Soil Biodiversity for Our Future Earth
It is our great pleasure to organize XVII International Colloquium on Soil Zoology (ICSZ) and XIV International Colloquium on Apterygota (ICA) in 2016.
The Japanese Society of Soil Zoology, the major organizing party of the colloquia, was established in 1978. Having good mixture of taxonomists and ecologist of soil animals, the society members have been studying variety of soil fauna. Taxonomy of Collembola and Protura are among the good examples of leading soil zoology by Japanese scientists. Japan is situated at the eastern end of Eurasia. Thanks to sufficient precipitation, mild climate and relatively young soil, the fertility of soils in Japan has supported high population density for its long history. We share similar culture and nature with countries in East and South East Asia. Being islands, on the fringe of the continent, species composition of soil animals is different from other places in the world. For example the dominant earthworms are Magescolecidae, which are distributed in East, South East, South Asia and Oceania. Recently, a surprisingly rich diversity of Moniligastridae in mountain soils is being revealed.
One of the characteristics of agriculture in eastern Asia is the use of paddy system, which uses flooding water to grow rice. This management was fairly good because the flooding water prevent injury by continuous cropping. However, and unfortunately, this also relates to the ignorance of the role of soil animals in Japan, because the flooded condition prevented the growth of larger eukaryotic animals due to anoxic paddy soil environment. This condition leads to less study efforts on ecosystem functioning of soil animals in agriculture.
The year 2015 was the International Year of Soil, and we have successfully published Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas on June 2016. It was the first global unified view of soil biodiversity, and also the first book revealed the risk of soil biodiversity loss for human nature.
The variety of presentations in ICSZ-2016 reminds us the variety of ideas by scientists, while there are urgent needs to understand the ecological systems in each local soil to prevent the anthropogenic soil degradation. It is our important task to help each other to promote the understanding of soil ecosystem covering from taxonomy, systematics, evolution to ecology, not only for the human sustainability but also to support all terrestrial ecosystem.
Nobuhiro Kaneko, Chair XVII International Colloquium on Soil Zoology
Hiroshi Takeda, Chair XIV International Colloquium on Apterygota