There are compelling reasons to find ways to regularly and accurately measure soil carbon deep into the root zone across the full extent of cropping and pastoral lands, however, currently this remains a technological aspiration. The barriers to achieving a cost-effective solution are challenging but hopefully not insurmountable. There has been a strong commitment globally to carbon accounting and if these schemes are to be broadly successful, agriculture must be able to take advantage of, and contribute to, the economic and environmental benefits.
Domestic and international tourists to northern Australia are showing considerable interest in community efforts to address global warming, particularly when they provide an opportunity to make a practical contribution to these projects. This may well be an environmental and economic opportunity to be further developed.
Australia is a major player in the production and export of liquefied natural gas. So why is the country facing gas shortages and a looming domestic energy crisis?
Ian and Dianne Haggerty, co-founders of Bio-Integrity Growers Australia and the Prospect Pastoral Company, discuss Natural Intelligence Farming, the harnessing of the dynamic, natural relationships that exists between all the organisms in the ecosystem and the environment itself, particularly the soil. It is a new and innovative approach to modern farming that is well position to capture premium markets while delivering enormous health, social and environmental benefits. They go on to discuss the industry infrastructure needed to deliver a high-quality food and fibre products to a discerning market.
As global temperatures rise, the risks to Australia’s biosecurity and our natural and agricultural environment are consequently increasing. Though existing policies and processes are sufficient to meet operational needs, robust response strategies for future and unknown threats must be developed. These strategies must include government at all levels, the private sector and allow for practical community involvement.
The addition of activated biochar to soil will significantly enhance plant growth and crop yields and may assist in the reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gases.
The wealth of biodiversity below ground is vast and unappreciated: millions of microorganisms live and reproduce in a few grams of topsoil and these organisms are critical to soil health and fertility. Soil biological fertility is, however, the least well-understood soil fertility component. Soil microorganisms also play essential roles in the nutrient cycles that are fundamental to life on the planet. A better understanding of soil microbiology is essential if agricultural production is to sustainably meet the needs of a growing world population.
As an alternative to burning fossil fuels for energy production, natural processes such as ocean energy should be considered and developed as viable alternatives.
Large-scale industrial farming with a heavy reliance on chemical fertilisers is enabling agricultural to produce food on the scale necessary to feed the growing world population. It is also, however, degrading soil quality and the ever-increasing use of chemicals to support grossly over-harvested mono-cultures will never lead to environmental sustainability. Organic nutrient management has many environmental advantages but it currently has a productivity cost. What is the future of global agriculture?
As the effects of land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change become increasingly severe, soils have become one of the most vulnerable resources in the world. Soils, among other properties, are a major carbon reservoir containing more carbon than the atmosphere and terrestrial vegetation combined. When managed wisely, it has the potential to sequester large amounts of carbon, thus promoting soil health, assisting food security and contributing to climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience.