WASHINGTON — Crop scientists keep seeds in seed banks for comparison and research. Soil scientists do the same with soil samples, stored in archives. The May 1st Soils Matter blog discusses the importance behind soil archives, specifically a collection located in North Dakota.
Blogger Mark Liebig explains, “Soil changes with time. In fact, soil is a dynamic source of nutrients, stability, and life. But changes in some soil properties can be slow, requiring decades or even centuries before differences can be detected. This is where soil archives can help.”
A soil archive located at the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory features over 5,000 soil samples. In the 1940s, Dr. Howard Haas led a project to understand soil change throughout the Great Plains.
Today, researchers are using the “Haas Archive” to answer current questions on soils. They are conducting a study to find changes in soil properties between Dr. Haas’ 1947 collection and a resample in 2018. Once completed, the information can be used to determine best agricultural practices.
The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.
Follow SSSA on Facebook at SSSA.soils, and Twitter at SSSA_Soils. SSSA has soils information on www.soils.org/about-soils, for teachers at www.soils4teachers.org, and for students through 12th grade, www.soils4kids.org
–Soil Science Society of America
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