The South West England Soils Discussion Group (SWESDiG) was set up in 1975 to stimulate interest in the study of soils in the Region, and provide a means whereby individuals from different institutions and fields of activity can meet to discuss problems and topics of common interest.Membership of the group is free. Meetings are organised on an ad hoc basis on selected themes relevant to the wider study of soils, land use and the environment in the South West.
Group Chair: Dr Martin Blackwell
Group Secretary: Dr Rob Parkinson
It feels like just a few days ago that I sat down and wrote my New Year’s ReSOILutions. However, a month has passed already! There’s already a fine film of dust over the Christmas baubles and though we gaze out onto frosty mornings with dreams of summer, we realize that Spring – that season of hope and renewal – will be around soon enough. I hope you’ve had a wonderful January.
This conference, organised by the CIEEM South West England Section Committee in conjunction with The South West Soils Discussion Group (British Society of Soil Science), will look at the broad subject of soils from an ecologist's point of view, and ecology from a soil scientist's point of view. We are privileged to be able to hold the conference at the renowned Rothamsted Research facility at North Wyke, Devon - a world-leading, non-profit research centre that focuses on strategic agricultural and soil sciences.
Soil is fundamental to ecosystems but is often misunderstood or overlooked by ecologists. Soil erosion and other degradation are both a cause and consequence of ecosystem damage, with implications for ecosystem services, biodiversity and agriculture.
We have put together a programme of speakers to help ecologists gain insight into three aspects:
- appreciating the functioning of soils , both natural and cultivated, as important components of ecosystems;
- understanding and use of soils (natural and manufactured) in mitigation and ecological design (habitat creation, bioengineering, GI, etc); and
- the challenges of working with other professions – soil scientists, civil & agricultural engineers, land agents, landscape architects, contractors – to better understand and manage soil resources.
Most of the speakers are from the South West region and will be presenting a South West perspective on the subject.
Who Should Attend?
This will be relevant to all ecologists involved in assessing ecological resources and potential impacts, mitigation and management of land resources.
SEESOIL are co-hosting this year's BSSS annual meeting (it is on our patch) on what the ‘4 per 1000’ initiative means for UK soils.
The ‘4 per 1000’ (4 per mil) initiative was launched at the COP21 in 2015, with the aim to slow down the increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by annually increasing global soil organic carbon stocks by 0.4 % per year.
This initiative has sparked a mixed reaction to the feasibility of achieving this, and discussion over what this means for soil management.
The day will focus on the importance of good soil structure and use the Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) methodology in the field.
10am – Arrival and coffee, ready to start by 10:30am
The morning will comprise presentations about soils of the area, VESS methodology and the importance of good soil structure
Lunch will be provided
In the afternoon we will visit Hurcott Farm to use the VESS method in the field
4pm – Depart
Bring sturdy footwear and clothes suitable for an afternoon outside. You may also wish to bring a spade.
BSSS Members may attend the meeting FREE of charge whilst Non Members will be required to pay £10.00.
Please note that everyone attending the meeting will need to register in advance to enable us to accurately organise catering and seating.
ONLINE BOOKING IS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS MEETING. However if you wish to attend please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Meet a soil scientist at Open Farm Sunday!
The Society is looking for members to team up with farmers this year for Open Farm Sunday (OFS) to bring soil science to the farm. OFS is an annual open doors, family friendly event for the general public to find out about food and farming. The event is on Sunday 11 June 2017 and participating farms are listed on the OFS website https://farmsunday.org/
Funded PhD studentships are available in Soil Technology Innovation with Cranfield University and Rothamsted Research. I would appreciate if you could disseminate to potential candidates. Deadline is Monday 20 March.
Just a reminder that registration will be closing tomorrow for the SEESOIL event at Kew Gardens on 22 March. It is free for society members and £10 for non-members.
For further details and registration:
Hope to see you there!
Jack Hannam (SEESOIL Chair)
You can follow SEESOIL on twitter @sesoil for updates
To celebrate World Soil Day SEESOIL are hosting a London pub meet up for a #soilchat. Do come along to meet others over a drink and we’ll provide the snacks. This is an informal social event to talk about what soil means to us and how we can communicate this on World Soil Day. But essentially you can talk about anything you like! We will be upstairs in the Garden Room of The Somers Town Coffee House http://www.thesomerstowncoffeehouse.co.uk/. The pub is located between Euston and Kings Cross.
The meeting will be held at the Avalon Marshes Centre with arrival from 10am.
Following coffee and welcome, several participants from key organisations will give short presentations on peat issues from their perspective: nature conservation, farming, wetland archaeology, peat for horticulture and peat as waste material
This will be followed by a late-morning walk to Shapwick Heath to study peat soils and water level management.
In the afternoon there is a tour of Godwin's Peat Works and finally a visit to the peat bog restoration project at Westhay Moor.
Cost: Free to BSSS members, £10 for non-members - includes refreshments and buffet lunch.
Booking is now closed.