Identifying future soil science research needs

quarta-feira, 24 de novembro de 2010

Soil is subjected to a growing number of human-caused dangers from contamination, urbanization, desertification, salinization, mismanagement, and erosion. The soil ecosystem provides services necessary to manage and maintain a healthy and stable planet. Soil is key to carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, water purification, and waste treatment.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has established a set of Grand Challenges to help steer the direction of research to critical areas with the most need of exploration, examination, and development.

SSSA, in cooperation with members of the United States National Committee for Soil Science and other soil experts, has identified the critical areas in demand of improvement over the next 20 years and beyond.

Soil Grand Challenges

  1. Climate Change. Determine the mechanisms controlling greenhouse gas emissions from organic soils, particularly tundra and permafrost soils, and identify methods to control these emissions.
  2. Food and Energy Security. Elucidate site-specific soil management solutions that maximize soil agroeosystem services, minimize soil disturbance, and concurrently increase soil carbon reserves while reducing the nutrient, water, and pesticide inputs.
  3. Waste Treatment and Water Quality. Manage the soil-based re-use of waste—industrial and stormwaters – in rural and urban environments to maximize water infiltration and storage and minimize damage to aquatic systems and reduce dependence on groundwater.
  4. Human and Ecosystem Health. Harness the microbial diversity of soil to develop new pharmaceuticals, deactivate pathogens in waste material and contaminated water, and prevent impairment of watersheds.

“Through these Grand Challenges, the Soil Science Society of America has identified the most critical future research needs in soil science. Our focus is on benefiting society by maintaining and enhancing the services that society receives from the soil. We hope these Grand Challenges will serve as a framework to direct priorities in this exciting discipline,” says SSSA President Nick Comerford, University of Florida.

For more information on the Soil Grand Challenges, including the list of short-, medium-, and long-term research goals, visit: