Soil Life – Gunning Soil Biology Workshop

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Twenty one people attended a soil biology workshop in Gunning  last sunday (26th May) run by the Department of Primary Industries, Paula Charnock and David O’Donnell, facilitated by Upper Lachlan Landcare and funded through the Lachlan CMA.

Participants included some Landcare newcomers, our youngest Landcarer Luke Granger, Soil Scientist Adrianna Marchand, and Landcare veterans such as Bob Spiller and John Weatherstone, all hoping to get a better understanding of the often overlooked world of soil life.

Soil biology is the study of soil biota; including the Microflora (e.g. Bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses )  ,Microfauna (e.g. Nematodes) ,Mesofauna (e.g. Small arthropods like mites and collembolan) ,and Macrofauna (e.g. Earthworms and insects);and the interactions they have with each other and their environment.

The soil biota comprises an enormous diversity with reports suggesting there could be greater than 15 000 different species per gram of soil. Much of this diversity, largely from the microflora group, is yet to be classified.

The workshop looked at techniques to identify and monitor soil biological health both in the field and in the lab using samples of soil that participants brought with them from their properties and compost piles.

Upper Lachlan Landcare was happy to have the opportunity to use our newly purchased digital microscopes for the event. It was pleasing to see how simple and easy to use the micrcoscopes were and several of the participants have decided to purchase there own.

Read more about the Fullerton Workshop here:488 more words

There was unanimous praise for instructors Paula and Dave with a lot of clapping and standing ovation at the end of the workshop.

We will post some of the hand outs and powerpoint presentation when they become available;

Links to our soil health pages including our compost making video here: http://www.upperlachlanlandcare.org.au/projects/soil-health

Here is an interesting blog on the subject from Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen:

A Recipe for Great Growth

Communities of bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and other microorganisms are the villagers that truly affect how our plants grow, in what I like to call a “cake and cookies” process. The formal term is nutrient cycling, but we can more easily relate to how plants and microorganisms feed each other by looking at the process from our own kitchens Read more

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