Linking soil and environmental health

October 10, 2019— Soil health is in large part rediscovery of old concepts (e.g. soil tilth and quality), but now receiving renewed attention due to exploding interest in soil biological activity and its sensitivity to management practices. Environmental health is an equally broad topic, including water and air quality, and is undoubtedly altered by soil management. But do soil management practices always have straightforward effects on both soil and environmental health? 

A symposium covering topics in “Linking Soil and Environmental Health” will review many of the successes of soil amendments and conservation practices for environmental quality. The symposium will run on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.

The symposium is part of the Embracing the Digital Environment ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Jayvee Cruz will explain research into soil bacteria that may help crop yield by acting as inoculants. “Overall, results indicated that these bacteria may have commercial importance to be developed as potential bio-inoculant that may help reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, improve plant health and contribute to higher crop yield. A new trial will be established that is designed to uncover the efficacy of these bacterial isolates as microbial inoculants in a plant-soil system.”

Microbial diversity is a strong predictor of functional diversity, principally driven by plant residues of previous crops. Moreover, it is crucial to better understand this relationship at multiple scales in the future to increase biodiversity through conservative agricultural management. Juan Pablo Frene will review research into predictors of microbial success.

Elizabeth de la Reguera researches the effects of rising sea levels on coastal ecosystems. She will discuss studies that show that significantly more carbon is stored at the edge of salt-damaged fields and more carbon is found in macroaggregates and microaggregates. These results show carbon is being stabilized and protected in agricultural soil transitioning to a tidal wetland. This research is some of the first in identifying the carbon storage potential of these transitioning lands, in order to inform conservation strategies and agricultural subsidy policies that could maintain farm and environmental wellbeing.

For information about the “Linking Soil and Environmental Health” symposium, visit

For more information about the Embracing the Digital Environment 2019 meetingvisit are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 25, 2019 is required. Visit for registration information.

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, [email protected] to arrange an interview.

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