• SENSE-WIMEK Symposium - Hazard, Risk and Sustainability in the Soil Environment (HRSSE)

    14th October 2015

    Location: Wageningen University, Orion building, Room C 2030

    The year of 2015 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Soils, under the topic "Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life". According to the UN, "the current rate of soil degradation threatens the capacity to meet the needs of future generations". Therefore, there is an urgent need to promote sustainable soil and land management practices, in order to ensure a productive and healthy food system and environment.

    Soil is considered a non-renewable source for the time frame of human life, since its formation occurs very slowly over time. Unsustainable land use and management practices often lead to an increasing risk of wildfires and floods, but also to soil and water pollution. Desertification, soil erosion, soil degradation, soil fertility loss, and soil contamination with waste, pesticides and other pollutants, are therefore some of the major threats faced by the soil environment. A deeply understanding of the processes that promote soil degradation and threaten the soil environment and populations livelihood is of extreme importance, and crucial for the development and implementation of more sustainable soil measures and policies.

    The Symposium "Hazard, Risk and Sustainability in the Soil Environment" (HRSSE) is organized by four PhD students from the Soil Physics and Land Management Group (SLM), from the department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University, The Netherlands. The aim of this symposium is to share knowledge between students and researchers, and to promote the discussion of new ideas, problems and challenges faced, and solutions encountered for the different soil-related topics covering this symposium.

    The symposium is scheduled for the 14th of October 2015, and will be held in the campus of Wageningen University, in the Orion Building (room C 2030). For more information in the symposium programme go to "Programme HRSSE 2015".

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    Sessions topics

    This symposium will be a plenary symposium, divided in 4 sessions: 2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon. The following topics will be covered:

    Morning Sessions:

    Session 1: The effect of wildfires on soil hydrological and erosion processes                                           

    • Modelling post-fire and soil erosion hazard
    • Soil burn severity and its effect on post-fire runoff and erosion response
    • Fire frequency and effect on post-fire runoff and erosion
    • Determining the effectiveness of different treatments in reducing soil erosion after fire
    • Effects of fire on soil properties, nutrient transport and vegetation growth


    Session 2: Flood hazard, risk and management

    • Sediment erosion, deposition, delivery and river (geo)morphology
    • Channel-floodplain sediment connectivity   
    • Effect of land use changes on hydrological processes and soil erosion
    • Modelling flood hazard and risks and soil erosion on large scale catchment
    • Flood risk assessment and management


    Afternoon Sessions:

    Session 3a: Soil Pollution - Nanoparticles transport and stability in the Environment                      

    • Detection methods for nanomaterials in different environments
    • Behaviour of nanoparticles in soil
    • Transport of nanoparticles in soil


    Session 3b: Soil Pollution - Pesticides use and transport processes in the environment 

    • Agriculture Land Management, Pesticides Use and Risks to the Environment and Human Health
    • Pesticides behaviour and fate in the environment (soil, water, air, plants)
    • Pesticides transport processes in the environment (especial focus to water and wind erosion)
    • Modelling pesticides transport and fate in the environment (especial focus to water and wind erosion): challenges and progress



    The effect of wildfires on soil hydrological and erosion processes.

    Whilst wildfires are a natural phenomenon in Mediterranean climate regions and a key evolutionary and ecological factor in several of its ecosystems, there are widespread concerns about the resilience of even these fire-adapted ecosystems under present-day fire regimes. Unsustainable forestry land management, such as monoculture of the highly flammable species of pine and eucalyptus in the Mediterranean countries, frequently lead to severe wildfires that pose a threat to human’s life and also, to the soil and environment in general. However, wildfires are just the beginning of a major problem. The soil type, duration and intensity of fire, soil moisture and surface cover vegetation, soil repellency, among others, will highly increase the risk of soil erosion, runoff and floods after rainfall events. Therefore, it is very important to understand more deeply the dimension of this phenomenon and to develop mitigation measures to reduce soil erosion and flood risk. Increased understanding of the post-fire dynamics in areas experiencing frequent wildfire can contribute to develop effective pre- and post-fire management to protect, repair and promote recovery of affected landscapes.


    Flood Hazard, risk and management

    Flooding is becoming a great concern worldwide due to climate change and its catastrophic damage to the environment and society. One single flood event could cause great failure at the river bank, sediment deposition in the floodplain and thus changes in channel morphology. Especially in highly eroded areas, such as the Loess Plateau in China, flood hazard and risk have to be studied together with sedimentation behavior. Since anthropogenic factors started to play an important role in hydrological processes, such as soil and water conservation measures, water diversion plans and  dam and reservoir constructions, it is even more difficult to control flood hazards in a large scale catchment. Modeling is a popular tool for simulating flooding and soil erosion processes. However the application of flood and erosion modeling in large-scale catchment still needs to be discussed.


    Nanoparticles transport and stability in the Environment.

    Engineering (manufactured) nanomaterials (ENMs) have appeared to be a promising field for science and engineering that offer many new potential solutions for a variety of problems. Therefore, the production of these materials has been raised dramatically in the last few years and is expected to continue in the future. Many of these ENMs will end up in the environment through different sources, due to their increase in use. Once ENMs are released to the environment, their physical/chemical characteristics will be changed and hence, their fate, toxicity and bioavailability will depend on ENMs stability in that environment. There is a significant knowledge gap in understanding the transformation of nanomaterials according to their different physical/chemical properties. Detection of ENMs is one of the concerns, since the particle size of these ENMS are in the nano range (1-100 nm). Detection of their size, concentration and the general state in environment require specialized techniques under certain conditions and by using high resolution machines.

    Pesticides use and transport processes in the environment.

    Huge amounts of pesticides are applied every year worldwide, in agriculture and non-agriculture areas. Simultaneously, significant losses of soil occur every year by water and wind erosion. When these erosion phenomena occur in such pesticide-contaminated fields, erosion becomes even a major problem due to the transport of these pollutants to off-target areas, especially to water resources. However, monitoring of pesticide residues in soils and the related risk to the environment and human health is rarely practiced. Moreover, little is still known about the behaviour of pesticides in soils and their transport by water and wind erosion. Therefore, soil erosion and contamination are certainly a major concern and a serious threat to the environment and Human Health that needs to be controlled and mitigated.


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      Programme HRSSE 2015

      SYMPOSIUM PROGRAMME (you can download the pdf version of the programme in the end of this section) 

      8:30 – 9:00

      Registration with coffee and tea

      9:00 – 12:05

      Morning Sessions

      9:00 – 9:15

      Welcoming and short overview about the symposium

      Prof. Dr. Ir. Sjoerd van der Zee

      SLM Group, Wageningen University (Netherlands)

      9:15 – 10:15

      Session 1: The effect of wildfires on soil hydrological and erosion processes

      Chair: Mohammadreza Hosseini

      9:15 – 9:35

      “Modelling water and soil processes in burnt areas: motivation, current limitations and recent developments”

      Dr. João Pedro Carvalho Nunes, University of Aveiro (Portugal)

      9:35 – 9:55

      “The influence of fire history, plant species and post-fire management on soil water repellency in a Mediterranean catchment: the Carmel Mountains, Israel”

      Dr. Saskia Keesstra, Wageningen University (Netherlands)

      9:55 – 10:15

      “Long-term soil sediment fluxes - human control on quantities and places”

      Dr. Peter Houben, Leiden University College (Netherlands)



      “Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics, thresholds and sustainable maize production under Continuous Maize–based growing system in the Rwenzori region of Uganda”

                                         Aturinda Amos Wentaro, Katholike University of Leuven (Belgium)

      “Identifying Suitable Sites for Implementing of Rainwater Harvesting Structures in  (Semi-)Arid Regions: A review”

                                         Ammar Ali, Wageningen University (Netherlands)

      “Effect of fire frequency on nutrient losses in burned pine forest of north-central Portugal”

                                         Mohammadreza Hosseini, Wageningen University (Netherlands)\

      "Remote Sensing of Ecological pasture conditions in Kara-Unkur watershed, Kyrgyztan"

                                           Loes Masselink, Wageningen University (Netherlnads)

      10:15 – 10:45

      Coffee Break + Poster Section

      10:45 – 12:05

      Session 2: Flood hazard, risk and management

      Chair: Lingtong Gai

      10:45 – 11:05

      “A land of droughts and flooding rains: Perspectives on some unique Australian river systems”

      Dr. Jerry Maroulis, Wageningen University (Netherlands) & University of Southern Queensland (Australia)

      11:05 – 11:25

      “Challenges in assessing biophysical interactions in the landscape and implications for management”

      Dr. Martine van der Ploeg, Wageningen University (Netherlands)

      11:25 – 11:45

      “Climate change adaptation and mitigation via targeted ecosystem service provision: Developing a sustainable land management strategy for the Segura Catchment (SE Spain)”

      Cecilia Zagaria, VU University Amsterdam (Netherlands)

      11:45 – 12:05

      “The role of Gabion check dams for sediment storage and gully rehabilitation”

      Berhane Grum, Mekelle University (Ethiopia) & Wageningen University (Netherlands)



      “Exclosure Intervention to Soil and Vegetation Restoration in the Degraded Areas of Northern Highlands of Ethiopia”

                                           Samuale Tesfaye, Mekelle University (Ethiopoia) & Wageningen University (Netherlnads)

      "Calculating topographic factor for modelling Chinese Soil Erosion"

                                            Hongming Zhang, Northwest A&F University (China)

      “Factors influencing flooding over the last 60 years in the Wei River Basin, China”

                                           Lingtong Gai, Wageningen University (Netherlands)

      12:05 – 13:30

      Lunch Break + Poster Presentation

      13:30 – 16:30

      Afternoon Sessions

      13:30 – 14:30

      Session 3a: Soil Pollution – Nanoparticles transport and stability in the environment

      Chair: Karrar Mahdi

      13:30 – 14:00

      “Transport and co-transport of engineered nanoparticles in soils”

      Prof. Dr. Erwin Klumpp, Research Institute Forschungszentrum Jülich & RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

      14:00 – 14:30

      “Nanoparticles - detection and characterization”

      MSc. Anna Undas, Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT), Wageningen University (Netherlands)


      “Microplastics represent a high risk in terrestrial ecosystems (effect on Lumbricus Terrestris)”

      Dr. Esperanza Huerta, Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Mexico) & Wageningen University (Netherlands)



      “Single particle ICP-MS method as a detection technique for AgNPs in natural soils”

                                      Karrar Mahdi, Wageningen University (Netherlands)


      14:50 – 15:20

      Coffee Break + Poster Section

      15:20 – 16:00

      Session 3b: Soil Pollution - Pesticides use and transport processes in the Environment

      Chair: Célia Bento

      15:20 – 15:40

      “Occurrence and distribution of pesticide residues in soils from orange cultivations in Spain”

      Vera Silva, Wageningen University (Netherlands) & University of Valencia (Spain)

      15:40 – 16:00

      “Glyphosate mobility for different media during a simulated rainfall event in a loess soil”

      Meindert Commelin, Wageningen University (Netherlands)



      “Herbicide transport by wind erosion”

                                      Mahrooz Rezaei, Shiraz University (Iran); presenter is Michel Riksen – Wageningen University (Netherlands)

      “Decay characteristics of glyphosate in Chinese loess soil: plots observation”

                                      Xiaomei Yang, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation (China) & Wageningen University (Netherlands)

      “The influence of temperature, soil moisture and photolysis on glyphosate decay in loess soil: a laboratory experiment”

                                      Célia P. Martins Bento, Wageningen University (Netherlands)


      16:00 – 16:25

      Panel Discussion & Conclusions

      Panel discussion with questions to keynote speakers and presenters, discussion of the most important issues in the different topics, possible solutions and future initiatives

      16:25 – 16:30

      Closing the Symposium

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      Registration & Abstract Submission

      Abstract Submission - Deadline 11/09/2015

      Authors can submit an abstract to the HRSSE Symposium using the template available for download at the end of this section. The abstract should not exceed 300 words and must be submitted as a Word-document.

      The deadline to submit an abstract is the 11th of September 2015. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed by members of the Scientific Committee, and a reply to the authors will be given until the 18th of September 2015.

      NOTE: Posters must be in A0 portrait format.

      For only participate in the HRSSE Symposium, you can register until the 15th of September 2015.


      For SENSE PhD students, both ORAL and POSTER presentations are accredited with 1 EC.


      Registration and Abstract Submission:

      Click the "Registration form / Abstract Submission" button below to register in the HRSSE Symposium and to submit and upload your abstract.

      To upload your abstract and choose the session you wish to present, you need to say "YES" to the question "Do you want to submit an abstract?", at the bottom of the Registration/Abstract submission form. When you do this, the abstract upload and submission form automatically appears.

      If you only wish to participate in the Symposium, click the button "Registration form / Abstract Submission", fill the form, say "NO" to the abstract submission question and click "Send".

      You will receive a confirmation email immediately after you send your submission. If not, please try again. If this does not work, please contact the organizing committee, through the email that can be found in the section "Symposium Venue & contact".

      The HRSSE Symposium is free of charge, but registration is required. Cancellations must be made no later than October 1st, before 5 pm.



      ABSTRACT TEMPLATE (download in the link below):

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      Organizing Committee HRSSE 2015

         Mohammadreza  Hosseini

         PhD candidate SLM, WUR

         Chair of Session 1: The effect of wildfires on soil hydrological and erosion processes


          Lingtong Gai

          PhD candidate SLM, WUR

          Chair of Session 2: Flood hazard, risk and management



          Karrar Mahdi

          PhD candidate SLM, WUR

          Chair of Session 3a: Soil Pollution - Nanoparticles transport and stability in the Environment




          Célia Bento

          PhD candidate SLM, WUR

          Chair of Session 3b: Soil Pollution - Pesticides use and transport processes in the environment

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        Symposium Venue and Contact


        Orion Building, Wageningen University Campus,  Room C2030

        Address: Bronland 1
                      Building 103
                      6708 WH WAGENINGEN

        More information about Orion.




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          WIMEK Research School is the sponsor of this symposium as part of the PhD programme of the organizers. 

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            Section 7

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              Section 8

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                Section 9

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                  Section 10