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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - SOIL SCIENCE ISSUES

Global Prospects Rooted in Soil Science


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 1, p. 1-8
    Received: June 10, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): henry.janzen@agr.gc.ca
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  1. H. H. Janzen *a,
  2. P.E. Fixenb,
  3. A. J. Franzluebbersc,
  4. J. Hatteyd,
  5. R. C. Izaurraldee,
  6. Q. M. Ketteringsf,
  7. D. A. Lobbg and
  8. W. H. Schlesingerh
  1. a Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Centre, 5403 1st Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 4B1 Canada
    b International Plant Nutrition Institute, 2301 Research Park Way, Suite 126, Brookings, SD 57006
    c USDA-ARS, Natural Resource Conservation Center, 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville GA 30677
    d Plant and Soil Science Dep., 368 Ag Hall, Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater OK 74078-6028
    e Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Lab., and, Univ. of Maryland, 8400 Baltimore Ave., Suite 201, College Park MD 20740-2496
    f Dep. of Animal Science, Cornell Univ., 323 Morrison Hall, Ithaca NY 14853
    g Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2, Canada
    h Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, P.O. Box AB, Millbrook NY 12545


The biosphere, our fragile and exquisite home, is changing abruptly and irrevocably, largely from human interference. Most or all of the coming stresses have links to the land, so finding hopeful outcomes depend on wide and deep understanding of soils. In this review, we pose eight urgent issues confronting humanity in coming decades: demands for food, water, nutrients, and energy; and challenges of climate change, biodiversity, “waste” reuse, and global equity. We then suggest some steps soil scientists might take to address these questions: a refocusing of research, a broadening of vision, a renewed enticement of emerging scientists, and more lucid telling of past successes and future prospects. The questions posed and responses posited are incomplete and not yet fully refined. But the conversations they elicit may help direct soil science toward greater relevance in preserving our fragile home on this changing planet.

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