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2007 Soil and Water Conservation Society - Soil Quality Workshop

"Soil Quality: the Foundation for Natural Resource Quality"


Arlene J. Tugel
USDA NRCS, Las Cruces, NM

Producers and land managers are challenged to maintain high quality soils, a productive landscape, and a healthy environment. Information on how management affects soil will help support quality soil management decisions. Currently, soil survey databases do not reflect the effects of land use and management on soil properties and soil quality. New soil survey objectives addressing management effects include: 1) Provide information about how soils change over the human time scale; 2) Refine existing soil survey data to improve accuracy; and 3) Develop interpretations of land use and management effects on soil quality and soil function. Data will be collected following a new sampling guide for dynamic soil properties. The data can be used to interpret assessments, design monitoring plans, support practice designs, and determine C-sequestration potential. New soil survey products that can be developed include suitable indicators, reference values for soil indicators, reversibility of soil indicators, and interpretations for resistance and resilience to change in soil function. Data and information will help planners show the benefits of conservation systems, improve practice designs, and identify lands as risk of irreversible change.

Link to Presentation (pdf; 1MB)

Arlene Tugel - Arlene Tugel is a soil scientist with the NRCS Soil Survey Division. She is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico where she is a liaison to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range. Her current emphasis areas are soil survey, dynamic soil properties, and quantifying soil change over the human time scale. In previous positions, Arlene was a founding member of the former NRCS Soil Quality Institute. She also served as Soil Scientist for Interpretations at the West National Technical Center (Portland, OR) and was State Soil Correlator and a Soil Survey Project Leader in California.