Managing secondary dryland salinity: Options and challenges

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    Abstract

    Salt occurs naturally at high levels in the subsoils of most Australian agricultural land. As a result of clearing native vegetation, groundwater tables have risen, mobilising the stored salt and causing adverse impacts on farmland, infrastructure, water resources, and biodiversity. The main action required to prevent groundwater tables from rising is establishment of perennial plants, either herbaceous (pastures or crops) or woody (trees and shrubs). Recent technical and economic research has emphasised how difficult it will be to establish sufficient perennials to get control of groundwater tables. Where watertables are already shallow, the options for farmers are salt-tolerant plants (e.g. saltbush for grazing) or engineering (e.g. deep open drains). The existing options for farm-level salinity management are reviewed, with mixed but somewhat disappointing findings regarding their suitability for addressing salinity. However, there are also a number of good prospects for development of new and better options for plant-based management of salinity, and these are described. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41-56
    JournalAgricultural Water Management
    Volume80
    Issue number1-3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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