Project Leaders: Dr. Sandra Tuszynska and Julian Grigg

Introduction and Aims:

Australian soils are some of the most depleted soils on Earth, mainly due to deforestation and unsustainable farming practices causing erosion and desertification. We aim to restore the areas affected by erosion, chemical residues and deforestation and recreate topsoil through strategic mulching, soil inoculation with beneficial microbes and planting of native vegetation.

Our first project involved Erosion Restoration:

  • Filling erosion gullies with logs and wood chip
  • Covering the ground with layers of soaked cardboard, hessian, forest mulch, grass mulch and woodchip
  • Placing logs across the site to stabilise the bank

The logic of Mulching:

  • Protects exposed or eroded soils from water and wind damage
  • Provides ground cover, while reducing compaction
  • Cushions impact of rainfall
  • Absorbs water
  • Prevents evaporation keeping existing water in the soil
  • Can prevent weed infestation
  • Feeds fungal mycelium (fungal threads) which glues mulch particles together and encourages colonisation by plant roots, stabilising soil
  • Mycelium provides plant available nutrients and feeds all soil life forms, improving soil nutrition and structure


  • Mycelium (soil fungi) colonised the mulch, breaking it down
  • Soil invertebrates such as earthworms, slaters, ants and termites colonised the site
  • Different fungi species emerged on the different mulch types following rain events
  • Grasses and other plants started to colonise the
  • Birds brought in seed of pioneer species such as Macaranga
  • Trees planted into the eroded bank before restoration efforts began to thrive
  • Marsupial and other wildlife diggings became evident

These outcomes encouraged further projects:

  • Workshops at the 2017 Planting festival
  • Amphitheatre Walkway Erosion Restoration Project

Currently we are working on cultivation of Beneficial Microbes through

  • Creating top quality compost piles
  • Studying and assessing the biology of the organisms in these piles
  • Creating compost teas from these piles to inoculate our soils and plants with

Future direction:

  • To restore all erosion on site
  • To plant out all erosion sites with native vegetation
  • To inoculate all soils and plants with beneficial microbes
  • To provide ongoing projects for our monthly gatherings and workshops at The Planting

If you would like to join our Soil Restoration team please contact

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