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University of Gent, Belgium PP

The research at the Department of Soil Management and Soil Care deals with several aspects of the applied soil science, both agricultural and environmental applications and problems. Within the department, there are 4 research units. There is a close cooperation between them and they are complementary on different topics.

The research in soil fertility mainly focusses on the knowledge of nitrogen and phosphorus transformations and flows in the soil. More and more attention is given to the environmental aspects of these nutrients (nitrate and phosphate enrichment of the surface and soil water, phosphate saturation of soils,...). Important research topics are mineralization and immobilisation of nitrogen in soils and several kinds of organic residues, leaching of nitrogen, crop quality related to the nutrient condition of the soil, denitrification and ammonia volatilization, Plosses by leaching and erosion, the use of buffer strips, carbon sequestration potential of soils.

In soil physics, the research is focussed on the transport of water, salts and solutes in the unsaturated zone considering its importance for building the water balances, efficient water use and the dynamic aspects of soil and water pollution. The soil sanitation should be considered in the context of the possible pollution of soil and surface water. Study of the soil structure and improvement with natural and artificial soil conditioners is related to the study of water and soil conservation.

For the soil erosion and soil conservation research, important research subjects are the modelling and the mapping of both actual and potential erosion risks, the evaluation of wind breaks, the combined effect of water and wind on processes of soil degradation, the evaluation of erosion control measures such as buffer strips and different forms of conservation tillage ..., A unique wind tunnel is available in which the combined effects of both water and wind on the erosion process can be investigated.

Prof.dr.ir. Donald Gabriels is leading the research group on Soil Erosion and Soil Consrvation of the department of Soil Management and Soil Care and teaches courses on Soil erosion and soil conservation, desertification, soil technology. He has been expert for FAO, ORSTOM, Belgian and Flemish Governments, European Union on soil hydrology, reforestation, water harvesting, erosion risk assessment, watershed management. He is at present co- chairing the divisions of Soil Properties and Processes and Soil Management of the European Geophysical Union and the Internatioanl Union of Soil Science. He is member of the stearing group of CAZALAC (Centre for Water in Arid and Semi Arid areas in Latin America) He is author and co-author of more than 150 scientific papers and promotor of several MSc and PhD thesises.

Prof. Dr. ir. Stefaan De Neve is assistant professor in soil science at the department of Soil Management and Soil Care, with major expertise in carbon and nitrogen cycling in soils, with particular emphasis on the use of organic manures and organic wastes in agricultural soils, leaching of nitrate from soils, C sequestration and non- destructive monitoring of nitrogen contents in soils. Within the working group "Organic Matter" of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy, he is task leader of the task force 5 (agricultural land use practices) and member of the working group on "Exogenous Organic Materials". He is author or co-author of 20 international peer reviewed papers.

Prof. Dr. ir. Georges Hofman is full professor in soil science and chemical soil fertility and is the head of the department of Soil Management and Soil Care. His main areas of expertise are carbon and nitrogen turnover processes from soil organic matter and organic residues, phosphate saturation of soils and phosphate leaching, and NH3 volatilization from inorganic and organic nitrogen fertilizers. He has a broad experience both as participant and coordinator in many nationally and internationally funded research programmes. He is actively involved in the development at the highest level of new policies for organic manure management in Flanders and coordinated an EU project (NUMALEC) on nutrient management legislation in European countries. He is author or co- author of over one hundred international scientific papers.