Yuji Niino (Thailand)
Land Management Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
position: Land Management Officer
1. When did you decide to study soil science?
I became interested in soils during my undergraduate studies, but decided to study soil science after serving two years as a volunteer (JOCV/JICA) in Ghana realizing its crucial importance of soil management and conservation for food security in Africa.
2. Who has been your most influential teacher?
There are many who gave me insights and fascination of studying the soil science, but Anthony Juo who provided with the visions of soil science to contribute to farmers in the developing countries led me to my current profession. His philosophy on bringing of equity to this world and struggling to reduce starving people who suffer despite of development of modern technology, science and wealth contributed in understanding and improvement of tropical soil management and the ecological and environmental problems of the world with his holistic approach.
3. What do you find most exciting about soil science?
Soil which sustains life is the most critical natural resource on earth, and its properties are so dynamic and integrated. Understanding soil properties from macro to micro scales which tells us of its history, behaviour and response to the environment and management is quite interesting. Land degradation has been global phenomena and challenging to reverse its trend, but hopefully we may find solutions.
4. How would you stimulate teenagers and young graduates to study soil science?
Soil science is a science of dynamic ecosystems which can be observed in different scales and time with all scientific principles. Thus, its functions, impacts and value in our life and ecosystem to be emphasized in class and field in more visible ways such as microscopic imageries of clay minerals, micromorphological features, soil water movement, micro fauna, etc. which otherwise not visible and also in macro scale such as land cover changes by satellite imageries. The experiences may help them connected to 'unseen' soil properties and interests. Possible attractive soil science majored professions also need to be promoted.
5. How do you see the future of soil science?
It may become more important as it is an interdisciplinary science and the key contributor to address global issues of land degradation, climate change, food security and poverty alleviation. In more local scale, soil, water and atmospheric pollutions and urban agriculture may find soil science as a key component. Certainly recent energy crisis and climate change renewed importance of soil function as a carbon sink and ecosystem regulator.