Jo Cavanagh

Senior Researcher, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

Jo is a senior researcher at Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research. As an environmental chemist and toxicologist, she leads a research area that focusses on understanding the role of soil in ecosystem health. Jo’s passion is the effective use of science in environmental decision-making, particularly as it relates to the management of environmental contaminants and improving degraded lands. She has worked with central and local government, primary sector, and the mining industry for over 20 years to help reduce environmental impacts.

The past, present and future of managing soil contaminants in New Zealand

This presentation will trace the history of the management of soil contaminants in New Zealand from the early 1990’s to current day, highlighting key periods of research and focussing particularly on the development and use of soil guideline values for contaminant management. Three main areas will be covered: management of cadmium in agricultural soils, protection of human health and protection of ecological receptors (soil biota, plants, higher animals) with the context for usage spanning agricultural production, management of contaminated land and protection of soil quality – including regional council state of the environment soil quality monitoring. The presentation will conclude with a perspective on key research gaps and future needs, and management of soil contaminants under forth-coming legislation.