Soil expertise vital to future sustainability

The National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI) at Cranfield University has welcomed a report on the current status of soil and water management in England from the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) co-authored by Dick Godwin, Emeritus Professor at Cranfield.

The report underlines the strategic importance of soil resource management for higher agricultural production to meet growing demands linked to global change including population growth. The report describes the disturbing lack of public investment in research and professional education in soil science. It sets out a strategy for re-building national capacity to support a vibrant industry and sustainable production.

Mark Kibblewhite, Professor of Applied Soil Science at Cranfield University, said, "The RASE report is very timely and reflects a growing realisation that soil resources are of strategic importance to future sustainability. There is an urgent need to apply emergent soil science, advanced informatics and biotechnology to manage soil and water to deliver higher food production. This also extends to delivering environmental goods such as water management and carbon capture from the atmosphere. The recommendations of the RASE report highlight the growing requirement for research expertise and professional education which Cranfield is well-positioned to meet."

Cranfield is an European centre of excellence for postgraduate training and graduates more than 50 MSc and PhD students in land-based science and engineering each year. Its research in soil and water science and in agricultural engineering is being strengthened by a new multi-million pound investment in pilot-scale facilities for studying soil-machine dynamics and soil erosion, equipment for research on the University's arable farm, new glasshouses and expansion of state-of-the-art laboratories for soil biology, chemistry and physics.

The report is available to download at www.rase.org.uk/about_RASE/news/latest_news/Soil_and_Water_Report.pdf.

Further information on Cranfield University's work in relation to the environment is available at www.cranfield.ac.uk/environment

For further information please email Cranfield University

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