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Neerim (Nm)

A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Neerim- geoArea: 266 sq. km (1.3%)

Neerim land system occurs on Tertiary basic volcanics below the subalpine tract, commonly in the west. Low, rounded hills and undulating terrain with intervening clay flats are characteristic. Where aquifers intersect valley floors, for example near Thorpdale, small permanent swamps often occur and are mapped in Morass land system. Most areas have thin weathered regoliths but at higher elevations, such as near Callignee and Aberfeldy, and in some areas at lower elevation, erosion has been more active, exposing fresh basalt. Here soils have formed on fresh rock and are shallow, with those at Callignee and Aberfeldy being similar to soils in parts of Nunniong land system. Thorpdale land system is similar to Neerim land system but is restricted to areas subjected to extensive landslide activity in the past.
A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Neerim- image
Low hills and undulating terrain with a rounded topography characteristic of Neerim land system.
Most soils have developed on remnants of an old deep soil which formed on highly-weathered basalt during a warm, humid climate. These old reddish brown soils are strongly weathered, leached and tend to tie up phosphate in unavailable form. Having a strong, fine structure they are very friable and are sought after for intensive cropping in spite of the phosphate fixation. Where erosion has exposed fresh basalt at higher elevations, somewhat stony, reddish brown, acidic soils have formed. Black, clayey, neutral to alkaline soils have formed on fresh basalt in drier areas at lower elevations near Glenmaggie. These soils lack the strong swelling and shrinking of typical black earths. Scattered throughout the areas on weathered basalt are yellowish brown soils with inclusions of siliceous sediments derived from younger Tertiary sediments or from older rocks exposed by erosion.

Most of the native vegetation has been cleared. Open forest II or III, often shrubby or layered at higher elevations, was probably dominant prior to settlement.

CLIMATE
Rainfall, mean (mm)
Temperature, mean (C)
Seasonal growth limitations

Annual 800 - 1400; lowest January or February (40 - 70), highest August or October (90 - 120)

Annual 8 - 12; lowest July (3 - 7), highest February (16 - 20)
Temperature <10C (av.): May - September
Rainfall < potential evapotranspiration: December – February
GEOLOGY
Age, lithology

Tertiary basalts (Older Volcanics), mainly weathered
PHYSIOGRAPHY
Landscape
Elevation range (m)
Relative relief (m)
Drainage pattern
Drainage density (km/km2)

Low hills and undulating terrain with a rounded topography and intervening clay flats

80 - 1110
40 - 160
Dendritic
1.0
PRESENT LAND USEMostly cleared: grazing of dairy and beef cattle and sheep; cropping (limited); apiculture (good honey yield mainly from exotic clovers)

A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Neerim- csA study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Neerim- graph

LAND COMPONENT
Percentage of land system
Diagnostic features
1
70
Hillslopes and crests with red soils on highly weathered basalt
2
10
Slopes and crests with brown soils on mixed basaltic and siliceous parent material (scattered throughout component 1)
3
10
Valley flats
4
5
Small plateaux and hill slopes with dark soils on fresh basalt at lower elevations
5
5
Slopes and small plateaux with red soils on fresh basalt at higher elevations
PHYSIOGRAPHY
Slope %, typical and (range)
Slope shape
5 - 15, (0 - 30)
Concave, some convex
5 - 10, (0 - 30)
Convex
<2, (0 - 5)
Straight
5 - 10, (0 - 20)
Convex
Variable, (10 - 40)
Convex
SOIL
Parent material
Basaltic saprolite
Unconsolidated Tertiary
sediments or other material with some basaltic influence
Locally derived alluvium
Basalt
Description
Dark brown to dark
reddish brown sandy loam
to sandy clay loam grading
into yellowish red to dark
red fine structured clay
Dark greyish brown silt
loam to clay loam topsoil
grading into yellowish
brown mottled clay subsoil
Single observation — dark
clay loam over greyish
brown mottled clay subsoil
Black to dark greyish
brown clay loam to clay
changing into dark greyish
brown to dark brown,
blocky heavy clay
Dark brown to dark reddish brown crumb structured clay loam topsoil grading into reddish brown blocky structured clay loam or light clay subsoil; often basalt floaters or stones
Classification
Krasnozems; rarely
Euchrozems
Gn3.11, Gn4.11, rarely Gn4.71
Xanthozems; probably
Yellow Podzolic Soils
Gn3.51, Gn3.71, Gn4.34
Humic Gleys
Gn3.41
Prairie Soils, Black
Earths
Dd3.11, Dd3.12, Ug5.11
Chocolate Soils,
Krasnozems
Um6.13, Gn3.11, Gn4.11, Gn4.41
Surface texture
Sandy loam to sandy clay
loam
Silt loam to clay loam
Clay loam
Clay loam to clay
Clay loam
Surface consistence
Friable when moist
Friable when moist
Friable when moist
Firm when moist
Friable when moist
Depth (m)
0.9-1.5
>1.5
>2.0
0.6-1.5
0.2-1.8
Nutrient status
Low
Low
Moderate
Moderate to high
Moderate
Available soil water capacity
Low
Low to moderate
Moderate
Moderate
Moderate to high
Perviousness to water
Very rapid
Moderately rapid
Slow
Slow
Rapid
Drainage
Good
Moderately good
Very poor to poor
Moderately good
Good
Exposed stone (%)
0
0
0
0- 5
0- 15
Sampled profile number
31
-
-
-
37
NATIVE VEGETATION
Structure of vegetation and
characteristic species of
dominant stratum
(+ Predominant species)
Structure and species difficult to determine due to clearing— species given are those recorded
E. cypellocarpa, E. globoidea, E. macrorhyncha, E. obliqua, E. radiata, E. rubida
E. cypellocarpa, E. obliqua
E. ovata
E. melliodora, E. globulus,
E. tereticornis
E. obliqua, E. ovata,
E. rubida, E. viminalis

Disturbance
Affected process and trend
Primary resultant deterioration
Casual activities
Primary off-site process
Form
Susceptibility of components
Incidence with components
    Alteration of vegetation:


    — reduction in leaf area, rooting depth and/or perenniality
    — reduction in density of tree roots
    Reduced transpiration,
    resulting in:

    a) increased deep
    percolation and leaching



    b) increased regolith
    wetness


    Decreased root-binding



    Nutrient loss




    Landslip



    Landslip



    1,2,5 ; moderate
    3,4 ; low



    1,2; low – moderate



    1,2; low - moderate



    Not determined




    Uncommon



    Uncommon



    Removal of trees




    Accelerated by major disturbance of the native vegetation

    Accelerated by major disturbance of the native vegetation



    Increased movement of water to groundwater; increased base-flow of streams

    Increased sediment load



    Increased sediment load

    Increased exposure of surface soil
    Increased overland flow and soil detachment
    Sheet and rill erosion
    1,2,5 ; moderate
    4 ; low
    Common
    Clearing, logging, burning, overgrazing, road and dam building and other earth-moving activities, rabbit burrowing, trafficking by stock and vehicles.
    Increased flash flows and sediment load.
    Increased physical pressure on soil
    Increased compaction

    With

    Reduced infiltration
    Structure decline



    Sheet and rill erosion
    1; low
    2,3,5; moderate
    4; high

    1,2,5; moderate
    4; low
    Uncommon



    Common
    Increased trafficking cultivation, overgrazing, export of organic matter

    As for sheet and rill erosion above
    -



    Increased flash flows
    Increased soil disruption
    Increased soil break-up
    Gully erosion
    3; moderate
    Uncommon: isolated occurrences
    As for sheet and till erosion above
    Increased sediment load
    Comments: -
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