Monday, 10 July 2006 - 1:35 PM

Soil Research Priorities in Asia.

Jianmin Zhou, Division of Science and Technology Dept, Institute of Soil Science, CAS, P.O. Box 821, 71 East Bejing Road, Nanjing, 210008, China

Asia is the continent with a largest population density and produces 46% of the cereals with 32% of the cropland to feed 56% of the population in the world. Asia has a big pressure to guarantee the food security because its cereal yield per capita is much lower than the world's average. As a result, the cropland in Asia must be kept intensively used, and the inputs of agricultural chemicals to the cropland are continuously increased. Asia now is also the most active area for economic development. Its fast urbanization and industrialization lead to a great impact on agriculture and environment. Soil scientists in Asia are facing more challenge to search for the balance between agricultural and economic development and environmental protection. In view of the existing situation of Asia, the following aspects in soil science research may be considered as the priorities in the future: 1) The study on matter and energy exchange between pedosphere and hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. The research will focus on the influence of land use on greenhouse gas enrichment or carbon fixing from the atmosphere to the land, contribution of non-point pollutions to the eutrophication of water system, and the effect of soil quality change on soil biodiversity and agricultural product quality. 2) Protection of soil quality under intensive land use and fast economic development conditions. The basic investigation of soil quality is necessary to evaluate the degradation status and change trend. Based on the soil quality evolution, the attentions should be continuously paid to the different degradation processes and corresponding remediation measures, including nutrient imbalance in soil and rational fertilization, soil pollution and bioremediation, soil erosion and conservation, and soil allelopathy and avoiding mechanisms. 3) Development and application of soil biological resources and their functions. The study includes the characteristics of soil biodiversity in different regions and management practices, the development of biological genes and functions, treatment and application of organic resources from agriculture production. 4) Theoretic study of soil science in micro-scale. The study on characteristics of variable charge soils and its effects on transformation and transportation of different elements are very important since a large area in Asia is located in the tropical and subtropical region. The interactions of soil constituents and their effects on soil fertility and environment need deepening understanding. Whereas the research on transformation and movement of soil matters in the rhizosphere and the interfaces of fertilizer and soil will be of specific significance.

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