Soils in the City Webinar

Friday, March 22nd, 2024

The National Urban Research & Extension Center (NUREC) invites you to attend the Soils in the City webinar presented by Dr Doug Collins on April 17 at 9 AM PDT (12 ET). Attendance is free, but you must register to attend. Registration is available here.

More people around the world now live in cities than in rural areas. While cities have long been economic and cultural centers, there is increasing demand for ecological and environmental services from urban spaces. Urban agriculture, which utilizes local soils and nutrient rich organic amendments, is recognized for the ability to provide products, income, social benefits, and ecological services. Best management practices for anthropogenic soils (anthrosoils) and metrics to describe and evaluate their health are evolving.

Dr. Collins will share results from a National Urban Research & Extension Fellowship which included an observational study of soil parameters in farmed soils in urban and peri-urban environments in three different urban areas: 1) Medellin, Colombia; 2) Chicago, IL, USA; and 3) Seattle, WA, USA. While soil contaminants (e.g. heavy metals) are a concern in urban agriculture, the physical, hydrological, and biological parameters of urban soils are equally important but less studied. These three urban areas provided a diversity of cultural-industrial histories to evaluate anthropogenic influences. The study compared farmed soils in urban and peri-urban environments to characterize soil formation, soil foodwebs, carbon dynamics, soil nutrients, and contaminants along a gradient of anthropogenic influence (less disturbed to highly disturbed).

Doug Collins is an Extension Professor and Soil Scientist with WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. Doug has a Ph.D. in soil science from Washington State University and an M.S. in Plant Pathology from Montana State University. He focuses on managing and monitoring soil fertility on diverse organic vegetable farms, composting systems, and evaluating soil quality in different vegetable cropping systems - including organic reduced tillage. Doug is also interested in soil variability across landscapes and biological indicators of soil quality. He has also consulted on composting, organic waste management, and soil health in the Dominican Republic and Colombia and currently serves on the Board of Washington Organics Recycling Council and the WSDA Organic Program.

This webinar is part of his Urban Sabbatical Fellowship with NUREC; you can learn more about his sabbatical work here.