SOM chemistry and its relationship to water retention and hydraulic conductivity in Canadian and Australian peat soils

Mrs Anne Yusuf1, Professor Ewen  Silvester2, Assoc Professor Maria Strack3, Dr Samantha Grover1

1RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, 2La Trobe University, Wodonga, Australia, 3University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

SOM has a strong interaction with soil hydrologic properties in peat soils due to the dominance of organic matter in the composition of peats. This paper explores the relationship between the chemistry and physics of peat soils from Australia and Canada. Peatlands in Australia are limited and uncommon due to the prevailing environmental conditions in the country, therefore, background information on peatlands in Australia is scarce. On the other hand, peatlands cover about 13% of Canada’s terrestrial land surface and they are found in every province, so they have been more intensively studied. Peatlands in both countries are important in catchment hydrology and yet they have experienced high levels of degradation due to a range of anthropogenic impacts. Decades of peatland restoration research in Canada has identified that land managers require a sophisticated understanding of peat hydrology in order to successfully restore degraded peatlands. A mechanistic and empirical link between hydrologic and chemical properties, as explored in this study, would enable land managers to more rapidly and cost effectively assess peat hydrologic properties.


Anne is a masters student of Environmental Science and Technology in RMIT University. She has a Bachelor of Technology (honours) in Environmental Management and has built her career in this field over the years. She previously worked with government and non governmental organisations before returning to study for her masters degree. She looks forward to further studies and research in soil science.

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