Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Dennis Greenland, former IRRI deputy director, dies
The scope of Dr. Greenland’s research and contributions to the field of soil science extended over nearly a half-century and four continents. After earning his master’s and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Oxford in 1954, he served as lecturer at the University of Ghana in West Africa, where he began studying the effects of cultivation on soil dynamics.
His research led to the 1960 publication of The Soil Under Shifting Cultivation, considered a classic in the field. Then, as a researcher in soil science at the University of Adelaide, he worked in southern Australia identifying strategies for sustainable management of soil and water resources, especially in tropical climates. His research over the years encompassed a wide range of topics, including the Green Revolution, rice production, efficient fertilizer use, soil structural stability, soil conditioners, soil organic matter effects and degradation of tropical soils.
In 1974, he was named director of research at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria. His service as a sought-after scientific administrator continued when he was named deputy director general at IRRI in 1979. In 1987, he was named director of scientific services at the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau (CAB) International in England. He rejoined the University of Reading faculty in 1988.
Dr. Greenland contributed more than 180 papers to scientific journals and written three books, including Cherish the Earth (1994) and the IRRI book, The Sustainability of Rice Farming (1997). In addition, he edited seven more volumes on soil management.
He had long served as a consultant to commercial, government, and United Nations agencies on tropical agricultural development and sustainability of farming practices.
He was a member of the Committee on International Programs and the Committee on Statutes and Structures of the International Society of Soil Science. He was a past president of the British Society of Soil Science and a past chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, U.K. His many honors included fellowships in the Royal Society of London, U.K., the World Academy of Arts and Science, and the Institute of Biology, U.K.
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