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A land management manual for Waggamba shire - an information package based on land resources

Robin N. Thwaites, David S. Blacket, Phil Sorby and Geoff Woods

Land Resources Branch, QDPI, Meiers Road.,Indooroopilly QLD 4068
Agriculture Branch, QDPI, PO Box 300, Goondiwindi QLD 4390
Waggamba Conservation Committee, `Coorangy', Toobeah QLD 4498

The responsibility for acquiring and using land management information in Queensland is shifting towards the land user, manager and planner. Several 'self help' programs have been initiated for property planning, as an example. Land resource information is a vital component of this current technology transfer approach and packaging this information to aid careful land management based on land resources data is one of the main methods that has been initiated to do this.

The Land Management Manual for the Waggamba Shire, southern Queensland, (1) was jointly produced by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and the Waggamba Conservation Committee (WCC) with part-funding from the National Soil Conservation Program. It is the first in a new series of manuals for land managers in the cropping districts of Queensland, although this example is unique in having the full involvement of a Landcare Committee. The initiative shown by the WCC has proved to be valuable, especially towards adoption of the manual by the rural community.

The manual is three related documents in a practical format designed for use in the field. The presentation of the complex land resource data and the interpreted land use suitability and recommendations in a simple format, is a major feature of the manual. Loose-leaf laminated cards with colour photographs of the soils and the landscapes and summary descriptions, along with a full colour map of the land resources are provided. These are tools whereby the manual owners can identify and evaluate their soils for themselves which is a big step towards planning their properties both for optimal production and for minimal resource degradation.

The manual characterises 29 soil types within the shire and describes these according to production suitability based on their properties and their limitations. For each soil type recommendations are provided on soil conservation and crop, pasture and livestock management practices that are necessary for optimising farm production whilst maintaining the soil resource. Much of this information previously existed in largely inaccessible forms and was also in need of updating. A new soil reconnaissance was undertaken, and the most recent information on land management practices is included, especially those for irrigation. The manual integrates this information into one package for easy interpretation and use.

The manual was released in March 1991 at a series of field workshops where examples of use were discussed around specially prepared soil pits. Over 400 landholders in the shire are entitled to a copy. Further copies have been deposited in relevant libraries and some available for purchase. An opinion survey to evaluate the acceptance and use of the manual by landholders has been initiated.


Thwaites, R.N. and Macnish, S.E. (Editors) 1991. Land management manual
Waggamba Shire. Parts A to C. QDPI Training Series QE90014, Brisbane.

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