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Landscape and soil features associated with underlying geology, landform and soil type (together with climate) are major factors influencing vegetation growth, water movement and the suitability of land for a variety of uses. A better understanding of land and soil helps us appreciate why different natural and production systems can be supported in different areas.

Good knowledge of soil and land improves our decision-making capacity, and is used for:

  • Sustainable soil and land management - The sustainable use of soil and land in agricultural areas of SA is of increasing importance, particularly in the face of a changing climate. A range of initiatives help identify threats to our soil and land resources (eg erosion, acidification, salinity), as well as opportunities for improving management and condition.
  • Delivery of natural resource management and landscape projects – Identifying the location, extent and severity of land management issues and areas prone to degradation; supporting whole-of-landscape sustainable land use and management decisions for both production and nature conservation.
  • Research and education - Identifying where in the landscape particular research outcomes apply; education of land managers, advisors, policy makers, planners, industry and the community about better soil and land management, and associated planning and policy development.
  • Land use planning - Identifying limitations and opportunities for particular land uses and developments, from agricultural to urban, including the identification of ‘prime agricultural land’.
  • Native vegetation and biodiversity management - Supporting whole-of-landscape environmental management planning; identifying suitable areas for habitat restoration; identifying threats to the environment.
  • Sustainable water management - Identifying soil and land conditions, land management practices and land uses that impact on water resources, as well as developing whole-of-landscape solutions.
  • Landscape modelling - Developing conceptual models that answer specific questions, such as: environmental risk assessment (eg land salinisation); identification of biodiversity assets for protection (eg wetlands); land use potential (eg crop potential modelling); land management potential (eg suitability of areas for specific soil amelioration); infrastructure risk (eg underground cabling); and scenario modelling (eg modelling the potential impacts of climate change on land use, land degradation or soil carbon).
  • Monitoring soil health and other environmental qualities - Informing what to monitor and where; extrapolation of monitoring results across the landscape.
Soil and land information