Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Northern Australia & Land Care

Northern Australia, that region of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn, provides a wealth of economic opportunities for our nation. This region is also strategically important for the vital role it plays in border protection and as an interface for broader engagement with neighbouring states.

The Strategic Importance of Soil, Water and Food in the Early to Mid-21st Century

Julian Cribb, author of Surviving the 21st Century, The Coming Famine and seven other books, discusses how scarcities of fresh water and topsoil, combined with the impact of climate change on regional food production, highlight the growing strategic significance of these primary resources for human survival, health and wellbeing as potential drivers of conflict and mass migration to 2050 and beyond.

World Soil Day 2016 – “Soils and pulses, a symbiosis for life”

The importance to the global community of healthy soils is recognised each year through communication, events and activities to focus attention towards the restoration of degraded soils by increasing biodiversity, improving soil structure and enhancing fertility.

Agricultural Development of sub-Saharan Africa: Who Carries the Burden?

The application of modern land management practices in the sub-Sahara will present African countries with opportunities to make a positive contribution to local and global food security and to combat climate change. Smallholder farmers, however, need to be protected for the risks and financial burden of associated change.

Precision Agronomics Australia: Frank D’Emden

FDI interviews Mr Frank D’Emden from Precision Agronomics Australia, a company providing technology-based solutions to farmers, consultants and industry groups across Western Australia.

Bio-energy Carbon Capture and Storage: One Strategy to Help to Ameliorate Global Warming

Scientists are investigating and looking at different and innovative ways to lower levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a major contributor to rising temperatures leading to global warming.

Biochar Production, Application and Benefits – Part Two: Karry Fisher-Watts

Biochar, when applied to soil as an amendment, is not a fix-all for Western Australian soils that are salt, sodium affected or which are otherwise de-graded. The key strategy is to use natural and organic materials that, functioning in combination with activated biochar will serve to nurture and improve the health of the soil, as described in Part Two of our interview with Karry Fisher-Watts.

Biochar Production, Application and Benefits – Part One: Karry Fisher-Watts

The potential of charcoal, in the form of biochar, to enhance soil fertility, while restoring carbon to the soil, has recently gained considerable attention. Research suggests that biological carbon converted to biochar can sequester about 50 per cent of its initial carbon in the soil for long periods, leading to a more stable and long-lasting soil carbon. FDI discusses with Karry Fisher-Watts her use of biochar as a way of enhancing the fertility of her property.

Increased CO2 Beneficial to Plants – A Climate Change Mythical Fact

Exposing plants to higher levels of carbon dioxide may enhance plant growth in the short term but, in the medium to long term, climate change threatens crop production and food security on a global scale.

“Peak Carbon” Occurred a Decade Ago

Soil carbon plays an essential role in global food security. The ability for plants to grow is being challenged, however, with the term “peak carbon” being used.

Soil Carbon and Soil Organic Matter: Dr Peter Keating

FDI has again taken the opportunity to interview Dr Keating of the integrated resource management company, Bioscience, on the topic of soil carbon; its types, importance, measurement and why Australian agriculture needs to be mindful of its conservation and promotion for general soil health and to enhance crop vigour and yield.

Publication Guide

  • Associate papers are primary source assessments written by FDI associates. The assessment topics range from regional bilateral relationships and opportunities and challenges in our neighbouring countries.

  • Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

  • Normally issued in hardcopy, these represent a comprehensive study of one of FDI’s four research areas.

  • Strategic alerts are priority current intelligence items. We provide these alerts when events such as military deployments or foreign election results occur.

  • A 1500 to 3000 word, single topic assessment.

  • A number of short articles addressing current intelligence topics, issued each week.

  • A record of discussions resulting from a single, or series of, roundtable conferences.

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