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Soil Research (continuing Australian Journal of Soil Research) is an international journal for publishing research relating to soils in primary production, land and water management, environmental pollution, and remediation. More

Editors-in-Chief: Balwant Singh and Mark Tibbett


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Published online 27 January 2015
Spatial decoupling of soil nitrogen cycling in an arid chenopod pattern ground 
B. C. T. Macdonald, S. Warneke, E. Maïson, G. McLachlan and M. Farrell

This study focuses on the distinct features of the nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) cycle in intergrove and grove areas of chenopod pattern-ground soils of the Australian rangelands. In grove soils, denitrification including emission of N2O dominated the N cycle, whereas in intergrove soils, abiotic N2O uptake is the sole fate of atmospheric N2O. There was partitioning of key biogeochemical processes between the intergrove and grove soils, which results in a spatially decoupled soil N and C cycle in arid chenopod, pattern-ground ecosystems.

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Published online 27 January 2015
Wildfire effects on soil carbon and water repellency under eucalyptus forest in Eastern Australia 
Jessica T. Heath, Chris J. Chafer, Thomas F. A. Bishop and Floris F. Van Ogtrop

This paper examines the impacts of wildfire on soil carbon and water repellency across two different landscapes, located in eastern Australia. Samples were taken over a 36 month period post-wildfire. The burn severity of the wildfire had a significant effect on soil carbon and water repellency at both study sites. The relationship between soil carbon and water repellency was stronger at the site located on a floodplain, as opposed to site located in mountainous terrain.

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Published online 14 January 2015
Pragmatic models for the prediction and digital mapping of soil properties in eastern Australia 
Jonathan M. Gray, Thomas F. A. Bishop and Xihua Yang

Digital soil modelling and mapping provides an efficient means of obtaining detailed soil information for many natural resource and environmental applications. This study developed pragmatic quantitative models and maps covering key soil properties of organic carbon, pH, major nutrients, particle sizes and others across eastern Australia. The products can be readily applied using field data alone, are easily interpreted and provide valuable insights into soil formation and distribution across eastern Australia and beyond.

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Published online 12 January 2015
Evidence of prehistoric wind erosion of the Mackenzie Basin, South Island, New Zealand: an assessment based on 137Cs and Kawakawa-Oruanui tephra 
H. D. Leckie and P. C. Almond

The subhumid alpine region of Mackenzie Basin, New Zealand, is of national importance for tourism, landscape values, and primary production. In this study, 137Cs and a tephra serve as tracers for soil redistribution over historic (54 year) and long (25 ky) timescales. We show that vegetation depletion, invasion of exotic Hieracium sp. and bare ground are not necessarily indicators of present erosion status, and that a long history of erosion has predisposed soil and vegetation degradation within the European era.

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Published online 12 January 2015
Chemical forms of cadmium in a calcareous soil treated with different levels of phosphorus-containing acidifying agents 
Chunfa Wu, Shihong Yan, Haibo Zhang and Yongming Luo

Calcareous soils were treated with three concentrations of mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) and phosphoric acid. The results showed that MAP may promote the same amount of cadmium (Cd) in the form bound to iron and manganese oxides to exchangeable Cd as phosphoric acid at the same rate of addition, but the soil pH clearly differed, implying that an increase in water-soluble P with addition of acidifying agent may be one major factor affecting the chemical transformation of Cd.

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Published online 12 January 2015
Soil organic carbon and nitrogen losses due to soil erosion and cropping in a sloping terrace landscape 
J. H. Zhang, Y. Wang and F. C. Li

SOC and TN concentrations in the surface soil were significantly higher on uncultivated than on cultivated land, but there were no significant differences in those of subsoils between them. SOC and TN inventories exhibited an increasing trend from the upper to toe parts of cultivated toposequences, and were associated with 137Cs inventories. Our results suggest that soil erosion and cropping result in SOC and N losses, and that soil erosion contributes to marked variations in SOC and N distribution.

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Published online 12 January 2015
Use of handheld mid-infrared spectroscopy and partial least-squares regression for the prediction of the phosphorus buffering index in Australian soils 
Sean T. Forrester, Les J. Janik, José M. Soriano-Disla, Sean Mason, Lucy Burkitt, Phil Moody, Cameron J. P. Gourley and Michael J. McLaughlin

Australian soils are often inherently low in phosphorus (P), and P fertilisers are applied to soils to address agronomic targets. Differences in the retention of P by soils, measured by the P buffer index (PBI), influence cost, production and environmental consequences of P fertiliser decisions. We provide a rapid spectroscopic method, using bench-top and handheld mid-infrared instrumentation, for the prediction of PBI.

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Published online 12 January 2015
Binding of water-extractable organic carbon to clay subsoil: effects of clay subsoil properties 
Shinhuey Lim, Trung-Ta Nguyen and Petra Marschner

A batch sorption experiment was conducted using seven clay subsoils with different concentrations of water-extractable organic C (WEOC; 0 - 9.0 g WEOC kg–1 soil). WEOC sorption was positively correlated with clay content, specific surface area (SSA) and concentration of iron oxides. WEOC sorption was negatively correlated with total organic C content, sodium absorption ratio and cation ratio of soil structural stability. However, the relative importance of these properties for WEOC sorption differed among soils.

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Published online 01 December 2014
Genesis of cohesive soil horizons from north-east Brazil: role of argilluviation and sorting of sand 
C. E. E. Bezerra, T. O. Ferreira, R. E. Romero, J. C. A. Mota, J. M. Vieira, L. R. S. Duarte and M. Cooper

The Coastal Tablelands represent a region of great social and economic importance in Brazil. Despite its importance for the national agroeconomy, Coastal Tableland soils exhibit a natural, singular agricultural limitation, namely dense soil layers referred to locally as cohesive soils. However their formation still remains controversial. This study present evidences that the formation of cohesive horizons may be partially inherited from the original sediment by the predominance of poorly sorted sand particles, which increase the cohesion of these soil horizons.

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blank image Soil Research
Volume 52 Number 8 2014

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Opportunities and constraints for biochar technology in Australian agriculture: looking beyond carbon sequestration 
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Balwant Singh , Lynne M. Macdonald , Rai S. Kookana , Lukas van Zwieten , Greg Butler , Stephen Joseph , Anthony Weatherley , Bhawana B. Kaudal , Andrew Regan , Julie Cattle , Feike Dijkstra , Mark Boersma , Stephen Kimber , Alexander Keith and Maryam Esfandbod
pp. 739-750

Biochar offers significant potential for long-term carbon storage and other beneficial effects in soils. However, there is uncertainty about the benefits at realistic application rates of biochars and the lack of knowledge about other benefits in soils. In this review, we have identified opportunities as well as challenges in the adoption of biochar technology particularly in relation to Australia.

   |        Open Access Article

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Tolerance of young seedlings of different tree species and a cereal to poor soil aeration 
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Gausul Azam , Robert S. Murray , Cameron D. Grant and Ian K. Nuberg
pp. 751-759

Young plants that tolerate poor soil aeration are more likely to establish and survive under variously waterlogged conditions. The sensitivity to waterlogging of seedlings of different tree species and a reference crop was evaluated in terms of their root and shoot growth and soil water use, and we found significant variation in species performance. The findings suggest there is plenty of scope for genetic improvement of both native and domestic plants grown on soils that experience extended periods of waterlogging.


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Using X-ray fluorescence core scanning to assess acid sulfate soils 
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Ulrike Proske , Henk Heijnis and Patricia Gadd
pp. 760-768

Acid sulfate soils are problematic for agriculture and infrastructure. We demonstrate a new approach that can help to detect different horizons in these soils in a fast and cost-effective manner. By using this method, the depth of acid sulfate soils can be roughly estimated and this knowledge can guide subsequent detailed or targeted analyses.


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Seasonal monitoring of soil salinity by electromagnetic conductivity in irrigated sandy soils from a Saharan oasis 
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Ismaiel Berkal , Christian Walter , Didier Michot and Kaddour Djili
pp. 769-780

Monitoring soil salinity over time is a crucial issue in Saharan oases to anticipate salinisation related to insufficient irrigation management. This project tested the ability of electromagnetic conductivity surveys to describe, by means of regression-tree inference models, spatiotemporal changes in soil salinity. The monitoring surveys revealed both the seasonal dynamics and spatial variability of salinity at different depths.


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Temporal variability in rill erodibility for two types of grasslands 
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Guang-hui Zhang , Ke-ming Tang , Zhen-ling Sun and X. C. Zhang
pp. 781-788

Soil erosion is one of the most significant processes causing grassland degradation. The temporal variations in rill erodibility were detected in two grasslands and one bare soil, and rill erodibility of grassland was much less than bare soil due to the influence of root system and could be well estimated from the measured erodibility of bare soil and root density. The results are helpful to understand soil erosion mechanism and to simulate the temporal variation in rill erodibility for grassland.


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Development and calibration of a soil carbon inventory model for New Zealand 
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Stephen J. E. McNeill , Nancy Golubiewski and James Barringer
pp. 789-804

A statistical model for organic carbon (C) and C change in soil in New Zealand is described for inventory reporting purposes. We consider whether new explanatory layers reduce the uncertainty of the soil C gained/lost from land use change. We show that the uncertainty of soil C estimates is reduced, but the uncertainty of soil C change estimates are not reduced using this method.

   |        Open Access Article

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Ammonia volatilisation from nitrogen fertilisers surface-applied to bare fallows, wheat crops and perennial-grass-based pastures on Vertosols 
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Graeme D. Schwenke , William Manning and Bruce M. Haigh
pp. 805-821

Nitrogen fertiliser is a major expense in modern cropping so farmers need to maximise the uptake of applied nitrogen into their crop. We measured the loss of nitrogen as volatilised ammonia when nitrogen fertiliser was applied to the soil surface; an average of 11% from urea on fallowed soil and 5% in wheat crops. Surface spreading of nitrogen fertiliser in autumn-winter on medium-heavy clay cropping soils of the northern Australian grains region should not result in major nitrogen loss.


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Transport of arsenic in some affected soils of Indian subtropics 
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Indranil Das , Koushik Ghosh , D. K. Das and S. K. Sanyal
pp. 822-832

An Indian subtropical soil, contaminated through arsenic (As)-laden groundwater irrigation, facilitates the entry of As into the human food-chain, thereby affecting millions of people. The study covers the fate of As in soil during the course of its travel, while our findings revealed the activities of soil clay, clay minerals, organic matter and iron/aluminium in containing the toxin (As). Such findings may add valuable information to evolve the appropriate management practices for reducing As mobility in soil-crop system.


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Quantification of NOx and NH3 emissions from two sugarcane fields 
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Bennett C. T. Macdonald , O. Tom Denmead and Ian White
pp. 833-840

Ammonia and nitrous oxide emissions from sugarcane is less than 1% of the applied fertiliser nitrogen. Water-filled pore space, which was a main driver of N2O emissions, did not seem to influence the measured emissions of NOx or NH3.


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Nitrous oxide emission from two acidic soils as affected by dolomite application 
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Muhammad Shaaban , Qian Peng , Shan Lin , Yupeng Wu , Jinsong Zhao and Ronggui Hu
pp. 841-848

Global warming is a main issue and much attention is being paid to this topic. Agricultural soils are regarded as main source of global warming since a large magnitude of greenhouse gases is released to atmosphere. Greenhouse gas emission, especially nitrous oxide gas, could be controlled through soil management strategies such as application of dolomite to acidic soils.


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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

    SR14324  Accepted 25 January 2015
    Heavy metal soil pollution is influenced by the location of green spaces within urban settings
    Fiona Curran-Courname, Gavin Lear, Luitgard Schwendenmann, Jade Khin

    SR14261  Accepted 25 January 2015
    Impact of straw returning in winter fallow in Chinese rice fields on greenhouse gas emissions: evidences from an incubation study
    Yupeng Wu, Tian Liu, Qi-an Peng, Muhammad Shaaban, Ronggui Hu

    SR14062  Accepted 22 January 2015
    Soil carbon sequestration in cool temperate dryland pastures: mechanisms and management options
    Alieta Eyles, Garth Coghlan, Marcus Hardie, Mark Hovenden, Kerry Bridle

    SR14165  Accepted 21 January 2015
    Mobility in soil and availability to triticale plants of copper fertilizers
    Demetrio Gonzalez, Patricia Almendros, Jose Alvarez

    SR14258  Accepted 20 January 2015
    Weighting the differential water capacity to account for declining hydraulic conductivity in a drying coarse-textured soil
    Cameron Grant, Pieter Groenevelt

    SR14241  Accepted 13 January 2015
    100 Years of superphosphate addition to pasture in an acid soil – current nutrient status and future management.
    Cassanda Schefe, Kirsten Barlow, Nathan Robinson, Doug Crawford, Timothy McLaren, Ronald Smernik, George Croatto, Ronald Walsh, Matt Kitching

    SR14334  Accepted 09 January 2015
    Phosphorus fractions in soils of the mangrove, restinga and Atlantic forest ecosystems from Cardoso Island, Brazil
    Breno Pupin, Ely Nahas

    SR14140  Accepted 06 January 2015
    Response of soil enzyme activity to warming and nitrogen addition in a meadow steppe
    Shiwei Gong, Tao Zhang, Rui Guo, Hongbin Cao, Lianxuan Shi, Jixun Guo, Wei Sun

    SR12049  Accepted 17 December 2014
    Response of soil nitrous oxide flux to nitrogen fertiliser application and legume rotation in a semi-arid climate, identified by smoothing spline models.
    Sally Officer, Frances Phillips, Gavin Kearney, Roger Armstrong, John Graham, Debra Partington

    SR14264  Accepted 11 December 2014
    Preferential flow paths in two alluvial soils with long-term pig slurry additions in the Mediterranean zone in Chile
    Ignacio Fuentes, Manuel Casanova, Oscar Seguel, José Padarian, Francisco Nájera, Osvaldo Salazar

    SR14217  Accepted 12 December 2014
    Impact of temperature and moisture on heterotrophic soil respiration along a moist tropical forest gradient in Australia
    Michael Zimmermann, Michael Bird, Kalu Davies, Valery de Zimmermann

    SR14195  Accepted 08 December 2014
    Soil morphological and chemical profiles adjacent to a bore drain in south-western Queensland, Australia
    Andrew Biggs, Peter Binns

    SR14113  Accepted 08 December 2014
    Effects of slope position, aspect and cropping system on soil nutrients variability in hilly areas
    Y Gou, H Chen, Wei Wu, Hong-Bin Liu

    SR14216  Accepted 02 December 2014
    Changes in the soil quality attributes of continuous no-till farming systems following a strategic tillage
    Mark Crawford, Vivian Rincon-Florez, Anna Balzer, Yash Dang, Lilia Carvalhais, Hongwei Liu, Peer Schenk

    SR14208  Accepted 25 November 2014
    Digital mapping of RUSLE slope length and steepness factor across New South Wales, Australia
    Xihua Yang

    SR14234  Accepted 24 November 2014
    Assessment of tillage effects on soil quality of pastures in South Africa with indexing methods
    Pieter Swanepoel, Christiaan du Preez, Philippus Botha, Hennie Snyman, Johan Habig

    SR14133  Accepted 14 November 2014
    Increased profile wettability in texture-contrast soils from clay delving: case studies in South Australia
    Giacomo Betti, Cameron Grant, Rob Murray, Jock Churchman

    SR14249  Accepted 05 November 2014
    Temporal variability in soil quality after organic residue application in mature oil palm plantations
    Marc-Philippe Carron, Mélodie Pierrat, Didier Snoeck, Cécile Villenave, Fabienne Ribeyre, Libz Suhardi, Raphael Marichal, Jean-Pierre Caliman

    SR14188  Accepted 02 November 2014
    Modelling and mapping rainfall erosivity in New South Wales
    Xihua Yang, Bofu Yu

    SR13369  Accepted 31 October 2014
    Checking soil organic fractions under conventional and no-till management in a long-term study in Southern Spain
    Rosa Carbonell-Bojollo, Emilio González-Sánchez, Miguel Repullo-Ruibérriz de Torres, Rafaela Ordonez Fernandez, Juan Dominguez-Jimenez, Gottlieb Basch

    SR14227  Accepted 28 October 2014
    Effect of cropping practices on soil organic carbon – evidence from long-term field experiments in Victoria, Australia
    Fiona Robertson, Roger Armstrong, Debra Partington, Roger Perris, Ivanah Oliver, Colin Aumann, Doug Crawford, David Rees

    SR14118  Accepted 28 October 2014
    Ameliorating effects of biochar and compost on soil quality and plant growth on a Ferralsol
    Getachew Agegnehu, Michael Bird, Paul Nelson, Adrian Bass

    SR14200  Accepted 22 October 2014
    KMnO4-determination of active carbon for laboratory routines: three Austrian long-term field experiments
    Michael Tatzber, Norman Schlatter, Andreas Baumgarten, Georg Dersch, Robert Körner, Taru Lehtinen, Gerhard Unger, Eva Mifek, Heide Spiegel

    SR13339  Accepted 07 October 2014
    Eucalyptus reforestation induces soil water repellency
    Lewis Walden, Richard Harper, Daniel Mendham, David Henry, Joseph Fontaine

    SR14060  Accepted 02 October 2014
    Carbon dynamics from carbonate dissolution in Australian agricultural soils
    Waqar Ahmad, Balwant Singh, Ram Dalal, Feike Dijkstra

    SR14162  Accepted 29 September 2014
    Soil aeration affects the degradation rate of the nitrification inhibitor, dicyandiamide
    Nimlesh Balaine, Tim Clough, Francis Kelliher, Chikako vanKoten

    SR14147  Accepted 17 September 2014
    A landscape scale survey of indicators of soil health in grazing systems
    Kimberly Damsma, Michael Rose, Timothy Cavagnaro

    SR14090  Accepted 15 August 2014
    Salinity-induced differences in soil microbial communities around the hypersaline Lake Urmia
    Mohsen Barin, Nasser Aliasgharzad, Pal-Axel Olsson, MirHassan Rasouli- Sadeghiani


The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 9 April 2014
The biochar dilemma

A. Mukherjee and R. Lal

2. Published 1 May 2014
Estimating change in soil organic carbon using legacy data as the baseline: issues, approaches and lessons to learn

S. B. Karunaratne, T. F. A. Bishop, I. O. A. Odeh, J. A. Baldock and B. P. Marchant

3. Published 1 May 2014
Amending soil with sludge, manure, humic acid, orthophosphate and phytic acid: effects on aggregate stability

A. I. Mamedov, B. Bar-Yosef, I. Levkovich, R. Rosenberg, A. Silber, P. Fine and G. J. Levy

4. Published 21 March 2014
Influence of lime and gypsum on long-term rehabilitation of a Red Sodosol, in a semi-arid environment of New South Wales

J. McL. Bennett, R. S. B. Greene, B. W. Murphy, P. Hocking and D. Tongway

5. Published 25 November 2014
Opportunities and constraints for biochar technology in Australian agriculture: looking beyond carbon sequestration

Balwant Singh, Lynne M. Macdonald, Rai S. Kookana, Lukas van Zwieten, Greg Butler, Stephen Joseph, Anthony Weatherley, Bhawana B. Kaudal, Andrew Regan, Julie Cattle, Feike Dijkstra, Mark Boersma, Stephen Kimber, Alexander Keith and Maryam Esfandbod

6. Published 5 February 2014
Effects of amendment of different biochars on soil carbon mineralisation and sequestration

Lei Ouyang, Liuqian Yu and Renduo Zhang

7. Published 10 October 2014
A review of nitrogen losses due to leaching and surface runoff under intensive pasture management in Australia

Lucy L. Burkitt

8. Published 26 June 2014
Potential soil organic carbon stock and its uncertainty under various cropping systems in Australian cropland

Zhongkui Luo, Enli Wang, Jeff Baldock and Hongtao Xing

9. Published 21 March 2014
Digital mapping of a soil drainage index for irrigated enterprise suitability in Tasmania, Australia

D. B. Kidd, B. P. Malone, A. B. McBratney, B. Minasny and M. A. Webb

10. Published 21 March 2014
Soil potassium relationships, uptake efficiency and availability for six distinctive soils in central and southern New South Wales, Australia

Jonathan Holland, Mark Conyers, Beverley Orchard and Graeme Poile

11. Published 26 June 2014
Determination of carbonate-C in biochars

Tao Wang, Marta Camps-Arbestain, Mike Hedley, Bhupinder Pal Singh, Roberto Calvelo-Pereira and Congying Wang

12. Published 5 February 2014
Association of trace elements and dissolution rates of soil iron oxides

D. Ketrot, A. Suddhiprakarn, I. Kheoruenromne and B. Singh

13. Published 26 June 2014
A combined equation to estimate the soil pore-water electrical conductivity: calibration with the WET and 5TE sensors

Fernando Visconti, Delfina Martínez, María José Molina, Florencio Ingelmo and José Miguel de Paz

14. Published 21 March 2014
Effect of ageing on surface charge characteristics and adsorption behaviour of cadmium and arsenate in two contrasting soils amended with biochar

Chamali Laksala Nagodavithane, Balwant Singh and Yunying Fang

15. Published 27 August 2014
Least-limiting water range of the soil seedbed submitted to mechanical and biological chiselling under no-till

O. Guedes Filho, A. P. da Silva, N. F. B. Giarola and C. A. Tormena

16. Published 1 May 2014
Effects of soil structural properties on saturated hydraulic conductivity under different land-use types

Yanli Jiang and Ming'an Shao

17. Published 26 June 2014
Uncertainty analysis for large-scale prediction of the van Genuchten soil-water retention parameters with pedotransfer functions

K. Liao, S. Xu, J. Wu and Q. Zhu

18. Published 1 May 2014
Digital soil mapping of a coastal acid sulfate soil landscape

Jingyi Huang, Terence Nhan, Vanessa N. L. Wong, Scott G. Johnston, R. Murray Lark and John Triantafilis

19. Published 27 August 2014
Impact of organic soil amendments, including poultry-litter biochar, on nematodes in a Riverina, New South Wales, vineyard

L. Rahman, M. A. Whitelaw-Weckert and B. Orchard

20. Published 9 April 2014
Decrease in phosphorus concentrations when P fertiliser application is reduced or omitted from grazed pasture soils

Jessica Coad, Lucy Burkitt, Warwick Dougherty and Leigh Sparrow

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