Introducing Lisa Neame: Soil Health ambassador
Soil health is a complex and multidisciplinary subject which is garnering a lot of attention right now. Since August, Soil Health Coordinator Lisa Neame has been laying the groundwork for a successful soil health program at Alberta Land Institute. Get to know Alberta Land Institute’s newest member.
“ALI’s soil health project was a natural fit for my background and interests,” says Lisa Neame, M.Sc., P.Ag. “I’m an agrologist and for the past several years I worked in the Lands Planning Branch of Alberta Environment and Parks. There, I had been working on land use planning, including regional planning and cumulative effects management for water and biodiversity. I discovered a passion for working at the science-policy interface – using research and the best information available is so important for informing and supporting policy decisions that promote sustainable environmental management.”
Since 2019, ALI has undertaken a review of soil health efforts in Alberta. This work highlights a societal failure to recognize soil as a valuable public resource and fragmented efforts to both identify and address research gaps and convey key findings to landowners and decision-makers.
“There has been an explosion of work on the topic in the last five years,” says Lisa abut soil and soil health. “There are so many people and organizations doing great work to understand and promote the practices that improve soil health. I’m currently mapping out the players and organizations in the soil health ‘landscape’ and identifying gaps where ALI is well-positioned to advance the conversation.”
Lisa’s father is a biologist, so she grew up with a strong appreciation for the natural world and the range of ecosystems in it. Pursuing biology and ecology was an easy choice. Her graduate studies included studying native bee pollination in crops, which sparked interest in environmental stewardship in agriculture. Lisa has a particular passion for biodiversity, particularly for the diversity of organisms that are sometimes less charismatic for the public (plants, insects, fungi etc) but that really underpin the functioning of all ecosystems.
At ALI, we’re taking stock of sustainable agriculture efforts in Alberta and their impact on soil conservation in the province. There's a lot of gaps in the regulation and case law governing our soils, and not all agricultural producers are adequately supported to better manage and improve soil health. The research ALI is undertaking will highlight ways in which the current regulatory and policy environment facilitates or hinders sustainable agriculture in Alberta.
Welcome Lisa, to the team.