Soil is getting some worldwide recognition: The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has declared December 5 World Soil Day, launched an effort called the Global Soil Partnership, and designated 2015 the International Year of Soils. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of healthy soils for food security, ecosystem functions, and sustainable development.
The FAO is essentially calling for the recognition of soil as a valuable resource that needs to be managed as such, in much the same way that we protect and manage our water resources. In its resolution on the International Year of Soils, the FAO notes “soils constitute a fragile foundation and… soil degradation is a far-reaching long-term process which threatens global soil resources and therefore compromises actions in favour of climate change adaptation and efforts to reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty.”
What will the FAO’s resolution actually accomplish? Soil—dirt, as most people see it, especially those not directly involved in agriculture or environmental restoration of some kind—is easily overlooked, and like the late Rodney Dangerfield, not much respected. In some ways the resolution is a symbolic act to call attention to the issue of soil preservation. On a more technical note, however, the Global Soil Partnership is holding a number of conferences on soil: a workshop on soil spectroscopy and monitoring coming up in Rome in December; a first meeting of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils last summer; and a conference on soil’s role in carbon sequestration in Iceland last May, for example.
You can read more about the FAO and the Global Soil Partnership at http://www.fao.org/globalsoilpartnership/en/.
StormCon Call for Papers Is Open: Deadline Is November 14
StormCon, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference and Exposition, is now seeking abstracts for presentations at StormCon 2014. The conference will take place August 3 – 7, 2014, in Portland, OR. Abstracts are due November 14, 2013.
We are seeking abstracts in seven conference tracks:
* BMP Case Studies
* Green Infrastructure
* Stormwater Program Management
* Water-Quality Monitoring
* Industrial Stormwater Management
* Advanced Research Topics
* Coastal Protection
More information on the conference and the individual tracks is available at www.StormCon.com, along with an online abstract submittal form.