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Global soil biodiversity: establishing common ground for sustainability

Understanding the role of life in soil is key for land management (c) JHI
"Dr Wall’s theme of understanding the contribution of living organisms to healthy soils is at the very heart of what we are trying to achieve through our research.

Soils are home to a vast diversity of life that is essential for a variety of ecosystem functions – from the tiniest microbes to larger soil animals and plant roots.  The United Nations have designated 2015 as the International Year of Soil to acknowledge its importance, but the complex relationships in soil are often overlooked in management and policy decisions. This issue, and many others, will be at the heart of the 38th T.B. Macaulay Lecture, to be offered by Dr Diana H. Wall, University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, on Tuesday 13th October at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

A soil ecologist and environmental scientist, Dr Wall is actively engaged in research exploring how life in soil (microbial and invertebrate diversity) contributes to healthy, fertile and productive soils and thus to society and the consequences of human activities on soil globally. Her research on soil biota, particularly soil nematodes, extends from agroecosystems to arid ecosystems. Dr Wall has spent more than 25 seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining how global changes impact soil biodiversity, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services. She currently serves as Science Chair for the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative.

The T.B. Macaulay Lecture is an event organised by the Trustees of the Macaulay Development Trust and the James Hutton Institute to support sustainable land management through research and education. Eric Baird, Chair of the Macaulay Development Trust and Professor Colin Campbell, acting Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, extended the invitation to the scientific, academic policy and agricultural communities to attend the Lecture.

Professor Campbell said: “We are deeply honoured that Dr Wall is able to deliver this year’s lecture. The James Hutton Institute is also very proud that we can continue the long established tradition of organising this prestigious lecture, which is so much a part of our legacy in soils research that T.B. Macaulay supported through his endowment. Dr Wall’s theme of understanding the contribution of living organisms to healthy soils is at the very heart of what we are trying to achieve through our research.”

On behalf of the Macaulay Development Trust, Eric Baird added: “The Trust is pleased to invite Dr Wall to stimulate the new thinking that is needed. We also welcome the hosting, by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of this year's lecture. It promises to be an occasion where science, policy, and practice can meet.”

Notes to editors:

The annual T.B. Macaulay Lecture is held to honour the vision of Dr Thomas Bassett Macaulay, President and Chairman of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, whose benefaction founded the original Macaulay Institute for Soil Research in 1930.  He was a descendant of the Macaulays from the Island of Lewis and his aim was to improve the productivity of marginal land in Scotland, for the benefit of people living there. This vision continues today in its successor the James Hutton Institute, a world leader in land, crop, water, environmental and socio-economic science.

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Printed from /news/global-soil-biodiversity-establishing-common-ground-sustainability on 25/02/24 08:56:45 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.