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    Activities - 2013

  1. The 43rd Annual sessions and Annual general meeting of the Soil Science Society was held on 16th May 2013 at the Auditorium of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI) with participation of 70 members. The customary Joachim Memorial Lecture was delivered by Dr. R.S. Dharmakeerthi, Principal Research Officer, Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka. The lecture entitled "Countering Soil Fertility Degradation through Biochar Application" was an eye-opener for fellow scientist about the potentials of Biochar as a soil amendment to enhance the soil fertility.
  2. The AGM - 2013 consisted of an informative technical session. Three members of the soil science society made presentations. Dr. W. A. U. Vitharana, Senior Lecturer, University of Peradeniya introduced the "Harmonized World Soil Data Base" and involvements of the SSSSL on updating World Soil Data Base. This updating endeavor has been implemented by the Asia Soil Partnership under the Global Soil Partnership action pillar "Strengthening Soil Data and Information". Ms. U.K.P.S. Sanjeewani, Doctoral Researcher at Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peardeniya presented her research findings on present status of soil heavy metal constrictions in a map unit of the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. Her presentation titled "Establishment of Background Heavy Metal Concentrations in a selected mapping unit of the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka" was well received by the audience and the need of extending the study to other parts of Sri Lanka was highlighted. The involvement of the private sector in development of the Northern Region was presented by Mr. A.H. Kulasiri, Assistant General Manager, CIC Agribusiness (Pvt) Ltd. His presentation allowed the members to understand the present progress in Agriculture in the war-torn Northern part of Sri Lanka and the role of the private sector.
  3. Along with the AGM, the society organized a field trip to Matara. Members got a valuable opportunity to explore the soil and land-scape variability on their way to Matara. About forty members participated for this event. The evening out at Thelijjawila District Training Center opened up an enjoyable get-to-gather. On the next day, the members observed Acid Sulphate Soils near Matara area. Mr. Indrajith Balasuriya, Assistant Director of Agriculture (Retired) shared his research experiences on the development and characteristics Acid Sulphate soils in the Nilwala River Basin those developed as a consequence of the Nilwala Flood Protection Scheme (NFPS). The members had an excellent opportunity to understand the socio-economic consequences of the development of acid Sulphate soils in paddy grown areas of Nilwala River Basin. Participants also visited a Cinnamon Processing Plant, Rathna producers at Kamburupitiya. This was a valuable chance for all to get acquainted with the manufacturing process of cinnamon quills which is unique to Sri Lanka.
  4. The Soil Science Society felicitated Dr. Kingsley A. De Alwis, one of the senior members who made considerable contributions to the soil science nationally and internationally. The ceremony was held on 16th May 2013 prior to the AGM. To commemorate this event a felicitation volume was published as a special publication of the SSSSL. Prof. R. B. Mapa, Drs. C.S. Weerarathne and Dr. H. Somapala contributed by invitation to this publication. Three highly cited research articles by Dr. Kingsley A. De Alwis on Red-Yellow Latosols of Sri Lanka were reproduced in this book. The “Handbook of the Soils of Sri Lanka” published by Dr. Kingsley A. De Alwis with C.R.Panabokke is a milestone in survey and classification of soils of Sri Lanka. Prof. S.P Indraratne has provided an excellent review on this book. Delivering the Felicitation address, Prof. R. B. Mapa, Senior Professor in Soil Science, University of Peradeniya highlighted tremendous contributions made by Dr. Kingsley A. De Alwis on genesis, classification and characterization of Red-Yellow Latosols and also for land suitability evaluation endeavors in Sri Lanka. In honor of the services to soil science and devoted contributions, Dr. Kingsley A. De Alwis was conferred the Honorary Fellowship of the Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka.
  5. Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka and the Board of study in Soil Science of Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA) jointly organized a workshop on "Environmental impact of potentially toxic heavy metals in soils". The workshop was held at the auditorium of the PGIA on 5th September 2013. This event provided a common forum to critically discuss soil contamination with potentially toxic trace elements and its significance on human wellbeing in Sri Lanka.
  6. The mid-term excursion of the society was held in Northern region of Sri Lanka on 26th and 27th September 2013. The participants had an opportunity to study on the theoretical aspects of the genesis, present status of mapping and characterization of soils in the Northern Region of Sri Lanka. Mr. P Yohalingam, District Director of Agriculture, Mullativu introduced the soil related programs conducted by his officers in Mullativu district. Prof. R.B. Mapa made an introduction to soils of the Jaffna region. On the second day, participants described Calcic Red-Latasols and Calcic Yellow Latasols profiles at Point-Pedro in Jaffna peninsula.
  7. The 9th Fertilizer Day program was held on 6th December 2013 at the SRICANSOL Resource Centre, Peradeniya. The technical session of the Fertilizer day was devoted for presentations by the members who completed their doctoral researches very recently. Dr. (Ms.) Indika Herath, Research officer, Coconut Research Institute made a presentation on the Use of water footprinting to quantify and reduce the impact of nutrient leaching on water resource. Mr. Supun Thalagoda from CIC Agribusiness delivered a presentation on the Fertilizer usage in the Tea Sector in Sri Lanka. This was followed by a presentation by Dr. (Ms.) Wajira Balasooriya, Senior Lecture, Department of Biotechnology, Wayamba University. The title of her presentation was "The Diversity of active soil microbial community: using cell membrane fatty acids". Next, Prof. (emeritus) Kapila Dahanayake delivered a lecture on Rocks and Soils. This presentation paved a strong foundation for the field trip of the fertilizer day while integrating his expertise on the geology and soil scientists’ knowledge on soil formation. After the technical session, participants visited Reddigama in Kurunegala to study Geology of the area where the world largest rock carved Buddha stature is being constructed. The SSSSL express the gratitude for Prof. Kapila Dahanayake for his contribution to conduct a successful field excursion.