THE Australian National Soil Information System has been launched by CSIRO to aggregate soil data from multiple sources and provide access to consistent soil data and information.
The national science agency said ANSIS will equip farmers, policy-makers and researchers with data and information needed to better manage, restore, and protect Australia’s soils.
Speaking at the Soil Science Australian conference in Darwin, ANSIS project lead at CSIRO, Peter Wilson, said it was an important step forward for the future sustainable management of soils in every part of the country.
“Soil is the backbone of our food security, and it is critical that we manage it effectively for climate change adaptation and economic and environmental prosperity to support national and global agrifood priorities,” Mr Wilson said.
“Until now, it’s been exceptionally difficult to find, access, integrate and compare soil data.
“This new system brings together all this information providing easy access to soil data and information that will underpin the effective management of soil.”
ANSIS is expected to be a valuable tool for farmers and farm advisors by allowing them to compare the condition of their soil with other soils in their region; monitor how their soil has changed over time; and inform opportunities for change or improvement in land management practices.
Governments and industry bodies will be able to use data and information through ANSIS to support the development of effective policies to ensure soil is sustainably used and enhanced for future generations.
ANSIS data will also inform policy decisions in areas such as drought resilience, climate adaptation, natural-capital accounting, and biodiversity conservation.
“It represents a major advance in implementation of the National Soil Strategy,” Australia’s National Soils Advocate Penelope Wensley said.
“Good data, available in a consistent, accessible form, is essential for better understanding and management of Australia’s soil.
“I know development of the system has been a challenging task and extend my compliments and thanks to CSIRO and everyone involved in delivering this important new tool for soil stakeholders and policy makers,” she said.
Mr Wilson said ANSIS would enable researchers to better understand the way Australia’s soil works, its role in climate-change adaptation and mitigation, and impacts on this valuable natural resource.
ANSIS is supported by funding through the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s Australian Government National Soil Strategy in collaboration with CSIRO and partner organisations.