SOM, SDG, BRG, ACIAR, PCI, NDC, BOSF: communicating across disciplines, cultures and jurisdictions to realise the potential of Soil Organic Matter research to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Dr Samantha Grover1, Ms Amanda Sinclair1, Ms Yunnita  Fransisca1, Dr Andrea Rawluk2, Dr Lynne  Macdonald3, Dr Laura Graham4, Dr Dony Rachmanadi5, Dr Zafrullah Damanik7, Dr Nina Yulianti7, Professor Fengky F. Adji7, Associate Professor Graeme Applegate8, Dr Niken Sakuntaladewi6, Dr Daniel Menhdam9

1RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, 2University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 3CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Glen Osmond, Australia, 4Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, Palangka Raya, Indonesia, 5FOERDIA, Banjamarsin, Indonesia, 6FOERDIA, Bogor, Indonesia, 7University of Palangka Raya, Palangka Raya, Indonesia, 8University of the Sunshine Coast, , Australia, 9CSIRO Land and Water, Hobart, Australia

Soil scientists across the world recognise the importance of soil organic matter in achieving many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Want to double agricultural productivity of small scale farmers (2.3)? Consider the soil. Want to restore degraded land (15.3)? Consider the soil. Want to increase capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change (13.3)? Consider the soil. However, the importance of soil organic matter in sustainable development is not well appreciated by a wider audience. This paper presents a case study of research design and implementation whereby cutting edge soil organic matter research is nested within a multidisciplinary, international “Research for Development” project: “Community fire management and peatland restoration in Indonesia” that attends to the integration of soil science research in a broader, social and ecological context. Indonesia has committed to implement the SDGs, with the  Ministry of Environment and Forestry (FOERDIA) becoming the main actor to implement Goals 12, 13 and 15. The focus of action towards achieving these goals in Indonesia is centred around reducing peatland fires. As such, there is potentially a strong relationship between this international research project and fulfilment of SDG goals in Indonesia. The narrative of this paper grows outwards from the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mid Infra Red spectroscopy and hydrology investigations of degraded tropical peatlands to explore the processes and challenges of communicating this SOM research such that it can effectively inform sustainable peatland management. Internal and external communications, disciplinary, institutional and cultural barriers, assumptions and norms: a good graph is simply not good enough to inform this change. Lessons learnt and current challenges will be shared from this ongoing research.


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