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Location: Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory

Title: Kirkham’s legacy and contemporary challenges in soil physics research

item Jury, William
item Or, Dani
item Pachepsky, Yakov
item Vereecken, Harry
item Hopmans, Jan
item Ahuja, Lajpat
item Clothier, Brent
item Bristo, Keith
item Kluitenberg, Gerard
item Moldrup, Per
item Simunek, Jiri
item Van Genuchten, Martinus
item Horton, Robert

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/14/2011
Publication Date: 9/1/2011
Citation: Jury, W., Or, D., Pachepsky, Y.A., Vereecken, H., Hopmans, J., Ahuja, L.R., Clothier, B., Bristo, K., Kluitenberg, G., Moldrup, P., Simunek, J., Van Genuchten, M., Horton, R. 2011. Kirkham’s legacy and contemporary challenges in soil physics research. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 75:1589-1601.

Interpretive Summary: The approaching 75th anniversary of the Soil Science Society of America Journal presents an excellent opportunity to both summarize the achievements of soil science and to get a glimpse of future developments. The international group of authors has decided to outline the challenges in the field of soil physics. All authors hold the Don and Betty Kirkham award which is the highest award in the field of soil physics given for the outstanding contributions in the field. The authors presented panoramic view of the future developments in characterizing, measuring and modeling soil water flow and soil structure, approaching soil-specific types of water movement, and delving into biophysical, biological and structural controls of soil physical properties. The manuscript will be useful to soil scientists and other soil-related scientists and practitioners in that it outlines the hottest topics in soil physics progress in which will have large scientific and societal impact.

Technical Abstract: This paper, written by the winners of the Don and Betty Kirkham Award in Soil Physics, is dedicated to the legacy of Don Kirkham. It describes eight longstanding or emerging research areas in soil physics that contain key unsolved problems. All are field-oriented with applications to a number of important issues in agriculture and the environment. The first class of problems concerns characterization of field-scale soil water properties, within which we describe progress on scaling, effective hydraulic properties, and the relationship between soil structure and function. We then move to the description of unstable flow and characterizing water repellency, and finish with discussions on the effect of plants on transport processes, characterizing soil microbial diversity, and the importance of soil ecological infrastructure in providing ecosystem services. Progress made within each area is elucidated, and roadblocks to the solution of the remaining problems are identified.