Farmers’ perceptions of options for pasture remediation and recovery following major tephra fall in New Zealand (2020)
Many regions around the world have farms surrounding potentially active volcanoes that have been dormant for decades to centuries. Without any recent experience, a new major eruption and tephra fall would present an unfamiliar soil and pasture remediation challenge. We interviewed 23 farmers from the volcanic North Island of New Zealand in order to gain insight into the current understanding of tephra fall risk and associated production recovery strategies needed for the pastoral agricultural sector. Of the interviewees, 26% had experienced past minor tephra falls on their farms while 70% believed they were at risk of experiencing future tephra fall. Around half of all interviewed farmers (48%), including one who had previously experienced tephra fall, provided suggestions for possible remediation techniques. The remaining half (52%) did not know what to do if tephra were to fall on their farm. The farmer-suggested remediation strategies are: 1) waiting for rainfall to wash away the tephra (for thin falls), 2) cultivation, 3) re-grassing, 4) ploughing, 5) using fertilizers, 6) flipping the upper 0.5 metres of tephra and soil, and 7) physical removal. A key barrier to effective recovery is lack of rapid access to appropriate knowledge during and following a tephra fall. These findings provide potentially useful treatment strategies for heavy tephra fall on pasture and a key reference amongst the farming community when considering farm system preparedness for (and recovery from) tephra fall.
CitationSivarajan S, Lindsay J, Cronin S, Wilson T (2020). Farmers’ perceptions of options for pasture remediation and recovery following major tephra fall in New Zealand. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies. 24(2). 89-102.
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Keywordstephra fall; soil remediation; pasture recovery; volcanic eruption; Mt Taranaki; Mt Ruapehu; Taupō; agriculture
ANZSRC Fields of Research30 - Agricultural, veterinary and food sciences::3002 - Agriculture, land and farm management::300202 - Agricultural land management
30 - Agricultural, veterinary and food sciences::3004 - Crop and pasture production::300406 - Crop and pasture improvement (incl. selection and breeding)
37 - Earth sciences::3709 - Physical geography and environmental geoscience::370903 - Natural hazards
41 - Environmental sciences::4105 - Pollution and contamination::410599 - Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified
41 - Environmental sciences::4106 - Soil sciences::410601 - Land capability and soil productivity
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