The recent SASTA Soils Symposium on Sustainable Soil Use, held on 31 August 2011, attracted a large and varied audience. Tickets were sold out within two weeks of being advertised, and the KwaShukela auditorium at SASA was filled to capacity. There is no doubt that the highly respected speakers were a great drawcard to this event. A detailed report of the event may be downloaded here. The presentations made at the symposium are available for download at the bottom of the page.

This was the first symposium arranged as part of the International Visitors’ Grant, sponsored by SASTA. Funds for the grant were made available from the profit realised at the 2007 ISSCT conference held in Durban.

The first recipient of the SASTA International Visitors‟ Grant, and first speaker of the symposium, was due to be Professor Malcolm Sumner, from Georgia in the USA. Prof Sumner has a hugely impressive resumé. He currently holds the position of Regents‟ Professor of Environmental Soil Science Emeritus at the University of Georgia, Athens, USA – the highest recognition conferred on academics at this institution. He was born and bred South African, however, and received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg (UNP). After obtaining his PhD at Oxford University, he returned to UNP as a lecturer, rising through the ranks to become Professor and head of department (Soil Science and Agrometeorology). He emigrated to the USA in 1977. He has received multiple awards for his work, has published over 250 refereed journal papers, 40 book chapters and is the editor of 8 books. Prof. Sumner is indeed a force to be reckoned with in the world of soil science.

Unfortunately, however, Prof Sumner had to cancel his trip at the last minute, due to medical reasons. In the absence of Prof Sumner, Dr Neil Miles presented his talk. Dr Miles is a senior soil scientist at SASRI. He studied at UNP, and spent 28 years with the KZN Department of Agriculture as a research scientist and manager.

Further details of the workshop may be downloaded here. Six presentations were made at the symposium, and are available for download: