NCERA_OLD059: Soil Organic Matter: Formation, Function and Management (new project)
Statement of Issues and JustificationMany contemporary environmental and ecological challenges facing society are related to the management of soil organic matter (SOM). These include sequestration of C in soil, fate and transport of pollutants, soil bioremediation, crop nutrition, and sustainable ecosystem management. NCERA-59 is the only multi-state group in the U.S. dedicated to the discussion of SOM and its role in affecting soil biological, chemical and physical properties. The work of this committee helps us understand how soil management can enhance soil nutrient cycling and other ecosystem services. This research and outreach effort is important for the protection of soil resources, reduction of environmental impacts from agricultural activity, and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. To work toward these goals, the committee will continue to research the genesis, composition, reactivity and function of particulate and humic substances.
Many scientists outside the North Central Region participate regularly in the annual meeting of the committee. One of the most important functions of NCERA-59 is to provide an informal setting for exchanging ideas among scientists interested in the various roles of SOM in the functioning of ecosystems. The technical outreach component of this committee has been especially important in transferring information to its members as well as to the general research community. In addition, many of the efforts of committee members have influenced policy at both the state and local level. The committee is especially valuable for younger scientists, since it provides an excellent opportunity for them to interact with experienced SOM researchers from different areas of the country. A major strength of the NCERA-59 group is the diversity of member research interests in microbial, biochemical, chemical, physical and applied aspects of SOM dynamics.
The NCERA-59 committee proposes to continue its historical mission of promoting research cooperation among its members, fostering interest in understanding the basic principles of organic matter formation, humus chemistry, and SOM dynamics, and applying such knowledge to problems of regional and national scope. The committee also proposes to continue providing leadership in initiating, planning and implementing timely symposia on the role of SOM in issues of public concern such as C sequestration, biodiversity, soil and water quality, and sustainability of the soil resource. This remains an important function of the committee, with numerous symposia and proceedings having been organized since its inception.
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