Day 1 :
USDA-ARS Central Great Plains Research Station, USA
Time : 09:35-10:00
Maysoon M Mikha has completed her Ph.D in 2003 from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas USA. Currently, working as a Soil Scientist at the United State Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research services (USDA-ARS) in Akron, Colorado. Her research interests are in Soil organic matter dynamics with different management practices; Kinetic assessment of carbon and nitrogen mineralization; Remediation of eroded soil using organic amendment to improve soil quality and plant productivity and the infl uence of residue removal on soil quality and sustainability. She has authored and co-authored about 30 referee manuscripts published in international journals, four book chapters and six conference proceedings.
In the Great Plains of North America, soil degradation particularly by wind erosion became a problem in the late 18th and early 19th century soon after agriculture expanded to the semi-arid region and the land was broken from sod. Therefore, some farmlands lost top soil rich with organic materials and plant nutrients and consequently decrease their economic value. This study evaluates land productivity and changes in soil properties of eroded land influenced by (1) nitrogen types (manure vs. commercial fertilizer); (2) nitrogen rates (high vs. low) and (3) tillage practices (no-tillage vs. conventional tillage). Two eroded sites were chosen in central Great Plain Region, one site in Akron, CO with top soil loss of approximately 17 to 20 cm and the second site located in Hays, KS with topsoil loss of approximately 25 cm. Th e Akron site was established in 2007 and the Hays site was established in 2006. The annual manure application range between 11 to 15 Mg manure per ha for the low N rate and approximately 22 to 30 Mg manure per ha for the high N rate. Through out the first 5 years of the study period, weather patron specifically the precipitations affected the yield. The amount of rain and its distribution throughout the growing seasons and during the crop critical period in addition to the ambient temperature explained some yield response to the treatments. The least limiting Water Range (LLWR) was influenced by manure addition. Th e relationship between the LLWR and crop yields was stronger in Hays site than in Akron site. In Hays site, annual manure addition significantly altered soil chemical properties compared with commercial fertilizer especially at the top 15 cm. Soil organic C and changes in soil organic C were greatly influenced by manure addition. Soil inorganic N leaching was also detected during the winter months. Overall, the addition of organic amendments restored the productivity of eroded soil and improved some aspects of soil quality compared with commercial fertilizer. Apparently, more than 5 years are required to assess the treatment benefits on soil quality and productivity in such eroded land.
University of North Georgia, USA
Keynote: Geospatial technology based alligator snapping turtles habitat suitability analysis in southern Georgia for preservation decision support
Time : 10:00-10:25
Sudhanshu Sekhar Panda is an Associate Professor of GIS/Environmental Science in the Institute of Environmental Spatial Analysis of University of North Georgia, USA. He has completed his BS Degree in Agricultural Engineering from Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Orissa, India; M.S degree is in Environmental Remote Sensing for Geoinformation Development from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand and PhD in Agricultural Engineering from North Dakota State University, USA. In his 27 years of professional life, he has experiences working in federal government, company and academia. He is an Avid Researcher along with his present professional responsibility of a Fulltime Teaching Faculty. Most of his research includes automated model development for environmental management decision support. He is Editor-in-Chief of O/S Journal of Spatial Hydrology and Editor of Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species and Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography. He has published more than 32 book chapters along with peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Above all, he aspires and working towards to be one of the best teachers who makes life changing improvement in disadvantaged students.
Alligator Snapping Turtles (AST) are a species found in the southeastern part of North America. Specific to climate, soil, water depth, elevation and land cover, ASTs can only live in particular habitats. This species is not endangered but threatened showing that this type of turtle should be better protected as for fear of extinction. Studies are needed to determine AST preserves. Our area of interest (AOI) was the southern counties of the state of Georgia. Geospatial Technology (GIS, Remote Sensing, GPS and Information Technology) is considered as the most efficient tools for flora and fauna habitat suitability analysis for better protection of biodiversity. Th e objectives of the study are to: Conduct a thorough literature review on the ASTs to understand their habitat, food source, external threats, diseases and other living related parameters; Obtain and preprocess the geospatial data for the AST habitat suitability model development and develop automated geospatial model to indicate most suitable locations for the AST habitat for preservation decision support. A thorough literature review was conducted on the ASTs’ living parameters and thus the types of geospatial data responsible for its habitat suitability analysis. Geospatial data like Georgia counties (determining the AOI), major rivers (finding suitability for AST breeding and living), major roads (finding threats for AST movement), Digital Elevation Model (obtaining slope map to determine if female turtle can climb the slope for laying eggs), Georgia Land Use Trend (GLUT) (Finding suitable land uses in Georgia for AST suitable habitat including Beaches/Dunes/Mud class), STATSGO soil (developing suitable drainage and bulk-density rasters for easy AST habitat) were obtained from authentic sources, preprocessed in ArcGIS 10.2 soft ware. An automated geospatial model was developed in ArcGIS 10.2 Model Builder for one click processing of all the data to provide the most suitable location information in South Georgia for AST Conservation/Preservation decision support. Th e model was developed by converting all geospatial data into rasters of two classes (Suitable (1) and unsuitable (0)) and then overlaying them together with Weighted Sum. Th e weights provided to individual AST habitat suitability analysis were developed with thorough team deliberation using the DELPHI procedure. Finally, the current conservation areas in the state geospatial data were taken into consideration to determine the suggested new preservation area for AST habitat. Our study result could be used by Georgia Department of Natural Resources to take AST preservation decision. Th e automated geospatial model developed for this study can be replicated for any other biodiversity habitat suitability analysis by just changing the input data suitable. Th is study was set out to explain and show the areas that are best suitable for Alligator Snapping Turtles to live reproduce and sustain a healthy life.
University of Uyo, Nigeria
Keynote: Biodiversity exploitation and the economic survival of the local community of Eket: A threat to the conservation of ‘Akai Edoho’ Idua-Eket, Niger Delta, Nigeria
Time : 10:25-10:50
Kingsley Akpabio Essien has done Ph.D in Plants Genetics and Biosystematics and his present research interest is on Biological Conservation and Environmental Biology. He was Staff at University of Uyo, Nigeria 1983 till date and currently he is Research Director at University of Uyo, Biodiversity Conservation Team. He is also a member for Inter-Universities Research Committee, Team Leader and Biodiversity Consultant on several Environmental Assessment projects in Nigeria, Shell Chair Professor in Biodiversity and Climate Change at University of Uyo and also a Former Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Uyo. He was awarded for Excellency for Development of Youths and Sports. Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS) and Special Merit Award for Youth Development and Sports in Akwa Ibom and Nigeria from University of Uyo, SUG. He is a Patron, International Student Association (ISA) and also a President, West African University Games.
Eket is an oil city in Nigeria and home to one of the major oil explorers in the country, Exxon-Mobil. The area has been experiencing deforestation for purposes of urbanization and other infrastructural developments including oil exploitation. Th e influence of the oil industry has very strong consequences on the environment and the economic demands of the local communities around, leading to increase in the exploitation of the forest. ‘Akai Edoho’ in Idua clan, Eket is fortunate to have restrictions arising from traditional injunction as a protected forest. The forest is rich plants and animals; some are on the IUCL conservation list. Exploitation of this forest has been going on for decades. Th is report covers the biodiversity status, the level of exploitation and the conservation challenges over the forest.