How to make substrates’ R&D greater? The results of the 2017 ISHS Working Group Growing Media survey
How to make substrates' R&D greater? The results of the 2017 ISHS Working Group Growing Media survey have been published in Chronica Horticulturae Vol. 58 Number 2 (June 2018).
Foreword from Professor Michael Raviv, Chair of ISHS Commission Plant Substrates and Soilless Culture, and Dr. Gerald Schmilewski, President of the International Peatland Society (IPS).
Cooperation between the Commission Plant Substrates and Soilless Culture of ISHS and the Peatlands and Economy (including horticulture) Commission of IPS has existed for over 30 years, and was formally recognised in an Agreement, initially signed at an ISHS symposium in Angers in 2005 and continued thereafter. Formal and informal contact between members of both societies has proved fruitful in terms of research, technical issues and indeed commercial developments, particularly in growing media.
Links have also involved reciprocal visits of staff between laboratories and university/research institutes worldwide, and participation in international initiatives including the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA). As Commission Chair and President of IPS respectively, we were delighted to support the proposal of Professor Jean-Charles Michel, from Agrocampus Ouest at Angers, France, and Chair of ISHS Working Group Growing Media, to develop a cross-society participative consultation via a questionnaire, with the aim of improving and developing contacts, as well as priming initiatives between members of both societies.
A questionnaire was drafted by the ISHS Working Group Growing Media and sent out to all members of the ISHS Commission Plant Substrates and Soilless Culture as well as members of the International Peatland Society (IPS) directly concerned with horticulture. The aim of the questionnaire was to propose and define some priority areas of work of the ISHS Working Group Growing Media in terms of improving and sharing knowledge and developing projects focused on growing media. Four topics were covered by the survey: teaching and e-learning programs, publishing a book, a platform for sharing information, and international R&D projects.
Eighty-seven responses were obtained, highlighting the lack, but also the willingness, of respondents to develop and share common international activities on our topics. From these, definitive actions were proposed and potential avenues were suggested for future development.