Managing land and soil
Australian soils are among the most ancient and fragile in the world and form so slowly that the rate is negligible during an average human lifespan. They are essentially a finite, non-renewable resource.
Within NSW there is an immense variety of soils that support our natural and social environments. Some are widespread throughout the State, while others are found only in small patches. Some are highly productive and extremely important for agriculture, while others are thin and infertile.
Many of our soils have physical problems. They can be hardsetting and often have fine-textured, tough subsoils with restricted capacity to hold water. Some subsoils allow very little penetration of water, have poor aeration, and often have high salinity restricting root systems. Also, our climate often prevents production and retention of high levels of organic matter. The amount of organic matter held in our soils is generally very low.
It is essential that soils are managed with careful consideration for their individual characteristics, landscapes and climate, particularly in the context of climate change.
At the regional level, land management priorities are undertaken by catchment management authorities. Each CMA plans and coordinates land management and natural resource priorities through a community-based catchment action planning process.
Legislation and policy
In NSW, the Soil Conservation Act 1938 (SCA) and other land management and natural resource management legislation protect and regulate land management.
The draft NSW Soils Policy provides the basis for an integrated framework to respond to the issues and opportunities presented by NSW soils. This policy acknowledges the value of data about soils and the importance of making this soil data readily accessible throughout the community.
Page last updated: 24 September 2012