A UD symposium with scientists from China has resulted in a special journal collection of papers on "Nutrient Management Challenges and Progress in China."

Journal of Environmental Quality

Global symposium held at UD leads to publication of nutrient management papers

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9:56 a.m., Aug. 12, 2013--Tom Sims, professor in the University of Delaware’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, recently served as the guest editor for a special collection of papers for the Journal of Environmental Quality (JEQ) titled “Nutrient Management Challenges and Progress in China.” 

The collection is the result of work completed after leading researchers from China attended the Global Issues in Nutrient Management: Science, Technology and Policy symposium hosted by UD in 2011.

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The symposium was co-sponsored by UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the University of Pennsylvania, the Delaware Environmental Institute, China Agricultural University, Wageningen University and UD's Institute for Global Studies.

The goal of the symposium was to foster global discussions on nutrient management-related research and policy issues pertaining to the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population while protecting environmental resources.

“After the conference, a number of scientists from China who attended were quite interested in publishing their findings in a major international journal,” said Sims. “I approached the editor of the Journal of Environmental Quality and asked if he would be interested in a special collection of papers that could be published as a group and focus on the topics that were covered at this conference, specifically about the agri-environmental situation in China.” 

The special collection for the JEQ featured six papers in all, two co-authored by Sims and the rest authored by scholars from China and Europe who attended the symposium. 

The papers included: 

  • “Advances and Challenges for Nutrient Management in China in the 21st Century” by J.T. Sims, L. Ma, O. Oenema, Z. Dou and F.S. Zhang;
  • “An Analysis of Developments and Challenges in Nutrient Management in China” by L. Ma, W.F. Zhang, W.Q. Ma, G.L. Velthof, O. Oenema and F. S. Zhang;
  • “The Driving Forces for Nitrogen and Phosphorus Flows in the Food Chain of China, 1980 to 2010” by Y. Hou, L. Ma, Z.L. Gao, F.H. Wang, J.T. Sims, W.Q. Ma and F.S. Zhang;
  • “An Analysis of China’s Fertilizer Policies: Impacts on the Industry, Food Security, and the Environment” by Yuxuan Li, Weifeng Zhang, Lin Ma, Gaoqiang Huang, Oene Oenema, Fusuo Zhang and Zhengxia Dou;
  • “Phosphorus in China’s Intensive Vegetable Production Systems: Overfertilization, Soil Enrichment, and Environmental Implications” by Zhengjuan Yan, Pengpeng Liu, Yuhong Li, Lin Ma, Ashok Alva, Zhengxia Dou, Qing Chen and Fusuo Zhang; and
  • “Nitrogen and Phosphorus Use Efficiencies in Dairy Production in China” by Z.H. Bai, L. Ma, O. Oenema, Q. Chen and F.S. Zhang.

The papers represent the latest in an ongoing collaboration between CANR and China Agricultural University (CAU) that dates back to 2008, when Sims was invited to make a keynote presentation at the Second International Nutrient Management Workshop, held in Shijiazhuang, China.

At that time, Sims said, “At CANR, our nutrient management efforts have been recognized globally. By using our years of research and extension experience on nutrient management in Delaware, we hope to put China's researchers in a better position to solve their agri-environmental problems.”

Since then, the relationship between CANR and CAU has grown. 

In 2009, CANR signed a general agreement with CAU and also formalized, in cooperation with the University of Pennsylvania, a memorandum of understanding with the CAU College of Resources and Environmental Sciences (CRES). 

This memorandum outlined a range of joint research and academic activities between UD, UPenn and CAU.  It led to the initiation of a variety of collaborative activities and supported multiple trips to CAU by CANR faculty.

CANR also hosted a CAU delegation, sponsored a symposium by leading CAU scientists at the 2009 international meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America, and hosted four young CAU scientists -- one for 18 months -- to discuss and design joint research projects.

A “3+2” master of science degree program between CANR and CRES has been discussed that would allow CAU students to complete their undergraduate degree in three years at CAU then enter a two-year master of science degree program at UD, receiving two degrees in a five-year period.

Article by Adam Thomas

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