CSIRO launches new data and information tool for soil health

Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, has launched a new tool, the Australian National Soil Information System (ANSIS), to help manage a critical natural resource.

The new tool, which connects multiple data sources from across the country, provides farmers, policymakers and researchers with federated and consistent data on soil health.

According to the research agency, ANSIS will enable farmers and farm advisers 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.

At the same time, governments and industry bodies will be able to ANSIS data and information to support the development of policies to ensure soil is sustainably used and enhanced for future generations, as well as inform policy decisions in areas such as drought resilience, climate adaptation, natural capital accounting and biodiversity conservation, the agency said.

Australia’s National Soils Advocate, Penelope Wensley said the launch of the new national soil information system represents a “major advance in the implementation of the National Soil Strategy“.

“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 policymakers,” she said.

According to ANSIS project lead at CSIRO, Peter Wilson, ANSIS would enable researchers to better understand the way the soil works, its role in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and human impacts upon it.

ANSIS is supported by funding through the Australian Government National Soil Strategy (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) in collaboration with CSIRO and partner organisations.