Category: Soil Rehabilitation

To predict droughts, don’t look at the skies. Look in the soil… from space

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Siyuan Tian, Australian National University and Albert Van Dijk, Australian National University Another summer, another drought. Sydney’s water storages are running on empty, and desalinisation plants are being dusted off. Elsewhere, shrunken rivers, lakes and dams are swollen with rotting fish. Governments, irrigators and environmentalists blame each other for the drought, or just blame […]

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Where is the World?

Where is the World?

Professor Claude Bourguinon, co-founder of the Laboratoire Analyses Microbiologiques Sols (LAMS), an independent soil testing laboratory helping farmers understand their soil and how to sustainability manage it, shares his thoughts on the importance of soil fauna and microbiology to the sustainability of farming the land. He also explains how the loss of ecosystems due to the transition from an agro-silvo-pastoral model to monoculture agriculture (Green Revolution) impacts our globe.   Featured […]

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Leaky Weirs

I cant swim, but I’ve been fascinated by water all my life and have learnt water harvesting and storage design and installation from some of the permaculture greats bio here. I mentioned in a recent article the details about the construction of a series of ponds forming a wetland in Western Australia. At that same project, I had the opportunity of doing some work on a seasonal creek where I advised the […]

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The Results – A Trial Looking at 5 Ways to Prepare Beds for Tree and Shrub Planting – Which one is the best?

Last year we started a trial to discover the best ways to prepare the ground for tree and shrub planting. We trialed five different methods and recorded the performance of each method looking at how long they took to implement and manage, how much they cost and how effective they are. I’ll start the post with why we prepare our ground in advance of planting then we will look at the […]

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Understanding Biological Farming: A simplified understanding of ‘compost tea’ a plant and soil probiotic

In ideal soil ecosystems, we would have dramatically different soil and certainly a dramatically different level of ‘made made’ toxins. In an ideal soil environment, we would expect our topsoil to contain 10% organic matter, and would also expect to have literally thousands of species of bacteria and hundreds of species of fungi. In most soils today, we often have a humus content of less than 1% with just a […]

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Soil Contamination: Its Causes, Effects, and Solutions

What is Soil Contamination? Soil contamination refers to the destruction of land that could be used constructively by human activities, either directly or indirectly. Presently, 300,000 ha of UK land is thought to be contaminated by toxic elements such as lead and arsenic. The same goes for the other industrialized nations which are the worst hit. The developing countries are also steadily but surely moving toward this direction.This should be […]

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Restoring Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils Using Compost

Metals become contaminants when their amounts in soil, reach levels that are toxic to human life, plants or other biological organisms. This creates a need for soil remediation. Remediation is the process of reducing the toxicity of contaminants or ridding the soil completely of toxic contaminants. Heavy metals (for example, arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc) fall under the group of inorganic chemical contaminants (5). These metals are released into the […]

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Biochar, A Brief History

Biochar, while boasting an ancient history, is actually just gaining popularity among many circles today. While it’s believed that ancient South American cultures would use biochar (or burning agricultural waste, covered in soil) to increase soil productivity, the term wasn’t coined until Peter Read did so in 2005, to describe a substance that looks almost like charcoal, but that is actually biomass carbonized and made into a solid material, used […]

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Phytoremediation

Phytoremediation is a biological technique used to restore polluted water and soil environments to their natural state. It involves the use of living plants and their related micro organisms to remove contaminants from the environment or to degrade contaminants to a lesser toxic form (1,2,6). Anthropogenic activities such as mine tailings, fertilizer applications, pesticides, heavy metal disposal, petrochemicals, animal manures and sewage sludges cause soil pollution (2,4,5). Heavy metals are […]

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How Do You Restore Degraded Soil?

A degraded soil typically loses its ability to supply food and habitation to living organisms, in its surrounding. When this happens, effort is made to restore the soil back to its natural state. Characteristics of a degraded soil include: high salinity, decline in fertility, decline in organic matter (leading to decline in soil structure), soil erodibility, increase in alkalinity and acidity. Soil degradation can be caused by man: for example, […]

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Save our Soils

Save our Soils

All terrestrial life depends on soil, directly or indirectly. Although our understanding of topsoil has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades, we are still losing this invaluable resource at a frightening pace. Less than thirty per cent of the world’s topsoil remains in fair or acceptable condition. The fragility of this vital layer can be illustrated through a simple comparison: if one imagines the earth as an […]

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Food Sovereignty

‘Food sovereignty’ is fast becoming a lost concept; the right to have the knowledge and resources to grow our own food is an essential right. If we don’t have access to nutrient dense organic food, then where do we get the essential energy to heal our body, mind and spirit certainly not from the supermarket where the average ‘fresh food’, in Australia food often travels more than 1000klms from farm […]

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