BIODIVERSITY & LAND USE
The adoption of SFA Cashmere Standard by herders and their communities will help reduce the negative impacts of cashmere production on the natural resources of rangelands. The criteria are focused on understanding the value of natural resources and how to protect them, and managing grazing in a way that maintains soils health, prevents degradation of pasture and minuses conflict with wildlife. Other criteria address the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity and natural habitats, including non-lethal predator control, the management of water resources and minimising the introduction of hazardous materials.
All of these elements are addressed through a Rangeland Management Plan that supports traditional herding practices, is integrated with local administrative land use planning and includes monitoring and evaluation.
Protection of Natural Resources
- Producers must understand the following: importance of natural resources; how their activities affect soil health, water and biodiversity; the activities they can undertake to conserve and improve natural resources on their rangelands.
- Grazing pastures, including reserve pastures, must identified and a schedule of seasonal grazing movements between pastures agreed upon by producers.
- Stocking rates must be appropriate for the pasture, reflect the importance of native species and take into account land type, pasture quality, seasonal conditions, class of stock and available feed resources.
- Locally relevant practices must be implemented to improve palatable grazing resources for livestock and wildlife populations, including maximising plant diversity and cover.
- Locally relevant practices must be implemented to minimise soil compaction and erosion and minimise the loss of soil organic matter.
- Livestock-free zones must be established in areas important for the conservation of wildlife populations.
Conservation of Habitats
- Measures must be implemented to protect water courses and wetlands.
- Natural habitats and biodiversity must be conserved, and steps taken to enhance them over time.
- Measures must be taken to avoid unintended introduction of alien species e.g., through the transportation of soil, plant materials, water, animals etc.
- Degraded areas must be identified, and steps taken to restore them over time.
- Locally relevant practices must be implemented to minimise the risk of carnivore predation on livestock.
- Corridors or routes used for the migration of wildlife across the farm/rangeland must be maintained.
- Locally relevant practices must be implemented to minimise the risk of dog predation and harassment of wildlife.
- Locally relevant practices must be implemented to minimise the risk of communicable diseases being contracted from wildlife.
Water Resource Management
- Natural water resources must be identified, and measures are taken to protect them.
- Locally relevant practices that minimise sedimentation of water bodies must be implemented.
- Practices must be implemented to effectively manage changing weather patterns due to climate change.
Minimal Hazardous Materials
- Hazardous materials must not be disposed of on the rangeland unless specifically allowed by law and it is safe to use the affected land for grazing.
- Steps must be taken to restore areas damaged by hazardous materials.
- Biological, physical and other non-chemical methods are prioritised for pest control.
- Pesticides must only be used once a certain threshold of pest level is reached that has potential to cause harm to livestock or the pasture.
- Pesticides must not be used if they are subject to any international bans.
- Pesticides and other hazardous materials must only be handled by people who are trained in their use, handling, are over 18 years of age and are not pregnant or nursing.
- Fertilisers must only be used when there is a demonstrable pasture need.
- Fertilisers must only be applied when soil conditions allow uptake of the nutrients. Fertilisers must not be applied to frozen or waterlogged soil.
Protection of Natural Resources
- The Rangeland Management Plan (RMP) must include a clear description of the rangeland managers, its users, and the legal status of the Producer Organisation.
- The RMP must be developed with input from all members of the producer organisation.
- The RMP must consider the use of the rangeland by herders that are not members of the producer organisation.
- The RMP must include a timeline for implementing its components.
- The RMP must include an annual monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) plan.
- The RMP must be communicated to all herders within the Producer Organisation.