New app provides fertile ground for soil health knowledge
The University of Western Australia’s Emerita Professor Lynette Abbott has compacted more than five decades of soil biological health research into a new app.
The SOILHEALTH app was funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program Smart Farms Small Grants to provide essential information about complex aspects of soil health in a digital format.
Features of the SOILHEALTH app include an eBook, podcasts, and seven soil health animations custom-created by Lush Digital.
Professor Abbott is a world-leading academic and science communicator in soil science and soil biology at the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment and The UWA Institute of Agriculture.
Professor Abbott runs hands-on activities demonstrating the benefits of soil biota for soil health, and leads the Land Restoration Demonstration Site research project at UWA Farm Ridgefield in Pingelly.
This site was also established with funding from the National Landcare Program Smart Farms Small Grants.
Although Australian farmers are the main target audience, Professor Abbott said the SOILHEALTH app was a valuable resource for anyone interested in soil health, including teachers, students, and gardeners.
“All in-app resources can be downloaded online, and then accessed offline,” she said.
“A farmer could take a break from harvesting to watch our animated video on ‘Effects of soil disturbance on organisms‘ while out in the field, or perhaps tune in to a few podcast episodes from home.”
Professor Abbott said UWA Farm Ridgefield researchers and staff assisted with the development of the eBook.
UWA Communications Officer Cheryl Rimmer, who first suggested the SOILHEALTH app in 2019, coordinated the app development.
Artwork by Angela Rossen and photographs by Paul Rigby complement the science.
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Peter Clifton from South West Catchments Council collaborated in the review and delivery of the app within the community.
Emerita Professor Lynette Abbott (The UWA School of Agriculture and Environment and The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 8 6488 5551
Rosanna Candler (Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 08 6488 1650