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Book: Plant Environment and Efficient Water Use
Published by: American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America

 

 

This chapter in PLANT ENVIRONMENT AND EFFICIENT WATER USE

  1.  p. i-xii
     
    Plant Environment and Efficient Water Use

    W. H. Pierre, Don Kirkham, John Pesek and Robert Shaw (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-888-9

    OPEN ACCESS
     
    Published: 1966


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doi:10.2134/1966.plantenvironment.frontmatter

Front Matter

Foreword

Many special groups in the United States are initiating plans for symposia and special conferences to meet the rapidly developing demands on the part of the public, developmental and scientific groups, and the scientists themselves for more comprehensive information on water. There demands are not only regional, but national and even international in scope. Water is now recognized as perhaps the most important of our natural resources which is in short supply. Any contribution that relates to an understanding of water in the complex natural environment in which it serves as a dynamic unifying entity will be of special interest for many years to come or until our increasing water problems are solved.

The symposium on Plant Environment and Efficient Water Use is an excellent example of the way in which many disciplinary groups are contributing to our knowledge of the natural state of water, its essentiality to plants and thus to agriculture and forestry, and the way in which the natural environment of plants accommodates to and utilizes most of the water reaching the land areas of the globe. That plant environment will influence water use efficiency seems evident. In the competition for water resources, which is expected to increase threefold in the next 30 years, it is essential that we understand how to minimize losses, assure beneficial uses, including agricultural production which has always had first call, and increase greatly the efficiency of utilization. Science will provide solutions by objective experimentation and evaluation and also will assist in assuring that these endeavors are directed towards society's true needs.

This symposium is one of a series to be published jointly by the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy. In this instance, these associated societies combined forces with the Iowa State University and the National Plant Food Institute in a responsible cosponsorship of this very important scientific effort. There will be other such efforts in the future designed to review in depth significant areas of research so as to keep abreast of latest developments. Our Societies are much indebted to the dedicated participants, the organizing and editing committees, and the Headquarters staff for the fine efforts that have made this excellent review available in printed form.

August 12, 1966

H. H. Kramer, President American Society of Agronomy

W. P. Martin, President Soil Science Society of America

Preface

This book, published jointly by the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and Iowa State University, presents the papers that were given at a symposium held at Ames, Iowa, on November 30 and December 1, 1965, on the general topic “Plant Environment and Efficient Water Use.” The symposium was cosponsored by the Agricultural Experiment Station of Iowa State University, the National Plant Food Institute, the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, and the Iowa State Water Resources Research Institute.

The purpose of the symposium was to bring together the most authoritative and significant research information on the important role of water in plant development and on ways for achieving more efficient use of water in crop production. The thirteen papers, which constitute the thirteen chapters in this book, were prepared by recognized leaders in interrelated fields, including climatology, plant physiology, plant nutrition, soil fertility, and soil and crop management. The topics covered are of wide diversity, ranging from basic consideration of such phenomena as energy conversion, transpiration control, water stress in plants, moisture movements to roots, and the adsorption of water and nutrient by plants to the problems of conserving rainfall by reducing, runoff and of increasing water use efficiency through soil and crop management practices.

The chapters of the book are arranged in logical sequence. The first two chapters are somewhat general in nature and include a consideration of the distribution and variability of precipitation, soil moisture reservoir and moisture recharge, the U. S. water budget, and water use planning. The next seven chapters deal largely with basic information regarding plant-water and soil-plant-water relationships, including a detailed consideration of factors affecting evapotranspiration, plant response to water stress, root environment, moisture movement in soils, nutrient and water adsorption by plants and the interactions of water supply, soil fertility, and crop yields.

In chapters 10, 11, and 12 the authors discuss underlying principles and management practices involved in water conservation and in increasing water use efficiency through improved soil and crop management practices. Among the water conservation measures discussed are those for controlling runoff, increasing infiltration, and reducing irrigation water losses. Emphasis is given to the large potentials for increasing water use efficiency through practices that increase crop yields per acre, such as the use of fertilizers, better crop varieties, and improved cultural practices.

In chapter 13 the authors discuss the importance of plant environment research and present in detail an example of the commercial utilization of climatological and soil moisture information in promoting more efficient crop production.

Plans for the symposium were initiated in February 1965 in Chicago, Illinois, at an informal meeting of a group of soil and plant scientists representing the National Plant Food Institute, Iowa State University, other land-grant universities, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The National Plant Food Institute agreed to provide a grant to the Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station of Iowa State University to help finance the symposium and the Station agreed to organize and conduct the symposium. This was done through a committee composed of A. C. Ball, R. F. Dale, H. P. Johnson, Don Kirkham, R. H. Shaw, L. M. Thompson, and W. H. Pierre, Chairman. Many other individuals, however, contributed to the development of the program and to the arrangements.

The editors are particularly indebted to the authors for the thoroughness and excellence of their chapters. Thanks are due also to Dr. Matthias Stelly and the Headquarters staff of the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America for their excellent work in processing the manuscripts for publication.

It is believed that this book will be of considerable interest and value not only to those engaged in research in the various disciplines related to plant environment and water use, but also to students, teachers, and administrators and to many other individuals who are interested in achieving greater efficiency of water use and in increasing food production potentials.

Editorial Committee

W. H. Pierre, Chairman

Don Kirkham

John Pesek

R. H. Shaw

Contributors

THOMAS J. ARMY, Senior Research Associate, International Minerals and Chemical Corporation, Skokie, Illinois

A. R. BERTRAND, Research Associate and Chief of Southern Branch, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Athens, Georgia

C. A. BLACK, Professor of Soils, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

W. R. GARDNER, Physicist, U.S. Salinity Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Riverside, California

STERLING B. HENDRICKS, Chief Scientist, Mineral Nutrition Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland

STERLING B. HENDRICKS, Chief Scientist, Mineral Nutrition Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland

D. R. LAING, Lecturer, Agronomy Department, University of Sidney, Sidney, Australia

E. R. LEMON, Soil Scientist, USDA, and Professor of Soil Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

R. W. PEARSON, Research Soil Scientist, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Auburn, Alabama

J. W. PENDLETON, Professor of Crop Production and Soil Fertility, Department of Agronomy, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

W. A. RANEY, Chief Soil Physicist, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland

R. R. RENNE, Director, Office of Water Resources Research, U. S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C.

R. R. RENNE, Director, Office of Water Resources Research, U. S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C.

MEREDITH E. SMITH, Director, Special Projects, International Minerals and Chemical Corporation, Skokie, Illinois

FRANK G. VIETS, Jr., Chief Soil Scientist, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Fort Collins, Colorado

C. H. WADLEIGH, Director, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland

PAUL E. WAGGONER, Head, Department of Soils, Climatology, and Forestry, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, Connecticut

 

Footnotes


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