This report takes a broadly similar approach to the Land chapter in the 2011 state of the environment report (SoE 2011; SoE Committee 2011), and is intended to be an update of that material. A significant addition in 2016 is an attempt to better represent the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This has been achieved by inviting, where possible, Indigenous project managers to contribute case studies that exemplify particular issues, to ensure that Indigenous contributions to management of land and sea Country are recognised. As well, Indigenous colleagues and the Indigenous Advisory Committee of the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy have been provided with an opportunity to review and comment on the report through its development. The articulated views are those of the authors, and any misunderstandings remaining are due to our own errors.
The Land report draws on many of the other thematic reports in SoE 2016, particularly Biodiversity, Coasts, Heritage and Inland water. Where relevant, we provide a short synthesis and note that particular sections are covered in detail in other reports. For example, in the Land report, we typically deal only with surface-water effects; groundwater effects are covered in the Inland water report.
The SoE 2011 Land chapter reported on soil condition against physiographic regions; we continue to do so to enable comparison with 2011. However, the 2011 assessments were achieved through a series of funded expert-based workshops, which could not be replicated for 2016, so there are issues with comparability for some assessments.
The 2016 Land report has been informed by extensive feedback on drafts from Australian, state and territory agency staff, and from broad consultation with academic scientists and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) staff. Together with the authors of other thematic reports (Coasts, Biodiversity), we held an open meeting at the 2015 Ecological Society of Australia conference and circulated a questionnaire to all registered attendees, the responses to which are largely reported in the Biodiversity report.