About CSSM

Description of mission / research objectives / organizational goals.

3 Pillars -> Information on CSSM's ability to develop solutions in food security, climate change and clean water.

Our Mission

It is the mission of the Centre for Sustainable Soil Management (CSSM) to:

  1. Advance scholarship and research in soil science;
  2. Provide a focal point for soil science education and training in the Atlantic region; and
  3. Serve as a national data hub for data intensive mapping, understanding, and use of soil-landscape information and the impact of management on those landscapes.

The Centre will purposefully drive the application of soil science principles to solutions of current problems.

The Centre’s academic and research objectives align with two of Dalhousie’s core signature research clusters: Food Security and Clean Tech, Energy, the Environment, with broad applications through and towards the cross-cutting theme of Big Data Science. The Centre promotes the Strategic Implementation Goals of connecting researchers internal and external to Dalhousie (including graduate students), partnering with government and industry partners, and increasing the impact of our research.

This Centre promotes research addressing 9 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals at regional, national, and global scales:

Zero Hunger

Sustainable soil management is critical to maintaining its productivity and ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition. This is particularly important in Atlantic Canada as soil degradation threatens the productivity of our agricultural soils and the food security of our province.

Good Health

Increasingly, we are understanding the linkage between human health and soil health. The Atlantic Soil Health Lab, located on the Agricultural Campus and lead by Drs. Burton and Lynch, has been active in surveying the health of the soils of Atlantic Canada. In addition to food production, soils are important in degrading dangerous chemicals; limiting the pollution of our air and water; and its role in degrading or sequestering dangerous chemicals, such as personal care products and flame retardants.

Clean Water and Sanitation

Sustainable soil management is the primary means by which nutrients, harmful chemicals, and pathogens are removed from water. Improperly managed, agricultural soils can have negative impacts on surface water and groundwater. Issues relating to reducing the impact of agricultural chemicals on surface and groundwater sources have been highlighted in Prince Edward Island over the past several decades and members of the proposed Centre are active in finding and delivering solutions.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

In Atlantic Canada, as in many parts of the world, the rural economy is closely tied to the sustained productivity of the land. Economic growth in Atlantic Canada is tied to agricultural and forestry sectors which depend on sustainable soil management.

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Soil management is entering the era of “Big Data” and members of our team are leaders in the innovation of the use of advanced sensing technologies, machine learning, and precision soil management.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

As we become an increasingly urban species, the sustained access to soils and “green space” will be important for the cultural health of our society. We have active involvement in issues relating to urban agriculture and landscape design in urban centres.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Many of humanities “wastes” are potential resources to be sustainably managed through land application. Our Innovative Waste Management Chair (Dr. Price) has an active research program examining to sustainable integration of a variety of waste streams in agriculture.

Climate Action

Soil management will play a critical role in both reducing the greenhouse gas content of our atmosphere and adapting to climate change. We have active research programs in the management of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and the sequestration of carbon in soil.

Life on Land

Soil management constitutes the means by which we can protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and reverse and halt biodiversity loss. Various members of the group are engaged in sustainable agriculture and forest management research. We also have members examining the impact of agricultural management on the soil microbiome and its function.