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University of Adelaide (2015)

Delivery of soil survey information to non‐soil specialists to support land management by means of special purpose classifications and conceptual toposequence models

Grealish, Gerard John

Titre : Delivery of soil survey information to non‐soil specialists to support land management by means of special purpose classifications and conceptual toposequence models

Auteur : Grealish, Gerard John

Université de soutenance : University of Adelaide

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2015

Résumé
The link between soil information and good decisions about land use and management, or even the recognition that a decision is needed and that soil information can play a role, needs to be improved. The link between soil information and applying it is critical to maximise the use of the soil resource in a sustainable way. Good management decisions require correct and understandable soil information for a location ; confusing and inappropriate data can lead to suboptimal practices. Uncertainty about appropriate management arises because soils are highly variable both spatially (horizontally and vertically) and temporally. To support land management decisions that are generally made by non‐soil specialists, information about the soil needs to be delivered in a format that they can understand, afford and apply. The aim of this work was to deliver soil information to improve land management by development of an approach to convey soil survey information by means of special purpose soil classifications and conceptual toposequence models. The approach is presented to : (i) salvage and reinterpret valuable soil survey legacy data from the plethora of detailed published soil survey technical reports and their numerous appendices of quantitative and qualitative data for future science and (ii) deliver complex or intricate soil survey information to non‐soil specialists using a vocabulary and diagrams that they can understand. This was achieved by re‐interpreting soil survey data in a framework comprising special purpose soil classifications and conceptual toposequence models for specific geographic regions and/or practical applications. The process involved an experienced soil surveyor to acquire and interpret conventional soil data. Then to distil the highly technical soil survey information into a format for a non‐soil specialist audience, by constructing simple but readily understandable descriptive conceptual toposequence models and to develop a soil identification key. The soil identification key honours the same international (or national) classification sequence but is constructed in plain language that non‐technical people understand and can apply to determine soil types. Soil types classified using the special purpose soil classification systems are correlated to formal international and national soil classification systems allowing technical soil property data and land suitability evaluations to be applied. To illustrate the wide applicability of this approach, case studies were conducted in three different parts of the world – Kuwait, Brunei, and Australia, each of which exhibit vastly different landscapes, climates, soil types and land use problems. The studies were driven by demands to contribute to on‐going projects, having a direct impact on current and significant investment decisions. This thesis is submitted in the publication format through six papers as thesis chapters. The approach improved the delivery of soil information by addressing issues that included : communication ‐ through the use of plain language and simple words ; scale ‐ using diagrams to mimic the landscape ; identification of soils – by using readily recognisable observable soil features ; technology transfer – by associating local soil types with national or international taxonomic soil classifications ; and timely –achieved by reworking legacy soil survey data. Uptake of the information to answer current questions is discussed in the case studies and confirmed the value of this approach for presenting soil survey information in a user friendly nontechnical format that a non‐soil specialist audience understood. The approach developed and used is applicable to other locations throughout the world outside of : (i) Brunei, especially in tropical landscapes, (ii) Kuwait, especially in arid and semi‐arid landscapes and (iii) Australian winter rainfall landscapes, especially in Mediterranean landscapes ‐ in order to establish similar local classifications and conceptual models.

Mots clés : special purpose soil classification conceptual toposequence models acid sulfate soils land suitability land management

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Page publiée le 14 juillet 2017