Meet the FABLE Australia team
The team is led by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). As Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst, CSIRO works with every Australian university, government department and major Australian industry. CSIRO's collaborative research seeks to turn science into solutions for food security and quality, clean energy and resources, health and wellbeing, resilient and valuable environments, innovative industries, and a secure Australia and region.
The team’s main areas of interest have been in improving agriculture’s footprint, resilient farming systems, improvements to nutritional metrics, ecotoxicity, uncertainty modelling, and urban sustainability implications for food and land-use systems.
Former members: Michalis Hadjikakou, Brett Bryan, Romy Zyngier, and Eli Court.
Transforming food and land-use systems in Australia
Australia’s landmass extends to around 7.7 million km2, making it the world’s 6th largest country. This vast continent and its natural resources underpin Australia’s economic, social, and environmental health, and support a large range of uses, grazing in lands with native and modified vegetation, nature conservation, cropland and horticultural activities, forestry plantings, and urban use. Livestock grazing on native vegetation in more arid regions makes up the largest use of agricultural land, occupying almost half of Australia’s total landmass.
Agriculture directly employs around 304,000 people across approximately 86,000 farms. In total, agriculture supports around 1.6 million direct and indirect jobs. Agriculture accounts for around 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and over half (65%) of the food and other agricultural products produced in Australia is sent overseas. Australian food and fiber exports play a pivotal role in regional economic growth and contribute to the food security of millions in the Asia-Pacific region.
In 2017, Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) accounted for 20% of Australia's total emissions. Notably, the livestock industry stands as the primary source of AFOLU emissions, led by enteric fermentation, followed by grassland, agricultural soils, and manure management. Additionally, activities such as burning fossil fuels for on-farm operations, fertilizer and pesticide production, and their transportation are estimated at 7%, 26%, and 2% of direct GHG emissions. Resource use efficiency gains could influence significantly more than 20% of total emissions, potentially closer to 30%.
Presently, Australians consume high-calorie diets with excessive meat consumption, surpassing the recommended intake in the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADGs) by 24%. To accelerate positive trends, it is imperative to incorporate stronger sustainability principles in the upcoming iteration of the ADGs, accompanied by robust financial incentives to steer consumption patterns towards more sustainable diets.
Key national objectives and targets