Coastal land scalding in NSW, Australia: Soil chemical characteristics and their implications for remediation of the scalded lands

C. Lin, M. Rosicky, D. McConchie, L. A. Sullivan, G. Lancaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Scalded lands are common in acid sulphate soil areas on the New South Wales coast, Australia. In this work, chemical characteristics of the scalded acid sulphate soils at nine sites along this coast were investigated. The investigated acid sulphate scalds are characterized by an extremely acidified topsoil layer (0-0.6 m) although they derive from the sediments of varying salinity and the metal sulphides contained in the soils have experienced different degrees of oxidation. Almost all of the investigated scalds occur in the areas that have a lower surface elevation than the surrounding areas. These hollows may act as sinks for acid sulphate materials and salts that are transported from the surrounding areas and the shallower watertables in such locations may enhance upward transport of acid and salt materials from the underlying oxidized sulphidic sediments. In general, the scalded acid sulphate soils have less organic matter and soluble phosphorus, and a greater salinity, soluble acidity, soluble Al, Mn and Zn concentrations, compared to the adjacent non-scalded acid sulphate soils. These are most likely soil constraints for revegetation of the scalded lands and treatment will need to involve acid neutralization (e.g. application of lime) and addition of P fertilizers to reduce the soluble acidity, immobilize soluble Al, Mn and Zn, and increase P availability. The evidence also shows that the higher soluble Al concentration in the scalded soils, relative to the non-scalded soils, is related to their lower organic matter content. Hence, rehabilitation of these scalded lands should involve the addition of organic matter to reduce soluble A1 concentrations; it may also help reduce Mn and Zn toxicity, and salinity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-303
Number of pages11
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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