Alianza Mundial por el Suelo

Experts of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils

The  VI Plenary Assembly endorsed a new list of 27 experts and approved the establishment of the third Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils on that basis. It asked the Secretariat to support and facilitate the activities of the III Panel of the ITPS as may be requested by the Assembly, including the organization of its first meeting, and assisting with its internal organization.


Nsalambi Vakanda Nkongolo - Democratic Republic of Congo

Professor Nsalambi V. Nkongolo is a specialist researcher at the ARC-Institute for Soil, Climate and Water in Pretoria, South Africa and a professor of Soil Science, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Hydrogeology in the Soil and Water Sciences Department at the Institut Facultaire des Sciences Agronomiques (IFA) de Yangambi in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. He is also a Research Fellow in the Department of Agriculture and Animal Health at the University of South Africa. He was a Charles Bullard Fellow in Forest Ecology (Soils) at Harvard Forest, Harvard University and a professor of GIS and Environmental Sciences at Lincoln University (USA). He has accumulated over 20 years of teaching and research experience in agricultural sciences.

He received a PhD in Soil Science (Soil Physics) from Laval University (Canada), a PhD in Environmental Geography from Nelson Mandela University (South Africa) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques from Oxford University (United Kingdom). He studied greenhouse gases as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Hokkaido University (Japan) and volcanic ash soils as a STA Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Agriculture Research Center in Tsukuba Science City (Japan).

He is serving as a lead author in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and has served in the ITPS, FAO Livestock Environmental Assessment Performance (LEAP) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His research focuses on soil and crop management practices as well as greenhouse gas emissions from soils in agricultural fields, pastures and forests.

Contact Nsalambi V. Nkongolo

Matshwene Edwin Moshia III - South Africa 

Professor Matshwene E. Moshia III (Edwin) is a Specialist Researcher in Soil Information System at the Institute for Soil, Climate, and Water of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC-ISCW) in South Africa. He received a Fulbright Scholarship and obtained a Ph.D. degree in Soil Sciences specializing in Precision Agriculture at Colorado State University, USA. His Soil Science fields of specialization cover Pedometrics, Precision Agriculture, and Environmental Soil Sciences with a specific focus on Manure Management and the Environment.

He has received awards from notable organizations such as Soil Science Society of America (Div. S04 and S08), Western Soil Science Society of America, International Society of Precision Agriculture, Foundation of Agronomic Research, Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), and was awarded as African Young Professional in Science. In 2016, he received another Fulbright Scholarship and went to the University of Florida in the USA as a Fulbright Research Scholar in Precision Agriculture working on Deep learning neural networks.

He has been a member of Gamma Sigma Delta since 2006, and a rated researcher (2016-2021) with the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. This six-year recognition award is given to scholars with a sustained recent record of productivity in their field and are recognized by their peers as having produced remarkable quality work.

Contact Matshwene E. Moshia III 

Lydia Mumbi Chabala - Zambia 

Dr. Lydia M. Chabala holds a Bachelor in Agricultural Science/ Soil Science from the University of Zambia, a MSc in Agricultural Engineering from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania and a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Zambia, Lusaka.

She currently works as a lecturer/researcher at the University of Zambia. She is involved in teaching, research, consultancy and community service.  She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in land use, pedology and pedometrics and the application of geographical information systems in land management. Her research interests are in the areas of sustainable land and natural resource management, remote sensing and pedometrics as well as soil ecosystem services in a changing climate. She has also successfully mentored one person through a formalized mentoring process. Prior to joining the University, she worked briefly as an Agricultural officer/specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture in land husbandry and agricultural extension.

Contact Lydia M. Chabala

Générose Nziguheba - Burundi

Dr. Générose Nziguheba is a soil scientist specialized in the area of soil fertility. She holds a bioengineering degree in Agronomic Sciences from the University of Burundi, and a Ph.D. in Applied Biological Sciences from the Catholic University of Leuven, KU Leuven, Belgium.

She is currently a senior scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), based in Kenya, where she leads the institute-wide sustainable land use key performance indicator, in which the impact of the institute's interventions on land is assessed. Prior to joining IITA, she served as an Associate Research Scientist for 6 years at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York, where she led and contributed to projects of wide coverage in Africa on soil related aspects of agricultural productivity, including the Millennium Villages Project, where she coordinated the agricultural sector in 10 countries. She was also involved in the Africa Soil Information Service (AFSIS) project, where she was a member of the team working on the agronomy component of the project.

She has worked at various institutions in previous appointments, including the Ministry of Environment and the University of Burundi, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the University of Stellenbosch, and the Catholic University of Leuven. She has more than 20 years of soil related research experience in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly on soil fertility/natural resource management, and has served on or been a member of various soil related committees or networks. 

Contact Générose Nziguheba

Edmond Hien - Burkina Faso

Professor Edmond Hien is a distinguished teacher and researcher of Soil Science and Agronomy. He is a  Full Professor at Ouaga I Pr Joseph KI-ZERBO University, and an Associate Researcher at IRD (French Institute of Research), Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso. He currently serves on the faculty of Life and Earth and as head of the Laboratory of Soils-Materials and Environment. 

He obtained his MSc in Soil Sciences from Polytechnic Institute of Lorraine (Nancy, France) and his PhD focusing on Soil Organic Matter from the École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Montpellier (ENSA, Montpellier, France). His main research areas include characterization and dynamics of Soils Organic Matter in relation to soil fertility, soil degradation, and environmental issues such as biotic and abiotic pollution, greenhouse gases etc.

Mr. Hien has coordinated several collaborative research projects on tropical soil management, has received a national award for teaching and research, has published more than 30 refereed papers and has given more than 30 presentations around the world as an invited speaker. 

Contact Edmond Hien


Ashok K. Patra - India

Dr. Ashok K. Patra obtained his MSc and PhD in Soil Science & Agricultural Chemistry in 1985 and 1989, respectively, in Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. He joined Agriculture Research Services (ARS), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1989 and started his career at Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute (IGFRI), Jhansi as a scientist (1990-1998). Then as a senior scientist he moved to CIFE, Mumbai (1998-1999), and to IARI (1999-2014). Dr. Patra has a 30-year long career dedicated to research, education and administration. Since May 2014 he is Director of the Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal.

During his scientific career, he has also worked as a Postdoctorate scientist (1991-1993) at ICRISAT, Hyderabad, and under Indo-UK Collaborative programme as a Visiting Study Fellow (1996) at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER), Devon, UK. He was a recipient of the prestigious INRA Fellowship (2001-2003) of the French Research Ministry to work on molecular soil ecology in N cycling at the CNRS-Claude Bernard Université Lyon, France. For pursuing the frontier soil science research, DBT (GOI) awarded him the "DBT Overseas Associateship" in 2008 for which he visited USA during 2008-2009. His research activities focused on carbon and nitrogen cycling, soil ecology, biodiversity and soil health management. He has published more than 200 articles on the area of soil science.

He has been the President of the Indian Science Congress, Agriculture and Forestry Section (2016-2017) and Vice President of the Indian Society of Soil Science (2016-2017). He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Indian Society of Soil Science, and Range Management Society of India. On World Soil Day (5 Dec. 2017) Dr. Patra has been recognized as one of 13 soil researchers worldwide advancing soil science (Food Tank, USA).

Contact Ashok K. Patra

Jin Ke - China 

Dr. Jin Ke holds both a PhD in Soil Management and Soil Care (2007) and a MSc in Soil Management and Soil Care (2002) from Ghent University, Belgium with a Bachelor in Soil Agro-Chemistry from the Beijing Agricultural University of China (1994). 

At present he is deputy director general at the Institute of Agriculture Resources and Regional Planning, in the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). He won many awards during his career, including the prize of De Boodt-Maselis, Belgium, (2000-2002), the Second Prize for the Science and Technology Progress Achievement Award, at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Science and Technology Achievement, Henan Province. 

He has published articles including scientific papers in peer-reviewed international journals and books. 

Contact Jin Ke

Chencho Norbu – Bhutan

Professor Chencho Norbu is a Cornell Graduate from Ithaca, NY, USA with a MSc in Soil Science. He has served as the Secretary of the National Environment Commission (2016-2018), director general of the Department of Forest and Parks Services, and director of the Agriculture Department in the Royal Government of Bhutan.

While serving as the focal person of UNCCD from Bhutan (2007-2012), he chaired a number of subsidiary body sessions of UNCCD including the Committee of Whole (COW) of COP 11 and CRIC 9 and 10. He also led the country's Delegation at COP meetings of UNFCCC, UNCCD and CBD. He has published a number of scientific papers in the local and international journals and his recent scientific contributions included the chapter 7 of the Status of World’s Soil Resources Report 2015 by FAO, and the chapter 4 of IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment Report, 2017. He is currently serving as the secretary to the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, the Royal Government of Bhutan. 

Since 2008 he has been serving as a professor at the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences of the University of Tokyo.

Contact Chencho Norbu

Jun Murase - Japan

Jun Murase is currently working as an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Japan and is a member of several Japanese and international scientific societies. He received his MSc (1991) and PhD (1994) in soil science from Nagoya University.

His areas of expertise are microbiology and biogeochemistry of wetlands including rice paddies and lakes. He has published more than 110 articles including more than 80 scientific papers in peer-reviewed international journals and 10 book chapters. His current research activities involve the diversity and functions of soil protists and microbe-microbe interactions and their feedback to the biogeochemical processes in soil. 

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Mohammad Jamal Khan - Pakistan

Dr. Mohammad Jamal Khan is chairman of the Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences. He holds both his MSc in soil salinity/sodicity and his Ph.D. in nutrients and water management for crops  from the University of Arizona, USA. He successfully completed a Postdoctorate in the Phytostability of heavy metals in soils in Centre for Arid Zone Studies Natural Resources, University of Wales (CAZS-NR), UK in 2006 and a second Postdoctorate on the Effect of Biochar on Greenhouse Gas Emission under salt affected soils in Chinese Academy of Sciences, China in 2014 where he also worked as a Visiting Professor.

He published books, 40 research articles in International Journals and 33 research papers in HEC recognized local and international journals, complemented by 14 papers published in national proceedings of different workshops and seminars. His key expertise is salinity/sodicity, management/reclamation, saline agricultural research, soil fertility evaluation and fertilizer formulations; beneficial reuse of wastewater for crop production, phyto-stabilization of heavy metals in soil and phyto-harvesting of toxic metals from soil using plants as well as farmer perception studies about climate change and adaptation strategies.

He won a silver medal in MSc (Hons), the USAID Award for his PhD in the US, the HEC Award for his Postdoctorate in the UK, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellowship Award in China, the Research Productivity Award for 2011-2012 and 2013-2014. He collaborated with the British Council-Higher Education Council (BC-HEC), the Pak-Italian Collaborative research on sustainable agriculture water management in Pakistan, the Chinese Academy of Sciences 2014, and the University of Arizona.

Contact Mohammad J. Khan  


Costanza Calzolari - Italy

Dr. Costanza Calzolari is a soil scientist – pedologist - with more than 35 years of experience. She graduated in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Florence, and specialized in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing. Since 1986 she has been a researcher at  the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), the main Italian public research institution. At present, she works at the Institute of Biometeorology in Florence. During her scientific career she tackled various topics as land evaluation, soil erosion and digital soil mapping. From 2005 to 2008, she has served as a Seconded National Expert (SNE) in the area of soil at the European Commission, DG Research, Environment directorate. 

She is currently involved in studies on the physical- hydrological behaviour of soils and relations with environmental processes and human activities: land take, soil degradation processes, soil ecosystem services. Moreover, she is involved in studies on Italian soil science history and on soil and landscapes representation in art. She participated in several international and national projects, mainly on soil erosion, soil geomorphology, soil functioning in space and time and, soil ecosystem services. She has more than ten years of experience in project’ evaluation. She authored more than 70 papers on international and national journals, international and national congresses proceedings and book chapters.

Contact Costanza Calzolari or here

Ellen R. Graber - Israel

Dr. Ellen R. Graber is Head of the Department of Soil Chemistry, Plant Nutrition and Microbiology, which is part of the Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences at the Volcani Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel.

Her multi-faceted research cuts across the groundwater-soil-rhizosphere-plant-atmosphere continuum along multiple disciplines. Most recently, Dr. Graber's principle research efforts are directed towards the pyrolysis/biochar platform from a variety of agricultural and environmental aspects, including soil fertility, crop production, plant resistance to pathogens and tolerance to abiotic stresses, and remediation of contaminated soils. Her research is hypothesis-based and has a strong mechanistic emphasis.

In addition, she collaborates with NGOs and entrepreneurs in an attempt to bridge gaps between basic and applied pyrolysis/biochar research, and products.  Other research interests include soil and groundwater contamination at regional and local scales, sorption of organic pollutants by soil organic matter, soil water repellency, phytoscreening the subsurface for chlorinated solvent contamination, and the role of humic-like substances in atmospheric aerosol. Her latest goal is to help save the world's cocoa crop. In 2010, she established the Israel Biochar Researchers Network (iBRN), and currently serves as the Chair of the Science Advisory Committee of the International Biochar Initiative (IBI). Dr. Graber teaches courses in Environmental Pollution at Bar Ilan University and The Hebrew University. 

Contact Ellen Ruth Graber

Peter de Ruiter - The Netherlands 

Dr. Peter de Ruiter conducts research on the composition and ecological stability of soil ecosystems, and the relationship between soil life, soil processes and environmental quality. Soils offer interesting research material as they contain a wealth of biological species such as bacteria, fungi, insects and worms. These species are responsible for the degradation of organic materials in soil, which form a key component of our global energy, carbon and nutrient cycles. De Ruiter's research focuses on the occurrence of tipping points and the related 'catastrophic' transitions in soil quality and vegetation during soil degradation and desertification processes. The prevention of such transitions can be crucial in ensuring the continued availability of food supplies in semi-arid areas at a heightened risk of desertification.

He has been a professor at Wageningen University since 2008. Previously, he was a scientific manager at the Wageningen University Soil Sciences Centre and professor at Utrecht University. De Ruiter has published in leading scientific journals such as Science and Nature, and is the co-author of the books Energetic Food Webs (2012, Oxford University Press) and Dynamic Food Webs (2005, Academic Press). De Ruiter has served on various boards and advisory bodies, including as chairman of the academic advisory council of the UvA's Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED).

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Alexey Sorokin - Russian Federation 

Alexey Sorokin is a soil geographer. He graduated from the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) in 2010 and defended his PhD thesis at  MSU in 2016. He is a senior researcher at the Soil Science faculty of the MSU, Russian Federation. His research fields are geography and properties of steppe soils, geographic information systems and compacted soils. His beloved area of field research is the southern steppe zone of European Russia with different genesis of soil compaction under combination of natural and anthropogenic features. The last research project of Alexey Sorokin is related to the study of management of atmospheric carbon sequestration in arable soils of Russia and multilevel regional pedogeographic models for sustainable soil management in Russia.

His teaching activity at the department of Soil Science at MSU is in the field of GIS for basic research of soils and lands, international initiatives in the field of sustainable management of soil resources and economic assessment of the TEV cost of land and soil degradation and improvement. He is an author and co-author of more than 10 peer-reviewed papers and the co-author of monograph Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement - A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development (2016). Since 2013, he has been actively involved in the subregional Eurasian Soil Partnership.

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Rosa Poch - Spain

Rosa M. Poch is an agricultural engineer. She graduated in 1987 from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and holds both MSc (1989) and PhD degrees in Soil Science (1992).  She is a professor of Soil Science at the University of Lleida (UdL).           

Her research fields are soil genesis and micromorphology, soil degradation and conservation, watershed hydrology, geoarchaeology, soil physics (sp. soil porosity), soil rehabilitation by mining, soil as carbon pool in the frame of global change and social awareness of soil science (as teaching and art). Her geographical frame is the semiarid Mediterranean, but she also worked in other environments (tropical, temperate, mountain, desert). She has been a visiting professor, at CSIRO Land&Water (Adelaide); University of California-Davis; Universidad Nacional Agraria (Managua) and Universidad Nacional de Colombia among others.      

She is Head of the Micromorphology Lab of the UdL, Coordinator of the Interuniversity Master on Soil and Water Management since 2008 and organizer/lecturer of several international intensive courses on Soil Micromorphology, in both Latin America and Europe. She also chaired the IUSS Commission 1.1. (2010-14, 14-18). She is author or co-author of more than 100 publications, including the Soil Chapter of the three Climate Change Reports of Catalonia (2005, 2010, 2016) and she is also Editor-In-Chief of the Spanish Journal of Soil Science.   

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Latin America and Caribbean

Adalberto Benavides Mendoza - Mexico

Dr. Adalberto Benavides Mendoza is a professor at the Horticulture Department at Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro of Saltillo, México. His primary research lines are crop biofortification, plant nutrition, and soil and agronomic management to mitigate plant stress and improve nutritional quality. For 20 years he has been responsible for research projects on agronomy in his University.

He participated in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. He has also worked (2003-2014) on the evaluation of the impact of oil production on ecosystems in northern Mexico, as well as on the evaluation of results (2003-2006) of several public support initiatives aimed at agricultural sustainability carried out by the federal government. He was also vice-president and president (2004-2009) of the Mexican Society of Soil Science.

Contact Aldalberto Benavides Mendoza 

Martha Marina Bolanos Benavides - Colombia

Dr. Martha Marina Bolanos Benavides is a Biologist at Universidad del Cauca (1991). She has a Master of Agricultural Sciences, with emphasis in Soils, National University of Colombia - Bogotá (1996), and a PhD in Agricultural Sciences, Soil and Water Management and Conservation, National University of Colombia - Palmira (2006). She has served as a university lecturer at the University of Caldas (1995-1996), Quindío (2000) and Universidad Nacional de Colombia (2007).

Since 1997, she has been a researcher at the Colombian Agricultural Research Corporation - CORPOICA, where she held different positions and roles including: Director of CORPOICA in Armenia (Quindío) between 1998 and 2003; Master Researcher from 1997 to 2006; Research Coordinator at the Palmira Research Center between 2009 and 2010; Director (E) of Palmira and Tibaitatá Research Centers; Coordinator of the National Network for Management and Conservation of Soils and Water (2006-2012). She has been a researcher from 2006 to date. She had mentored and trained undergraduate students in Biology, Agronomy, Agricultural Engineering and students candidate of Master's degree in Soil and Environmental Sciences.

Currently, she is Head of the Department of Sustainable Intensive Production, Directorate of Research and Development; Member of the Scientific Committee of the Fruit Innovation Network of AGROSAVIA (previously CORPOICA). She has designed projects related to the sustainable management of the soil resource, interaction nutrition and plant health, agro-ecological production, efficient management of the rhizosphere, determination of nutritional requirements, efficient management of integrated fertilization, interactions between mycorrhizae and nematodes, soil recovery, biofertilization, risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, as well as other projects. She has experience working in different production systems.

Contact Martha Marina Bolanos Benavides

 Fernando Garcia Préchac - Uruguay

Dr. García Préchac is a retired professor at the Faculty of Agronomy of the Public University of Uruguay (UDELAR). His main research interests are soil conservation, model validation for soil erosion loss prediction, and Soil Management. He especially focuses on conservation tillage, no-till in crop-pasture rotations, and in the substitution of planted forests with natural pastures, emphasizing work in long-term experiments. At present, he is the Director of Natural Resources at the Ministry of Agriculture of Uruguay.

He is an Emeritus Researcher at the National Researchers System, and an Academic Member of the National Academy of Engineering of Uruguay. He was responsible for the UDELAR in the Inter-institutional Program of Soil Conservation, with the Ministry of Animal Production and Agriculture (MGAP) and the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA). He has also received the Institutional Morosoli Prize in 2014.

He is the author or coauthor of more than 120 technical and scientific publications, including 35 articles in peer reviewed media; 9 synthesis works (books), 10 book chapters, and 5 versions of a computer program to estimate erosion with the USLE/RUSLE model in Uruguay and the southern part of the La Plata Basin and the lead researcher of 10 Research Projects and co-lead of 7. He was an invited speaker at 2 congresses in the USA (2002 and 2003), and 3 in Argentina (2004, 2007 and 2012) and one in Paraguay (2016). He was also president (2004-2006) of the Uruguayan Society of Soil Science and national representative of the World Association for Soil and Water Conservation.

Contact Fernando Garcia Préchac and here

Lucía Helena Cunha dos Anjos - Brazil

Dr. Lúcia Anjos has an educational background in Soil Science, with a PhD and a Postdoctorate from Purdue University (Indiana, US), and MSc degree in Agronomy from the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ). Currently she is the Chair of Division I - Soils in Space and Time of the Brazilian Soil Science Society, professor of Department of Soil Science, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), Brazil, and Vice-Dean of Graduate Research of UFRRJ.

She has published articles and researches in the field of soil genesis and classification, soil organic carbon, soil management, land capability, effects of land use change on soil quality, and more recently on digital soil mapping and pedometry. Among her publications, notable ones are the Brazilian Soil Classification System and the Handbook for Soil Description and Sampling, reference manuals for soil profile descriptions and soil surveying in Brazil. Presently she is part of the organization committee of the Rio 21st WCSS, as Vice Chair of International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) Division I, where she acted as a member of the WRB Working Group (WG) and the Universal Soil Classification System WG – IUSS.

Contact Lucía Cunha dos Anjos

Samuel Francke Campana - Chile

Dr. Samuel Francke-Campaña is Head of Watershed and Soils Management Department, of the National Forest Service (CONAF). He received his Bachelor and MSc degree in forest soils at the Chilean State University, and his PhD in soil chemistry at the Munich University of Germany, with the honorific distinction “magna cum laude”. 

His research and field work include soil fertility and site productivity, soil management and restoration, erosion and desertification control, and integrated watershed management. His professional experience includes international cooperation and capacitation programs and projects promoted by the Chilean Agency for International Development Cooperation (AGCID), Department for International Development (DFID), FAO, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and UNCCD. Activities based on synergy experience are carried out at national and international levels for three decades.

He has been director of the Annual International Training Courses and has given presentations around the countries of Latin America. As an academic and associate professor, he has worked at the Universities of Chile, contributing to numerous investigations and publications.

Contact Samuel Francke Campanha

Near East

Kutaiba M. Hassan - Iraq

Professor Kutaiba M. Hassan holds a PhD degree in soil science, with a focus on soil physics and water relations, from the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA. Until 1992 he served as an assistant professor at the University of Baghdad. After being the permanent representative of Iraq to FAO (1992-1997), he served as an executive director of the National Program of the Use of Drainage Water in Reclaiming Saline and Saline-Alkaline Soils, the Agro-Ecological Zone Maps Program and National Program for the Transfer of Modern Irrigation Technologies to Iraq (1998-2017).

He was a member of the Supreme Committee on Agricultural Initiative chaired by the Iraqi Prime Minister (2008-2017). He was also the coordinator of the Ministry of Agriculture concerning an agricultural soft loan from Italy and IFAD, and served as Director General in the Ministry of Agriculture of Iraq (2011-2017). He published 40 papers in national and international journals and is a board member of the Iraqi Journal on Agricultural Research. He is the author and translator of four soil textbooks widely used in Agricultural Colleges in Iraq. In 2016, he published the book "Work plans, Visions, Ideas and Experiments in Agriculture". He obtained several awards such as the "Special Mention-Honor Roll" awarded from the University of Arizona in 1979, a second paper award from ASA Regional Conference in 1982, UMC, a second paper award in a nationwide conference on environment, Iraq in 2002. He became distinguished professor at the University of Baghdad in 1991, and distinguished researcher from the Ministry of Agriculture of Iraq. His research focuses on how to alleviate the effects of salt-affected soils in Iraq, taking into consideration efficiency and economic feasibility.

Contact Kutaiba M. Hassan

Rafla Sahli Epse Attia - Tunisia

Dr. Rafla Sahli E. Attia is a geomorphology expert, specialized in the characterization of soil, evaluation of land degradation, the mapping of erosion, and functional and hydrodynamic properties of soils. She has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable management of soil resources. Currently, she is Director of Soil Resources (DGACTA) at the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia. She is managing the soil analysis laboratory as well as everything related to the soil database, and soil mapping.

Her key expertise is in monitoring soil salinity in irrigated public perimeters, soil erosion and the management of soil fertility. She contributes, as a focal point and coordinator, in several national and international projects, conventions and partnerships such as the decision support sustainable land management project (DS-SLM), 2016-2019, between FAO Tunisia, FAO Rome and DGACTA Soil Department; The PADII project 2016-2019 with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); The Research and Development Agreement between French Institute of Research and Development (IRD) and DGACTA Soil Department 2016-2020. She participated in the different steps of the LADA project (2006-2010) “Land Degradation Assessment in Arid Area”, funded by (GEF) and implemented by UNEP-FAO. In addition, in the framework of the collaboration with the University, she supervised over 30 graduate students (PFE-master) in land degradation, soil erosion and soil pollution in relation to sustainable management of soil resources.

Contact Rafla Sahli E. Attia

Saéb AbdelHaleem Khresat - Jordan

Dr. Saéb Khresat has a PhD in land use and management from New Mexico State University in USA (1993). He is a professor of soil science at Jordan University of Science & Technology (JUST) since 1993. He has served as the Agriculture Advisor at the Higher Council for Science and Technology from 2008 to 2010. Over the past twenty years, he holds several administrative positions at JUST (vice Dean of Research; Department Head of Natural Resources and Environment Department, Agricultural Experimental Station Acting Director, Acting Dean).

He has more than 30 years of experience in soil studies and  land use planning and has worked on many projects for international agencies such as FAO, IFAD, GEF, ICARDA and published over 50 journal articles, book chapters, on soil classification,  land degradation and management and land use changes related topics. His experience includes soil and land management for proper land use planning; enhancing natural resource conserving technologies or practices to farmers; investigate the impact of different sustainable land management practices on crop productivity, with a particular focus on soil conservation measures; and application of soil science to ecology, and human interactions with landscapes in dryland environments.

Contact Saéb AbdelHaleem Khresat

North America

Gary Pierzynski - USA

Gary Pierzynski is a university distinguished professor of soil and environmental chemistry and currently serves on the faculty and as Head of the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University. He received his Bachelor and MSc in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University and his PhD in soil chemistry from The Ohio State University.  His research areas include water quality as impacted by agricultural inputs, remediation of heavy-metal contaminated sites and soils, risk assessment, and the evaluation of food-chain transfer of soil contaminants in urban gardening scenarios. Service duties include membership on the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission, Kansas Crop Improvement Association Board of Directors, Kansas Soybean Association, and the Crop Improvement Committee for the United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board.    

He is a Co-PI on the United States Agency for International Development Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab at Kansas State University and is also currently funded through an US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Training, Research and Technical Assistance Grant and the Kansas Fertilizer Research Fund. He has published more than 80 refereed papers and three books, including the successful textbook Soils and Environmental Quality, served as the Editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality, served as President of the Soil Science Society of America, served as President of the International Society of Trace Element Biogeochemistry, is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America, has received national awards for teaching and research, and has given more than 50 invited presentations around the world.      

Contact Gary M. Pierzynsky

David Allen Lobb - Canada

David Lobb is a professor of landscape ecology in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Manitoba. He received his Bachelor (1987) in physical geography from the University of Toronto, and his MSc (1991) and PhD (1998) in soil science from the University of Guelph. His research, teaching and extension activities are in the areas of soil erosion and sedimentation, soil and water conservation, and sustainable agriculture. A major focus of his research has been the causes and management of soil variability in agricultural landscapes. He is internationally recognized for his research in tillage translocation and tillage erosion. He has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, and given more than 50 invited presentations.

In support of Canada's agri-environmental initiatives, he has made major contributions to the national assessment and prediction of soil erosion and sedimentation. Through these efforts, he has also made contributions to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the FAO’s assessments of soil erosion and soil health. Information from his research can be found in agricultural best management practices guides, environmental farm plan manuals, and other extension materials across Canada. He has been active in several national and international scientific organizations. In 2014 he served as the President of the Canadian Society of Soil Science and was named a fellow in 2016. In 2015 he was inducted into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame. He has worked previously with FAO through joint FAO/IAEA committees on the use of nuclear techniques to assess soil erosion and sedimentation and foster soil conservation.

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South West Pacific

Siosiua Halavatau - Tonga

Siosiua Halavatau is Deputy Director at the Land Resource Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) (Suva, Fiji) and holds a PhD in Soil Fertility from the University of Queensland, Australia. His specialization area is in soil fertility and plant nutrition having contributed to the study on diagnosis and correction of nutrition disorders of root crops in the Pacific. Before joining SPC in 2003 he worked as the chief soil scientist for the Ministry of Agriculture in Tonga for almost 20 years. His research works for Tongan agriculture includes soil management, farming systems, and developing and operationalizing participatory technology development in Tonga. 

In SPC he led an EU project on Development of Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific (DSAP) from 2003 to 2010 before becoming the Crop Production Advisor which he still holds along with the position of Deputy Director. He currently leads ACIAR research projects on Soil Health in the Pacific Islands.

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Megan Balks - New Zealand

Dr. Megan Balks is a self-employed soil and environmental scientist, and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.  Megan was brought up on a hill country sheep farm.  She has a BSc (Hons, I) in Soil Science from Massey University, and a PhD from the University of Waikato on effluent irrigation.  Megan worked, for three years for Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) Soil Bureau undertaking soil mapping for irrigation developments in Central Otago.  Megan has taught earth sciences at the University of Waikato for just under 30 years.  She served two terms as head of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences. Megan has supervised over 50 successfully completed graduate theses.  Megan has had a long involvement in Antarctic Soil Research, having undertaken 19 field trips to “the ice” since 1990, many as field leader. 

Megan is a Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science (NZSSS), and was the NZSSS Norm Taylor Memorial lecturer in 2008 (the first woman to achieve either of those awards).  Megan is currently Vice-President of the NZSSS.  She co-authored her first book “Celebrating soil, discovering soils and landscapes” in 2016 which seeks to promote understanding of the importance, and intrinsic value, of soil to a wide audience.  Megan has served two terms on the Waikato Conservation Board (including one as Chair), and two terms as a Director of the QEII National Trust. 

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