Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2009
Publication Date: November 9, 2009
Citation: Suarez, D.L. 2009. Research Needs and Opportunities in Management of Saline Soils and Waters. Presented at international seminar entitled Agricultural Valorization of Saline Water, Treated Wastewater and Sludge held in Hammamet, Tunisia November 9-10, 2009. Meeting Abstract. Technical Abstract: Current research programs on irrigation with saline waters and management of saline soils at the U.S. Salinity Laboratory are reviewed. The research program includes: 1) Remote sensing of electrical conductivity (EC) for rapid assessment of salinity at the field scale; 2) EC-directed soil sampling for precision management within fields; 3) Water quality criteria for irrigation; 4) Development of computer models for management of irrigation with saline waters; 5) Development of alternative crops or varieties for irrigation with saline waters and municipal and agricultural waste waters; 6) Determination of crop salt tolerance and specific ion toxicity; 7) Determination of the physiological response of crops to elevated salinity, and 8) Evaluation of crop response and water uptake under variable salinity gradients, including plant water uptake from saline groundwater. Future salinity research is critical to meet food demands of arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Opportunities for extended use of saline soil and water resources are summarized: 1) Development of regional- scale salinity assessment methods integrating local EC mapping with satellite derived sensors; 2) Development of remote sensing technologies to better assess field salinity and crop conditions utilizing multiple platforms such as sensors to provide more detailed salinity and water content information, and hyperspectral imaging; 3) Management models with improved prediction of plant production/stress under different environmental conditions and management including temporal variation in salinity and toxic elements and 4) Development of new salt- tolerant, low water use, plant varieties utilizing genetic and biochemical markers either with genetic engineering or utilizing traditional breeding techniques.