A team of soil scientists from RUDN University organized a summer school to study urban soils in 5 climatic zones. Students from Germany, Russia, China, and the USA spent two weeks analyzing the state of soils and vegetation in cities and towns all the way from the Barents to the Azov Sea. The results of their study confirmed the effect of urbanization on the soil such as decrease of soil acidity, increase of carbon concentrations, and shrinkage of tree trunks by 40% – 60%. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Environmental Quality.
Soil scientists from three countries organized the first international summer school of urban soil studies in the world. Its participants had a chance to work in five different climatic zones in the European part of Russia, from tundra to dry steppes. The organizing team included the RUDN Department of Landscape Planning and Sustainable Ecosystems, International Union of Soil Sciences, and Urban Soils Institute (USA). During the two-week-long school students and postgraduates from Germany, Russia, China, and the USA traveled 3,000 km and studied the effect of urbanization on soils and vegetation. A methodical learning framework developed by the team of the school will be used for future practical courses.
“The idea of our summer school is to teach through practice. The learning framework provides active communication between students and professors and joint projects give the participants many valuable skills, such as data processing, team collaboration, analytical competencies, and the ability to effectively articulate their results. This comprehensive approach is based on the interchange of not only