6th International Conference of the Urban Soils Working Group, SUITMA, of the International Union of Soil Sciences.
Marrakech, Morocco, from 03 October 2011 to 07 October 2011
Increasing urbanization is a worldwide phenomenon.
According to the United Nations Population Division, one-half of the world's population now lives in cities and towns, and by 2030 this will reach 60 percent. Currently there are 20 mega-cities with more than 10 million inhabitants, many in developing countries. Also, humanity is facing major global changes, i.e. increasing world demand in food and non-renewable resources, climate change, biodiversity erosion, epidemic threats.
SUITMAs (Soils in Urban, Industrial, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas) are fundamental components of urban ecosystem. They are diverse and heterogeneous, and fulfill primary functions of utmost importance. Obviously they are a part of the answer imposed to humankind to meet major challenges. However, knowledge related to SUITMAs is still fragmentary, which hinders their fundamental roles and impairs the management of urban areas.
Objectives of SUITMA are:
- to increase knowledge about one of the most important frontiers in the field of soil science, and
- to advocate the role of soil science in the decision making process for urban land management.
After successful events in Germany, France, Egypt, China, and the United States, the 2011 conference in Marrakech will offer a further step forward in the knowledge of urban soils, focusing on the functions of SUITMAs in global change issues. It will feature current research from around the world, and panel discussions on topical issues. Not only are disciplines directly connected to soil science invited, but other scientific communities (e.g. economy, law, policy-making, health, land planning) are most welcome to SUITMA 6.
Traditionally, SUITMA puts emphasis on local features of urban soils. In this objective, beside a three-day conference (3,4 & 7 October 2011) held at hotel Ryad Mogador Menara, Marrakech, a two-day field tour (5 & 6 October 2011) will be offered in the region of Marrakech to examine soils and landscapes, soil-based restoration, research, and mapping projects under semi-arid climate, and a post-conference tour (9 - 12 October 2011) will be organized in Senegal to address issues related to urban soils under tropical conditions.