There has never been more interest in soil science nationally and globally. This interest stems from the ability of soils to ensure food security for a growing population and mitigate climate change to protect our environment. Policies and programs will continue to develop and expand in these two areas, and these actions need to be informed by sound scientific data and knowledge. Money is being spent to acquire soil health data, but there is no national leadership for coordinating the output of this research. Thus, this group of CSSS members believes that there is an urgent need to establish a Soil Health Committee. The CSSS represents the national expertise in this area and the Committee will comprise members ready to help build national and global policy.
The Soil Health Committee of the Canadian Society of Soil Science will promote science communication and provide science-based evidence, expertise, and leadership in Soil Health for academic, industry, government, and public organizations, both nationally and internationally.
The purpose of the CSSS Soil Health Committee is to:
- Represent CSSS’s perspective on soil health in Canada to national and international organizations.
- Connect the soil science community to the public, industry, government, and non-government organizations as the authority on soil health.
- Raise the public profile of the CSSS membership as experts in soil health, and make this expertise more accessible.
- Communicate with CSSS Council and membership at large on issues pertaining to soil health.
The Committee will comprise 8 to 10 individuals from the CSSS membership, including the CSSS President and past president, or their designates, and 7 to 8 standing members representing different sectors, including but not limited to: agricultural, forest, rangeland, northern, and wetland soils, for a term of 3 years. The Chair and Secretary will be elected from the committee membership. Individuals from outside the CSSS membership may be invited to participate based on special topic needs.
These goals are tentative while the committee is being established and feedback will be sought from the CSSS membership.
- Coordinate special sessions on soil health at CSSS annual meetings.
- Communicate on soil health for science, industry, government, and public communities.
- Provide support for developing a standard approach and methods for assessing soil health; this could include an inventory of commercial labs that describes what services are being offered.
- Provide support to establish resources for assessing soil health, including research networking, training, and a national system for archiving and sharing data and reference samples.
The Committee will meet quarterly or as needed to discuss items of importance. These meetings will normally be held virtually. The CSSS membership will be invited to participate in these meetings and give feedback on agenda discussion items.
The Committee will submit a written annual report to CSSS Council prior to the AGM and will present a summary of that report at the AGM.
In this first year (2023) the committee proponents will circulate the proposal to CSSS Council and membership before the AGM in Truro, Nova Scotia. At the AGM, the committee proponents will seek feedback and make a motion to accept the proposal for creation of the Soil Health Committee.
The Committee does not expect any financial commitments at this time. Funds to invite keynote speakers may be sought in the future through links with stakeholder agencies for potential sponsorship.
Tabs on the CSSS website will be created for the Soil Health Committee and will include the mission statement, objectives and goals, current events or meetings, and email contacts for the chair and secretary.
Membership June 2023
M Derek MacKenzie, David Lobb, Henry Chau, Emmanuel Mapfumo, Bobbi Helgason, Laura Van Eerd, Thiago Gumiere, Amanda Diochon, Claudia Goyer, and Charlotte Norris
Soil Health Committee Announcement
The newly established Soil Health Committee of the CSSS is looking for volunteers to serve on this committee to help guide its development over the next year and into the future. Current activities include developing an information tab for the website and organizing a session for UBC 2024. Future activities need to be determined, but one import activity on the horizon is looking at how the CSSS can help implement the recommendations that will be made by the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry’s report on the status of soil health in Canada. The committee meets quarterly, with the next meeting set for January 25th, 2024 at 2pm (MST). Please email Derek MacKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating.