Module 4

Module 4: Landscape Function and Soil Health

Landscapes are complex, adaptive systems, where every element has an impact on the environment. It’s crucial to approach landscape management with an understanding of this complexity, as our decisions can have cascading effects on various systems within and beyond the area. Maintaining healthy soil is particularly essential as it plays a significant role in the ecosystem’s overall wellbeing. The main ecosystem processes to consider are the mineral cycle, the water cycle, solar energy flow and community dynamics. In this module, you will find resources that explore the concepts of landscape function and soil health.

Module 4 Session Recording

RAPL Module 4 Glen Chapman Presentation
Play Video about RAPL Module 4 Glen Chapman Presentation

Module 4 Resources

Pasture age impacts soil fungal composition while bacteria respond to soil chemistry

Research article demonstrating how soil microbial communities and the ecosystem services they provide vary according to how land is managed.

Light Farming: Restoring carbon, organic nitrogen and biodiversity to agricultural soils

Excellent article by Dr. Chrisitine Jones – explores how the plant/microbe bridge and biodiversity provide ecosystem and human health benefits.

The role of mycorrhizal mycelium in controlling plant communities and agroecosystem functioning

In depth article exploring how mycelial networks increase nutrient uptake, reduce pathogens, increase soil aggregate stability and physical soil properties.

Australian Farm Biodiverstity Certification Standard

Document from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Enviroment and Water – detailing policies and procedures for a farming enterprise to achieve the Australian Farm Biodiversity Ceertification

Bacteria, Fungi and Soil Health

Video featuring Nicole Masters thoroughly dissecting the role of micro-organisms in soils.

Fungi and Bacteria Takeaways - Plant succession

Video featuring Nicole Masters – summary of the role of micro-organisms in the soil, as well as an excellent description of conditions determining plant succession.

The Forgotten Kingdom - Part 1 - Introducing Fungi

Video by Local Land Services NSW featuring Alison Pouliot – great introductory video on Fungi.

The Forgotten Kingdom - Part 3 - Symbiosis

Video by Local Land Services NSW featuring Alison Pouliot – great awesome video on the relationship between fungi and plants.

The Forgotten Kingdom - Part 4 - Fungi on the Farm

Video by Local Land Services NSW featuring Alison Pouliot – explores how European farming techniques have not help our farmscapes, and how this can be reversed with fungi.

Soil Food Web properties explain Ecosystem services across European land use systems

Research article demonstrates a positive correlation between intensity of land use and reduction of soil food web organisms.

Soil Building – How to Make Deep Rich Soils by Imitating Nature

Great website on using ecological succession to build soil.

Grazing Cover Crops on a Vegetable Farm - Practical Cover Croppers

Video – Case study of smaller scale vegetable cropping – how cover cropping and animals are used before planting, and how this biodiversity benefits upcoming planting.

Communities in Landscapes project: Benchmark Study of Innovators

Scientific paper comparing “innovators” to conventional farming techniques, and comparing landscape function between the two.

CSIRO Landscape Function Analysis: Procedures for Monitoring and Assessing Landscapes

Technical manual by CSIRO for purpose of assessing health of landscapes.

Soil Biology

Article by NSW Govt. Local Land services – outlines members of the soil food web and roles they play within soil.

Save our soils: Why dirt matters

Article by By Dr Ee Ling Ng and Professor Deli Chen, University of Melbourne, outlining the value of our soil in maintaining human health.

Nutrient Cycling

Video by Dr. Elaine’s Soil Food Web School – excellent animation of how plant available nutrients are cycled in the biosphere.

Soil health and nutrient density: preliminary comparison of regenerative and conventional farming

American study drawing comparisons of the nutrient density of food grown in a conventional system versus a regenerative system. It was found that regenerative systems enhanced both soil organic matter and nutrient density of food.

Dirt Is Not Dead: How Land Use Affects the Living Soil

Great article by Frontiers for Young Minds – compares different land use methods and the associated impact of soil life and the ecosystem services they provide

Soil Management Guides

DPI NSW website – useful tabs under the heading “What are some of the soils issues facing NSW?”

Root exudates as mediators of mineral acquisition in low-nutrient environments

Scientific paper highlighting the role root exudates play in the mineral nutrition of plants.

Unlock the secrets in the Soil

Article by Dr. Christine Jones on the link between cover crops, microbial diversity, soil moisture and nutrient cycling

Farming with Soil Life: A handbook for supporting soil invertebrates and soil health on farms

Excellent resource on physical attributes of soil, the role of microfauna, effects of conventional agriculture, and how to support soil health

Soils Alive! Understanding and Managing Soil Biology on Tasmanian Farms

Very Useful Handbook by Dept of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment in Tasmania – covers the importance of soil ecosystems, and how to manage them for health

Other modules

Explore the other five modules that make up the Regenerative Agriculture Professional Learning site. Each module folder contains a recording of the professional learning presentations along with associated resources including websites, factsheets, case studies and activities.

Further Information

If you have any questions about the program contact our team here.

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