State Soils Collection

Queensland State Soils Collection

The Queensland State Soils Collection is a component of the Government’s response to the need to understand the soil we all live on, its morphological, physical, and chemical properties. The samples in the collection represent various soil assessment and monitoring programs from across the state since 1978 with existing data available through the QLD Globe from the Soil and Landscape information – SALI database. Before 1978, samples were often discarded, resulting in the loss of the opportunity for re-analysis to answer new questions, such as a benchmark for soil health in a changing climate and as a repository of potentially unknown therapeutic compounds.

The nature of the collection lends itself for various scientific usage, including an evolving understanding of the ecology of the Queensland landscape and its natural resources.

State scientific collection

The largest part of the Queensland State Soils Collection is physically held at a storage facility in Brisbane, but smaller collections can also be found in Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Mareeba. The main collection consists of over 120,000 individual soil samples, air dried and sieved with a 2mm sieve, which is consistent with international soil sampling methodology.

Samples within the Queensland State Soils Collection represent most of the major soil types and regions of Queensland and have associated morphology, physical and chemistry data recorded and stored digitally in the Soil and Land information system.

Case study – Paddock to Reef

One of the largest scale projects to improve the water quality in the Great Barrier Reef is the Paddock to Reef monitoring project. It is a collaborative program between government, industry, and the community to identify the sources of pollution in water runoff that flows into the Great Barrier Reef and take appropriate action through best practice farm management. As part of the project, soils in the Great Barrier Reef catchments are collected and stored as part of the State Soils Collection.

These soils provide an important snapshot of the situation at a given moment in time, and therefore act as a benchmark for the planned future improvement of the region. Together with river and reef water analysis, these data points provide a full picture that allows the creation of soil and water quality maps which allow policy makers to make targeted decisions.

Access to the collection

You can access online catalogues of the material held in the State Soils Collection:

If you are a researcher, you can access the collection by prior arrangement.