Rehabilitation of Semiarid Landscapes in Australia. I. Restoring Productive Soil Patches

Tongway, D. J. and J. A. Ludwig

Publication Date:

A rehabilitation procedure designed to reestablish resource control processes in a degraded Acacia aneura woodland was successful in improving soil nitrogen and carbon content, exchange properties, and water infiltration rates. Soil respiration rates and soil fauna populations increased, and soil temperatures were moderated. The procedure comprised laying piles of branches in patches on the contour of bare, gently sloping landscapes, with the expectation that soil, water, and litter would accumulate in these branch piles, thus improving the soil habitat and its productive potential. The procedure was derived from landscape function analysis, indicating that surface water flow was the principal means of resource transfer in these landscapes. Under degradation such overland flow results in a loss of resources. This rehabilitation procedure reversed loss processes, resulting in gains in the productive potential of soils within patches. This procedure was successful despite grazing pressure being maintained throughout the experiment.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Restoration Ecology