FDI published a second edition of the concept to regenerate our soils in northern and inland Australia in May this year, titled Regenerating our Soils: The FDI Approach. The intention was to produce a number of papers to justify the concept. While some papers have been produced, others have not been done due to research priorities.
Regenerating the resilience and health of our soils, however, is as critically important as ever. The productivity of many farms is declining, climates are changing and weather is becoming more variable. Much of the area is becoming drier and wildfires, with their high carbon emissions, are becoming more frequent and greater in their intensity.
The imperative, therefore, is to reinforce the resilience of our soils and landscapes.
Increasingly, research is starting to demonstrate that there are ways of improving soil productivity. Farmers have a major role to play and Soils for Life, a Canberra-based not-for-profit research institute, is seeking to identify such farmers to determine what they are doing differently and to publish the results of this research.
A major part of the regeneration process is to manage water more effectively by replenishing in-soil reservoirs and restoring soil sponges. The negative impact of climate change may also be partly offset by controlling wildfires more effectively, partly through the use of animals to convert fire fuel into soil carbon, and by regenerating natural shelter woods. All these outcomes will also lead to a more viable social and economic future, resulting in greater food production and employment.
Over the next few months, FDI will publish a number of papers that relate to these issues.
Many people are showing considerable interest and I encourage you to respond with any comments or questions.
Major General John Hartley AO (Retd)
Institute Director and CEO
Future Directions International