Several degraded soil conditions are currently causing environmental and economic concern in Australia, including acidification, erosion, salinity, depletion, structural decline and compaction.
A detailed knowledge of the state of Australian soils is currently difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain. The vast size of the country, climatic variation, the complexity of measurement and cost are just some of the reasons why the task is prohibitive. This situation notwithstanding, it is vital we develop such knowledge so as to inform key policy and decision makers of the state of our soils and what needs to be done to address the continued decline in their fertility. Soil has fundamentally important role in three of the key debates of our time: food security, water quality and climate change. There are a number of degraded soil conditions currently causing environmental and economic concern in Australia: acidification, erosion, salinity, depletion, structural decline and compaction are just some of them.
- Australian soils differ from those of northern America or Europe, where much scientific study on soil regeneration is taking place. Australian soils are generally older and have been exposed to constant weathering.
- Knowledge of the importance of soils and soil science is seen to be declining.
- Soils play an important role in three of the key debates of our time: food security, water quality and climate change.
- Soil degradation is the decline in soil quality caused by its improper use, usually for agricultural, pastoral, industrial or urban purposes. This is a serious global problem and is being exacerbated by climate change.
- A significant proportion of the cropland and improved pasture in Australia is affected by some form of soil degradation.