New challenges for soil researchers in response to the needs of society and the environment

سال انتشار: 1386
نوع سند: مقاله کنفرانسی
زبان: انگلیسی
مشاهده: 1,660

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تاریخ نمایه سازی: 11 بهمن 1385

چکیده مقاله:

Funding for research in natural resources has been shrinking worldwide and has become much more targeted and competitive. Research with no clear short or long-term objectives and well defined beneficial outcome for the stakeholders, region or the state is no longer supported in western countries. Attracting funds for fundamental research, which may or may not contribute to subsequent applied outcomes, is becoming increasingly difficult. New methods of ranking papers, journals, researchers, research institutes and universities worldwide have created a situation that forces researchers to either compete globally or get out of research altogether. Iran doesn’t seem to be following this global trend as yet, but it needs to adopt these changes in order to stay in touch with the rest of the world in R&D. With the recent explosion in the number of research higher degree students in Iranian universities we need to re-assess both the way we do research in Iran and the kind of researchers we are training for the country in order not to waste this large human resource and the money spent on their training. Traditionally people like us who are dealing with soil, which incidentally is the world’s most important non-renewable natural resource, were looked at by those in more fashionable or money making fields such as technology, industry, manufacturing, business, economy and commerce as weird scientists who have nothing better to do than playing with the “dirt”. For the general public too the term “Soil Science” was so unknown that it was often mistaken with “Social Science”. Soil, water and air were just there to be used, reused and misused and scientists in these fields were treated like second class citizens of the academic community in the profit driven world of 20 th century. This was, to a large extent, our own fault. Soil scientists in many parts of the world, Iran in particular, have been so detached from the rest the community, inclusive, isolated with little influence on the lives and the thinking of the general public. Books and articles we wrote were for our peers and students, while people on the land did things their own way and were influenced more by technology than by soil scientists. The outcome has been a sever degradation and pollution of our land and water resources. The connection between our research activities and people on the land is still very weak and we have undersold ourselves to other disciplines and to the general public. We have failed to show that ‘soil” is not there just for agricultural production and we are not here just to increase yield per hectare of land at any cost. We as soil researches have far more important missions for the sustainable use of our land and water resources but we have failed to make people see this role. Here are some examples of our failure: • Soil is by far the largest sink and source of carbon through its OM content, thus soil scientists/researchers should be right at the forefront of the carbon debate and 1Keynote presentation at the 10th Iranian Soil Science Congress, August 26-28, 2007 the fight against global warming. How many of you young “soil researchers are conducting your doctoral research on soil as a carbon sink/source?


Hossein Ghadiri

Associate Professor, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia