Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet ResearchTitle: Soil and water conservation: A celebration of 75 years
|GANTZER, CLARK - University Of Missouri|
|SASSENRATH, GRETCHEN - Kansas State University|
Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2020
Publication Date: 12/15/2020
Citation: Delgado, J.A., Gantzer, C.J., Sassenrath, G.F. 2020. Soil and water conservation: A celebration of 75 years. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society. 331 p.
Interpretive Summary: The Soil and Water Conservation Society’s 75th anniversary collection commemorates milestones in conservation science and practices. As a nonprofit conservation organization, the Society has produced numerous publications on soil and water conservation, reaching scientists, nutrient managers, extensionists, and other conservation professionals around the world. This timely collection, which is being released as an open-access publication by the Society, not only celebrates the progress of the past but also examines the challenges before humanity and explores the future of conservation at a critical time when natural resources are imminently threatened by the impact of a changing climate. It describes the scientific understanding of soil and water conservation and the practices that were employed around the 1930s and 40s (the Society was founded in 1945), as well as the key breakthroughs that have occurred from 1945 to today. Much has changed in the area of conservation in the last seven-and-a-half decades. One might ask, what tools have been developed? What practices have been adopted, and by whom? What lessons have been learned in conservation? This special publication seeks to answer these and other questions. It also presents research questions for the future, goals, and opportunities. It examines social science topics in conservation such as food security and social understanding and expectations. The book discusses the effects of legislation such as the Farm Bill on soil and water conservation, sustainability and food security. The chapter on water quality describes the effects of legislation such as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act enacted in 1948 on nutrient levels in water bodies. It also looks ahead to the challenges that remain in addressing the impacts of agricultural practices on water quality. Scientific advances in soil science, namely in the areas of soil chemistry, soil physics, soil quality and soil health are also covered. The potential to use tools to account for soil and water conservation benefits coming from implementing best management practices and other methods that can possibly be traded as ecosystem services in environmental markets is also presented. Technological advances for the application of soil and water conservation practices are also addressed, including the use of precision conservation. Finally, the topic of climate change and the potential to use conservation practices (e.g., cover crops) for climate change mitigation and adaptation is discussed. Readers of this comprehensive work will come away with a greater understanding of the conservation successes of the past 75 years and the challenges still ahead in efforts to conserve the quality of soil and water resources.
Technical Abstract: The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) was formed 75 years ago in response to the detrimental effects of the Dust Bowl and the need to conserve natural resources for future generations. The SWCS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation, and its flagship publication, the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, publishes conservation research from all over the world, as well as other types of articles related to conservation (e.g., features). The present work, a special publication from the SWCS, celebrates the progress of the past and explores the future of conservation at a critical time when natural resources are imminently threatened by the impact of a changing climate. This timely publication commemorating 75 years of soil and water conservation, will look at historical challenges such as the Dust Bowl, as well as present and future challenges such as a changing climate; shrinking water resources; a growing global population; increased use of agricultural land for other uses such as roads, urbanization, and industrial processes; and other challenges.