ISTRO INFO Report June, 2004.
Tillage Erosion Working Group (TEWG)
Chair: D.C. Reicosky, Acting Chair
Donald C. Reicosky
The 16th Triennial Conference of ISTRO was held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on July 13-18, 2003. Unfortunately, the TEWG was not strongly represented because former chair, Mike Lindstrom (now retired), and former secretary, Jose Rafael Marques da Silva, were not able to attend. Issues of broad concern about the TEWG membership were considered at the General Meeting suggesting limited interest in tillage erosion because of limited attendance of researchers in this area. Rather than see the TEWG disbanded, I accepted temporary responsibility for providing continuity from my colleague Mike Lindstrom to the next chair with active research interest in tillage erosion. This may be considered a temporary effort until qualified candidates are selected. At the 2003 conference, I accepted the charge to encourage us to select successors to Mike and Rafa who could lead and plan an activity for the 2006 ISTRO conference in Kiel, Germany, August 28 - September 3 (see www.istro.org).
After a few phone calls and several e-mails, and a little friendly arm-twisting, it appears that we have two tillage erosion researchers willing to accept leadership of TEWG within ISTRO. Conversations with David Lobb and Mike Lindstrom were very helpful in identifying new leadership. The new chair is Tom Schumacher and the new Secretary is Goswin Johann Heckrath with their contact information below. We wish them good luck in their efforts and ask that you support them as they work for ISTRO.
Tom E. Schumacher
Goswin Johann Heckrath
ISTRO Working Groups have provided an opportunity for members with common interest to share information and, in some cases to develop collaborative research programs. The TEWG was formed at the 2000 ISTRO meeting in Fort Worth, Texas. The objectives of the Working Group are:
1) To facilitate awareness and understanding of tillage translocation and tillage erosion processes and their agricultural, environmental, socio-economic impacts.
2) To facilitate collaboration in international research and development initiatives.
Emphasis in research by the TEWG is progressing from the basis measurements of soil translocation and tillage erosion to measuring the effects of soil translocation on variability of soil properties and long-term soil sustainability under four main headings: (1) Tillage Erosion & Soil Variability; (2) Water Erosion, Soil Moisture & Soil Variability; (3) Soil Variability & Crop Production; Erosion Evidence; and (4) Characterising, Modelling and Managing Soil Variability.
With in a relatively short time, we have progressed from the identification of the problem to development of models that can be combined with current water erosion models to give a better understanding of the total erosion processes within fields or landscapes. Knowledge of soil translocation processes has been shown to be instrumental in identifying the source of soil variability over landscapes and has been shown to be a major concern for long-term soil sustainability. However, it was pointed out that the TEWG has to do more in the area of spreading our knowledge base to scientific and policy groups that are not familiar with the process of tillage erosion or its consequences. The question arose on how do we accomplish this task. This is proving to be a difficult task, but is part of the initial objective of the TEWG within ISTRO and will require more effort. Presenting our research results at as many meetings as possible and continued publications of our research in respected journals seems to be the course of action to follow. It is imperative that efforts be directed to showing importance of tillage erosion and related carbon loss on global warming and environmental quality issues. The economics of long-term impact of tillage erosion on sustainable food production systems also needs immediate attention because of the long time required to develop quality soils for crop production.
Previous activities of the TEWG have included the third workshop on Tillage Translocation and Tillage Erosion held on March 26, 2002 at the University of Reading, Reading, UK. Title of the workshop was Soil Variability on Agricultural Land - Evolution, Characterisation & Importance. The workshop was held in-conjunction with the British Society of Soil Science/Geostats-UK Conference followed by the two-day field excursion centered around the Exeter region of southwest England.
Last winter, David Lobb employed Sheng Li, to update the TEWG website (www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/tillage_erosion). Sheng is still taking web training and pulling together information for the new site. Given the need to get some action in the TEWG, we will make efforts to get the new site up soon. Your suggestions and input can be sent to:
David A. Lobb
There is a special issue of Soil and Tillage Research coming out in August, 2004 that contains several papers on tillage erosion. (Doug, you can fill in the details needed).
Future activities will depend on the TEWG membership and new leadership to identify and organize programs that support coordination of research activities and dissemination of information to solve problems associated with tillage erosion. Your suggestions and participation are solicited so that this working group can continue to be a part of the ISTRO activities. Communicate your interest and comments to Tom and Goswin or the ISTRO leadership to assure that your concerns and needs are met. Environmental concerns require substantial interest in tillage erosion research and someone who is willing to communicate the significance of the results to the farmers and the public that develops agricultural policy. Tillage erosion, along with water and wind erosion, have changed our natural landscapes to "anthropogenic landscapes" as a result of a lack of understanding of the processes involved. In many cases, tillage erosion has been the primary culprit in exacerbating the soil variability within our landscapes and causing severe soil degradation associated with intensive tillage. A better understanding of tillage erosion and associated management is required to maintain sustainable production systems around the world.
Tillage Translocatiom and Tillage Erosion is a subsite of the Soil Science Dept , University of Manitoba