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Nuclear Techniques for a Better Understanding of the Impact of Climate Change on Soil Erosion in Upland Agro-ecosystems (D15017)


Gully erosion in Swaziland (© Photo: John Quinton ; distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)


CRP at a Glance


Upland agro-ecosystems - defined as the less favoured higher altitude environments including areas with low soil quality and/or limited access to water - will face three major challenges related to food security and climate change in the coming decades: increasing food production while protecting against soil erosion, adapting to climate change impact on soil resource, and contributing to climate change mitigation.
This CRP aims to (i) develop combinations of nuclear techniques to assess impacts of changes on soil erosion, and (ii) distinguish and apportion impacts of climate variability and agricultural management on soil erosion in upland agro-ecosystems.


Soil erosion in the southern Philippines uplands (© Photo: Landcare Foundation of the Philippines)



Nuclear Component


Nuclear techniques including Fallout Radionuclides (FRNs) such as caesium-137 (137Cs), lead-210 (210Pb), beryllium-7 (7Be) and plutonium-239 and 240 (239+240Pu), Compound-Specific Stable Isotope (CSSI) techniques based on the measurement of carbon-13 (13C) natural abundance signatures of specific organic compounds (i.e. fatty acid) and Cosmic Ray Soil Moisture Neutron Probe (CRNP) will be used to fulfil the CRP objectives.








CRP Overall Objective


Improving existing nuclear techniques to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of climate change on soil degradation in upland agro-ecosystems


Specific research objectives

  1. Development of nuclear techniques to assess the impacts of changes on soil erosion occurring in upland agro-ecosystems
  2. Distinguish and apportion the impact of climate variability and agricultural management on soil erosion in upland agro-ecosystems

Expected research outcomes


Support sustainable management of soil resources of fragile upland agro-ecosystems


Criteria for CRP participation


- Participants should have considerable research experience on land management and its impact on soil erosion/sedimentation

- Participants should have experimental sites located in agricultural uplands 

- Participants should have at least one of the following analytical facilities and at least 5 years of research experience in using these analytical facilities: 

  • 137Cs + 7Be and 210Pbex 
  • 239+240Pu 
  • CRNP (Cosmic Ray Soil Moisture Neutron Probe) 
  • CSSI (Compound-Specific Stable Isotope) 

- Conventional analytical facilities for soil resources is an asset - Women as chief scientific investigator are encouraged to participate in this project


How to join the CRP?


Please submit your Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement directly to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the form templates (http://cra.iaea.org/cra/forms.html) on the CRA web site (preferably via email): research.contracts@iaea.org