Monday, July 18, 2016

Western soil scientists coming to UAF for workshop

Eighty soil scientists from Western states and Washington, D.C., will gather in Fairbanks July 25-28 for the Western Regional Cooperative Soil Survey Workshop. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and SNRE will co-host the biennial workshop at Wedgewood Resort.

SNRE Soils and Agronomy Professor Mingchu Zhang is co-chairing the biennial event with Cory Cole, the state soil scientist with the NRCS in Palmer. The workshop theme is “Importance of Soil and Ecological Inventory in a Changing Climate.”

Zhang said this is the first time since the 1990s that the workshop has been hosted in Alaska. He said participants will hear about others’ research and will identify areas for further study.

Workshops topics will include climate change, carbon stocks in the Arctic, soil mapping, permafrost, soil and ecological site inventory and soils surveys. A tribal leadership panel will discuss soil surveys on tribal lands and there will be a presentation about the “Between Earth and Sky” climate change documentary that was inspired by Chien-Lu Ping’s arctic soils field tour.

Field trips are planned July 27 to the permafrost tunnel, the pipeline viewpoint, the Creamer’s Field thermokarst, Smith Lake, the boreal forest and a tussock tundra permafrost site. On July 28, an optional field tour will be offered to the Fairbanks Experiment Farm to see field and reindeer research and the botanical garden. “We want them to see what we are working on up here,” said Zhang.

See more workshop information. For additional information, contact Zhang at or 907-474-7004 or Cory Cole at or 907-761-7759.

Zhang is grateful for the assistance, particularly, of Deb Gonzalez in the Business Office in organizing help for the workshop. Cory Cole is, incidentally, a SNRE graduate student and Mingchu chairs his graduate committee.

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