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Rethinking rehabilitation of salt-affected land: new perspectives from Australian experience


Leake, JE and Squires, V and Shabala, S, Rethinking rehabilitation of salt-affected land: new perspectives from Australian experience, Earth, 3, (1) pp. 245-258. ISSN 2673-4834 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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© 2022 by The Authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (

DOI: doi:10.3390/earth3010016


Soil salinity is a major threat to the sustainability of agricultural production systems and has defeated civilisations whenever the cost of remediation exceeded the benefits. Among the reasons for this is the complexity of the plant-water-soil nexus and that the causes of salinity are often separated from the damage in time and space. There have been many activities to address salinity, and while good progress has occurred in commercially attractive irrigation areas, many apparently successful techniques, such as intercropping obligate halophytes with conventional crops, processing halophyte meals for human consumption and new uses for saline waters, have not been taken up, although the benefit in ecological terms is understood. There are limited payments available for some ecosystem services, but these are not yet a very recognised market for land users, whose agency is essential for long term success and addressing this requires institutional evolution. We conclude, from Australian experience, that a more concerted effort, perhaps initiated by a philanthropist, is needed to show merchants and agencies how a range of payments for ecosystem services can be turned into true markets in an aggregate way so the ‘knowledge of what can be done can be transformed into benefit’.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:salinity; land management; halophytes
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Crop and pasture production
Research Field:Crop and pasture biomass and bioproducts
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Other plant production and plant primary products
Objective Field:Climate adaptive plants
UTAS Author:Shabala, S (Professor Sergey Shabala)
ID Code:155143
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Agriculture and Food Systems
Deposited On:2023-01-30
Last Modified:2023-03-16
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