Announcements

Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensing: Estimation of Agricultural Crop Biomass Water Equivalent

osmic Ray Neutron Sensing: Estimation of Agricultural Crop Biomass Water Equivalent Springer Open Much of the work by the SWMCN laboratory regarding the Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensor (CRNS) has gone to the development of protocols and guidelines on its proper use. This includes a detailed calibration approach that is ultimately the key for the successful implementation of the CRNS technology within any particular environment. However, further details are needed regarding the incorporation of biomass water equivalent (BWE) into the calibration process. The CRNS technology measures soil moisture through the detection of cosmic rays in the atmosphere near the soil surface. These rays have a great affinity to be absorbed by hydrogen atoms. As such, the CRNS can produce data that are highly correlated with soil water content present in the soil. However, water within growing green biomass can introduce a false signal to CRNS data that must be quantified and removed. During the second half of 2016 development began on a guideline protocol illustrating in detail three different methods for quantifying biomass and ultimately BWE for use in the CRNS calibration process. This external publication explores traditional in-situ destructive sampling of biomass (tailored for the CRNS footprint), the use of satellite based remote sensing data to estimate biomass, and the use of the CRNS device itself (only stationary CRNS) for estimating biomass. These three techniques are applicable to the proper use of the CRNS technology, particularly in agricultural environments where homogeneous vegetation is the norm. This publication provides detailed, step-by-step, practical instructions for three different methods for the estimation of BWE with clear accompanying illustrations, an essential step for improving the accuracy of area-wide soil moisture monitoring by CRNS.

Use of Carbon Isotopic Tracers in Investigating Soil Carbon Sequestration and Stabilization in Agroecosystems

Use of Carbon Isotopic Tracers in Investigating Soil Carbon Sequestration and Stabilization in Agroecosystems IAEA-TECDOC-1823 This publication provides an overview of conventional and isotopic methods available for measuring and modelling soil carbon dynamics. It includes information on the use of carbon isotopes in soil and plant research, including both theoretical and practical aspects of nuclear and radioisotope tracer techniques for in situ glasshouse and field labelling techniques to assess soil organic carbon turnover and sequestration, and provides up-to-date information on topics related to soil carbon sequestration and stabilization in agroecosystems. With its focus on practical application of radiotracer and stable isotope tracer techniques, it will be particularly useful for university and national research scientists working to improve soil organic matter management and conservation in agricultural systems.




Approaches to Improvement of Crop Genotypes with High Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency for Water Scarce Environments

Approaches to Improvement of Crop Genotypes with High Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency for Water Scarce Environments IAEA-TECDOC-1828 Current concerns about the projected global population increase and the impacts of climate change on agriculture highlight the importance of the use of improved crop varieties coupled with better soil, water and fertilizer management practices designed to protect the natural resource base. This publication is the outcome of a coordinated research project (CRP) and focuses on the practical application of nuclear and related techniques, such as mutation induction, stable isotopes of nitrogen (15N) and carbon (13C), to improve crop productivity with mutant varieties and best soil management practices in diverse agro¬ecological zones affected by drought, high temperatures, water scarcity, and soil salinity. The publication will be highly valuable to agricultural scientists and laboratory technicians of national agricultural research organizations in Member States as a resource for improving soil and crop productivity through the use of nuclear and related techniques.

Managing Irrigation Water to Enhance Crop Productivity under Water-limiting Conditions A Role for Isotopic Techniques

Management and Area-wide Evaluation of Water Conservation Zones in Agricultural Catchments for Biomass Production, Water Quality and Food Security IAEA-TECDOC-1813 This publication presents the outcome of an IAEA coordinated research project and provides research findings and isotopic methodologies to quantify the soil evaporation component of water losses and determine the transpiration efficiency for several important crop species under a variety of environments. The TECDOC also presents a simple, fast and portable vacuum distillation apparatus for extraction water from soil and plant samples for isotopic analyses for the separation of soil evaporation, which helped to reduce the bottleneck in sample throughput for many soil water and hydrology studies.






Guidelines for Developing Wetlands in Agricultural Catchments

Guidelines for Developing Wetlands in Agricultural Catchments IAEA-TECDOC-1811 presents the results of an international research project, organized by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture on optimizing the capture and storage of water by assessing nutrient using water conservation zones in agricultural landscapes. Eight countries from Asia-Pacific, Africa and Europe participated in the project. Field studies were established in all participating countries using isotopic and nuclear techniques to assess three types of water conservation zones that are used to harvest water for irrigation, crop production and improve downstream water quality. In addition, isotopic and nuclear techniques were used to collect data to identify the ideal locations in the landscapes for developing wetlands. The publication provides information to researchers working in the area of soil and water management, natural resource managers, policy makers and farmers. For those working to develop wetlands, information is provided to support planning, monitoring and evaluation.

Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensing: Use, Calibration and Validation for Soil Moisture Estimation

Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensing: Use, Calibration and Validation for Soil Moisture Estimation IAEA-TECDOC-1809 provides information how nuclear and related techniques can help to develop climate-smart agricultural practices by optimizing water use efficiency. The measurement of soil water content is essential to improve the use of this resource in agriculture. However, most sensors monitor small areas (less than 1m in radius), hence a large number of sensors are needed to obtain soil water content across a large area. This can be both costly and labor intensive and so larger scale measuring devices are needed as an alternative to traditional point-based soil moisture sensing techniques. The cosmic ray neutron sensor (CRNS) is such a device that monitors soil water content in a non-invasive and continuous way. This publication provides background information about this novel technique, and explains in detail the calibration and validation process.

Use of Phosphorus Isotopes for Improving Phosphorus Management in Agricultural Systems

Use of Phosphorus Isotopes for Improving Phosphorus Management in Agricultural Systems IAEA-TECDOC-1805 provides comprehensive and up to date information on several topics related to phosphorus (P) in soil–plant systems, in agricultural systems and in the environment. It presents the theoretical background as well as practical information on how to use nuclear and radioisotope tracer techniques in both laboratory and greenhouse experiments to assess soil P forms and plant-available soil P pools, and to understand P cycling processes in soil–plant systems. The TECDOC focuses on practical applications of radiotracer techniques and can serve as a resource material for research projects on improving sustainable P management in agricultural systems and as practical guidance on the use of phosphate isotopes in soil–plant research.



Integrated Soil, Water and Nutrient Management for Sustainable Rice–Wheat Cropping Systems in Asia

Integrated Soil, Water and Nutrient Management for Sustainable Rice–Wheat Cropping Systems in Asia IAEA-TECDOC-1802 compiled the work carried out under the coordinated research project (CRP) “Integrated Soil, Water and Nutrient Management for Sustainable Rice–Wheat Cropping Systems in Asia” involving ten participants from six countries (Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Nepal). The overall objective was to improve the productivity and sustainability of rice–wheat cropping systems through increased efficiency of water and nutrient use. The publication provides relevant information on how to modify existing water and nutrient management systems and improve soil management in both traditional and emerging crop establishment methods for sustainable intensification of cereal production in Asia.




Management and Area-wide Evaluation of Water Conservation Zones in Agricultural Catchments for Biomass Production, Water Quality and Food Security

Management and Area-wide Evaluation of Water Conservation Zones in Agricultural Catchments for Biomass Production, Water Quality and Food Security IAEA-TECDOC-1784 summarizes the research work undertaken as part of a FAO/IAEA coordinated research project (CRP) aimed to assess and enhance ecosystem services provided by wetlands, ponds and riparian buffer zones for improving water storage and nutrient use within agricultural catchments. The specific objectives of the CRP were to determine the capacity of water conservation zones for water and nutrient storage, assess nutrient attenuation capacities, assess the link between water and nutrient dynamics and optimize water conservation zones for improving water storage and quality.