In order to acquaint participants of the EM39 training program with practical application of soil conservation strategies and practices in Saxony within the context of the module “Soil and Land Resources”, Mr. Bernd Siermer and Dr. Mathias Röder led the course participants to Natural Monument “Schwarzerdevorkommen Torna” in the south of Dresden which is an area of about 10 hectares protecting the best preserved Chernozems (deep soils, often silty with an aoelian origin containing much of carbon in the upper soil horizons) acclaimed to be the single protection area in Germany for Chernozems covered by the federal law on nature conservation. According to the field-trip course facilitators, Chermozems are ecological significant because they broadly fulfill most of the needed soil functions such as very high soil fertility, high filtering, buffering and water retention capacity and also acts as important archive of landscape development and cultural heritage preservation. Participants had the opportunity to apply some measuring instruments to assess the state of preservation of the Chermozems at depth of 1m from the soil surface and subsequently observed different soil layers as the depth progressed with some horizon covered by younger substrates (colluvium). This was the precondition for its preservation.
A farmland apparently showing the negative side effects of herbicide application called glycoside on the vegetation colour of the agro-ecological landscape was visited during the study trip. The excursion also featured visit to a soil erosion site at Großluga where the construction of motor high way some few kilometers resulted in gully erosion that has progressively expanded and deepened to a depth of about 2m. Afterwards, participants discussed the scenario and proffered possible interim and long-term remedial solutions that could be applied to redress the deteriorating trend in the water course bed erosion menace highlighted by the course facilitators.
Many thanks to Mr. Bernd Siermer and Dr. Mathias Röder from Saxon State Ministry for Environment and Agriculture (LfLUG) for giving participants practical insight into some key aspects of their job responsibilities through sharing their field experiences with CIPSEM on topical issues of soil conservation priorities and concerns.
Report by Gabriel Emmanuel Amona (Nigeria), photographs by Binod Gurung (Nepal)