Fire and Soil

Supporting bushfire impacted communities and soil ecosystems

Watch video: Bushfires and soil

Statement from Soil Science Australia

Dear Soil Science Australia members and wider community,

I hope this communication finds you safe and well in what is a challenging time for many people across Australia affected by bushfires on an unprecedented scale and severity.

On behalf of Soil Science Australia I extend our deepest sympathies to our members and all communities who have been affected – both directly and indirectly – by the fires across the country. Many people are facing devastating losses, and our thoughts are with you and your families. There has also been massive and terribly sad losses of native animals and other biodiversity.

We give sincere thanks to the firefighters and other emergency personnel for their efforts to contain these fires. While this has been a tragic situation, it is inspiring to see the community come together to support those affected.

Soil Science Australia is also committed to assisting recovery efforts where possible. Millions of hectares of land and soil have been severely damaged by the fires. Intense bushfires can have major deleterious effects on soil including loss of organic carbon and nutrients, increased erosion, and water repellency. Effects may last for decades or more post-fire. Wind and water erosion post-fires also can create major impacts on water supplies and ecosystems.

To assist landholders and organisations in post-fire recovery we have prepared a fact sheet on likely impacts of fires on soils and how to manage soils post fire, which includes sources for more detailed information. I have also written to the relevant State and Commonwealth Government Ministers extending our support and requesting that soil assessment and management form an integral part of the bushfire recovery program. We are also discussing the best ways (e.g. workshops, social media) to share knowledge on bushfire impacts and management strategies.

I am open to hearing any other suggestions you may have on how Soil Science Australia can offer further support. Please send any suggestions through to [email protected].

Finally, please take care in your personal and work life as many fires are still uncontrolled and the fire season is not yet over.

Best wishes,

Luke

Associate Professor Luke Mosley CPSS
Federal President
Soil Science Australia