The first indoor meeting of the WG-SSAWCS will be held at IRD-Bondy (Paris-France) and will be combined with site visits to the University of Gembloux (Belgium) and Wageningen (WEPAL & ISRIC) to address issues related to water storage in soils and to assess the current state of soil compaction in order to suggest and test rehabilitation and amelioration techniques inspired by both academic and empirical techniques.
The importance of Green Water
Water storage in soils under the effect of capillary forces allowed the emergence of terrestrial ecosystems and remains the main source of water for rain fed crops, i.e. 80% of cultivated lands worldwide. Soil-stored water released back to the atmosphere through plant evapotranspiration is referred to as ‘green’ water, while surface water (rivers, lakes, etc.) and groundwater are referred to as ‘blue’ water.
Currently, 70% of the “blue water” is withdrawn for agricultural usage. In the context of climate change (i.e. with rising temperatures), increasing this demand will rapidly hit a global limit, particularly in light of the fact that other human needs for water are also increasing fast.
Consequently, food production will increasingly rely upon green water use efficiency and all soil preparation and management techniques should aim to optimize porosity and water storage. Unfortunately, the opposite trend has prevailed for several decades, with soil compaction, i.e. loss of porosity, occurring in most cropping areas of the world with resulting negative impacts on crop productivity.
The goal of our Working Group is to connect research or dissemination initiatives intended:
1. To assess the current status of soil compaction
2. To suggest and test rehabilitation or improvement soil preparations inspired by academic (i.e. coming from researchers’ results) as well as empirical techniques (i.e. coming from farmers’ experience)
The in-door meeting will be dedicated to:
- Wednesday 14 Sept: kick-off meeting of the IRN-COMPACSOL to draft a data management plan and road map for the year 2023;
- Thursday 15 Sept: SOPHIE and IRD will present proposals to implement quality control and good laboratory practices for soil physics laboratories;
- Friday 16 Sept: FAO will present its agenda for the international year of ‘soil water’ (2023) that we will discussed with participants
On-site visits will take place:
- Monday & Tuesday 19-20 September in Gembloux to visit the laboratory of soil physics and have discussions with ECLOSIO academic NGO who will be in charge of coordinating the collection of empirical knowledge from farmers in IRN-COMPACSOL
- Wednesday and Thursday 21-22 September: visit of WEPAL soil Proficiency Testing providers’ laboratory and to ISRIC (International Soil Reference and Information Centre) that is connected to Pillar 4 from the Global Soil Partnership -FAO-UN. (GSP)
Participants and partners are members of :
- the International Research Network (IRN) ‘COMPACSOL’ that involves Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand & Vietnam;
- the SOPHIE network (Soil Program on Hydro-Physics via International Engagement)
- the AFRILAB network
- the representatives of the secretary of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) from FAO-UN
- French and Lao start-up companies involved in soil water measurement (Urbasens, MounoyDev).