Publication Details

McKenzie, N. J., Baldock, J. A., Balks, M. R., Camps Arbestain, M., Condron, L. M., Elder-Ratutokarua, M., Grundy, M. J., Hewitt, A., Kelliher, F., Leys, J. F., McDowell, R. W., Morrison, R. J. & Schoknecht, N. R. (2015). Regional assessment of soil change in the Southwest Pacific. Status of the World's Soil Resources (SWSR) - Main Report (pp. 476-519). Rome, Italy: FAO and ITPS.


The Southwest Pacific region includes the 22 island nations of the Pacific1, New Zealand and Australia (Figure 15.1). The landscapes of the region are very diverse ranging from a large continental land mass through to tens of thousands of small islands across the enormous expanse of the southwest Pacific Ocean. There are extensive ancient flat lands through to some of the youngest and most tectonically active landscapes on the planet. Temperature and rainfall ranges are large because of the breadth of latitudes and elevations. As a consequence, the soils of the region are also diverse. The strongly weathered soils in humid tropical areas and the vast expanses of old soils across the Australian continent are particularly susceptible to disturbance and this is where some of the more intractable problems of soil management occur today.