Article by Adam Wilson, Director Soil Systems Australia, published on

Its time to implement an Australian Sovereign Wealth Fund

Across Australia we are seeing the effects of more and more extreme drought. The landscape is drying up rapidly, rivers are running well below expectations and aquifers are shrinking at record rates. Trees are dying, pastures are disappearing and the soil is more exposed than ever to potential wind and water erosion. Is it good enough to simply think it will all go away at the end of the next rain? Is this not desert intensification and why hasn’t anyone put forward a plan of recovery? Like a rabbit stunned by the headlights of a coming car, Australia is motionless and seems unable to act as it awaits a perfect storm.

Signs of the perfect storm

The term desertification is a form of land degradation and refers to the expansion of arid areas across a landscape. This is typically areas where vegetation, wildlife, biodiversity and water bodies begin to disappear leaving large tracks of land that have bare soil. This leads to depletion of soil organic matter and nutrients essential for revegetation following rains. It is caused by deforestation, overgrazing and poor agricultural practices (all human induced activities). As shown on the USDA’s Global Desertification Vulnerability Map, Australia has vast areas that have a high to very high vulnerability to desertification (USDA Ref 1)

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