Dr John Grant
Dr John Grant has had thirty years’ experience in land and soil mapping and research across Australia and internationally. His particular interests lie in soil health, nutrient cycling and agroecology, carbon sequestration in soils, and soil parameters and plantation productivity relationships. John has been involved in lecturing in soils at Southern Cross University for 18 years.
Current research areas include nutrient cycling and land rehabilitation in agroforestry systems in the Pacific, carbon sequestration in soils, soil nutritional interactions with Bell Miner Associated Dieback in forests, environmental and carbon sequestration benefits of dung beetles and biochar, land rehabilitation and soil parameters and plantation productivity relationships.
Top photo: Winning soil judging team. From left: Dr John Grant (team coach), Luke Danaher, Lisa Henriksen, Tim Field, Christie Magarry and Shannon Waddy.
The group of Forestry, Science and Environmental Science students took out first prize in the teams' category and were also the overall winners of the competition, held in 2020. The students competed against more than 70 students from 15 other universities in Australia and New Zealand.
Dr Grant said soil judging was scientific in its analysis but “part art” in describing and assessing the physical and chemical characteristics of different soils. “This sort of analysis usually requires lots of experience from a pedologist who has seen many soils and understand their origins that might range from thousands to millions of years ago. Pedology (the study of soils in the field) is essential for all agriculture, ecology, sustainability and ultimately the economy,” said Dr Grant. “People ask me why I do it but I ask why you would be doing anything else? It’s that important. “Losing about one quarter of the carbon in our soil would have the same carbon impact as if you cleared every piece of vegetation on the planet.” The team’s coach, Dr John Grant praised the students for what he called “an amazing effort.”