Tribute of the Department of the Environment and Soil Sciences to Professor Jaume Porta Casanellas, Full Professor Emeritus of the University of Lleida

The book “Environment and Soil Sciences - Miscellaneous tribute to Jaume Porta” was presented at the event

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Professor Jaume Porta receives the book "Environment and Soil Sciences - Miscellaneous tribute to Jaume Porta" from the rector of the UdL and the head of the DMACS

On May 5, 2021, an act of recognition of the Department of Environment and Soil Sciences (DMACS) to Professor Jaume Porta Casanellas took place, who was the creator of the department in 1977. At the event, which was done in hybrid format (face-to-face and via videoconference), was attended by Dr. Jaume Puy, Magnificent Rector of the University of Lleida, Dr. Naciso Pastor, Vice-Rector for Infrastructure, Dr. Jordi Graell, Director of the Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering (ETSEA), Mr. Joan Josep Ardanuy Peris, director of the Institut d'Estudis Ilerdencs of the Diputació de Lleida, Dr. Joandomènec Ros Aragonès, President of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans, as well as students of the Interuniversity Master in Soil and Water Management (MAGSA), colleagues from DMACS and ETSEA, and other attendees.

The event had two parts. In the first part, which was presented by Professor Ramon J. Batalla, coordinator of MAGSA, Professor Jaume Porta delivered the master class "Professional Perspectives in Soil Sciences". The master class dealt with the importance of raising awareness about land use and protection. He highlighted the low impact that Soil Sciences have on textbooks in secondary education and high school in Spain, showing the results of a study conducted by the Spanish Society of Soil Science in 2017. He also named different actions at the international level in relation to land use and protection. In another part of his speech, Dr. J. Porta spoke about access to soil information, referring to the initiative of the Multilingual Dictionary of Soil Science, which he coordinates and which can be consulted in open access. He also stressed the importance of soils in relation to the great current problems of humanity: food sufficiency and security, the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems and the mitigation of the effects of climate change. In this sense, it enhanced the importance of the preservation of lands with high productive potential.

Interest in soil protection took place in the 1930s in the United States, which led to the creation of the Soil Conservation Service Agency (1935). From there, Dr. However, there has been a greater concern about the effects of deforestation, lack of land protection and / or conservation measures, which stem from a lack of awareness and advice.

At the end of the master class, Dr. Porta addressed the importance of soil mapping, which is key to land-based decision-making for sustainable development. It was also aimed especially at students of the Master in Soil and Water Management, highlighting the many professional perspectives offered by Soil Sciences.

The second part of the event was a tribute and recognition to the work done by Professor Jaume Porta at DMACS, from its creation and promotion to the present day. First of all, José Antonio Martínez Casasnovas, director of the DMACS, spoke, highlighting the vision that Jaume Porta had in the creation of the department and the definition of all the lines of work and research that were to be carried out. conform. "The department was designed to be a pole of attraction and integration of people from different areas of knowledge working in common interests in Earth Sciences and Environment." In this sense, and after 44 years, Prof. José A. Martínez said that "DMACS can be considered a success story".

Subsequently, Dra. Rosa Maria Poch i Claret, Full Professor in Soil Science at the DMACS and Chair of the FAO Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, stressed that “the creation of a university department is not just an administrative task, but it is necessary qualified staff to make it work well; and Jaume Porta was concerned with training and attracting quality teaching, research and technical staff, providing training and promotion opportunities with a medium and long-term vision, and the fruits of this effort are prestige and excellence. that we have achieved in the fields not only of edaphology, but of hydrology, climatology, environmental engineering and renewable energies”. "Besides, he added, Jaume Porta really likes books, he is a great bibliophile. That’s why when we thought about how to show him our gratitude, we decided to offer him a book. Not just any book, but one that collects various contributions from people who have developed activities in the department, in their different fields”.

The book is entitled "Environment and Soil Sciences - Miscellaneous tribute to Jaume Porta", was sponsored and published by the Institut d'Estudis Ilerdencs of the Diputació de Lleida. The rector of the UdL and the director of the DMACS handed over the book to Professor Jaume Porta.

Dr. Jaume Puy, rector of the UdL, and one of the book’s prologues, emphasized that “it is a book written by researchers and university professors in homage to the master of many of them, on the occasion of his retirement. It is therefore a reliable example of the imprint that Professor Jaume Porta has left on his students. And as there is nothing more precious to a teacher than seeing his students become good professionals, researchers or better teachers, I am sure Professor Jaume Porta will enjoy his reading. It is the satisfaction of seeing his work well done”.

For his part, the president of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Dr. Joandomènec Ros Aragonès, author of the second prologue, spoke remotely, emphasizing that, in addition to being a member of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans and various scientific societies, “Jaume is, above all, a great person. And he is very hardworking: not only has he worked (and is working), but he has directed many projects and started many studies with teams of researchers, and not just in soil science. "He was also pleased that "his colleagues, disciples and friends are dedicating this Festschrift to him, thanking the coordinators for the invitation to participate: Jaume deserves it".

At the end of the event, professor Jaume Porta received numerous expressions of gratitude.