Soil and land management research

Our research advances understanding of the management of soil, water and land, to enable sustainable production and conservation of natural resources within urban and rural environments.

Research expertise


We have specific expertise in soil genesis and management in relation to Indigenous people’s cultures and traditions.


Land use and evaluation

We assess land for various uses through soil mapping and characterisation. Land is evaluated through qualitative and quantitative assessment of soils and the landscapes they cover. Land evaluation is valuable for production, sustainability, environmental issues and biodiversity. We also study soil formation and erosion.


Nutrient management and soil fertility research

Our research expertise covers soils, fertilisers and environmental issues in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. We provide practical solutions for issues in our primary production sectors, and are actively involved in information transfer.


Soil contamination and rehabilitation

Modern and historic land use often has a detrimental effect on soil health. Contamination occurs through loading inorganic elements and organic compounds to the soil above a safe rate. We have expertise in assessing environmental risk, designing mitigation strategies, and phytoremediation, where living plants are used to stabilise, break down, or remove contaminants in the soil.


Soil ecology

Our research focuses on soil communities and ecosystem function: i.e., the role of soil invertebrates in soil health and productivity; the impact of land-management practices on soil invertebrate biodiversity; the ecology of threatened soil invertebrates; and soil ecological patterns in relation to abiotic gradients.


Soil organic matter

We study the biogeochemical processes that determine soil organic matter turnover. We are working to develop new ways to advance the studies of soil organic matter with the use of advanced techniques such as pyrolysis-GC/MS; as well as more traditional approaches. We also have expertise in biochar – charcoal to be used as soil amendment to improve soil functions and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.


Search for an expert

Search our staff database for an expert or area of expertise.

Expertise search

Research projects


Massey Farms

Working with industry and research partners, Massey Farms run research and trials in areas of significance to science, the industry and consumer. There are eight farms as part of the group, including conventional and organic dairy units, sheep, beef and deer breeding units and a mixed enterprise/grazing/cropping unit over 2000 hectares.

Massey Farms

Research centres

Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre

Massey University's Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre engages in teaching and research on soils, fertilisers and environmental issues in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre

International Research Centre for the Management of Degraded and Mining Lands

Located in Indonesia, this centre aims to help restore land degraded by mining. ¬¬Collaborative research is being carried out between Massey, a founding partner, and partners Brawijaya University, the University of Mataram and the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The centre grew out of a research project started by Dr Chris Anderson investigating remediation techniques for mercury-contaminated soil using plants.

Contact Chris Anderson

New Zealand Biochar Research Centre

The Centre is internationally-recognised, working to advance the understanding of biochar for mitigating global climate change. We also work to enable its use in New Zealand, particularly by the agricultural and forestry sectors.

New Zealand Biochar Research Centre

New Zealand Centre for Precision Agriculture

New Zealand Centre for Precision Agriculture (NZCPA) creates practical land management solutions through the use of leading-edge precision technology tools. Whether you are an individual farmer or a large corporation or government agency, we offer relevant, leading research and site-specific consultancy to help enhance the economic and environmental performance of your land.


New Zealand Life Cycle Management Centre

The Centre is a collaboration between Massey University, AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and SCION. It works to build capability in life cycle management (LCM) by providing education, training and research to LCM professionals to meet increasing consumer demand for green metrics on products.

Find out more

Volcanic Risk Solutions

During volcanic events, this Centre provides rapid scientific response information to local governments, industry and agricultural industries. It also develops and integrates scientific advancements in volcanology within practical risk-management strategies for New Zealand and Southwest Pacific communities, business enterprises and government agencies.

Volcanic Risk Solutions

You may also be interested in research in

Earth sciences and volcanology

Environmental health

Environmental management



Physical geography

Smart farm and food systems

Water management

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