Land and Water Engineering are becoming increasingly important globally for the future of humankind. There are at least two main reasons for this growing significance: First, it is well understood that, aside from several other means, the wise use of land and water will play a key role in the provision of enough good food for future generations. Despite all types ofprograms and policies, the global population still increases and most probably will continue to do so for the next half century or so. This means that more food and fiber will be necessary. At the same time the demand for food changes in terms of types and quality. There is undoubtedly an increase with regard to the demand for high-quality food with a larger variety in daily nutrition. Both effects mean an increased concern for better land use and improved agricultural water management to provide for future food requirements.
Second, the demand for different land uses in the rural countryside (often referred to as the green space) is increasing tremendously, especially in the developed world. However, each day, it is becoming clearer that the developing world also needs to pay more attention to this aspect. Land used for housing, industries, infrastructure, outdoor recreation, landscape, and nature is in high demand. The increased uses of land for urban development are a direct result of the increasing population, urbanization, welfare, etc. The growing concerns for landscape and nature are a result of a better understanding of its vital role in creating a sustainable countryside. Farming, as an important and mostly dominant user of space in rural areas, has to change in at least two ways. The way in which farming is performed, especially the high-intensive mechanized farming, has to change to farming methods in which the natural resources, soils, and water are safeguarded from depletion. Methods that keep or improve the natural qualities are considered to be sustainable and therefore important for future generations. At the same time, there is an increasing understanding that landscape or nature has an important meaning for earth and humankind in the long run. The protection and re-creation of nature areas, the planning of new nature areas, the design of ecological corridors, the redesign and improvement of (often small-scale) landscapes with their value for living and enjoyment are at stake. Finding new balances in green spaces among these different demands is the ultimate challenge for land and water engineers and related professions.
Volume I of this CIGR Handbook attempts to address this challenge by first focusing on the changing role of agriculture within society and within the rural countryside. Today's and future farming systems have to face the challenge of finding a balance between further development in terms of increased volumes and productivity, diversification in food, and improved qualities of food on the one hand and the establishment of farming methods that safeguard the environment, the natural resources, and the ecosystem, nature, and landscape on the other.
Although many types of action are necessary to achieve these goals, there is certainly a special role for land- and water-use planning. This creates possibilities for rearranging farms, fields, and rural roads and for improving soils and the water management systems. The opening up of the countryside is not only important for farming but also for other functions, such as for outdoor recreation, living, nature education, forestry, and others. Chapters 1 through 3 describe these possibilities in more detail.
Soil, together with water, provides the basis for our life on Earth. After humankind in distant history changed from hunters and nomads to settlers, soil was worked to improve its productivity. The reclaiming and conservation of soils through regeneration, improvement, erosion control, and so forth was, is, and will be extremely important for our species to survive and prosper. Chapter 4 gives the most important of today's knowledge and practice in this regard.
Together with our care for good soils is the establishment of good water management systems, both in its quantitative and qualitative meanings. Crop production, the relation of water to soils, the providing of good and sufficient water for crop protection, the drainage of agricultural lands and regions, and finally the quality of water, especially related to drainage, are important topics in this regard. Chapter 5 gives the latest and most important knowledge and practice in these fields.
To conceptualize a book on Land and Water Engineering is not an easy undertaking. This undertaking is practically impossible for a single individual. I am therefore indebted to many others. First, I would like to thank the many authors who set aside time not only to produce the first drafts of their paragraphs or chapters but also to do the corrections and improvements after one or two review processes. This book would not have been possible at all without them, and the workers in the field. Second, I owe very much to the "Wageningen crew," N. Berkhout, A. Hoogeveen, C. Jacobs and M. Riksen, for their substantial help in writing Chapter 2 and reviewing the first drafts of Chapters 4 and 5. Their willingness to do this critical reading and improvement was the beginning of the last and long effort to complete the book.
I am also very much indebted to our official reviewers from abroad, who read and commented on the different chapters in their final phase. W. Schmid (ORL, ETHZ, Switzerland) who, with his team, took the responsibility for Chapters 1-3 and M. Fritsch (LWM, ETHZ, Switzerland) and his colleagues, who was responsible for Chapters 4 and 5, did a marvellous work in reading and commenting on the many paragraphs and chapters.
The whole project would have failed without the enormous help of my two co-editors. L. Santos Pereira not only co-authored two main sections, but also reviewed, corrected, and improved the contents of the Chapters 4 and 5. For this reviewing he thankfully was assisted by D. Raes (Leuven, Belgium), M. Smith (FAO, Rome), D. Kincaid and D. Bjomberg (Idaho, USA), F. Lamm (Kansas, USA), and F. Morissey (California, USA). It proved to be a time-consuming process for which I owe him very much. Special thanks goes also to W. H. van der Molen and W. Ochs for reviewing the Land Drainage Chapter F. R. Steiner spent very much of his time not only in reviewing and commenting on Chapters 1-3 but also in correcting and improving the English for the large majority of all sections and chapters. Without his performance in this regard, the book could not have been published.
A last but specific thanks goes to Andreas Hoogeveen, who from the very beginning to the last minute helped not only to co-author one of the sections, but also to prepare all intermediate and final layouts of each paragraph and chapter. Without this heavy and time-consuming work, the book would not be in its present state. Andreas, thank you.
Hubert N. van Lier Editor of the Volume I
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