers and re-weighed. After two weeks the animals were again sorted and the wet weight of both animals and substrate recorded. For each temperature-treatment group, equal amounts of sludge or green waste were taken from the three replicates and mixed thoroughly. These samples were used to estimate dry weights (after drying in an oven at 65 oC ) and subjected to carbon and nitrogen analysis in the School of Land and Food, University of Queensland. Dry weights, %C and %N were also estimated from fresh samples of sludge and green waste. Replicated reduction and growth data were compared using analysis of variance.


At both temperatures, mean wet sludge weights for the three treatments (control, larvae, worms) differed significantly after two weeks (F2,6 = 355.1, p<0.001 at 23oC; F2,6 = 75.9, p<0.001 at 30oC; Fig. 1). Weights for both animal treatments were significantly lower than the controls (p<0.013 at 23oC; p<0.001 at 30oC) and those with worms were lower than those with larvae (p<0.001 at 23oC; p<0.01 at 30oC). With larvae, the rate of reduction was significantly greater at 30oC (F1 = 22.7, p<0.01), but with worms it was significantly greater at 23oC (F1 =129.3, p<0.001) (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Reduction of wet weight of sludge (means s.e.) over two weeks (Experiment 1).

The reduction in total solids was proportionally greater than the loss of water (Table 1). However, only in the case of the lower temperature worm treatment did the rate of solids loss substantially exceed that of the controls. At both temperatures, water loss was greatest in the worm treatments.


Table 1. Changes in total solids and moisture content of sludge over two weeks (Experiment 1). Temperature 23oC Treatment control larvae worms 30oC % total initial 14.6 14.6 14.6 solids final 13.0 13.8 12.5 % change in water content - 0.3 - 1.6 - 6.7 % change in total solids - 12.1 - 8.1 - 22.4

control larvae worms

14.6 14.6 14.6

12.2 12.4 12.8

+ 1.3 - 2.0 - 4.3

- 17.8 - 19.1 - 18.0

Relative to the controls, the carbon content of sludge was reduced only marginally by the larvae, but considerably more in the presence of worms. Temperature had no apparent impact on this effect. A similar pattern was evident in the %N results; however, at 23 oC, the nitrogen content was higher (not lower) with larvae than in the controls (Fig. 2). This paralleled the trend in dry weight change noted above. The reason for this is not clear, but is suggests that at the lower temperature the larvae were unable to take advantage of microbial production and utilise the carbon and nitrogen available in the sludge, whereas worms are able to make use of both of these resources. Over the two week period the earthworms maintained on sludge increased in weight by 4.2 times at 23oC . However, at 30 oC their growth slowed in the second week, the eventual factor of increase being 2.8 times (Fig. 3). Growth of soldier fly larvae on sludge was much slower at both temperatures, larvae increasing in weight by a factor of 1.3 times at 30 oC but not growing in the wetter conditions at 23 oC (Fig. 3). In contrast, on green waste larval weight showed a relatively strong increase (1.7 times) at both experimental temperatures (Fig. 4). Data were not collected from the worm-green waste treatment because the worms drowned in the wet decomposing material inside the closed containers after two days. Statistical analysis showed that at both temperatures worm growth significantly exceeded larval growth (F1 = 4431.4, p<0.001 at 23oC; F1 = 95.0, p<0.001 at 30oC) and larvae grew better on green waste than on sludge (F1 = 11.8, p<0.05 at 23oC; F1 = 10.2, p<0.05 at 30oC).


Figure 2. Changes in nitrogen and carbon content over two weeks (Experiment 1). N and C are expressed as a percentage of sludge dry weight. Each determination was made on an homogenised mixture of three samples.


Figure 3. Growth of larvae and worms (total wet weights s.e.) on sludge over two weeks (Experiment 1).


Figure 4. Growth of larvae (total wet weights s.e.) on green waste over two weeks (Experiment 1).

Experiment 2 Experiment 2 examined the performance of soldier fly larvae and worms at high densities in larger volumes of aerated sludge. The animals and sludge were kept in open containers to maintain good aeration and to allow the release of ammonia. Sludge was added in daily batches of 100 g to avoid compaction problems. Treatments were larvae or worms (100 g) added on day one. Sludge controls (no animals) were also monitored. The containers were wire baskets (20 cm diameter x 15 cm high) lined with weed mat that allowed free movement of air and moisture. Trials were carried out at 23oC and 30oC and lasted for two weeks. At 23oC, sludge wet weights for the three treatments (controls, larvae and worms) were significantly different after two weeks (F2,33 = 35.05, p<0.001); the two animal treatments were significantly lower than the controls (p<0.001) and the mean for the worm treatment was less than that for larvae (p<0.001) (Table 2). However, at this temperature neither larvae or worms significantly reduced the dry matter content (changes of + 8.1% and - 0.1% respectively). At 30oC, sludge mean wet weights were marginally different (F2,33 = 3.03, p=0.062), being lower for the larval treatment than the controls (p=0.052) or worm treatment (p=0.033). At this temperature, both larvae and worms reduced dry matter considerably, by 30.7% and 31.7% respectively (c.f. 2.6% for controls). Drying out increased


the solids content of the sludge from 10.3% to 43, 28 and 24.5% in the control, larval and worm treatments - in contrast, at the lower temperature, dry matter content remained below 15%. The carbon and nitrogen trends closely paralleled those in Experiment 1, except that the disparity in %N for the larval treatments was reversed (N = 4.73% at 23oC and 5.43% at 30oC).
Table 2. Wet weight of sludge (mean s.e.) after two weeks (Experiment 2). In each case the original weight was 1400g. Numbers of replicates = 6 (controls) and 12 (animal treatments). Temperature 23 C 30oC

Control treatment (g) 1117 16 413 46

Larval treatment (g) 979 35 346 13

Worm treatment (g) 866 6 420 22

In Experiment 2 the mean wet weight of larvae increased by a factor of 1.2 at 23oC and 1.1 at 30oC. The mean weight of worms increased by a factor of 1.5 at 23oC and 1.2 at 30oC. Worm growth significantly exceeded larval growth (F1=11.04, p=0.003 at 23oC; F1=6.19, p=0.021 at 30oC). Conclusions In the above experiments, dry matter reduction of sewage sludge by soldier fly larvae was negligible in wet conditions (i.e., moisture contents > 85 % in Experiment 1 and at 23oC in Experiment 2). However, substantial dry matter reduction occurred in exposed conditions at 30oC in Experiment 2, where moisture contents declined from 90 to 72%. Fatchurochim et al. (1989) found that development rates of H. illucens were highest in poultry manure having 70% moisture. In the present 30oC trial, dry matter reduction was similar for larvae and worms. Given that the optimal moisture level for earthworm (E. foetida) cocoon formation is 81-88% (Neuhauser et al. 1988), it appears that through drying, conditions changed from favouring earthworms to favouring soldier fly larvae as the trial progressed. However, in Experiment 1, soldier fly larvae grew well on green waste having a similar moisture content (85.5%) as sewage sludge (85.4%). Soldier fly larvae are often associated with wet or semi-liquified conditions and there is a need for more work to determine optimal moisture levels for their development in different substrates (Fatchurochim et al. 1989). Reduction rates observed in these experiments should be regarded as minimum levels. In Experiment 1 animal densities were low and the enclosed conditions may have restricted oxygen exchange and release of ammonia. In Experiment 2 conditions were not consistently optimal for either larvae or worms and the generally lower growth rates in this experiment may be an indication of above-optimal stocking levels. This work showed that both earthworms and soldier fly larvae are capable of reducing sewage sludge. Neuhauser et al. (1988) showed that the presence of worms increased the rate of stabilisation of volatile sludge solids. Outwater (1994) reported a method of vermicomposting pioneered in California whereby sludge is pretreated by static pile composting to control pathogens, dried to 82-85% moisture content, and mixed with straw for transfer to vermicompost beds inhabited by E. foetida and L. rubellus. The quality and marketability of the final product are superior to traditional composted sludge. Neuhauser et al. (1988) recorded cocoon production by earthworms in sewage sludge. In contrast, self-sustaining soldier fly populations cannot be maintained on sewage sludge since this substrate is not attractive to egg-laying adults. This factor is likely to affect the economic viability of soldier fly sewage sludge reduction systems. Larvae would have to be reared from eggs laid on more attractive substrates under highly controlled conditions, and then transferred in batches to the sludge beds.


When processed by earthworms in an ambient temperature range of 15-27 oC, sewage sludge provides a light, moist, crumbly product which is free of odour. As part of this study, preliminary investigations indicated that the casts from worms grown on sewage sludge are suitable for use as a soil improver (however, in the absence of pre-treatment to control pathogens this should be limited to applications such as forestry and mine site rehabilitation). In contrast, after processing by soldier fly larvae, the sludge is very sticky, and larvae become covered with a layer of the material. This material would be less easily incorporated as a soil amendment, but its quality could probably be improved by mixing sludge with other organic matter in composting beds. Soldier fly larvae showed high processing activity on a range of high-carbohydrate and high-protein substrates and strong growth on fruit and vegetable waste. Research carried out for local councils in the Rockhampton area has demonstrated that soldier fly larvae can be employed successfully to reduce green waste rapidly in domestic composting situations (Newby 1997). The present results suggest that soldier fly larvae would be more effective than earthworms in the rapid processing of food waste from domestic and institutional sources, shops and restaurants. Given that food residues and scraps represents a large fraction of municipal waste, such an approach could significantly reduce the amount of waste contributing to land-fill.

Acknowledgments We are grateful to Caboolture Shire Council and the Queensland Department of Communication and Information, Local Government, Planning and Sport for research funding provided through the Advanced Wastewater Treatment Technology scheme. We thank Frank Fornasier and Senthi Nathan of Caboolture Shire Council for project and logistical support, and Greg Daniels (Curator, UQ Insect Collection) for insect species identification.

Buckerfield, J. and Applehof, M. 1996. Vermicomposting in Australia. Biocycle, June 1996. Cameron, D. 1994. Compost filtration: a new approach to on-site resource management. Proceedings of Conference on Localised Treatment and Recycling of Domestic Wastewater, pp. 46-51. Murdoch University, Perth, W.A., 30 November 1994. Fatchurochim, S., Geden, C.J. and Axtell, R.C. 1988. Filth fly (Diptera) oviposition and larval development in poultry manure of various moisture levels. J. Entomol. Sci. 24(2): 224-231. Loehr, R.C., Martin, J.H. and Neuhauser, E.F. 1988. Stabilisation of liquid municipal sludge using earthworms. In: Earthworms in Waste and Environmental Management (eds. Edwards, C.A. and Neuhauser, E.F.) SPB Academic Publishing, Netherlands. May, B.M. 1961. The occurrence in New Zealand and the life-history of the soldier fly Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyiidae). New Zealand Journal of Science 4: 55-65. Neuhauser, E.F., Loehr, R.C. and Malecki, M.R. 1988. The potential of earthworms for managing sewage sludge. In: Earthworms in Waste and Environmental Management (eds. Edwards, C.A. and Neuhauser, E.F.) SPB Academic Publishing, Netherlands. Newby, R. 1997. Use of soldier fly larvae in organic waste management. Proceedings of "Compost 97" conference, Griffith University / Brisbane Hilton, 14-15 July 1997. Newton, G.L., Sheppard, D.C., Thompson, S.A. and Savage, S.I. 1995. Soldier fly benefits: house fly control, manure volume reduction, and manure nutrient recycling. Animal and Dairy Science Department / CAES / UGA.


Nuov, S., Little, D.C. and Yakupitiyage, A. 1995. Nutrient flows in an integrated pig, maggot and fish production system. Aquaculture Research, 26: 601-606. Sheppard, D.C., Newton, G.L., Thompson, S.A. and Savage, S. 1994. A value-added manure management system using the black soldier fly. Bioresource Technology, 50: 275-279.


Organic Production a part of the Sustainable Future of Farming

Andrew Monk Biological Farmers of Australia

Organic production aims at optimal yields and often multiple rather than single yield outcomes. Recycling of nutrients on and off farm are key principles. There is an aim to utilise biological cycles, with plants being fed through the ecosystem of the soil, rather than via soluble salts. Most synthetically derived pesticides and highly soluble fertilisers are prohibited. Other practices include species selection, crop and livestock rotations, integration of cropping and livestock, green manuring of crops, the use of natural mineral supplements and (non sewerage) bio waste recycling. Farm Practices emphasise fertility based on the use of (composted) , fish and other wastes, recycling of on farm nutrients and the re-use of (non sewerage) biowastes. Environmental management involves assessment of whole of farm and off-farm impacts and the wise use of resources. The quality of water leaving the farm is as good or better than that arriving. Outcomes for farm business include enhanced and resilient crops, soil protection via complex soils and cover, and often a reduced disease and pest load. Multiple harvests are possible and diversification enhances risk management. There are also social and physical environmental benefits, and premiums for high quality. Organic farming creates a demand for green wastes which have been effectively composted and are deemed non-polluting. These include manure sources and green matter from the food and agriculture industries. Organic specifications limit the use of certain sources eg. multi-source sewerage. A lack of research in this promising sector raises a challenge to invest in scientific research and technical development. Organic farming is on a continuum not in discord with biologically oriented agriculture. It offers potential for value adding both domestically as well as for export. It delivers more than merely a single commodity return.


Mobile Biodigester a Platform Mounted Biogdigester for On-farm Demonstration

David Tay and Phil Matthews School of Agriculture and Horticulture, University of Queensland, Gatton

Worldwide, continuous biodigesters are in common use and biodigester design is a mature technology. Examples include large scale operational units such as that at Berrybank Farm, Windermere, Victoria (with the capacity to process 275,000 litres of sewage effluent of 2% organic solid content from 15,000 pigs) and small units as those commonly used in individual households in the Indian subcontinent and China. In Australia, experiments on biogas production from farm manure and waste have at least a 25 year history, but to date applications have been largely limited to large-scale operations (e.g., Berrybank Farm; Spearwood Wastewater Treatment Plant in Perth, Western Australia). Several papers in 'Enviro 2000 Towards Sustainability', 9-13 April 2000 covering four environmental conferences suggested the use of biodigester for farm waste management. Both the Berrybank Farm and the Spearwood projects have shown the economic benefit of converting farm wastes into electricity, reclaimed water and organic fertilisers. The use of smaller units to handle the effluent of average-size piggeries, feedlots, dairies and poultry farms has not been exploited to date. The slow adoption of this relatively matured technology can be attributed to the following reasons: Lack of stringent environmental protection law in the past (Stock Act 1915). A recent change was the Environmental Protection Act (1994) and its complementary specific guidelines at State level.Electricity is cheap and there is no economic incentive to generate power on farm. However, with increasing automation in running a modern farm and with diversification into on-farm valueadding, options for on-farm power generation become more and more attractive. There is a lack of available technical knowledge in the construction of small-scale units that are suitable for average size farms. As the result there is a lack of technology transfer programs in this field. Personal preference of the farmers. The project will design a low cost modular anaerobic biodigester with the capacity to consume waste produced by medium -sized animal farms in south east Queensland. The digester will be tested at the University of Queensland (Gatton campus) piggery using different configurations of modular components. The most appropriate configuration will then be mounted onto trailers to create a mobile biogas plant that can be taken to different sites for demonstration. The basic unit consists of the following components: homogenisation and grit removal, thickener and slurry feeder, primary digester, secondary digester, biogas purification, storage system and cogeneration plant.


Biological Remediation of Aquaculture Waste

Dirk Erler Bribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre & University of the Sunshine Coast

Prawn farm waste is rich in nutrients and can contribute to the eutrophication of receiving waters. The current treatment technology for prawn farm waste-water relies on the use of sedimentation ponds for removal of particulate organic waste. Rapid accumulation of organic sludge however results in the release of soluble nutrients into the waste-water which negates the benefit of nitrogen removal achieved via settlement of organic matter. Growth of algae to remove dissolved nitrogen (principally ammonia) and use of bivalves to assimilate particulate material have also been trialed to treat prawn farm effluent. Successful implementation of algal remediation systems is hindered by the need for constant cropping to prevent self-shading, death and decomposition. The low tolerance of bivalves to sediment loads and their limited value detracts from their use as an isolated biological nutrient removal technique. An opportunity exists to exploit the natural feeding behaviour of finfish, principally the grey mullet Mugil cephalus (Linnaeus) and the rabbitfish Siganus canaliculatus (Linnaeus) to improve on the particulate nutrient removal attainable with conventional sedimentation ponds. Grey mullet consume waste detritus and assimilate a portion of the nutrients as flesh, in doing so organic sludge accumulation in sedimentation ponds is greatly reduced. Siganids are efficient grazers and can remove and assimilate benthic biomass growing on waste nutrients. Fish excretion however contributes to soluble nutrient loads and there is therefore still a need to incorporate a dissolved nutrient removal process into a finfish particulate removal system. An effective means of stripping soluble nutrients from waste-water is to encourage the growth of biofilms within the treatment system. Biofilms and the associated microbial conglomerate are involved in a series of re-mineralisation processes that eventually convert organic materials into simpler forms. With regards to nitrogen, microbially mediated processes breakdown organic nitrogen to ammonia then to nitrate and finally to inert nitrogen gas. Facilitating the growth and operation of beneficial biofilms is enhanced by the provision of artificial substrates. The treatment system currently under investigation incorporates finfish and microbial biofilms in a single module. Finfish enhance microbial biofilm operation through the provision of desirable substrate (eg. ammonia and dissolved organic nitrogen) and through grazing, which keeps biofilm thickness, and therefore operation, optimal. Additional nutrients, from the biofilm itself, are also incorporated into fish flesh via grazing. The physical substrates used for biofilm formation also improve settling of particulate material and therefore quantity of detritus available for fish consumption.


Biofilm Substrates in Integrated Biofiltration

Doug Pearson PROAQUA Biofilm substrates (e.g., AquaMats ( are new and innovative hydrophilic biofiltration support media with a wide range of uses for water quality management. Resembling seagrass, AquaMats come in two different formats (BDF or Bottom Deployed Format and SDF or Surface Deployed Format). The BDF fronds are highly buoyant and float upright in the water column; contact is maintained with the bottom via an integrated ballast system. The SDF substrates are negatively buoyant and hang from a PVC pipe float. The SDF is designed for use in water containing high sediment loads. Wave action on the surface float gently shakes any accumulated sediment from the fronds below. AquaMats have two distinct surfaces of chemically modified polyolefin fibrils to produce a complex highly porous substrate for biofilm to anchor. One side of the composite fabric is compacted to produce an anoxic transition zone. The surface area of the fibril mat is 2.0m/g or 285m/m of fabric. During exponential growth and assuming nutrients are not limiting, biomass production on this side of the AquaMats ranges from 7.3 to 10g/m/day. Nutrient levels in the recovered biomass averaged 4.9%N and 1.7%P. On the other side of the AquaMat, the fibril composite is much less compacted, producing a structure with much better mass transfer characteristics. The entire depth of the mat structure on this side is aerobic, with a surface area of O.65m/g or 92m/meter of fabric. The periphyton community on this side of the mat is predominantly algal. During exponential growth and assuming nutrients are not limiting, biomass production on the aerobic side of the mat ranges from 2.1 to 4.0g/m/day. In an integrated biofiltration system, fish, crustaceans and/or molluscs are introduced to maintain a grazing pressure on the mats to keep them in a state of exponential growth. Herbivorous grazers such as Silver Perch, Mullets, shrimp, aquatic snails, etc will feed directly from the surface of the mat, while zooplankton feeding on the periphyton provide a food resource for other planktivorous species (calanoid copepod production has been shown to increase by 700 to 2000%). These are then harvested to recover a percentage of the nutrients being discharged. If a commercial species is grown and the effluent water quality is acceptable it can be sold for human consumption. Otherwise the biomass can be used in animal feeds or processed into fertiliser. Alternatively the mats can be periodically removed and cleaned, recovering the biofilm where nutrients have been bioaccumulated for use as fertiliser. Currently AquaMats are being used in aquaculture in Europe, Asia, Central and South America as well as the US to provide a continuous organic food supply, for effluent control and to provide aquatic habitat. In the US, AquaMats are being used in to remove excess nutrients from ornamental ponds, golf course and municipal lakes. They are also being used to retrofit non-compliant wastewater treatment systems in commercial areas like animal production, dairy, pulp, and cheese facilities.


Wetlands for production and purification

Vivienne Hallman The Green Food Company

The important role of wetlands in the ecosystem as water-purifying agents is well documented. They can be used in integrated systems to remove nutrients from wastewater and incorporate these nutrients into useful vegetation.
Increasingly, constructed wetlands have been developed to treat a variety of wastewater sources, particularly from agricultural activities (Hammer, 1989, Reaves et al. 1995). A number of authors (DuBowy, 1997; Cronk, 1995; Chen et al. 1995) have investigated constructed wetlands for the treatment of wastewater from dairy enterprises. Their use on dairy farms offers many opportunities. However, the effectiveness of wetlands is dependent on the uptake of nutrients by microbes and plants. The capacity of the system is finite and plant growth is encouraged by periodic harvesting. Currently, the reeds being used in most constructed wetlands have little or no economic value to agricultural enterprises. It is important to consider plants that do have an economic value, such as for animal feed, to maintain nutrient recycling on the farm. Using plants to remove nutrients from wastewater offers great potential to convert waste nutrients into useful resources. Following are some systems that make best use of the nutrients available and produce products that have an economic value. Lemna (duckweed) is a small, floating aquatic plant that readily takes up nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater streams. It is easily harvested, can be solar dried, and doubles its mass in 4-7 days in temperatures above 23oC (Leng, et al. 1995; Skillicorn, et al. 1993). The nutrient value of Lemna increases with the nutrient level in the wastewater up to approx. 35% protein. Lemna and other duckweed genera contain essential amino acids for livestock and aquaculture production and can be incorporated into animal diets as either fresh, dried or composted material (Leng et al. 1995; Fletcher and Warburton 1997; Nolan et al. 1998; Bio-Tech Waste Management 1998). Azolla is another small, floating aquatic plant that grows well on wastewater (Lumpkin and Plucknett, 1980). It can be used in many of the same applications as duckweed, but it has an added advantage. Azolla has a symbiotic relationship with an alga that allows it to fix atmospheric nitrogen to increase its protein content. Azolla is used extensively in rice cultivation in Asia. When the paddies are flooded Azolla covers the paddy surface and inhibits weed growth. When the paddies are drained ready for harvesting, Azolla becomes incorporated into the soil as a rich fertilizer. Water chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis) are an ideal crop for a constructed wetland system (Maddox and Kingsley, 1989), producing an edible corm in about 9 months. Currently there is a high demand for fresh water chestnuts as most of the chestnuts used in Australia are imported tinned from Asia. Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) is another Asian vegetable, which grows prolifically in a constructed wetland environment. Water cress (Nasturtium officinale) makes good use of nutrient-laden flowing water.


There are many possibilities to integrate plant production and wastewater purification, to produce economic crops from waste nutrients, and to supply lower nutrient wastewater for reuse. The development of innovative systems for food production is of prime importance in areas where rainfall is low and/or unreliable. Water is a resource which has been wasted far too long.

Bio-Tech Waste Management. 1998. Duckweed - a potential high-protein feed resource for domestic animals and fish. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. Pub. No. 98/148. 40 pp. Chen, J., Rahman, M., Chabreck, R.H., Jenny, B.F. and Malone, R.F. 1995. Constructed wetlands using black willow, duckweed and water hyacinth for upgrading dairy lagoon effluent. In: Versatility of Wetlands in the Agricultural Landscape, ed. Campbell, K.L. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan. Cronk, J. 1995. Wetlands as a best management practice on a dairy farm. In: Versatility of Wetlands in the Agricultural Landscape, ed. Campbell, K.L. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan.. DuBowy, P.J. 1997. Constructed Wetlands. Fletcher, A. and Warburton, K. 1997. Consumption of fresh and decomposed duckweed Spirodela sp. by redclaw crayfish, Cherax quadricarinatus (von Martens). Aquaculture Research 28: 379-382. Hammer, D.A. 1989. Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment Municipal, Industrial and Agricultural. Lewis Publishers, Michigan. Leng, R.A., Stambolie, J.H. and Bell, R. 1995. Duckweed a potential high-protein feed resource for domestic animals and fish. Live.Res.Rur.Dev. 7(1):3-13. Lumpkin, T.A. and Plucknett, D.L. 1980. Azolla: botany, physiology, and use as a green manure. Econ. Bot. 34(2):111-153. Maddox, J.J. and Kingsley, J.B. 1989. Waste treatment for confined swine with anintegrated artificial wetland and aquaculture system. In: Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment, ed. Hammer, D.A. Lewis Publishers, Michigan. Nolan, J.V., Bell, R. and Thomson, E. 1998. Use of dried duckweed in diets for brown egg layers. Aust. Poult. Sci. Sym. 9. Reaves, R.P., DuBowy, P.J., Jones, D.D. and Sutton, A.L. 1995. First year performance of an experimental constructed wetland for swine waste treatment in Indiana. In: Versatility of Wetlands in the Agricultural Landscape, ed. Campbell, K.L. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan. Skillicorn, P., Spira, W. and Journey, W. 1993. Duckweed Aquaculture A New Aquatic Farming System for Developing Countries. The World Bank, Washington, DC.


4. Further examples of integrated systems

Integrated Biosystems in Southern Australia
Paul Harris1 & Phil Glatz2 1 Department of Agronomy and Farming Systems, University of Adelaide 2 Pig and Poultry Production Institute, University of Adelaide Introduction As more people begin to realise the implications of the environmental and energy problems that society is creating there has been an associated increase in enquires received about anaerobic digestion, the "Beginners Tour of Biogas" website (Harris 1998) has had 16500 visits and 300 enquires in 2 years. Anaerobic digestion (AD), however is only part of the solution. While AD provides energy from waste and reduces the pollution load, the liquid and solid by-products containing nutrients, commonly regarded as wastes, still have to be considered for further treatment. It is more sensible to use AD as part of a system taking the byproducts of agricultural and related enterprises and using them for value adding, ideally by reusing all the resources so that there is no waste left to dispose of. Such systems have become known as "integrated biosystems" and have largely been implemented in the tropics, although work is currently being carried out in other areas. (Foo and Senta, 1998) A biosystems group including people from the South Australian Research and Development Institute, The University of Adelaide and private enterprise has formed over the last 18 months to promote the concept of integrated biosystems for agriculture and related industries. One aim of this group is to establish an integrated biosystem demonstration/research facility at Roseworthy Campus, using AD and aquaculture to treat agricultural and other wastes, generating income from associated enterprises and facilitating recycling of water and nutrients in the process. However, the integrated biosystem approach has, as yet, received little investment support in Southern Australia. Specific industries often focus on their immediate problems (eg. disposal of animal waste, food waste and processing waste) and fail to see how waste disposal problems may be solved using an integrated approach involving AD, waste water treatment and agriculture.

Challenges There are a number of challenges in developing integrated biosystems, some of which will be noted in the examples following this section. 1. The prevailing mindset of separate enterprises and single use/discarding of resources needs to change. Of course there are people who have already established holistic systems and we need to utilise their expertise. The community acceptance of source separation of garbage and recycling shows that change is occurring - we just need to encourage faster adoption of the next steps in the progression. 2. People considering a commercial scale integrated biosystem need to realise that the end result can be achieved in stages and also that they do not necessarily have to run the whole system themselves. To set up an entire integrated biosystem in one go is a large task, particularly for a small family business. If the major challenges can be tackled first, possibly starting on a small scale to establish techniques and markets, the other pieces can be fitted in later, funded by the profits of the earlier steps. Some parts of the system may need to be out sourced in some way if they do not fit into the existing framework easily.


3. As an industrialised and scientific society we tend to focus on intensive, high technology methods for dealing with issues. When a problem develops the immediate reaction is "add another piece of equipment and make sure it is electronically controlled". Some components of successful integrated systems will be "low" or "appropriate-technology", requiring less management, less maintenance and less capital expense. Other components, such as cogenerator units, may need to be high technology and electronics may well provide a convenient and reliable means of monitoring systems to warn of malfunction. Nature looks after herself quite well until humans interfere and a return to more "natural" systems may reduce the need for high levels of expensive inputs and management. An example of this is the common use of wetlands rather than filters for water treatment. 4. There should be no "ideal" integrated biosystem, as each application will have different constraints, abilities and interests. What we need to encourage is adaptation of example systems to different situations so that each system suits the enterprise mix and the individuals. This will avoid pushing up input costs by creating excessive demand and depressing the value of outputs by oversupply. A database of information about possible enterprises, listing input requirements, management information and possible market opportunities, could possibly be developed into an "expert system" to assist design of appropriate integrated biosystems. 5. Selling the social and environmental advantages of the integrated biosystem approach can be achieved by emphasising rural employment generation, income diversification and opportunities for decentralised services such as electricity production. As the possibilities of integrated biosystems are demonstrated benefits will be seen for individuals, communities and government.

Examples Four examples will illustrate the range of technologies and scales that are possible in integrated biosystems. Small Scale System It is possible to set up a simple system with a few hens or ducks, an anaerobic digester, a pond and some garden beds in a small suburban backyard. While such a small system would not provide selfsufficiency it would provide some food and energy without adding to the waste stream. A student project, carried out by Luke Jenangi (2000) from PNG, showed that a simple 200 litre plug flow digester (see Fig 1) treating piggery effluent at ambient winter temperatures could produce enough biogas to boil a cup of water each day (see Fig 2). The other components of an integrated biosystem could be sized to suit the digester throughput of 5 litres of effluent per day. This digester was still producing approximately 10 L of biogas per day without any feeding for 3 months (Fig 3).


Figure 1. 200 litre polythene Plug Flow Digester with floating drum gas receiver

Plug Flow Digester

70 16



12 50 Volume Biogas (litres) 10 40 8 30 Problems with gas leaks added 40 l/day 20 4 6

Temperature (oC)

Volume Feed 7dayAvg Temp.


0 27-May-00







0 05-Aug-00

Date Time

Figure 2. Biogas Production from 200 litre Plug Flow Digester (Jenangi, 2000)


Biogas Production
20 18 16 14 12 Volume (litres) 12 10 10 8 8 6 6 4 2 0 14/08/2000 0:00 4 Temperature (oC) 18



L/day Temperature

0 19/08/2000 0:00 24/08/2000 0:00 29/08/2000 0:00 3/09/2000 0:00 Date/Time 8/09/2000 0:00 13/09/2000 0:00 18/09/2000 0:00

Figure 3. Gas production without feeding

Commercial Scale Berrybank Farm, near Ballarat in Victoria, has developed a loosely integrated system to treat piggery waste as well as waste from processing industries. Grit is taken away by a worm farmer, cogenerators are grid connected, and water is reused in the piggery and solids are sold as fertiliser or utilised on the associated cropping land.

Figure 4. The Berrybank Farm anaerobic digester


"The capital cost of the Berrybank Farm project was approximately $2 million, over a two year period. Berrybank Farm estimates that the economic payback on its investment will take about six years, but considers the immediate environmental benefits to be enormous. As a result of cleaner production, Berrybank Farm has also achieved: 70% reduction in water usage improved stock conditions improved working conditions for staff elimination of odour" (Anon) Innovative approaches to waste management in specific industries are published monthly in the AsiaPacific magazine of environmental business and technology Waste Management and Environment. published by the Custom Media Group, Balmain, NSW. Regional Scale On a larger scale again, sewage from Adelaide and northern suburbs is treated at Bolivar (United Water 1999). The Biosolids from anaerobic digestion are used as fertiliser on agricultural land and treated water is supplied to the Virginia/Angle Vale horticultural area that produces fruit, vegetables and flowers for local, interstate and overseas markets, so the loop is loosely closed.

Figure 5. Bolivar Waste Water Treatment Plant

World Scale The ultimate "integrated biosystem" is planet earth - ignoring the minuscule amounts of matter sent into space everything remains within the system, with only dust and solar energy being added. In integrated biosystems we are trying to minimise the transfer of "waste" material offsite, realising that if nutrients can be retained and recycled then less energy will be expended moving nutrients.


Figure 6. A large Integrated Biosystem

Conclusion Integrated biosystems provide solutions to some of the problems facing society today, in both the developed and emerging nations. The ideas are also very scalable, both in size and technological complexity. References
Anon, Foo, Eng-Leong & Tarcisio Della Senta, Editors "Integrated Bio-Systems in Zero Emissions Applications" Proceedings of the Internet Conference on Integrated Bio-Systems, 1998 Harris, Paul L. "Beginners Tour of Biogas", 1998 Jenangi, Luke "Producing Methane Gas from Effluent",, 2000 United Water,, 1999


Integrating Multiple Water Use in Cotton and Grain Production

Paul McVeigh Queensland Cotton Growers Association

There is no doubt that, as we enter the twenty-first century, the value of water will escalate rapidly. As an irrigation farmer I am very reliant on the security of water for my livelihood. Competition from four areas will pressure the value and reliability of water supplies. These areas are environmental, urban, industrial and agricultural. Of these four, irrigated agriculture, while placing the highest demand for water, has the least ability to pay. No one disagrees that we need to find the balance between the use of water for urban, industry and agriculture, and an allocation for the environment. To this end, Government bodies are promoting to water users that we need to be looking at efficiencies in our use and application of this finite resource. An area that is not receiving enough research is the efficiency of production from a quantity of water. What can we produce from one megalitre of water? The concept of multiple use of water will be the vehicle that will give us the greatest increase in returns and allow agriculture to be somewhat more competitive in the water market. Australians can no longer continue to use water once. The volume of water being dumped from our cities into the oceans is a tragedy. Schemes like the Bolivar Scheme in South Australia are reversing this trend. This Bolivar Scheme has the potential to deliver 40 000 megalitres per annum of treated effluent from the treatment plant outside Adelaide for irrigation in the Virginia Park area. It solves the regions groundwater management problems of the serious pollution of the marine environment from the continued discharge of effluent into the Gulf of St. Vincent. For irrigation farming in Australia, the norm is to store water on farm - both underground or on-farm, and use this water once to irrigate crop or pasture. To me as an irrigated cotton and grain producer, the challenge, while striving to produce high yielding quality crops from my bucket of water, is to increase the value in dollars returned per megalitre of water. To a water user, the obvious answer to this challenge is aquaculture. Fish do not consume water, have a high return per megalitre, and can make use of existing infrastructure with some small modifications (eg. use of cage culture in on-farm storages).

Fish cages in cotton ring tanks


As we move into this new millennium the other encouraging issue with aquaculture is that finfish and other aquatic products are in decreasing supply on the global scene, and the demand for both high value and low value species is increasing due to rising population, more disposable income and a desire to eat more healthy diets. The challenge of bring agriculture and aquaculture together does present us with some real issues, especially in my region, where the use of pesticides on both grain and fibre crops is quite common. On our property we are implementing aquaculture in conjunction with our present farming operations (cotton and grain production). We are looking at the next 12 months to two years to prove the viability and opportunities that will exist in bringing together these two industries, and in doing so, enhancing the returns per megalitre of water available to us.


Beef Feed Lot Integration

Ian Iker Australian Agricultural Company

This presentation concerns the operation at Goonoo Station at Comet in Central Queensland. Goonoo is a 16000ha property running an integrated farming, feedlot and effluent management program through a contained irrigated system. This irrigation system provides quality controlled feed products back through the feedlot, to add value to our beef cattle production. By integrating our farming and waste production systems, we are trying to improve farm output as well as giving value to the waste byproducts produced by the feedlot.

The feedlot has a capacity of 17500 head and a general rule of thumb is that one tonne of manure is produced per year, per head capacity. i.e. 17500 tonnes of manure annually. Manure as everyone knows is a very good source of nutrients; mainly phosphorus and potassium but also of most trace elements required for crop production. In recent years farmers have realised that the other major benefit of feedlot manure is the high levels of organic matter it contains.

Many of the soils in Australia are old and in the intense farming areas, very low in organic matter. Manure is beginning to be used extensively as a means to inject organic matter back into the soil structure. Improvements to soil structure from manure application can be measured through increased levels of bacterial activity, better water infiltration and a better soil water storage capacity, all of which are essential for good root development which then leads to optimum plant production.

Goonoo is fortunate that the country farmed is newly cultivated and naturally fertile with high levels of phosphorus, nitrogen and reasonable levels of organic matter. Manure is spread on a regular basis to maintain these levels and improve the general soil structure. This practice has minimised the requirements of phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sulphur and other trace elements and therefore significantly reduced the companys outlay for artificial fertiliser. Nitrogen is still applied in significant amounts using anhydrous ammonia (Big N). As soil organic levels increase and soil structure and health improves we expect the level of crop inputs to reduce.

Liquid effluent collected from run off from the feedlot area is also used and mixed with clean water at a dilution rate of 3 : 1 and applied to irrigated crops. All water used for irrigation and feedlot drinking water is fresh water harvested from the Comet River. Salt and heavy metal levels, which are a problem with many systems using underground water, is not a problem at Goonoo.

Crops produced on the land fertilised by manure and effluent are used back through the feedlot completing the integrated system.

The main crops grown are maize and lucerne with pulse crops such as mungbeans and soybeans being used as rotational legumes. Irrigated wheat is also used in rotation, mainly as a soil conditioning cereal crop.


Maize is harvested as silage as well as for grain. Silage production is very demanding on soil structure and soil nutrient levels. Obviously when harvesting silage, all above ground plant matter is removed unlike grain producing crops where the majority of plant matter is left to break down into the soil. Silage harvesting tends to compact soil structure from having a lot of heavy traffic on paddocks. Good organic matter levels in the soil tends to hasten soil recovery from these compaction events.

Major benefits of this integrated system are: Cost reductions from reduced use of artificial fertilisers Increased yields from improved soil structure Quality control of feedlot inputs by increasing the amount of product produced on-farm. Safe and cost effective management of feedlot by product.

Constraints: Monitoring and managing phosphorus and salinity levels to ensure that a build-up of these does not cause nutritional tie-ups or have a negative effect on soil health. High costs associated with transporting and spreading manure onto paddocks. Temporary tie-ups during initial breakdown of the manure after application. Manure is essentially a slow-release product so in an intensive cropping program it always requires some top up from artificial fertiliser products. Other biosystems have been investigated for inclusion in this system, the main one being vermiculture. This is one way of breaking down the huge mass of by products, which is costly and time consuming to deliver onto paddocks, into a concentrated form of nutrient via earth worm metabolism. The benefit of this product is in the ease and cost of application. The constraint lies in the capital set up cost relative to the low commodity value currently in Australia. Another system of interest is aquaculture - using the water in a pond system prior to irrigation. The collection of biogas to provide power for feedlot milling operations is another proposal, but as with vermiculture, the capital outlay for setup is excessive for current levels of return. Without financial assistance or substantial tax concessions, investment into these biosystems is beyond the reach of most rural operations. Return on capital invested is too low and in a profit-driven financial sector funds to support products like these will be difficult to find.

Manure spreading


Convergence is the Key

Geoff Wilson Freelance journalist in agribusiness

Important technologies are converging in agribusiness -- or the agricultural business that includes the farm input sector, the farm sector, the farm output sector and the farm service sector. These convergences are creating new opportunities in food and fibre production -- where one or more enterprises use the same basic infrastructure. Yet they are not always new -- and come to us from food culture techniques that modern agribusiness has chosen to ignore in the main. Some of the important old examples are in: Agroforestry -- the convergence of tree growing for all reasons, with traditional farming monocultures in sheep, beef, dairying or cropping. The benefits beyond adding timber to livestock and cropping products can lie in improved soil conservation, water harvesting, and shade and shelter. Aquaforestry -- which is still a convergence developing slowly in so-called advanced agricultural countries, but is an age-old practice in Asia and central America. The chinampa system is aquaforestry of the Incas and Aztecs, the Chinese have tree cropping for timber, fuelwood, fish food and honey well integrated with fish farming of up to 13 species in one pond. More recent, thanks to the gallop of agricultural technology in the last 30 or so years are the convergences in: Aquaponics - the convergence of aquaculture with hydroponics, in which fish are farmed intensively and produce plant food from their wastes. It is proving to be a double-barrelled enterprise in which the United Nations slogan rings very true: "The wastes from one enterprise should become the raw materials of the next". Aeroponics and rooftop farming - in which the convergence is between horticulture and architecture. The once fanciful idea of sky farms suspended between buildings has almost become reality. What is now very real is the rooftop farming in Singapore, where rooftop hydroponics has converged with improved microclimate control, patient care and the economics of running an 800-bed hospital. Organic hydroponics -- in which the three-way convergence is between the hydroponic technology, urban organic waste management and vermiculture. Rooftop farming - in which convergence is again with built environment technology so that rooftop farming can gather pace. It is practised already in Singapore, Canada and Israel. As a freelance journalist I have been writing about these convergences for many years. Yet to most people in traditional disciplines they are new and often startling. I can also report that there now appears to be an acceleration of some convergences, the reason, perhaps, being the vastly improved flow of information and ideas that has resulted from the expanding universe of the Internet. Another factor is, undoubtedly, the reporting of more science and technology by the broad spectrum of news media.


However, there are problems with convergences. The most common one is human nature, or the inability for some people to move out of their intellectual comfort zones. An example of what I mean lies in my personal experience in changing my career path from livestock industry journalism to farm-trees-for-all-reasons journalism in the l970s. I quickly found that there was a very clear demarcation -- as bad as with any belligerent Australian union -- between forestry and agriculture. On the one hand professional foresters wanted to retain their territorial ascendancy over growing trees. They did not welcome (at least for 10 years or so) the convergence of livestock and cropping enterprises with professional tree-growing for a profit. For their part the traditional agriculturalists were less territorial. Their main trait was apathy. They had blinkers on because planting farm trees for all reasons was not perceived to be part of farming practice. I observed this problem of convergence in agroforestry and farm trees in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. It has now faded as both farmers and foresters have realised that the convergence of innovative treegrowing can sometimes double farm revenues by using shared infrastructure. It can also mean sustainable land use, particularly in a country like Australia which has very fragile duplex soils that were actually mostly created by trees and woody understoreys.. I have observed similar territorial problems in the convergence of technologies in aquaponics and urban agriculture generally. Urban agriculture and microfarming is my current journalistic focus -- a way I have chosen to go after looking at the totality of our food production future around the globe, and seeing quite clearly that these two new and often inter-related technologies will be important in coping with global food security. An estimated 800 million of the six billion people on this planet practice urban agriculture and microfarming. Mostly they are in the undeveloped countries, and mostly it is because they are forced to in the hard-scrabble of finding enough food for survival. But, more and more, I see and report on higher technology urban agriculture and microfarming in which production of some foods close to where it is needed makes great economic and environmental sense. I use the example of the humble lettuce. In Australia it has been estimated that up to 40% of the cost of a lettuce lies in transport costs between farm and supermarket. Yet this use of diesel truck energy could be well replaced by simple, and most profitable, urban agriculture in the heart of cities -- and using the nutrients in organic wastes that currently go to landfill to create methane emissions over a long period. Unfortunately I have personally seen support of this convergence blocked by government in the name of a strange policy named competitive neutrality. It is another dispute over territory, something that is perhaps ingrained in our psyche, because the protection of territory once meant protection of a food supply and a better chance of survival. Today those survival skills can best be seen in the territorial battles some bureaucrats conduct in defence of their budgets, their professions or their salaries.


We must recognise this ingrained territorial trait when we see convergences of food production technologies that make great sense. Otherwise we will have slower progress than is desirable on new ways to assure our global food supply. This applies particularly at one of the important starting points of change and convergence - our tertiary educational institutions. Theres a hoary old story about the Chinese symbol for change. I cannot vouch for its truth, but the message in it is clear. The symbol has two parts, each representing two other words. One is threat. The other is opportunity. Every canny business person well knows this truism. It must be kept well in mind when we judge convergences like those I have outlined.

Agroforestry convergence in which farm trees enhance farm revenues, and greatly improve livestock and cropping enterprises. Chinese agroforestry measured by forestry scientists, led to microclimate changes on the flood plains that caused a 30% increase in total food production.


A most successful Australian aquaponics convergence at Taylor Made Fish Farms Pty Ltd in NSW. The company sells 600 kg of barramundi fish a week from 10 tanks in a polyhouse. The fish excreta and waste food is the nutrient used for organic hydroponic growing of about 20,000 heads of lettuce a month for local supermarkets.

The urban agriculture of the huge Archer Daniels Midland Company. At its massive corn and soy processing facility it has waste food, waste heat and waste carbon dioxide. It uses these resources for raising about 10,000 lettuce a day, and for its stock of 2 million tilapia fish. It is now combining its aquaculture and hydroponics in organic growing of chives for supermarket sale (7).


Convergence of built environment and aquaculture. This shed producing barramundi could be located anywhere in the world -- in urban or periurban locations.

This is urban rooftop farming at Changi General Hospital in Singapore. It is used to ameliorate sunlight reflected from concrete into some of its wards. But it also is producing food for patients, recreation for staff, and savings in energy. It is a convergence of technologies that can be expected to increase.


Permaculture Approaches
Janet Millington Eumundi, Queensland

What is Permaculture? There is some confusion, even amongst permaculturalists, about what exactly permaculture is. This confusion is explained by the wholistic nature of the concept and its growth and development since its beginnings in the mid 1970s, with the publishing of Permaculture One. I will use the words of the co-founders of permaculture, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, to most accurately describe permaculture. Bill Mollison is probably the most colourful and best known globally of the two. In his design manual he briefly describes permaculture (permanent agriculture) as: the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order. (Mollison, 1988.) He insists that permaculture is a design system, which functions to benefit life in all its forms. It is a system that imitates natural processes and works with natural forces rather than against them. David Holmgren states that: the conception of permaculturewas one of an agricultural system based on perennial plants, modeled on natural ecosystems and developed through the application of design. The aim was a permanent agriculture which could sustain the needs of current and future generations. (Holmgren, 1991) He finds the sustainability concepts that have developed over the past 25 years, closely related to the central notion of permanence, which is the heart of Permaculture. (Holmgren, 1991).

The Advantages of the Permaculture Approach to Designed Systems 1. It is Cross Cultural. Permaculture embodies three simple ethical principles, that cross barriers of religion and can be applied to all cultures: Care of the Earth Care of people Return of surplus to the above two. 2. It has a set of easily understood principles: Everything works at least two ways See solutions not problems


Work with nature not against it Co-operation not competition in work, communication and economics Make things pay Work where it counts Use everything to its highest capacity Bring food production back to the cities Help to make people more self-reliant Minimize maintenance and energy inputs to achieve maximum yields Waste is just an unused resource and should never leave the system

3. There are clear strategies to use when designing. These deal with the energies inside and outside of the system and the maximization of all natural and human resources. They are: Sector planning Zonal planning Use of pattern in design The edge effect Maintaining stability through diversity Using succession to do the work.

4. There are practical strategies. Most of these have been successful techniques, taken from past practices of other cultures. (A few are from more recent thinking as in the Keyline Plan by P.A. Yeomans or the use of stacking a system in time as suggested in The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka.) These strategies are easily set in place and are quickly accepted by divergent cultures. They apply to all climates and soil types. Their success stimulates hope and confidence in permaculture as a solution to many problems.

5. Permaculture takes into account the cost to the environment of much of human activity. Creating a sense of responsibility for all inputs and outputs of the individual is central to the concept of permanence. Sustainability can only begin when all people understand the real cost of food production, transport and human settlement. Permaculture teaches home and settlement designs that reduce the impact of humanity on the environment. This reduction allows less land to be set aside for cultivation and more land available for the natural systems that sustain/enrich the environment that supports us all.


6. Invisible structures are as important as the visible ones if there is to be sustainability or permanence for mankind. These structures move from the political to the economic, from the intrapersonal to the interpersonal and from the local to the global. If we cannot get on with one another or if we cannot distribute the resources of the earth with equity then it will not matter how sustainable agricultural practices are, we will fight over resources until we are no more.

7. Permaculture is accessible to all. There are currently 250,000 graduates of Permaculture Design Certificate Courses in 120 countries. This Certificate is a two-week full-time course presented by Permaculture Certificate graduates. Language or literacy barriers are reduced, as many courses are run in villages by local people. Most of these courses are based on practical experiences that are easily replicated and enhanced. Permaculture spreads most quickly where the needs are highest. In western countries it is those individuals who have moved out of their comfort zones who seek Permaculture solutions. More and more people are becoming concerned about their health, their finances, the future for their children, political stability, wide environmental fluctuations, the loss of species or simply feel a general uneasiness or anxiety. Throughout the world there are 4,000 permaculture projects run by non-government organizations. International projects headed by the Permaculture Research Institute in Northern N.S.W. have been established in Macedonia, Jordan, Hariana- India, Louisiana, Bangladesh and Vietnam. In Australia, where it began, permaculture techniques are being applied to urban lots, city farms, small properties, wheat, pig and sugar cane farms, farm forestry, fruit and vegetable growers as well as the growing aquaculture industry.

The Possibilities for Integrated Systems in Aquaculture Using Permaculture Design Strategies. Tropical rainforest and shallow water aquatic systems have the greatest potential for natural yields. This potential has been exploited for thousands of years by Island cultures, South American groups, Asian peoples and the Romans. Permaculture has studied these systems to analyse inputs and production, taking the best strategies and practices to incorporate into a strong knowledge base. Using aquatic systems with more conventional western farming practices has been shown to improve yield. Incorporating ponds into a farm design can stretch the wet season and shorten dry periods. Aquaculture ponds can be used to create firebreaks and for climate control as well as to create water storage for other farm operations. The use of aquaculture ponds to assist in drainage in wet climates and as a water resource in dry climates has been explored. Water modifies climate and is used as a safety feature in permaculture designing.

Permaculture Design Principles Used in Aquaculture at the Millington property at Eumundi, Queensland Harvesting water using dam and swale systems. Creating a microclimate with forestry on hills.


Gravity feeding water to ponds and then to settling ponds. Using windbreaks to slow dam evaporation. The settling pond is designed to use native water plants as nutrient collectors. Water is filtered through reed beds or pumped to bamboo crop. The pond bottoms are designed after observation of natural systems, so that they are rock lined, with habitat. This allows the algal flora of the pond to grow on the rocks for the opportunistic feeding of the crayfish. This in turn means that supplementary feeding of the crayfish is reduced to around 1:1. With reduced need for supplementary feed, then it may be possible to supplement feeding from the products from other parts of the property. A clean known food source is desirable, and necessary to gain organic certification. The waste of the fish is the fertilizer for the bamboo and other feed crops. Bamboo tips may be bundled and put into the pond. The redclaw crayfish will eat the fresh leaves for 3 4 days. At that time most of the bundles should be removed and used as mulch, while the remaining bundles break down and ferment. After 30-40 days the bacteria in the bamboo leaves will produce a very nutritious food for the crayfish. No effluent or nutrient leaves the property except in the case of severe flooding. The sides of the ponds are planted with food plants that are eaten by the fish or with the fish when cooked. These plants are also used to stop erosion. The fish produce 10 - 100 times the amount of protein per ha compared with the original cattle pasture. The fish farm will produce surplus for the town population, close to that population. The water in the ponds has increased the birdlife on the property and increased the moisture level in the valley. No chemicals are used in the production of the fish or the maintenance of the property. The property demonstrates Care of earth repair of degraded grazing country, moving water effectively around the property, increasing bio-diversity. Care of people providing clean food in abundance, work for people and lifestyle for four adults. Return of surplus all profit is returned to the property to develop other parts of the system and for further development of more permaculture principles.

To be truly sustainable, the issue of energy inputs must be addressed. Solar power would be an obvious choice, but the nocturnal demand for energy makes aquaculture systems battery dependent. The power and resource inputs used in making the batteries to store solar energy for a commercial aquaculture system do not, at this time, outlive their power output.


A solution could be that solar panels, utilizing the open areas of an aquaculture farm and the reflected light from the pond surfaces, could produce electricity during the day and feed it into the grid. Then at night, when the oxygen needs are highest, power can be taken from the grid for aeration. Uplift aeration systems, used in most crayfish farms in Queensland, may be designed so that one blower can aerate 30 ponds with less power than is used to run a household for two people. If all aquaculture farms were feeding into the electricity grid during the day and taking at night, there would be a net gain of clean solar power for the wider community. Establishment costs of the solar panels are proving prohibitive for farmers at this time. The potential is there to create solar power from aquaculture farms and hopefully industry and/or government will find the resources to investigate the benefits for farmers, electricity consumers and the environment. With careful thought and planning, aquaculture can be integrated into other farming practices to the advantage of the farm enterprises and the environment. It is essential that all benefits and problems be thoroughly investigated while the industry is in its early formative stage. Integration has the potential to reduce the inputs to farms and eliminate the waste (unused resources) from farms. Aquaculture need not become another polluting monoculture - it can become part of the solution.

Abel, Baxter, Campbell et al. (1997). Design Principles for Farm Forestry, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. Asher, D.C., Curtis, M.C. (2000). Redclaw Crayfish Farming, Masa Services Qld, Pty Ltd, Pomona Queensland. Dart, D. (1998). The Bamboo Handbook, A Farmers, Growers, and Project Developers Guide,Bamboo Australia. Holmgren, D. (1991). Development of the Permaculture Concept. A paper for the Orange Agricultural College, Hepburn Victoria, December 1991. Holmgren, D. (1984). Prospects for Rural Development; A Permaculture Perspective. A paper for the Orange Agricultural College and the University of Sydney. Mollison, B. (1988). Permaculture, A Designers Manual, Tagari Publications, Maryborough, Vic. Mollison, B.C. and Holmgren, D. (1978). Permaculture One, A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements. Transworld Publishers Ltd, Melbourne. Mollison,B. and Slay, R. (1991). Introduction to Permaculture, Tagari Publications, Tyalgum Australia. Pilarski, M.(Editor) (1994). Restoration Forestry, An International Guide to Sustainable Forestry Practices, Kivaki Press, Colorado. Sainty and Jacobs, (1988). Water Plants in Australia, A Field Guide. CSIRO, South China Printing Co. Romanowski, N. (1994). Farming in Ponds and Dams,Thomas C. Lothian Pty Ltd, Port Melbourne. RIRDC (1997). Bamboo For Shoots and Timber, Proceedings of Workshop at Hamilton, Brisbane, October 1997. Yeomans, K. (1993). Water for Every Farm, Griffin Press Pty Ltd, Australia.


Eco-Efficient Settlements
Vivienne Hallman The Green Food Company

It is time to look more closely at designs found in nature for sustainable city planning solutions. To take a closer look at the mechanisms used by ecosystems for the assimilation and recycling of resources (waste and water), to integrate people into the fabric of the environment and to reduce the footprint left by development. The current system of urban sprawl demands huge inputs of energy, escalating transport costs and high capital infrastructure to service low-density housing. I am proposing an alternative strategy for residential development around large cities. Nancy and John Todd in their book From Eco-cities to Living Machines (Todd, N.J. & Todd, J 1994) explore new paradigms of integrated living and suggest that: The blending of architecture, solar, wind, biological and electronic technologies with housing, food production, and waste utilization within an ecological and cultural context will be the basis of creating a new design science. And give us a necessary reminder that: Design should follow, not oppose, the Laws of Life. Author Richard Rogers, in his fascinating book Cities for a Small Planet (Rogers, R. & Gumuchdjian, P. 1997) concludes: There will be no environmentally sustainable cities until urban ecology, economics and sociology are factored into city planning. The need to integrate structure and function is paramount if we are to move towards sustainable living eco-systems, where current wastes are seen as resources with an economic value. It is important to view eco-efficient living on two different levels: Macro scale where natural eco-systems are used as templates for development of communities; and Micro scale where individual houses are designed as integrated eco-systems.

But we live in a world that subscribes to the straight line philosophy of: resources in and waste out; a society that is non-renewable and energy dependent; and a lifestyle which is highly polluting. So let's start thinking in circles where there is continuous flow and all the outputs become the inputs for the next process. How can we design communities that incorporate circles and closed loop systems? The inspiration and innovation for the design and the component parts is found in natural eco-systems.


Macro scale If we look at eco-efficient settlements on the macro scale this means reviewing the current planning (or lack thereof), for city growth. I am proposing an alternative strategy for residential development around large cities. I have called this strategy nodal development (Hallman, 2000), where each node may consist of 200-250 houses and operate almost like a small village supplying both the physical and social needs of the inhabitants.

Water Water would be collected, processed and reused within the node. Rainwater would be collected from roofs for household use and storm water would be encouraged to percolate the landscaping where it falls. Excess storm water runoff would be stored in ponds for later use on food crops. The integration of on-site biological systems with individual dwellings would minimise wastewater generation and create effective ecosystems within a continuum of wildlife habitat. The result would be a much more effective use of water and the elimination of the high capital cost of infrastructure, which is currently needed to either convey clean water from treatment plants or wastewater from houses to treatment plants. Coupled with the high cost of moving water around cities, are the increasing difficulties associated with the siting and construction of dams for water storage. It is not economically viable to build more dams around many existing cities. Water is a finite resource; we must value it accordingly and use it with great care.

Waste / Food production Much of the organic solid waste, such as food scraps, could be processed either on-site, or within a small community system. These wastes are ideally suited for systems where invertebrates such as earthworms and insect larvae form part of the chain to generate food from waste. Alternately, organic waste can first pass through an anaerobic digester for the generation of biogas. The resulting slurry can then be fed to earthworms or insect larvae, or be used as a soil amendment. The ponds, which are designed for stormwater collection, would be used for fish production, with excess nutrient-rich water irrigating fruit and vegetable production. An integral part of the node would be an area designated for super fresh food production. Ideally, the node would be surrounded by land to supply up to 75% of the food requirements of the community. Larger household items, many of which currently find their way to landfill, could be reused within the community. Only as a last resort would material go to landfill. In this way the reduction in landfill site size could be 50-75%, and greenhouse gas emissions from landfill could be almost eliminated.

Work Each node would have its own business and commercial centre, so that the reduction in transport costs and pollution could be dramatic. There is an opportunity to overlap business and private activities and to integrate commercial and residential accommodation - this trend is currently taking place in the inner suburbs of Brisbane. Many people would take the opportunity to work from home or walk to work. With increased activity from walking or cycling there are positive implications for the overall health of the community.


Social But more importantly, people would communicate more with one another and share their resources; the social implications are great. A node system offers sustainable community jobs, particularly for those at each end of life, the retired as mentors and the young as learners. Overall, there would be the evolution of a new paradigm of interaction and integration, and a more effective use of the finite resources available to us. The following diagram shows how the individual parts of a macro-scale system can fit together to produce a fully integrated node.

Solar energy power & heating Food


Organic waste Reduced energy needs NODE Roof water

Local work

Storm water Glass, paper, metal, recycling

Large household items Social exchange

Micro scale The development of nodes encourages us to look at the big picture and a highly integrated future. But the big picture is always made up of many pieces and many small steps. One of these pieces is the increasing number of householders and councils taking an active role in designing dwellings that address the needs of both people and the environment. One such initiative is the construction of the Smart House by Tweed Shire Council. This house, of which I was a co-designer, operates as a display home in a new housing development. Its purpose is to educate the community by displaying a range of energy-efficient and environmentally appropriate design principles. In designing this house we sought to create a house which on the outside looked similar to its neighbours, but on the inside worked very differently. The Smart House exemplifies smart design, is cheaper to run, more comfortable to live in and benefits the environment.


At the beginning of the design process we identified a number of desired outcomes, as follows: Zero artificial heating; Zero artificial cooling; Zero artificial lighting during daylight hours; Food-producing landscape; Non-toxic building materials; Net exporter of electricity; Roof water collection; Create a mini eco-system on a 600m2 block of land. So how did we achieve these desired outcomes?

Energy Efficiency The most important factor when designing a house is to arrange the living areas with a north orientation coupled with eave widths, which are appropriate for the latitude. The ideal eave width allows winter sun to penetrate and warm the living area, but stops summer sun from heating living areas. Some of the internal walls were constructed of mud brick to introduce thermal mass and thus stabilise internal temperatures. An opening roof system over the courtyard area maintains a comfortable environment within the courtyard and also the surrounding rooms. Particular attention was paid to cross ventilation throughout the whole house; all rooms have regulated airflow. Internally, the house can be divided into zones by closing doors, this is important to maintain warmth in small areas in winter. Complete roof and wall insulation also aids in thermal stabilisation.

Building Materials Extensive research was carried out on a large range of building materials, before choosing those that were most appropriate for the environment and the health of the inhabitants. The following were included: A physical termite barrier; All benchtops and shelving were made from plantation hoop pine; Low odour paints were used throughout; 250 old car tyres were used in the concrete slab (ecoraft slab). These tyres are laid whole under the slab and take the place of conventional void formers such as styrene blocks (waffle pods). Carpets and curtains have been avoided in the Smart House as they contain toxic fumes when they are new, and harbour dust as they age. Another desired outcome of the house was to make it as healthy as possible for the inhabitants living in it.

Resource Maximisation The original design included underground storage for 10,000L of water collected from the roof but this was not included in the construction. Instead, guttering with a storage capacity of 3,000L was used to


retain some roof water. This water is used to flush the toilets and water the gardens. During periods of low rainfall the gutters are topped up with mains water supply. A heat pump hot water system supplies hot water over a wide range of temperatures as it does not rely on direct heating from the sun. Low flow taps and showerheads have been used in all wet areas to conserve water. A bank of 12 photovoltaic solar cells is mounted on the north-facing roof as part of a grid interactive electricity generating system. These cells are connected via an inverter into the grid system, which means that the house exports electricity during the day and earns credit. At night the house uses electricity from the grid, i.e. a debit. Over a period of time the nett consumption of electricity is either reduced or eliminated. Grass-crete pavers create a permeable driveway to reduce stormwater runoff, and the grass driveway reduces heat buildup in concrete surfaces surrounding the house. Louvered garage doors were installed to promote ventilation and dissipate vehicle fumes. A completely integrated food production system was incorporated into the original design but was not included in the project. However it is useful to comment on some of the original design features. A rotational chicken and vegetable system used a lightweight coup to move chickens into areas where vegetables had just finished. The chickens eat waste food and vegetables and prepare the soil for planting the next crop. A small (1000L) tank was included to raise edible fish. hydroponic system to filter water and produce vegetables. Integrated with the fish was a small

The plant species planned for the landscaping were either small trees that produced an edible fruit or were bird attracting flowering native species. It was anticipated that approximately 50% of the household food needs would be produced on-site. For those who question the ability of cities and communities to change, I suggest they read the account of the transformation of Curitiba, a southern Brazilian city, in Amory Lovins book Natural Capitalism. In the chapter on Human Capitalism the authors review extensively the evolution of a city with scant resources plus explosive population growth into a city with measurably better levels of education, health, human welfare, public safety, democratic participation, political integrity, environmental protection, and community spirit than its neighbours, and some would say than most cities in the United States. The transformation of Curitiba, over a relatively short period of time, offers a promising reference for those who believe that the cities and settlements we inhabit must embrace a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, eco-efficient settlements at both the macro and micro levels allow us to move a little closer towards integrated bio-systems for human habitation. And it is appropriate to finish with the following quotation from the World Commission on Environment (1987):

Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable - to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs


Hallman, V.L. 1999. Integrating ecosystems and city planning. Urban Briefs, 5:7. Hawken, P., Lovins, A. and Hunter Lovins, L. 1999. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Little, Brown and Co., Boston. Rogers, R. and Gumuchdjian, P. 1997. Cities for a Small Planet. Faber and Faber Ltd, London.

Todd, N.J. and Todd J. 1994. From Eco-Cities to Living Machines. North Atlantic Books, California. World Commission on Environment. 1987. Brundtland Report.


Multi-use water systems Environmentally sustainable aquaagricultural farming system.

David Tay School of Agriculture & Horticulture, University of Queensland Gatton

Water is one of Australia most valuable natural resources. A significant part of rainfall in the country occurs in areas where there is limited agricultural and urban development. For example, in Queensland 76% of the 159 million megalitres (ML) river discharge occurs in sparsely populated catchments that drain directly to the Gulf of Capentaria and the Coral Sea. Drought frequently occurs in agricultural regions. Urban development, industry, mining and agriculture are increasingly competing for the limited available good water. In Queensland, of the estimated 3.2 ML annual water consumption, 65% is used in irrigation, 14 % in stock and rural domestic, 17% in town supply and only 4% in industry. Our traditional irrigation practices are water inefficient and creating serious land salinity problems, ground water contamination, reduced river flows and ecological pollution. In future our agriculture will not be limited by weather, land, technology, economics or markets but rather by the availability of high quality water. Some of the issues facing water availability in Queensland agriculture are summarised. A multi-use water concept aims to redefine the way we currently think about and use water in agriculture and farming, and the ways we will use the reclaimed sewage and farm water. The research strategy is to integrate well-developed disciplines and technologies, namely, aquaculture, hydroponics, modern plastic-house technology and drip-irrigation into an intensive water-based farming system where the productivity per unit volume water is the key performance. The Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers (QFVG) has identified this concept as a strategy to achieve water security in the horticultural industry. The strategic alliance between QFVG, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and the University of Queensland Gatton at the heart of the Lockyer Valley is most appropriate as annually about $90 million of vegetables are generated for local and export market. The cooperation will involve integration across disciplines and utilise expertise from across organisations. It will move towards a water-focused system approach for rural industries, create opportunities for international collaboration, develop pilot systems leading to industrial applications, and solve environmental problems of immediate relevance, such as soil and water salinity, ground water contamination and river flow. In an increasingly water-deprived agricultural environment the resultant systems will provide an undoubted advantage for direct rural development.


A Community Development Model for Mixed Enterprise Land Development

Beth Mitchell and Michael Rooney FOCUS Pty Ltd.

FOCUS Pty Ltd is a broad based planning consultancy that has been working with an indigenous client base over a number of years. Around five years ago we were involved in preparing a feasibility study and business plan for a community farm at Scrub Hill, located on the outskirts of Hervey Bay and owned by Korrawinga Aboriginal Corporation. We have had intermittent involvement in providing support for the development of the farm, and are currently providing mentoring services on an ongoing basis to Dhugamin CDEP, which is a subsidiary organisation formed to organise the farm workforce. Scrub Hill is seen within the broader indigenous community as a highly successful community enterprise, though it has followed a model which challenges some of the preconceptions of potential funding agencies. It employs a CDEP workforce of 75 people engaged in market gardening, nursery operations, a poultry farm, production of cut flowers for export, tea tree production, bushtucker cultivation, farm tourism, and art and craft production on site. A video is being put together which explains how the farm has developed, and the difference it has made to peoples lives. FOCUS is currently assisting Yugambeh Land Enterprises in developing a business plan for a mixed enterprise community farm on land called Minjelha Dhagun adjacent to Mount Barney in the Border Ranges National Park. The land is quite different to that at Scrub Hill (larger area, more fertile, further from town), but many of the community objectives for land development are similar. There are close social and cultural ties between some people living at Scrub Hill and Yugambeh people in the Beaudesert, so that the two projects are seen as having much in common. The experience gained at Scrub Hill and Minjelha Dhagun may seem to reflect particular indigenous perspective on land development. These perspectives are not readily embraced by mainstream or indigenous agencies, and this has led to considerable difficulties in gaining agency support. However it is worth considering whether the problems experienced do have a cultural foundation, or whether there are broader lessons to be learnt about the relation between community development and land development.


5. Future vision and action for change

The spread of integrated biosystems will ultimately depend on a wide array of social, economic and environmental factors that describe the willingness of Australians to move toward a more sustainable way of life. It is therefore worth locating system integration within a broader philosophical context. The material in this section is a synthesis of ideas generated during workshopping sessions by InFoRM 2000 participants, who were asked to paint a picture of a preferred Australia in 15-20 years time, and then to describe how integrated biosystem development might be encouraged as we move in that direction. All the original "Future vision" comments made by participants have been assembled and categorised in the Appendix 1. Although agri-aquaculture is not the only type of biosystem integration covered in this book, the priorities outlined in the RIRDC Research and Development Plan for Integrated Agri-aquaculture (Gooley 2000) provide a good general frame of reference for the present recommendations.

Future vision
Some common themes in visions of a more sustainable Australia include the following: a widespread recognition of the role of natural processes and the value of ecosystem services careful stewardship of water and other resources; restoration of environmental flows sustainable land use practices; improved soil quality and biodiversity increased use of biomass fuels and other renewable sources of energy greater reliance on recycling and re-use allocation of adequate funds for environmental protection and sustainable development projects reduced consumption of scarce resources; increased emphasis on planning based on to essential needs rather than projections of traditional demand strong markets for accredited "eco-safe" products better education of city dwellers with regard to rural issues; direct trade relationships between consumers and producers true cost accounting of production systems that quantifies social and environmental values more self-sufficient, decentralised communities convergence of interests and more effective networking between producers, consumers, researchers, environmental lobbyists, regulators, local authorities and state and federal government agencies a more holistic approach to planning, involving integration at the community, catchment and regional levels


Action for change: promoting integrated biosystem development in Australia

Coordination Because integrated biosystems are interdisciplinary in nature, effective networking is essential if their potential is to be fully realised. Ideally, there should be a continual, multidirectional flow of information around the stakeholder network. In this way all members of the network can benefit from access to specialised expertise and the experiences of others. Communication between those with complementary expertise can lead to a convergence of interests and enhanced awareness of integration opportunities. Community ownership and visibility are key priorities in the process of encouraging integrated biosystem development. Local stakeholders, with the assistance of researchers and other specialists, should identify and assess the feasibility of different integration options. This process can be facilitated and coordinated by community-based steering committees. Where possible, it is worth exploring possibilities for biosystem integration within the framework of integrated land use planning at the community, catchment or regional level. The judicious siting of complementary activities so as to minimise transport costs and utilise by-products (e.g., nutrient-rich effluent from intensive animal industries; waste heat from power generation and other industries) can enhance profits and protect environmental quality. Local "innovation workshops", including a range of stakeholders representing catchment groups, producers and local authorities, are one way in which such possibilities can be explored. Feasibility studies should include an agreed and clearly defined process for developing objectives and strategies and moving through the implementation and evaluation phases. Local steering committees should be encouraged to share results and evaluated outcomes with members of the broader network. Feasibility studies can be carried out by setting and assessing targets at different stages. There is a need for overall coordination of integration initiatives at the regional level. While practitioners (e.g., farmers) are often willing to cooperate in research trials and for demonstration systems to be established on their property, they usually have limited time to devote to broader organisational activities. These activities should be coordinated by a project leader or committee (e.g., based in a government department or university) who can play a lead role in receiving and disseminating information, developing demonstration sites and setting up consultative processes to determine research priorities. They can also act as "innovations brokers" and assist in sourcing research funds. There is a growing realisation that traditional discipline-based approaches to natural resource and environmental management must be replaced by systems-level, interdisciplinary approaches. These will require something of a paradigm shift in thinking, and the development of processes that allow pooling of diverse kinds of knowledge and expertise. Management structures should be consistent with this approach - so that, for example, state government departments dealing with primary industries, environmental protection, resource management and state development all share a common integrated perspective. An awareness of integration principles and current case studies provides a powerful basis for action. Specialists with a holistic perspective and access to such information have an important role to play in disseminating ideas to colleagues, forging collaborative connections across disciplines, helping to streamline regulatory processes, and developing incentive schemes to convert innovative ideas to integrated applications.


Demonstration & Research Perhaps the most influential factor affecting the adoption of integrated biosystems is the presence of demonstration sites that permit the evaluation of novel designs. Demonstrations help to attract interest in the industries concerned and can be used as prototypes or templates for similar developments elsewhere. Demonstration sites may be run by producers or by the research community and can provide important information on economic costs and benefits, environmental impacts, and social benefits. Access to a range of fully commercial sites (e.g., integrated farms and other production units) for purposes of demonstration is crucial for the development of the integrated sector. Agricultural campuses, such as those at Gatton (University of Queensland) and Roseworthy (University of Adelaide) are ideal sites for integrated biosystem demonstration, training and research. Advantages of such locations include the availability of space for development, connections with established institutions with research and teaching infrastructure, and the close proximity of commercial parties. Such sites provide exciting opportunities to demonstrate how links between a wide variety of activities (e.g., conventional food and fibre production, permaculture, hydroponics, urban agriculture, water purification, renewable energy use, settlement design) can be achieved without compromising environmental quality. Site designers should ensure that the size of the systems concerned is large enough to be representative of realistic commercial operations. Demonstration sites are important focal points of contact and dialogue between diverse stakeholders, and their design and development is an important part of the process of moving from disciplinary to interdisciplinary ways of thinking. Funding investment by government agencies, educational institutions and industry should be sufficient to allow demonstration sites to fulfill their potential as key centres of technological innovation. In applying the results of research, it is essential to transmit information in simple language that everyone can understand. Similarly, all stakeholders need to communicate their research requirements to research providers. Where possible, innovative producers conducting independent trials should be supported by established groups in the research community. Research and development of integrated biosystems would be greatly assisted by targetted innovations funding. At present, most of the government-run Research and Development Corrporations (RDCs) in Australia are strongly discipline-based. It is recommended that a greater percentage of funds be allocated to umbrella bodies like the Rural Industries RDC (RIRDC), the Land and Water RDC (LWRRDC) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia (AFFA) for the purposes of system-level research and development. RIRDC's ability to coordinate integrated projects involving other RDCs should be strengthened. While integrated biosystems should be developed to meet site-specific requirements, there is much to be gained from the transfer of general design principles and technologies from other locations. National and international research collaboration, supported by connections between integrated biosystem networks, should be encouraged whereever possible.

Information Internet websites are an efficient way of raising awareness of integrated biosystems. Websites can carry information on research and development programs and existing integrated systems in Australia and overseas. They can be used as repositories for key literature (e.g., strategic plans, government reports and research papers) and can include directories of human and material resources. Video links and interactive technologies can permit "virtual tours" of particular biosystems. Because of the utility of websites in facilitating the development of integrated biosystems, it is recommended that funds for their establishment and maintenance be made available by relevant institutions (e.g., government agencies, universities) and industry bodies as a matter of priority. Once websites are established, site managers can recoup some revenue by selling commercial space.


Training in aspects of biosystem integration can be carried out through TAFE, higher education and continuing education courses. These can utilise fact sheets and other printed material, websites, video and CD technologies, and demonstration sites. Films and TV documentaries (perhaps funded by government agencies) can be used for both training and publicity. Video recordings of workshops and conferences featuring integrated systems represent a useful educational resource. Integrated biosystems design can be used to introduce concepts of sustainable development. There is also scope to include visits to demonstration sites in ecotourism programs. School competitions, where students are challenged to design fully integrated systems in rural or urban settings, can be excellent ways of applying concepts from different subject areas and have the potential to attract attention from the broader community, especially if publicised through the news media. One attraction of school-based projects is that they can elicit fresh and imaginative ideas uninhibited by traditional constraints. Reference
Gooley, G. 2000. R&D plan for integrated agri-aquaculture systems 1999-2004. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication No. 99/153. 29 pp.



ort supp ack & b fe ed

Scientific government private universities Individuals Communities Schools IMPLEMENTATION

Other Government & Industries

Internet & Media

co m m un ic at io n
in ter p re ta tio n


Network Coordination Workshops Discussion groups Internet / Media Field days Demonstration sites Extension officers Joint ventures Community partnerships Schools



Development of integrated biosystems: information flow and action

6. Concluding comments
Address to InFoRM 2000 by Dr. Joe Baker,
Department of Primary Industrie Chief Scientist, Queensland

When the organisers approached me to chair a session at this Workshop I thought that it would be a great opportunity because I am really interested in this challenge of Integrated Food Production and in ensuring that we protect our natural resources so that future generations have equal opportunity to use them in a sustainable way, as we had them when our forefathers handed them to us. That does not mean that we would expect exactly the same uses as we have today. We have to be able to adapt to changing needs, demands, and other situations, but still be able to ensure that in that adaptation we do not prejudice the habitat or food chains of species other than human. When Kevin and Usha asked me if I would sum up on what I saw as critical issues arising from InFoRM 2000 again I readily accepted but as I have listened to the vital discussions that you have had in the last hour or so, it is almost an intrusion by me to come and try to put a single persons' perspective on the enormous range of issues that have been raised in these two days. So what I am going to do is concentrate on some lessons you have taught me and on some points or actions we may consider with respect to Integrated Food Production and Resource Management for the future. I will use "agriculture" to embrace horticulture, pastoralism and aquaculture, and aquaculture will include mariculture and I will use the word "food" to cover fibre, flowers and aquatic species, such as fish and crabs and I will use the word "value" to include all steps in the value chain. In the material which encouraged us to attend this workshop we were told that "integrated biosystems can take a wide variety of forms and that such integrated systems offer many opportunities for increased efficiency, productivity and product profit and represent practical creative solutions to problems of waste management and pollution". Further we were told that "by conserving soil and water, increasing crop diversity and producing feed, fuel or fertiliser on site, integrated biosystems are relatively sustainable and resilient, and can do much to support local economies and communities". There was a final sentence to that section in the literature, that said "economic and environmental pressures are generating growing interest in integrated options". There is no doubt an intended pun on the word "growing" by Kev and his colleagues. If we place these challenging statements alongside the numerous new technologies and new fields of endeavour such as ecological engineering and environmental accounting, do we have the tools to construct cost effective ecologically sensitive solutions for sustainable food production in Australia? If we had those tools do we have them organised in such a way that we can use them effectively and efficiently? My short answer is I doubt it, but the slightly longer answer is with the combination of people that you have attracted to this workshop, -theoreticians, technologists, practitioners, environmentalists, administrators - there is a chance that integrated human systems, (that is us continuing to work together), can do much to make integrated biosystems a reality. As people have spoken throughout the two days I have been impressed by a question which I always ask because it makes direction-seeking more easy - What is our vision? Do we have a shared vision? Or even after our intensive discussions today and through the last two days do we still have different impressions of what we would want to see from integrated biosystems, in say, twenty years time? 166

What integrated food production systems would you as an individual like to have in place by the year 2020? Will food security covering both quality and quantity - be the key issue? It is unusual in a summing-up situation to use a slide that has not been used in any of the presentations. However, I hope you will see it as both relevant and challenging. When we were asked to discuss the significant aspects of sustainable agriculture, we were told that the agricultural age was past. We were told that there were five Ages which could be readily accepted. The first of these was the Agricultural Age followed by the Industrial Age, and then the Information and Communication Age and the Technology and Biotechnology Age which is with us at the moment. Many people are pointing towards a Care of Planet Age where we are at last able to use our combined knowledge to take into account the needs of species, other than human, for sustainable development. Your papers have provoked my thoughts on the integrated biosystems which take place in nature, the need for us to practice biomimicry and to ask ourselves how we can best use the different information sources we have to maximise the opportunity of developing integrated biosystems for human sustainability, while still allowing all other species a comparable opportunity for sustainable existence. The figure below illustrates my belief that the Agricultural Age is not past, nor is the Industrial Age, and one can look almost everyday for examples of where new industries are being developed based on agricultural practices and where new technology is being applied to improve both productivity and nutrient value of agricultural crops and to strengthen new or exiting industries. To be really effective in that we have to integrate the known and new technologies including the biotechnologies, we have to ensure that all people have equal opportunity to access the information and communication infrastructure (which currently favours the big cities) and if we can achieve all that type of integration I believe we have an opportunity to also achieve Care of Planet. So I leave that diagram with you as a thought, looking backward to the extent of seeing what has been done and certainly using the most modern of technologies and biotechnologies and the most modern of information and communication technologies to develop new industries to make the use of our land more sustainable and to ensure that one of the outcomes is in fact Care of Planet.

Care of Planet

Agriculture Information and Communication Industry Technology/ Biotechnology


There are two or three other aspects which really make the type of debate that you have had in the two days highly relevant to your local needs, yet equally important to the development of regional practices and to Australia becoming part of the Global Village. Additionally, we have to recognise the unique advantages we have in Australia by the comparative political stability in our tropical and subtropical regions compared with those of the developing countries of many parts of the world. We have had some wonderful presentations by people who are leaders of academic communities in Australia, such as Paul Greenfield and Mark Diesendorf - and yet I look at the universities of today and wonder whether they have they broken down the disciplinary boundaries to produce the graduates who will be skilled in a multi-disciplinary way to best practice integrated biosystems and to manage them accordingly. In a paper that he wrote for the Canada Foundation for Innovation, David Strangway noted that "we realise today that important advances know no disciplinary boundaries and call for multi-disciplinary approaches. It is increasingly obvious that knowledge in no longer the purview of any one country or of any one institution. Widespread access to the internet has brought this home to us in so many ways. It is not possible any more to be a passive recipient in a world in which information moves around the world at the speed of light". I have taken David Strangway's words into account in the construction of the diagram that I show on the interaction of the different ages and is really quite a modern concept to rejoin what people may regard as past ages into very present and significant practices. But I do ask the question have our universities adapted in a suitable way to produce the graduates of the future who can best participate in integrated biosystem development and management.? Coming back specifically to my task, I believe that the papers for the conference were very well structured in both sequence and content, to draw together the necessary information, to attack the challenges of the workshop of "addressing the issues and establishing priorities for planning research and development". Throughout the two days we have had both direct and indirect reference to the need for practices to be established which are economically sound, socially acceptable and ecologically considerate. We used to talk about research and development but I now see more and more, that we need an integration of research and development, extension, innovation and commercialisation. Commercialisation is not the only outcome of innovation. Another outcome is better organisational practices, the saving of energy, the saving of material. Innovation is for everybody but a lot of innovation does lead to commercial benefit. I would like you to think holistically in any practices that you want to establish - from the type of research that is needed to fully understand them, to the development of those research ideas into a systematic band of knowledge, to the development of efficient extension methods to communicate that knowledge to user groups, using a combination of people to cooperate to ensure that -wherever practicable - we take the knowledge based on research through the technologies to innovation and, wherever possible, sustainable commercialisation. All these steps are consistent in my mind with the concept and principles of ecologically sustainable development which again has been mentioned frequently in the talks and in discussion in these past two days. Given that everything that we have discussed is essentially based on the fundamental natural resources of air, water, soil, vegetation and exploitable animals and plants, we are dealing with ecologically sustainable development of natural resources. The political necessity to separate portfolios should not impede our ability to work together, to cross those interdepartmental boundaries in the same way that we ask the universities to cross its disciplinary boundaries and to achieve biomimicry in our development processes. One of the simplest aspects of biomimicry is that the waste of one process is


the resource of another. Biomimicry is essentially working together for mutual benefits in the same way that nature has achieved it. In the papers Peter Peterson was to give the leading case studies analysis but there were technical difficulties, which he successfully side-stepped, and he left us a very clear message that the agricultural and aquacultural practices of Israel are those essentially of a type that generate no waste. Similarly in our practices by integrating these sorts of activities we also should be able to achieve multiple use of water and land and a sustainable waste-free set of practices. Scott Spencer highlighted the Queensland Government's priorities to work towards ecologically sustainable development. Their attempts are not always met with public, media or even departmental cooperation or understanding. We are left with different departments designating different regions of Queensland and very little agreement (at least to the public view) on river catchment or bioregionalisation as a preferred method of defining natural resource areas. Paul Greenfield really challenged us on the very fundamental waste management and environmental engineering issues, stressing the human characteristics of first pretending something undesirable is not there, rather than try to understand how a particular situation arose and working out the components of the system that had caused, or were affected by, the occurrence. Mark Diesendorf revealed why his Institute for Sustainable Futures is such a highly regarded institution, with its ability to offer practical integrated solutions to the challenges of achieving sustainable development. His, like Pauls, was a good sense approach, shifting from linear to cyclic flows of matters and this concept was reinforced in many of the subsequent papers. He also introduced to us the term natural capitalism and the importance of a shifted emphasis from one on goods to one on services and to the importance of investing in natural capital. He did propose that Australia would have the opportunity to carve out an economic niche that is clever, clean and green. Many of you in the business sense have already carved out your own niche but the question is: can you make it stronger and more successful by interaction with the colleagues you have met and discussed problems with in these part two days? Many of the subsequent papers show how diverse are the opportunities to be "clever, clean and green". What appealed to me was the variety of ways that people have achieved those three objectives but still managed to be different in their approaches - to value-add, to communicate with the otherwise remote urban settlers and to expand the experience of native biodiversity. Ingrid Burkett related the way in which the principles and practices of secure sustainable community development are themselves so closely related to those of sustainable integrated biosystems because in effect that is what they are. I have drawn strength from each of the examples from different presentations. There is a tendency to give greater emphasis to the Day 1 papers which in many ways were scene-setting but there was not a single paper that did not attract questions and a lot of debate after the actual presentation. I was impressed with the thought-provoking nature of many of the talks and I do believe we were conditioned to be inquiring of presentations by the format of Day 1 and in particular, by the emphasis on future trends, opportunities and constraints. Topics on biomass processing, the control of pathogens, biofuel generation, the use of vermiculture are but a few examples of new technologies which are offering enormous opportunities for new industries, and for minimising waste. Some of the talks built bridges between the technological opportunities and the commercial realities and the talks such as that by Paul McVeigh on integrated multiple water use in cotton and grain production were very important to allow us to think ahead of how we can responsibly contain any


adverse impacts of practices on our own land and not transfer them to another piece of land or to another body of water. Several people spoke of multiple water use and everywhere I turn throughout the world, water use and reuse is a major topic and one that is going to demand the smartest use of the technologies including the biotechnologies. We have had presentations which have challenged our thinking from such diverse areas as: consideration from the regional to the global perspective of integrated biosystems; to the theory and practice of integrated agri and aquaculture; and to the challenges and rewards of the avoidance of waste, whether through water and nutrient recycling, through permaculture, through urban agriculture, through the value of biofuels, through cleaner production, through cogeneration, through the redesign of community settlements and through convergence. Perhaps the most important evidence of waste is that of inadequate interaction between people of like interest and the loss of benefits of interdisciplinary interactions. Can we maintain the stimulation which we have enjoyed in these past two days? Can we in some manner avoid that aspect of intellectual waste by resolving to maintain contact and to share ideas in our individual fields, recognising the skills and experiences of the people who have spoken and contributed to discussion in these past two days? Sometimes we use the internet unwisely, even communicating electronically with the person next door, but if we were in Brisbane and Paul McVeigh is somewhere out beyond Dalby we can still communicate with him electronically, share ideas and ask questions. Can we sensibly use the technologies accessible to us? You have shown remarkable enthusiasm for debate. Undoubtedly there will be another InFoRM conference planned because Kev, Usha and their organising team have seen the advantages of your interaction. You can identify the types of topics you would like to see in a future workshop. But I can assure you that the concept of integrated biosystems, which to me must be very close to biomimicry, will become an increasing interest of governments as the challenges of sustainable food production become even more important to the world - where quality will be as important as quantity and where resource management will not be something separated by those concerned with the natural environment and those concerned with the economic returns of the commercial crops, but a closely integrated system of protection of native habitat and native species interwoven with commercial production, whether on the land or in the sea. I hope that the enthusiasm that you have shown in the last two days will be maintained. I hope that the interactions will grow and I do believe that we in Australia have the benefit of comparatively low population densities. We have the challenge of managing our fragile soils and what is the driest of the inhabited continents of the world. We have the advantage of comparative political stability. We have the advantage that our air, our waters and our lands are not irreversibly polluted. Because of the combination of "good things" and "bad things, Australia is in fact a very good position to record the outcomes of its research and commercial and practical applications of integrated biosystems and share those outcomes with the world, notably the developing countries of the world, noting that most of those are in tropical or subtropical regions. I wish you well and thank you for the opportunity to be part of a very invigorating process.


Appendix 1.
A wish list for Australias future: comments from workshop participants
Integrated Biosystems
Increase in mixed/integrated land development and promotion of these systems by government (including incentives to diversify and incorporate new systems). Integration of integrated system research and development and implementation activity. Encourage integration of industries and strengthen networks. Movement away from the technology can fix all mentality. Technology had its place but can easily take valuable jobs and social belonging away from a community. Sharing of concepts to the lay person is more valuable than removing them from the processes of integrated biosystems. Zero organic waste disposal to landfills all must be processed and used for agricultural production in either rural or urban systems. Find a way to recover, recycle and reuse organic wastes from industries. Agricultural practices based on sustainability principles and ecosystems. We need to use new technology of agri- and aqua-biosystems learning from the past is not enough. Agroforestry solutions for rangelands. Production systems focussed on end user needs, not just production. Food production integrated with all urban effluent treatment systems. Individuals taking responsibility for their own food production. Communities working together with the aim of being self-sufficient and sustainable. All non-farmers producing some of their own food, no matter how little. Self-sufficient local communities. De-urbanised communities. Farmers providing community services eg. on-farm composting. Integrated biosystems regional programme in the south Pacific. Maximum recycling of nitrogen and phosphorus inputs in food production. Sustainable farming and environmental systems producing products required by the markets utilising proven research & development methodologies. Natural ecosystems the model for agricultural production. Strong lasting linkages between production and consumption (circular connection). Improving efficiency of resource use.


Development of economically and environmentally sustainable farming systems through integration and multiple use of resources. Multiple land and water use, resource reuse. Maximising utilisation of water, energy and nutrients within farming systems. Eco-farming joint ventures between farm business and input suppliers share the risk and share the income. More recycling of water by all local authorities before further extraction permits are issued. Diversity of biological species in agricultural production (flora and fauna). Sustainable farming systems across Australian farm land: farm like nature, optimum soil management (no degradation), production limited by environment (eg. rain), positive economics, minimum off-farm impacts, individual/community viability and services. Commercial integrated biosystems linked with ecosystem services eg. through the landscape construction industry which lead to the education of clients in the process. A landscape model to underpin traditional commercial and private design that enables our cityscapes to absorb nutrients and pollutants in water released by engineered treatment units.

Information / Communication / Publicity / Education

Dissemination of information on sustainable development (such as concepts/systems addressed in this conference) in a readily accessible format plain English, not scientific. Strategic development using demonstration and education networks. We need a book of possible technologies linking cans and cants for each to make the selection of a system easier. This should be available on the web as widely as possible. Communication and education strategy on holistic farming. Process for multidisciplinary planning. Publicity is important what we can do and why we must do it. Emphasis on developing visible models to improve mainstream perception of knowledge and sustainable development, and its place in their lives. Promote awareness of new production techniques particularly in aquaculture. Highly organised brand distribution and marketing of Australian food products to global and domestic markets, which provides better returns and a stable future for farmers market mechanisms for biosystems. Promote regional planning across farm, catchment, shire and regional levels. International exchange on holistic farming systems. Venture capital prospectus for holistic farming. The University of Queensland should initiate a postgraduate diploma in urban agriculture. It would draw students from Oceania, Asia, and around the world and would fit in well with current courses and resources.


The opinions and presentations of this workshop should be available to a wider audience. The ideas from this workshop should become accepted as popular opinion. Broader community knowledge and understanding of urban agriculture and the use of integrated systems. A clever country. Development of cooperation between the international integrated biosystems and Australian integrated biosystems networks. IBSnet international will provide internet facilities (eg. mailing lists), and aim to develop joint internet activities to focus on work in Australia via e-seminars and e-conferences. Consumers forming direct trade relationships with food producers. The understanding of urban populations about food and fibre production. Urban populations understanding the impacts of their food choices on the environment. Urban understanding of agricultural practices. Values of agriculture regarded highly by non-agricultural population. Consumers achieve a greater understanding of production systems, costs and constraints in rural Australia so they can tailor their purchases and consumption in a way that will be beneficial to producers. Improved understanding of urban society about agriculture and resource management. Increased school-based awareness programmes and educational units highlighting the important role of agriculture and advances made in sustainability. A solid connection between academic knowledge and layperson action, without the distorting effect of political presentation and its current lack of credibility with the layperson. Pilot scale demonstration sites in urban regions showing selected self-contained and selfsustaining biosystems. Publication of existing biodiversity stories eg. Lake Eyre Basin. Involvement of the next generation in the integrated systems debate (high school and under graduate forums). Filmed presentation developed into education material, project stimulation, material for schools and universities.

Research / Extension / Support

A truly integrated research and extension system. Greater field support for individuals and community groups implementing sustainable development projects. More cooperative research between biologists, engineers, industry and the community to identify opportunities and systems for sustainable integration. Practical/economical alternative to anaerobic ponds. The integration of research organisation with political agendas and with the people on the ground. 173

Flexible funding opportunities for research and venture capital. Regional centres of biomass utilisation and bio-refinery concept. Biomass produces electricity, biogas, and biofuels (eg. ethanol, diesel). Ethanol production from local sugarcane to supplement fuel requirements. Studies on the flow of nutrients from the country to the city and the sea, to find out where nutrient recycling can occur and reduce environmental pollution (eg. methane output from urban-generated organic wastes). National and international research and development collaboration that is site specific. Application of feasibility studies to commercial situations eg. biogas production, freshwater fish marketing. An expos of organic foods. Stability and continuity in funding/support incentives for people willing to take the risk of taking on new sustainable ideas. A reallocation of funding and people towards sustainable research and development. A RIRDC program or project (possibly including other RDCs eg. LWRRDC) on integrated agriaquaculture systems and holistic farming.

Aquaculture / Fish
Increased integration of intensive animal production systems with aquaculture through water and/or nutrient recycling. Reduce/eliminate the need to import fish into Australia by increasing aquaculture production. Minimise imports of food that can be produced in Australia. Broad application of integrated agri-aquaculture systems. Eat more fish. Cooperative approach to diversification into aquaculture. Integrated farming systems involving aquaculture, hydroponics, and agriculture and processing. More vigorous promotion of aquaculture production and products.

Environmental Issues
Awareness of environmental problems currently and in the future. Australia is not an environmentally lucky country forever. Stable or increasing biodiversity, distribution and abundances of species. Targeting environmental research for 2010-2020 and not 2002. Optimum use of our valuable water resource whilst maintaining flow to coastal estuaries. Acceptance by the community that the environment is theirs and therefore they need to pay. Halt depletion of critical, limiting resources eg. water, especially aquifers.


Environmental stream flows. Resolve resource use conflict eg. water allocation, vegetation management. Healthy balanced soils. Green cotton.

Policy / Legislation / Planning

Government and industry policy on holistic farming systems. Streamlining of the regulatory system to make farm diversification simpler. Integrated systems considered in regional and community planning agendas. Legislation and policy frameworks that work and are equitable. State government and local authority incentives for sustainable farming. Fewer policy makers, more people doing.

Native Species
Farming of native animals and birds. Greater use of native species in agriculture.

More information on the transport costs of fresh and other produce (in terms of % retail cost and % diesel energy used) so people can better judge their food choices in terms of energy consumption. True cost accounting of food/fibre supply incorporating economic/social/environmental issues. True cost-benefit analyses of integrated systems that recognise and quantify the value of social and environmental parameters of such systems. Consumers paying the real price for food. Develop mechanisms that allow farmers to put costs for caring for the environment on their sales prices.


Appendix 2.
Workshop participants
Name Baker Biala Bowyer Dr. Joe Affiliation and Address Telephone/Fax t. 07-3239 6927 f. 07-3221 4302 t. 07-3396 2511 f. 07-3396 2511 E-mail Chief Scientist, QDPI, GPO Box 46, Brisbane 4001. Mr. Johannes The Organic Force, 12 Pine Street, Wynnum, Qld. 4178 Ms. Jocelyn

Buchanan Mr Jim

Dept. of Microbiology & Parasitology, t: 07-3365 1101 University of Queensland. Chairman, Mary River Catchment t. 07-5482 6383 Coordinating Committee. 19 Johnstone Rd., f. 07-5486 5288 Gympie, Qld. 4570 School of Social Work & Social Policy, University of Queensland, St Lucia 4072 Territory Representative, Vermitech Pty Ltd. P.O. Box 1804, Cleveland MC, Qld. 4163. Qld. 4011 Smallholder Agricultural Development Consultant, 47 Kaboora Crescent, Westlake, Qld. 4074. QDPI Fisheries, P.O. Box 2066, Woorim, Bribie Island, QLD. 4507 Dept. of Microbiology & Parasitology, University of Queensland. Professor of Environmental Science, and Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, P.O. Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007 Director, MIRCEN-Biotechnology, Chairman, Int. Org. for Biotechology and Bioengineering,21 Belsize St, Kenmore, Qld. 4069 QDPI/University of Sunshine Coast, P.O. Box 2066, Bribie Island, Qld. 4507 t. 07-3365 2316 f. 07-3365 1788 t. 07-3630 0102 f. 07-3314 8015 t. 07-3279 5824 f. 07-3279 5824 t. 07-3400 2024 f. 07-3408 3535 t. 07-3365 1101 t. 02-9209 4353 f. 02-9209 4351

Burkett Capeness

Dr. Ingrid Mr. Steve


Mr. Eddie

Collins Crocetti

Dr. Adrian Mr. Greg

Diesendorf Prof. Mark


Dr. Horst W

t. 07-3378 3180 f. 07 3878 3230

Erler Fairlie Foo

Mr. Dirk Ms. Lin Mr. Jacky

t. 07-3400 2009 f. 07-3408 3535


Ms. Megan Anne Mr. Andrew

Coordinator, Intergrated Bio-systems Network, Intern. Organization on Biotechnology, Arvikagatan 26, S 123 43 Farsta, Sweden QDPI (Futureprofit), P.O. Box 96, Ipswich, Qld. 4305 ECOSTEPS Sustainability Training Education Practices & Strategies, 9/96 Milson road, Mosman, NSW 2090.

t. 46-8-945959 f. 46-8-5982 229

t. 07-3280 1905 f. 07-3812 1715 t. 02-9689 1480



Ms. Fiona M


Mr John

Aquaculture Program, Marine & Freshwater t. 03- 5774 2208 Resources Institute, Private Bag 20, f. 03- 57742659 Alexandra, Vic. 3714 P.O. Box 975, Ipswich, Qld. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), University of Queensland, St Lucia 4072. t. 07-3365 3917 f. 07-3365 8521

Greenfield Prof. Paul


Name Hallman

Affiliation and Address

Telephone/Fax t. 07-3378 6963 f. 07-3878 8493 t. 08-8303 7880 f. 08-8303 7979 t. 07-3840 5516 f. 07-3844 1974 t. 07-4984 5188 f. 07-4984 5102


Ms. Vivienne Director, The Green Food Company, 789 Fig Tree Pocket Road, Fig Tree Pocket, Qld. 4069 Mr. Paul Lecturer, Dept. of Agronomy and Farming Systems, Adelaide University Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371 Manager, Administrative & Economic Services, Australian Agricultural Co. Ltd., GPO Box 587, Brisbane 4001 General Manager, Farming & Backgrounding Operations, Australian Agriculture Co. Pty. Ltd. Goonoo Station, Comet, Qld. 4702 Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld. 4072.



Mr. Noel


Mr. Ian


Dr Bo

t. 07- 3365 4479 f. 07-3365 4726


Dr. Martin

Freshwater Aquaculture Sub-Program t. 08-8200 2400 Leader, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, P.O. Box f. 08-8200 2481 120, Henley Beach, SA 5022. t. 07-3239 3225 f. 07-3239 0439 t. 02-6626 1319 f. 02-6628 3264 t. 07-3365 0360 f. 07-3365 1177 t. 07-3225 1906 f. 07-3227 8341 t. 03-6421 7674 f. 03-6424 5142


LinesKelly Matthew Mathews McPhee

Mr. Warwick Senior Marketing Officer, Fishing Industry Development Services, QDPI, GPO Box 3129, Brisbane 4001. Ms. Rebecca Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, Bruxner Highway, Wollongbar, NSW 2477. Mr. Phil School of Agriculture & Horticulture, University of Queensland, Gatton. Mr. Maurice Mr. John EPA Queensland. Team Leader, (Sustainable & Profitable Industries), Vegetable Branch, DPI, Water and Environment, P.O. Box 303, Devonport, Tas. 7310. Cotton/Grain Grower, Member of Qld. Food & Fibre Scientific Innovation Council and Cotton Industry Development Council, "Loch Eaton", MS 35, Dalby, Qld. 4405. Lot 1 Finley Road, Eumundi, Qld. 4562 FOCUS Pty Ltd. 128 Swensons Road, Mt Crosby, Qld 4306 Director, Consortium for Integrated Resource Management, c/- University of Queensland, St Lucia 4702. 67 Boundary St. P.O. Box 834, Moree, NSW 2400. au


Mr. Paul

t. 07-4663 3547 f. 07-4463 3573

Millington Mrs. Janet Mitchell Mott Miss Beth Prof. John

t. 07-5442 7200 f. 07-5442 7300 t. 07-3201 2218 f. 07-3201 2012 t. 07- 3365 6938 f. 07- 3365 2965 t. 02-6754 3461 f. 02-6754 3462


Mr. Stefan

O'Sullivan Mr. Mark

Acting General Manager, Business Strategy t. 07-3239 3964 Unit, QDPI, GPO Box 46, Brisbane 4001 f. 07-3239 3685 Technical Management Centre, University of Queensland, St Lucia 4702. t. 07-3365 1594

Pagan Pearson Peterson PillaiMcGarry

Mr. Bob Mr. Doug Mr. Peter Dr. Usha

PROAQUA, P.O. Box 929, Hamilton, Qld. t. 07-3268 2727 4007 f. 07-3289 2999 Sr. Industry Development Officer, QDPI, GPO Box 46, Brisbane 4001 School of Agriculture & Horticulture, University of Queensland, Gatton.

t. 07-3224 2692 f. 07-3239 0439 t. 07-3365 2251 07-5460 1319 au


Name Pollock Mr. Don

Affiliation and Address Resource Officer (Food & Fibre), Central Highlands Development Corp., P.O. Box 1425, Emerald, Qld. 4720. Dept. of Zoology & Entomology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld. 4072 FOCUS Pty Ltd. 128 Swensons Road, Mt Crosby, Qld 4306

Telephone/Fax t. 07-4982 4386 f. 07-4982 4068 t. 07-3201 0950



Dr. Deborah

Rooney Spencer

Mr. Michael Mr. Scott

t. 07-3201 2218 f. 07-3201 2012

Acting Deputy Director-General, DNR, 7th t. 07-3224 8164 Floor Mineral House, 41 George St. f. 07-3224 2072 Brisbane 4001 QDPI, P.O. Box 5165 SCMC, Nambour, Qld. 4560 Industry Manager (Environment Management), P.O. Box 102, Toowoomba, Qld. 4074 DPI, P.O. Box 102 (203 Tor Street), Toowoomba, Qld. 4350 Executive Dean, Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld. 4072. Sustainable Organic Solutions, 57 Blackett St. Downer, ACT 2602. Dept. of Zoology & Entomology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld 4072. Exec. Officer (hon.), The Urban Agriculture Network- Western Pacific. P.O. Box 2223, Mansfield, Qld. 4122. Programs Manager, RIRDC, P.O. Box 4776, Kingston, ACT 2604. 51 Stonehaven Cres., Deakin 2600. t. 07-5430 4947 f. 07-5430 4994 t. 07-4688 1404 f. 07-4881 1192


Mr. Alan


Mr. Tim


Prof. Roger

t. 07-5460-1201 f. 07-5460-1170

Totterdell Mr. Paul

t. 02-62489330

Warburton Dr. Kevin

t. 0703365 2979 f. 07-3365 1655 t. 07-3349 1422 f. 07-3343 8279 t. 02-6281 2160 f. 02-6285 1196


Mr. Geoff


Dr. George


Mr. Paul

Chairman, Queensland Fruit and Vegetable t. 07-3213 2444 Growers' Association. f. 07-3213 2454