Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/26/2010
Publication Date: 11/17/2010
Citation: Janzen, H., Fixen, P., Franzluebbers, A.J., Hattey, J., Izaurralde, R.C., Kettering, Q., Lobb, D., Schlesinger, W. 2010. Global prospects rooted in soil science. Soil Science Society of America Journal. DOI: 10.2136/SSSAJ2009.0Z16. Interpretive Summary: Tumultuous changes in Earth’s natural resources are alarming. Forests are shrinking, species are vanishing, fresh water is receding, skies are besmirching, soils are being washed to the sea, and climate appears more capricious. A committee of scientists from the Soil Science Society of America assembled 10 questions of great importance that connect the sustainability of our future with greater knowledge and appreciation of soil. How do we double the output of food in the next 50 years without harming our soils or the broader environment? How can we manage our soils to use dwindling pools of fresh water more wisely? With increasing cost and scarcity of nutrients, how do we preserve and enhance the fertility of our soils while expecting even bigger harvests? How can we manage our lands to adjust for increasing demands for energy? How will changes to climate affect the productivity and resilience of our soils? How can we better use our soils as filters to ameliorate or prevent human interferences to water and air? How can we better understand and enhance the diversity of organisms within and upon the soil to create more resilient and fructuous ecosystems? How can we better use soils as biogeochemical reactors to re-cycle wastes, thereby avoiding contamination and maintaining soil productivity? How can we develop a seamless global perspective of lands that still allows us to optimize management practices for local places, wherever they may be? How can we expand and apply our understanding of soils to advance the social, emotional, intellectual, and economic well-being of people living on the land, in landscapes throughout the world? We suggest that soil scientists (1) re-focus and re-double research efforts on these questions, (2) entice new scientists with the grandeur of the issues, (3) ensure that expertise is available globally across geographic, geopolitical, and economic boundaries, and (4) improve communication with society to tell the story of soils’ fundamental and evolving role in our future.
Technical Abstract: No abstract. This is an editorial. Please see the interpretive summary.