ASRIS (Australian Soil Resource Information System) The Australian Soil Classification Online (2nd Ed.) [open in a new window]
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Australian Soil Resource Information System

The Australian Soil Resource Information System (ASRIS) was initiated through the National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA) in 1999. The initial release (ASRIS 2001) provided primary inputs for a broad range of simulation modeling studies supported by the NLWRA. These studies provided continental perspectives on erosion, sediment delivery to streams, nutrient cycling, acidification, net primary productivity, and water quality. The ASRIS 2001 team achieved a great deal given the short time available and daunting nature of the task. During the process, the project team and the Working Group on Land Resource Assessment (which acted as the Steering Committee) identified a series of deficiencies in the land resource information base for Australia. They also identified a logical pathway for overcoming these problems to ensure a greatly improved information base for natural resource management in Australia. The task was recognized to be long-term, requiring a permanent project team.

With this background, the Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation Program (ACLEP) was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to provide land managers, regional organizations, industry partners, policy specialists and technical experts in natural resource management, with online access to soil and land resource information, and assessments of land suitability. The information is to be available at a range of scales, and in a consistent and easy-to-use format across Australia. The activity must also provide a scientific framework for assessing and monitoring the extent and condition of Australia’s soil and land resources.

The Australian Soil Resource Information System is online and will provide the best available soil and land resource information for the country in a consistent format across the nation. This new release of ASRIS will provide:

  • A hierarchy of spatial units for the Australian Soil Resource Information System to allow comprehensive reporting on land suitability and soil resources from the National down to the Sub-regional scale. Upper levels of the hierarchy will be generated using digital terrain analysis and information on landscape evolution. Lower levels will be derived from the component State, Territory and Commonwealth land resource map databases.
  • A consistent set of land qualities will be produced for the lowest level units in the hierarchy and these will be used to generate summaries for higher-level units. The land qualities relate to the intrinsic suitability of land to support various land uses – they relate to soil depth, water storage, permeability, fertility, and erodibility. Preparing this consistent set of land qualities for the country is a very large task but it is essential for determining land suitability.
  • ASRIS will be released in stages. In 2005 ASRIS will contain the upper levels of the hierarchy for the whole country but lower levels will be initially from a few States. In 2006 ASRIS will contain a more comprehesive coverage for all levels and all States and Territories.
  • ASRIS will also include a soil profile database that contains fully characterized sites that are known to be representative of significant areas and environments. The data will be accessible on-line and will provide catchment managers with primary source material for improving land literacy in their region, and natural resource specialists with a fundamental data set for assessing and predicting resource condition.

ASRIS will include the original ASRIS 2001 soil information layers for the country in cases where improved coverages have not been generated. Contact the ACLEP team for further information.

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