Scott Chang


Research areas

Forest soil processes; soil microbial ecology; global change and soil acidification; carbon sequestration; forest fertilization; silviculture-soil management interactions

Scott explains why his research is important and what makes a good scientist

Why is soil important?

The soil is the basis of human civilization, as the majority of food we eat and material we use are produced from the land (soil). When the soil disappears or the fertility of the soil declines, so will civilization. In addition to food and fibre production, the soil performs many ecological functions, such as the cleanup of pollutants and retention of water.

Why is your research important?

My research focuses on understanding how carbon and nitrogen (and other nutrients) cycle through the soil and the wider ecosystem, on finding ways to increase soil carbon storage and reduce greenhouse gas emission, and on developing techniques to reclaim disturbed landscape and remediate polluted soil and water. My research on basic nutrient biogeochemistry has applications in many areas: agriculture, forestry and environmental management. My research on soil carbon storage and greenhouse gas emission will offer solutions for mitigating global change, and the research on land reclamation and soil/water remediation will provide new materials and techniques for improving our environment.

What are some qualities that make a good scientist?

A good scientist conducts a combination of basic and applied research. Basic research will guide and fuel applied research. As a scientist we have a mandate to develop new knowledge; to fulfil that role, we need to conduct basic research. Whether conducting basic or applied research, a good scientist has a vision and has the ability to lead an area of research that establishes his/her expertise. A good scientist is also one that is productive both in terms of research output (publications and other forms of productivity) and in mentoring the next generation of scientists.