Restoration of degraded pasture exposed to localised salinity and erosion

Understanding the biological, physical and chemical components of soil fertility during restoration

This research will investigate the implementation of novel regenerative agriculture practices during the restoration of degraded pasture exposed to localised salinity and erosion. It will include practices such as the use of biochar permeable barriers at different scales, in combination with tree-planting and introduction of perennial agricultural pasture species.

The study will be based on the UWA Farm near Pingelly, Western Australia and will involve collaborating with local farmers and a compost producer. The aim will be to quantify biological, physical and chemical components of soil fertility during the soil restoration phase.

Soil microbial processes associated with regenerative agriculture practices will be studied in parallel with pasture and tree productivity over three years. Both field and glasshouse experiments will be included to identify mechanisms involved in transformation of the soil’s biological, physical and chemical conditions. The research will emphasise mechanisms underpinning soil-microbe-plant interactions and contribute to identifying practical options to ameliorate degraded soil conditions to improve plant productivity and soil restoration.

For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Research team leader: Emeritus Professor Lynette Abbott

My area of research expertise is in soil health, soil biological fertility and plant-microbe interactions, including the roles or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural soils. My research focuses on the role of soil biological processes linked to the efficiency of nutrient acquisition by plants and includes bio-chemical and bio-physical interactions associated with organic and mineral soil amendments.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


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