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Guideline for Salinity Assessment, Mitigation and Adaptation Using Nuclear and Related Techniques

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2018

You have full access to this open access Book


  • Introduces the role of nuclear techniques in saline agriculture
  • Highlights the development of protocols for soil salinity and sodicity assessment
  • Offers a user friendly way to understand issues related to soil salinity and sodicity

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Table of contents (6 chapters)


About this book

This open access book is an outcome of the collaboration between the Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria, and Dr. Shabbir A Shahid, Senior Salinity Management Expert, Freelancer based in United Arab Emirates.The objective of this book is to develop protocols for salinity and sodicity assessment and develop mitigation and adaptation measures to use saline and sodic soils sustainably. The focus is on important issues related to salinity and sodicity and to describe these in an easy and user friendly way. The information has been compiled from the latest published literature and from the authors’ publications specific to the subject matter.  
The book consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the terms salinity and sodicity and describes various salinity classification systems commonly used around the world. Chapter 2 reviews global distribution of salinization and socioeconomic aspects related to salinity and crop production. Chapters 3 covers comprehensively salinity and sodicity adaptation and mitigation options including physical, chemical, hydrological and biological methods. Chapter 4 discusses the efforts that have been made to demonstrate the development of soil salinity zones under different irrigation systems. Chapter 5 discusses the quality of irrigation water, boron toxicity and relative tolerance to boron, the effects of chlorides on crops. Chapter 6 introduces the role of nuclear techniques in saline agriculture.


Authors and Affiliations

  • Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, Department of Nuclear Sciences & Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria

    Mohammad Zaman, Lee Heng

  • Senior Salinity Management Expert, Freelancer, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Shabbir A. Shahid

About the authors

Mohamed Zaman completed a PhD degree at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand on soil nitrogen (N) mineralization and its relationship to soil microbial and enzyme activity in grasslands under different management practices. After completing his PhD, Zaman continued postdoctoral research at Lincoln University in the areas of soil fertility and soil water quality, using both conventional and stable isotopic techniques. He then moved to Japan and worked with researchers from Chiba University, Chiba Prefecture Agricultural Research Station and the University of Tokyo on N dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions from upland soils using 15N as an isotopic trace. After two years in Japan, Zaman went back to New Zealand to take up a position as a researcher in the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Hamilton. He then moved to the farmer owned cooperative fertilizer Industry, firstly as a Senior Scientist (5 years) and then as a Research Manager (4 years) to increase the adaptive capabilities of soil/plant systems to climate change and to enhance nutrient use efficiency on farms. This research included mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in an integrated plant animal system, developing new decision support systems and tools, identifying novel products to increase farm productivity and resource use efficiency, and minimizing nutrient losses to waterways and the atmosphere. During this 9 year period at the Fertilizer Industry and the farming community, Zaman established an international network of academic researchers from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Pakistan and USA to investigate fertilizer management techniques to increase nutrient use efficiency on farm and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.


Lee Kheng Heng has a PhD in soil science from Massey University and has more than 25 years’ experience in soil-plant-water interactions, agricultural water management and water use efficiency, integrated nutrient-water interactions and diffuse pollution control for sustainable agricultural production systems, at both national and international levels. Her work span over Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and Latin America on sustainable land and water management for climate smart agriculture and the efficient use and conservation of agricultural resources for enhancing food production and environmental sustainability.

Over the past 18 years, Dr Heng works at the Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition (SWMCN) Subprogramme, in the Joint FAO/ IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. Currently she is the Head of SWMCN Subprogramme which assists scientists in Member States in the development, validation and dissemination of a range of soil, water and crop management technology packages through the use of nuclear and nuclear-related techniques.

Dr Heng currently is leading a coordinated research project on ‘Landscape Salinity and Water Management for Improving Agricultural Water Productivity’,  to identify ways to improve crop productivity and sustainability through water and salinity management and to define approaches and technologies to assess and monitor soil water content and salinity at field and area-wide scales, to reduce the impacts of climate change and variability on the widespread increase in landscape water and soil salinity on food production.

Prior to her current assignment with the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Dr Heng worked as a research associate in the Department of Agriculture and Forestry at The University of Melbourne, Australia. Her work involved measurement and modelling the transport of reactive solutes in soils, conducting field study on soil water and nitrogen dynamics under temperate pastures. She also worked with Landcare Research in New Zealand.



Shabbir Ahmad Shahid is Senior Salinity Management Scientist at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai, UAE. Prior to joining the Center, he had served in different capacities in a number of organizations, including Associate Professor of Soil Science at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, Associate Research Scientist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Manager of Soil Resources Department at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, UAE. Overall, he has more than 36 years of experience in applied agricultural research in many countries and regions.Shabbir holds a PhD in soil micromorphology of salt affected soils from Bangor University, Wales, UK. He is author and coauthor of over 160 research publications, including six edited books published by Springer, author of three books and two manuals, 52 peer reviewed journal papers, 31 book chapters, 27 conference proceedings and other articles published in scientific magazines and newsletters. He also authored and coauthored over 30 scientific reports. He is member of a number of scientific committees, international advisory boards of international conferences, and editorial boards of scientific journals. He is a recipient of Sir William Roberts and David A Jenkins awards. Shabbir is pioneer in introducing soil survey research in the UAE. He with his associates discovered anhydrite soil and added to US Keys to Soil Taxonomy. He also authored UAE Keys to Soil Taxonomy. He chaired the Emirates Soil Museum Committee to establish a museum at ICBA station.

Shabbir’s research priorities are: soil surveys and salinity mapping, reclamation of salt affected soils, integrated soil fertility management, agricultural intensification, conservation agriculture and climate smart agriculture, environmental impact assessment, land degradation and carbon sequestration.


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