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Frontiers in Soil Science Research: Report of a Workshop
There is an identified need for more funding for both agriculturalrelated and environmental soil science. As was noted several times during the workshop, soil science lacks a primary sponsor or steward, which partly emanates from its interdisciplinary nature.
In recent years when science budgets have diminished, it is increasingly important for soil scientists to continue to collaborate across and outside the discipline, finding ways to relate their science to the societal needs, as well as linking it to such issues as environmental policy. This is a struggle not just in the United States, but in other countries as well, as witnessed by Brent Clothier’s presentation to the workshop on efforts to link soil science to policy in New Zealand, and recent meetings in Europe on the future of soil science research.
Several networks mentioned during the workshop—including, for example, the National Ecological Observatory Network and the Critical Zone Exploration Network—are working across disciplines on research issues of interest to soil scientists. Soil scientists need to continue to find ways to link their basic research to broader research efforts, in an effort both to bring soil science research to the forefront and to raise awareness in the broader scientific community as to what soil science research can offer to the larger scientific endeavor.
It is up to soil scientists to continue to search for the frontiers in research, linking research to important societal and global issues, such as food security, sustainability, climate change, and water resources. However, to do so, we must continue to collaborate, keeping ourselves open to learning from other disciplines, and reaching out to our scientific colleagues, scientific societies, and research endeavors.