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Quenda Ecologics is a nature-based rehabilitation solution that can rapidly rehabilitate degraded rangelands using the proven technique of soil pitting. 


Soil pitting is the act of creating small holes in the soil crust, into which nutrients, plant litter, seeds and water collect to provide a favourable environment for the germination and growth of seedlings. This process, called bioturbation, restarts the ecological cycle that was historically performed by millions of native Australian marsupials. These marsupials have been severely, if not entirely, lost from the landscape, due to overstocking leading to loss of cover and subsequent predation by cats and foxes. 


Several other man-made techniques currently exist, with many achieving great results, but are too costly to implement on a broad scale. Examples are Zai pits and mechanical rangeland pitting. Zai pitting is a similar but manual technique that has effectively been used in the Sahel of Africa and Kenya to reduce desertification and helped bring productivity to farms (Danjuma et al., 2015). Zai pitting is impractical in Australia as it's a manual process that would be too expensive to perform in remote degraded rangelands. Mechanical rangeland pitting is a Western agricultural technique that has been used for rangeland rehabilitation in the Middle East, Western and South Australia and the USA. The difference is that instead of digging the holes individually and autonomously, furrows are created by towing an implement over the soil behind a tractor (Rangelands NRM, Western Australia. n.d.). This is impractical in remote rangelands due to capital equipment requirements, high operating expenses, and the high likelihood of inadvertent environmental damage due to the wide footprint, poor manoeuvrability and heavy wheel loads of the equipment used.


Quenda is an autonomous solar-powered soil pitting rover. Each Quenda, whilst autonomous, is remotely monitored, programmed and tele-remote controlled via Telstra 3/4G, NBN Skymesh or Starlink satellite connection. It can also perform additional functions by serving as a mobile base station for other monitoring or active tasks such as soil carbon testing, ground penetrating radar scanning, plant and animal species monitoring, and assisting vermin and weed extermination. This project has the potential to unlock a large amount of useful research data.


Several papers have documented the role of native burrowing animals in the process of bioturbation. The Quenda emulates native animal bioturbation by drilling shallow angled holes or soil pits on a grid pattern. These pits capture nutrients, plant litter, seeds and rainfall runoff creating ideal conditions for seed germination and establishment, increasing biodiversity and commencing a return to the original ecological cycle (Palmer et al., 2020) (Fleming et al., 2014). CO2 is then naturally sequestered through accelerated plant growth above and below ground.

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Hole in bushland dug by a Quenda in search of food.

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Hole dug by machine that mimics the Quenda's digging style.

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This photo depicts the effects of a pitted test site after it has undergone a simulated rainfall event.


To stop all rapid water runoff over bare surfaces. To make the soil a soft sponge like it was in the past with leaf mulch and grasses and slow and shade the flow of water through the landscape to keep streams and springs flowing and aquifers recharging year round. Nature keeps trying to cloak the soil - notice how weeds that have low water and nutrient requirements grow on empty ground. This is nature trying to heal and recover itself.


The world has a net loss of 14bn trees per year so there is a lot of planting to be done just to stop the loss and then we have to catch up and plant much more to offset the tree losses over the past ten thousand years.  We need more vegetation and a lot of it.  Humans have been deforesting for a long time. 

Land degradation is one of the biggest problems in the world today and can be solved simply by using renewable materials like wood and replanting. We want to help make that happen in 3 ways;


  1. Reforestation to restore soils, retain water in the landscape and remove CO2 from the air.

  2. Reforestation to provide animal habitat and stop and prevent further species loss.

  3. Reforestation provides meaningful jobs - automating tedious, dangerous, dusty and noisy jobs and providing clean and green job opportunities in plant nurseries, planting, land maintenance, eco-tourism, cultural experiences, conservation and so much more. 


The Quenda works to help improve how efficiently we use resources. It will help restore the environment, and rapidly reclaim degenerated farmland, rangelands and man-made deserts.

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