Earth System Science and Sustainability
Land and Soil
Salinity   5.7 m ha  ą 17 m ha in 50 years,  $187 m / yr cost to profitability
Sodicity  30 x salinity area, $1035 m / yr
Acidity    5 x salinity area (x 2-3 in 50 yr), $1585 m / yr
Erosion   0.5 – 10 T / ha / yr on 50 % agricultural lands
Soil structural decline
Loss of soil carbon
Low fertility
Acid sulphate soils

What is the real issue?
The problems were always here, and landscape (vegetation, fauna) was tuned to cope
– some problems have undoubtedly increased
– with others it is less clear – eg soil carbon
The real issue is changed use
– landscape no longer cleans the water and air, retains the biodiversity and clean or disposes of waste in a way that appears sustainable

Inappropriate thinking?
Inappropriate use: the Murray-Darling is a drain, but we use it as a water supply channel – better to irrigate in the north of Australia, flush top catchments, move Adelaide to (say) Newcastle
Failed (in environmental sustainability) market solutions: removal of milk subsidy causes migration of (sustainable?) dairying on coast to unsustainable irrigated dairying in N. Victoria
Grandiose plans: turning the rivers back; wine industry 2020 plan, leads to new vineyards across southern MDB – but where’s the new water?

Earth Systems Science response?
Monitoring – baselines, trends, data for predictions
Modelling
analysis of past impacts, current state, and future trends;
unraveling trends from seasonal impacts (such as drought) and management;
optimise (for one or many objectives) management strategies
Model – data fusion: continually update predictions with fresh data, use models to determine new data needs that best eliminate uncertainty

Monitoring and Evaluation
Earth observation network
Material balances - an integrating framework….
Litter+soil C

NPP and climate change

BIOS model for NLWRA
Smart monitoring….