The department collates and analyses data from a range of sources to monitor and report on trends in the condition of soil and land in the agricultural areas of South Australia.
Key indicators of soil and land condition are:
- soil erosion protection (wind and water)
- soil acidity
- land salinity
- soil physical condition
- soil nutritional fertility.
The monitoring of soil and land condition provides the department and our partners with a scientific basis to inform and contribute to natural resources management policy and encourage sustainable agriculture practices.
The value of monitoring trends in this area has been demonstrated in target 70 (sustainable land management) of South Australia’s Strategic Plan, the State of the Environment Report for South Australia in 2008 and the publication of the first major report on the condition of agricultural land in South Australia in 2004.
A wide range of survey methods and data analysis techniques are used to measure soil and land condition. However, in many instances direct measures of condition are difficult or expensive, meaning that surrogate or indirect measures have been used as indicators of condition. For example, it is very difficult and expensive to measure soil erosion. It is far more practical, and useful to measure the protection of land from the risk of erosion over time. If the protection from erosion is improving, this will be demonstrated by less actual soil erosion in the long term.
Find out more about the survey methods and data analysis techniques used to monitor trends in the condition of soil and land in the agricultural areas of South Australia: