AB - Soil erosion by the environmental agents of water and wind is a continuing global menace that threatens the agricultural base that sustains our civilization. For over 70 years, ASABE members have been at the forefront of research to understand erosion processes, measure erosion and related processes, and model very complex sediment detachment, transport, and deposition. The ASABE Erosion Control Group (SW-22) and Erosion Control Research (SW-223) committees periodically sponsor international symposia to provide an avenue for exchange of ideas and information by engineers, scientists, and students from around the world. The two most recent symposia were the Soil Erosion Research for the 21st Century Symposium held in January 2001 in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the International Symposium on Erosion and Landscape Evolution (ISELE) held in September 2011 in Anchorage, Alaska. This article describes these two events, provides a description of major outcomes, and introduces a collection of papers that were presented as part of the 2011 ISELE in Alaska. The ISELE sessions focused on seven themes: water erosion process research; aeolian erosion and fugitive dust emission; highly disturbed, urban, and arid lands; erosion measurement and assessment; prevention and control of upland and in-stream erosion; soil erosion modeling; and impacts of global change on erosion and landscape evolution. More than 120 people from 16 countries attended the ISELE and gave 112 oral and poster presentations. From those presentations, 24 papers were accepted for publication in Transactions of the ASABE (22 papers, this issue) and Applied Engineering in Agriculture (two papers, next issue). The results from these symposia and in these papers show active and vibrant research to address soil erosion problems, particularly in the face of global environmental changes.
Collecting sugarcane straw may be a solution to increase bioenergy (cellulosic ethanol and bioelectricity) production in Brazil to meet growing domestic and international demands. Evaluating the straw decomposition dynamic is essential to understand the potential effects of straw removal and management practices on the soil and plant growth. The present study revealed that sustainable straw removal associated with optimum management practices (organic amendments and no-till) decreased the straw decomposition rate, thereby favouring soil conservation in sugar cane fields in Brazil.