There is no doubt, worldwide salinity of soils, irrigation and groundwater
plays an increasing role in crop production and protection of natural habitats.
In all continents areas affected by salinity problems have increased
significantly in the last decades. But fortunately also our knowledge on plant
growth under saline conditions, management of saline soils, using water of
higher salinity for irrigation and cultivation of halophytic crops has improved
in spite of our increasing experience in saline agriculture and environments,
in many parts of the world salinity problems seriously impair sustainability of
agriculture and degrade natural resources – especially under irrigation. This
gap between scientifically proved growth potential in saline environments and
effective results under practical conditions often comes from missing chemical
data on soils, waters and plants. A professional management of plant growth
under saline conditions requires a continuous supply with relevant and site
specific chemical data (salinity monitoring).
conclude: a professional management of saline agriculture requires a permanent
supply of farmers and/or project management with data on salinity and soil
fertility, when crop production takes into consideration the following
even when the need for a long-term monitoring of relevant data is accepted
principally, there is still the question how to realise this understanding
under practical field conditions at reasonable costs with the available staff.
To close this gap between understanding and the practical measurement of
relevant data we conclude that there is a need for cost-effective strategies
and simplified chemical field methods that can be applied and evaluated by
reasonable and economical yields
protection of environment
it is the objective of this HANDBOOK to offer a vast choice of rapid chemical
field methods to measure and to evaluate parameters on water, soil and plant
samples. Most proposed methods have been tested since many years in field
studies, they are applicable under the simplest field conditions (villages of
least developed countries). But they are also helpful under conditions in
developed countries (e.g. greenhouse, drip irrigation), when there is financial
pressure or when rapid decisions are expected.
HANDBOOK addresses to agronomists, soil chemists, environmentalists and
irrigation engineers involved in the preparation, planning, execution and
monitoring of irrigated areas and opposed to salt-affected soils and
environments. To my experience the data quality and their evaluation has never
been a limiting factor. On the contrary, often evaluated data are even more
reliable, as measurements can be cross-checked immediately in the field e.g.
with visual impressions.
HANDBOOK does not address to scientists and other theorists that are mostly
interested in analytical precision itself, which does not affect the data
evaluation with respect to practical conclusions. With respect to analytical
precision the recommended methods will not compete with stationary laboratories
equipped with expensive and sophisticated equipment.
the general problem for the acceptance of rapid field tests I need not
indicate to the limited expressiveness of many well established methods with
respect to practical recommendations, especially when they were transferred
from agriculture of the developed world to farmer's environment in developing
countries. I think that this book contributes to replace the widespread and
costly 'trial and error' approaches by professional and effective approaches
based on scientific measurements and quantitative data evaluation.
hope that some readers of this handbook are encouraged to loose their shyness
from the application of rapid field tests. I am sure they will profit from the
large potential of rapid field tests and learn to identify and to solve
practical problems. Anyhow the need for more environmental related studies and
monitoring programmes on the one hand and the limited financial resources on
the other hand will force us to look permanently for more cost-effective
solutions in the future.
case you feel that my way of working with the field laboratory may be
interesting for you, contact me please. I can offer you to acquire the field
laboratory and in case that you think you may need some assistance to work with
the laboratory a TRAINING COURSE is possible. Details on the training course
you will find on my website http://fieldlab.schleiff.net .
HANDBOOK is written in English, which is not my mother tongue. When you are
American, British or Australian, you will notice that my 'German English'
differs from your English. I apologize for this inconvenience. But for most
readers interested in this subject it will be easier to understand my 'German
English' than to read German, I think. And there is still the chance for you to
send to me your corrections, the earlier the better. I am even 100% sure that
there are many things to improve and to supplement, the HANDBOOK is a first and
last not least I want to mention that the development and application of the
presented methods over more than two decades and writing of this handbook was a
really great challenge. The motivation to write and to publish the handbook
came from many colleagues, national and international partners, who cooperated
at various levels with me in numerous field studies. So I have to thank first
of all those institutions working for development aid projects (e.g. KfW, GTZ,
DANIDA, EU) that were flexible enough to give me the opportunity for collecting
the required experience and to test the technical approaches under practical
field conditions of their projects.