RETAINING SOIL MOISTURE IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST
By Kelly J. Ponte, PhD
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Commonly, we think of soil as just a medium to walk above or build upon. If we had the ability to shrink ourselves to the size of a soil particle, we would be amazed at the vibrant life and ever-changing interactions taking place all around us. The activity, physical changes and diverse life forms would overwhelm the senses. Soil moisture fuels this activity. The soil and water dynamic together as one entity is both the introduction and ending of a novel on the living. Where time is a method used to record events, the soil-water dynamic is time. Together, they tell us where we've been and point us in the direction we need to go.
Retaining Soil Moisture in the American Southwest is a culmination of the author's extensive interest in soil and water interactions, soil remediation, land application of treated wastes, conservation, air, soil, and water quality issues, and an overall appreciation for improvement for the quality of life.
Awareness of the players in the soil-water-plant continuum aids in understanding the processes that either reduce or conserve soil moisture. The dry climate of the American Southwest demands this understanding to ensure that waters which may have taken hundreds to thousands to millions of years to amass are not wiped out in the span of a generation.
KELLY J. PONTE obtained her A.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and earned her B.S. degree in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She received her M.S. degree in Agronomy and Ph.D. in Soil Science from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. She lives in New Mexico.
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