The National Soils RD&E Strategy identifies a number of priority activities to improve the effectiveness of and outcomes from Soils RD&E in Australia. One of these priorities is the improved use of physical infrastructure including long term soil research sites. These sites provide a valuable resource for evaluating longer term changes in soil attributes under different farming systems, for evaluation of the effects of climate change and of alternative adaptation strategies, and for testing of innovations in soil management.
As part of the implementation of the Soils RD&E Strategy by the Australian Soil Network, a register of long term soil research sites throughout Australia has been developed. For the purposes of this register, a site will generally have been operating for longer than ten years and still be actively managed (or if not the treatments originally imposed should not have been compromised by subsequent management).
The register provides:
- Opportunities to access to pre-existing trials and data sets for relatively little cost
- Ability to analyse treatment effects over longer time frames than possible with traditional 3-5 year research trials
- Greater return on investment from limited RD&E funding
- Ability to value and prioritise long term trial sites for on-going resourcing
- Improved collaboration between researchers and
- Contribute to a National network and system of long term research and monitoring sites
A map of Australia here identifies the locations of the sites with a link on each site that will provide basic data on the site. The map has been configured so that only approximate locations (± 10 km) of research sites can be identified.
Some additional site information can be found here.