Restoring Soil Fertility After Land Clearing Projects

Land clearing projects can have a significant impact on soil fertility, but there are ways to restore it. Cover crops are an excellent way to restore diversity, rebuild soil biota, conserve loose nutrients, help control pests, weeds and diseases, increase soil carbon, conserve moisture, reduce runoff, and prevent erosion. Cover crop mixes should include at least 15 to 20 species of grasses, legumes and annual herbs. Lime treatments can also be used to restore soil fertility.

It's best to apply lime just before the frost season so that the soil has all winter to absorb it. Do not apply lime to wilted or dormant grass. Mulching combined with seeding is also an effective way to minimize soil erosion. This can provide organic matter and nutrients, improve drainage and aeration, attract beneficial soil organisms, and act as mulch to get through the winter.

Non-native acacias may also increase fire risk and water accumulation in terrestrial pools, but more information is needed to reinforce this conclusion. Governments have established community-based natural resource management programs (CBNRM) to encourage local land and soil governance processes. Raw leonardite or lignite can be processed and sold as raw humates, while extracts are sold as soluble humates which act as a food concentrate for actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi. These microorganisms are important for the retention and supply of nutrients to the soil.

In 2000, 5,658,000 hectares of land in Australia were saline, and the salinity of streams was a growing concern. Knowledge about sustainable land management (SLM) is available and has been shown to strengthen local communities and reverse degradation.

Léo Brotman
Léo Brotman

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