Soil Professionals


Dr Michael Laffan

Australia (Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia)
New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, China.

(1990 2005) - Employed as a Senior Soil Scientist by Forestry Tasmania and Forest Practices Board:
  • Soil mapping at 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 scales in Tasmanian state forests with data entry into a GIS. Assessment of soils for site productivity and suitability for forestry use together with production of interpretive maps. On going characterisation of new forest soils and preparation of 'Forest Soil Fact Sheets' for Forest Practices Board web site.
  • Co-ordination and supervision of state wide forest soil surveys carried out at detailed scale by district staff to assess plantation potential.
  • Assessment of potential land degradation hazards prior to logging operations. Monitoring of forest practices impacts on soil disturbance and site productivity. Rehabilitation of disturbed sites.
  • Preparation and review of guidelines for Codes of Forest practice.
  • Forest soil research including soil native vegetation relationships, development of methods for assessing soil credibility and site productivity, investigation of impacts of logging on soil disturbance and site productivity, and investigations of different methods of site cultivation on soil properties and forest growth.
  • Training of Tasmanian and overseas forestry personnel in soils, particularly in relation to soil identification and recognition, site productivity and forest practices. Training includes field days, lectures and seminars, together with preparation and dissemination of lecture notes and manuals/books. Co author of 'Forest Soils of Tasmania' and 'Forest Soil Conservation Manual'.
  • Participation in projects and consistencies in mainland Australia and overseas;
    • Consultancy (Dec 1995) in south west Victoria and south east South Australia to assess site suitability for eucalypt plantations on private land,
    • Consultancy (April 1999) in Fiji to help ascertain potential impacts of logging native forest on erosion and sedimentation in hydro electric catchments,
    • Participated in ACIAR project (March/April 2000, Sept 2001, Nov/Dec 2003, Nov 2004) in southern China to advise on site selection procedures and appropriate soil and site management for cold-tolerant eucalypts.

(1974 1989) - Employed as a Soil Scientist by NZ Soil Bureau, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Zealand.
  • Soil characterisation and mapping at various scales (1:15,000 to 1:100,000) over a wide range of terrain, including flat, rolling, hilly and mountainous land in both temperate and tropical regions.
  • Preparation and publication of soil survey reports. including compilation of soil maps and explanatory texts with soil descriptions, classification, analytical data and soil interpretations for land use.
  • Soil and land resource evaluation and land use planning, including assessment of soils/land for various uses, e.g. suitability for horticulture (tree crops/orchards, vineyards), irrigation, effluent disposal, urbanisation, plantation forestry.
  • Assessment and mapping of soil/land hazards, e.g. risk of soil erosion, sediment production, landslides, flooding under different land uses.
  • Publication of scientific papers and reports on soil genesis, classification, erosion and landslide hazards, suitability for various land uses and soil conservation.
  • Presentations at field days, workshops, seminars and conferences.
  • Participation as team leader/member in three international projects in Fiji (1980/81) and one in Tonga (1975).

(1969 1974) - Employed as a soil conservator by Marlborough Catchment Board, New Zealand.
  • Investigation of soil erosion problems on private farm land, and preparation of soil conservation plans including technical and financial planning, and supervision of remedial works.
  • Liaison and integration with farmers and other land managers concerning soil erosion and rehabilitation measures, and organisation of field days to inspect and discuss remedial works.
  • Supervision of land reshaping works and re vegetation associated with control of severe tunnel gully erosion in loess derived soils.

Dr Michael Laffan: Director
Soil Professionals Pty Ltd
2 Lanena Crescent
Lanena Tasmania 7275
Phone: (03) 6394 3368