Land use study of the rural environs of Darwin : (Area 1)
Wells, M. R.; Australia. Department of the Northern Territory. Land Conservation Section
E-Publications; PublicationNT; E-Books; 78/2
Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).
Land use -- Northern Territory -- Darwin Region
Department of the Northern Territory, Land Conservation Section
49 pages : illustation ; 30 cm.
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Topsoil: Topsoil is earthy material for top dressing with textures of preferably loamy sand to light sandy clay loam (sand 30-85%, clay 10-20%, silt 10%, gravel 10%, some organic matter is desirable). Topsoil stripping is limited to small areas within land units 3a, Sa and ld and is done to replace topsoil loss during bulldozer clearing in urban subdivisions. As erosion is usually considerable following topsoil removal, this form of land use is extremely undesirable (Plate 14). Gravel: Useful quantities of gravel are extracted mainly from land units lb2, lc and 3a2 for road making in suburban areas. This resource is also present with minor constraints to extraction, in land units lbl, 3al, 3bl and 3c. Reclamation inputs, for example diversion banks for runoff water and ripping and sowing of stripped areas, are required following gravel extraction from units lc, 3al and 3c. Commercially usable gravel usually consists of indurated, rounded ironstone concretions, less than 50 mm in diameter which occupy greater than 60% of the soil volume. The presence of some clay and silt in the material is desirable as a binding agent The removal of lateritic gravel, topsoil and sand within the study area has with very few exceptions, not been followed by adequate land restoration programs. This has frequently resulted in the creation of vast areas of wasteland which now exhibit evidence of sheet, rill and gully erosion (Plates 15, 16). These areas are not only depleted of soil, a valuable natural resource, but are also aesthetically undesirable in close proximity to the city and suburbs. The stripped areas now pose considerable problems for future development in the region. Urban development on such areas will require additional costly land preparation. Hills and gullies will need to be levelled, surface run-off reduced and topsoil will need to be imported, to the detriment of some other region, to re-establish a protective vegetative cover. These wasteland areas are also a liability to the ecological stability of adjoining land units down slope as heavy silt loads are deposited from the accellerated run-off over the exposed land. The vast majority of soil erosion and land degradation problems occurring within the Darwin rural area can be either directly or indirectly attributed to the work of extractive industries. Problems arise directly through the general lack of restorative work on extraction sites and indirectly through the effects of high volumes of heavily laden traffic engaged in haulage of the extracted materials, over sealed and unsealed roads in the area. -21
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