Issue 21, September 2012
In this issue
I am pleased to use this opportunity to highlight the breadth of our activities in soil physics, chemistry and biology and to emphasise that we are committed to maintaining and building this capability to support our research.
The launch of the National Land Resource Centre
The recent launch at Te Papa in Wellington of the National Land Resource Centre (NLRC) heralded a science-backed national initiative to improve the way science is used to enhance one of the country ́s most important assets – the land.
Soil natural capital
The recognition of soil as a component of the earth’s natural capital creates new avenues for integration of soil science with other environmental sciences, and with economics.
“Space shuttles” measuring ammonia emissions from cattle excreta!
Gaseous ammonia is generated at the soil surface, following the application of any source of nitrogen that also induces an increase in soil-surface pH. The main such sources are animal excreta and some fertilisers (urea, diammonium phosphate).
Can we manipulate denitrification processes to reduce nitrous oxide and increase dinitrogen emissions?
Even though denitrification is the primary process of nitrous oxide production in pasture soils, there is still much more to understand about the controlling factors.
Conditions and trends of ecosystem services – an update
John Dymond, Anne-Gaelle Ausseil and Alexander Herzig have recently completed a tour of North Island regional councils where they presented results from their assessment of conditions and trends of ecosystem services.
Water quality issues at the regional scale
Regional Councils are charged with managing the cumulative effects of land use on water quality. With the promulgation of the National Policy Statement for Fresh Water and the recent release of the second Land and Water Forum Report, more effective mechanisms for managing land use to meet water quality limits are urgently required.
Upscaling greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration
Our research priority area combines observed data and process-based insights and databases with advanced models to improve estimates of greenhouse gas emissions scaled from small plots to catchments and then to New Zealand.
Does clay stabilise organic matter in New Zealand soils?
Soil organic matter is stabilised in soils, and up to half of it can be 1000 years old or more. Scientists think that clay stabilises soil organic matter by various chemical (e.g. as inert molecules) and physical (e.g. in very small pores) processes.
A national update on land cover change
The third version of the Land Cover Database (LCDB) – the authoritative record of changes in land cover in New Zealand was publically released at the end of June on our download site.
SedNetNZ: a new model to predict land management effects on erosion and sediment yield
Land managers are increasingly turning to spatial modelling to predict the effects of land use on environmental outcomes.
To apply or not to apply biosolids to land – what are the potential impacts from organic contaminants?
As part of the Biowaste Research Programme led by ESR with collaborators from Landcare Research, Cawthron Institute, Scion, and Plant and Food, we are investigating the biological impacts of biosolids and biosolid contaminants in the environment.
Better management of environmental data
At a time when we require comprehensive information about environmental state and trend, we also seek better return on investment in data collection through reuse and secondary use of existing data.