The Earth system is undergoing major changes due to human activities which have profound impacts on ecosystems and on their capacity to support demand for food, fiber and energy. Soils constitute the most complex and least understood component of terrestrial ecosystems and serve functions vital to humanity, such as nutrient supply to plants, regulation of water flow and water quality and are a major source and sink of greenhouse gases.
Understanding how soils function under different land uses and climates and how to manage them to assure sustainability of agroecosystems and mitigate climate change is a tremendous challenge but also a great opportunity for the agricultural sector. Land users and their support infrastructure (i.e., extension personnel, consultants, government agencies, agribusiness) will need to possess a deep knowledge and understanding of the processes involved, as well as the ability to think critically and to solve novel and emerging problems, to be able to modify their practices and take the initiative to mitigate their greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint.
The Soils, Land Use and Climate Change Concentration prepares students to become critical thinkers, address new and emerging issues and be versatile in multidisciplinary settings, while having a deep understanding of soils and soil processes, being knowledgeable of global and cultural issues, and possessing specialized technical skills in agricultural GHG management and inventory.