On-farm benefits

On-farm benefits

Trees increase farm productivity and create more sustainable operations

Trees support whole farm systems to operate more efficiently. They can also boost your farm's profits and protect the health and sustainability of your landscape.


Whether you're looking for shelter, healthy soils, or biodiversity, trees can help. Design your plantings around your farm's needs and operations to maximise results. The boost to productivity from trees can even exceed the value of timber from harvesting.

Plant trees strategically to improve your farm's operations as they grow.


Trees protect farms from heat, rain and wind. This brings a range of benefits, including reducing stress on animals and crops. By planting trees for shelter, you can boost your farm's productivity in many ways:

  • Animals – shelter reduces livestock mortality and improves growth rates
  • Crops – shelter reduces damage to crops, improves soil fertility and extends growing seasons
  • Water – shelter reduces evaporation and improves irrigator efficiency in paddocks
  • Farm – shelter protects buildings and work areas and helps to control fire.

Learn more about how tree shelter can help you farm's productivity:

Farm Guide – Farm shelter

The value of shelter

A study of a 1ha shelterbelt in Cressy, Northern Tasmania, showed that shelter increased the productivity of a 24ha paddock to the equivalent of a 29ha paddock.


Shelterbelts are rows of trees that are typically placed around paddocks. They create shelter for stock and crops to improve productivity.

Shelterbelts can include native and exotic species, and trees can be used in commercial wood production.

Learn more about shelterbelts and other tree designs:

Stockyards shelter Formosa

Soil health

Healthy soil is the key to your farm's productivity. But some farming activities can degrade soil over time. Use trees to improve soil health in the following ways:

  • Erosion – Trees control wind speed, intercept rainfall, bind soils and control groundwater levels. This prevents soil erosion, landslip and the loss of fertile top soils.
  • Fertility – Trees drop leaves, twigs and branches, which gives nutrients to the soil. Trees also provide habitat for animals that turn soils for nutrient cycling.
  • Salinity – Trees intercept rainfall and uptake water from the ground. This controls groundwater flow and reduces the risk of salinisation (where excess salts gather in the soil surface).

Learn more about how trees improve soil health, including how to monitor for unhealthy soil:

Fact sheet 17: Trees and soil health

Salinity in Tasmania

An estimated 74,000ha of
Tasmanian agricultural land
is affected by salinity.

Water Droplet

Water quality

Many farms have rivers, streams, creeks and waterways. To keep landscapes, communities and livestock healthy, make sure that water coming onto your farm leaves in a similar condition.

Planting or restoring trees around waterways helps keep water clean and healthy. Trees manage sediment runoff from pasture soils and reduce nutrient overloads in waterways. Tree roots also improve bank stability, which reduces erosion and flood risk.

Riparian plantings

Riparian vegetation is located at the edge of waterways (e.g., stream or rivers) and is made up of trees, shrubs, herbes, sedges, rushes and grasses.

Riparian vegetation offers many agricultural benefits, including improved water quality, increased flood resilience, enhanced biodiversity and habitat, and connectivity on farm and landscape level.

Cranbrook 9990 900x600

Biodiversity and habitat

Biodiversity is a key indicator for the health and sustainability of a farming operation.

Trees and vegetation support the ecological functions that underpin farm productivity and environmental outcomes. Trees, shrubs, plants, herbs and grasses provide important habitat for beneficial wildlife, which in turn deliver ecosystem services for your farm, such as pollination and pest control.

Learn more about biodiversity and habitat, including how to support the ecology of your farm:

Fact sheet 10: Biodiversity and habitat

Infill planting

Infill planting is where grasses, herbs, shrubs and small trees are planted in a forested area. Infill planting creates groundcover and multiple layers of vegetation under taller trees. This provides habitat for wildlife and increases biodiversity. It also improves soil quality.

Protecting or restoring remnant vegetation can also help establish a healthy understorey in your plantation.

Learn more about infill plantings and other tree designs:

14. Tree configurations guide

Amenity and wellbeing

Trees improve the scenic quality of farms and can increase the value of farmland. Trees on farms also improve working conditions for staff by providing shade and wind shelter.

Measuring the amenity values of trees on farms is complex. But tree planting and land restoration has been found to improve farmer wellbeing and social connectedness. Models are being tested to measure the full economic values of these benefits.

Growing the future: On-farm benefits

Infill Planting with Rae Young & Jon Finch

Clare Peltzer - Logan prime lamb producer

Anh Nguyen - Ese vineyard owner

Chris White - Willowbend dairy

Andrew Colvin - Nosswick farm owner

Ed Archer - Landfall Angus

Trees are working on farms near you

Find case studies from projects across Tasmania that demonstrate the benefits of trees on farms.

Bowsden property 2

Get advice and support for a successful plantation.

Contact Tree Alliance Find a forester