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Leading scientists of the world discuss ways to solve problems in urban soils and sustainable development of urban ecosystems at a symposium in New York

Leading scientists of the world discuss ways to solve problems in urban soils and sustainable development of urban ecosystems at a symposium in New York

October 11, the 4th annual Urban Soils: Biodiversity Development Symposium was held at Floyd Bennet Field (Brooklyn, New York, USA). It was the first event at the New York Urban Soils Weekend.

The organizer of the Symposium was RUDN University together with the Institute of Urban Soils of New York and the US National Park Service. Among the co-organizers are New York City University, the New York City Hall, the US Department of Agriculture, and the New York City Soil and Water Conservation Authority.

Well-known researchers from Russia, the USA, Germany, France, Italy, who took part in the Symposium, devoted their reports to the study of urban soils, their biodiversity and environmental productivity in order to achieve sustainable development of urban ecosystems.

Key speakers at the Symposium were IPCC Nobel Peace Laureates Riccardo Valentini (Italy) and Professor Peter Groffman (USA), Head of the Center for Scientific Research at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and Jean-Louis Morel (France), Gerd Wessolek (Germany), Joshua Cheng and Den Walsh (both - USA).

The symposium brought together not only representatives of the scientific community, students, specialists, politicians and even artists, but also New Yorkers who were not previously interested in these problems, becoming an information and educational platform that created conditions for effective interaction and cooperation of participants. These factors contribute to the dissemination of the results of modern research on urban soils, improvement of technologies and techniques used in the monitoring and assessment of urban ecosystems.

The delegation of RUDN University, consisting of deputy chairman of the organizing committee, Elvira Dovletyarova, Ramilla Brykova, Vasily Brykov, Maria Korneykova and Vladislav Plyuschikov, took an active part in organizing the Symposium, preparing scientific reports and moderating sections.

The report by Ramilla Brykova was devoted to the impact of the use of deicing agents on the ecological functions of soils. The results were presented on gas exchange, productivity and microbiological activity of soils. The data obtained showed the greatest sensitivity of monocultural lawn ecosystems to the salinization factor. Stress effects were found at low doses of reagents, but only under conditions of prolonged exposure for two months.

Vasily Brykov told the audience about the resistance of plants to the influence of heavy metals. Testing of various ecological lines of Arabidopsis to the action of cadmium was conducted. As a result, it was established that plants that were exposed to prolonged low doses of ionizing radiation had high resistance.

Maria Korneykova made a report on bioremediation of soils contaminated with oil products in the subarctic zone of Russia. The report aroused great interest and became the subject of discussion, in which Den Walsh and Gerd Wessolek took an active part.

Vladislav Plyuschikov, along with a researcher at the US Department of Agriculture, Olga Vargas, moderated section "Environmental Engineering for Sustainable Development" of the Symposium.

October 12, Urban Soils Weekend continued with the New York City Soil Festival for members of urban environmental communities, representatives of the state administration, researchers, students and everyone who is not indifferent to the environmental problems of the city. The participants of the Festival had an opportunity to get not only theoretical, but also practical knowledge and skills in issues of urban ecology and soil science. RUDN University had an information stand, where visitors received information about the educational, scientific and international activities of the University.

The Urban Soils Weekend ended on Monday, October 14, with a Workshop in Nolan Park on the Governor's Island of New York, where the results of the Symposium and Festival were summarized. The RUDN delegation took part in Gerd Wessolek’s practical seminar “Soil as Art”, as well as a joint project of the State soil scientist and co-founder of the Institute of Urban Soils Richard Shaw and artist Margaret Buzer “The Room of Urban Soils”.

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