Soil Health and Environmental Quality
C113 Plant Sciences
Jim Ippolito is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences (2016– present). He was previously a USDA-Agricultural Research Service Research Soil Scientist (2007-2016), a non-tenure track faculty member in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at CSU (2002-2007), and research associate/PhD student in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at CSU (1991-2002). He earned his:
- PhD degree in Environmental Soil Chemistry/Quality from Colorado State University (2001)
- MS degree in Soil Fertility/Chemistry from Colorado State University (1992)
- BS degree in Plant Sciences – Agronomy with a minor in Microbiology from the University of Delaware (1989)
Jim’s Professional Activities and Research Interests
Soil fertility, chemistry, environmental quality, and soil health in a number of ecosystems such as production agriculture, rangelands, forests, burned areas, and mined lands.
Professional Memberships and Service
- American Society of Agronomy
- Soil Science Society of America
- USDA’s Western Nutrient Management and Water Quality Workgroup (WERA-103)
- USDA’s Beneficial Reuse of Residuals and Reclaimed Water Workgroup (W4170)
- USDA’s Implementing and correlating soil health management and assessment in western states Workgroup (W1196)
- International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements & International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment Committees
He has (co)authored over 230 peer and non-peer reviewed articles. Jim has also presented research findings over 300 times at local through international conferences.
My expertise lies in biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, and soil trace and heavy metals, leading to a greater understanding of their environmental mobility, fate, and transport. My team utilizes a combination of wet chemistry and synchrotron-based analyses to ascertain how anthropogenic activities either degrade or improve ecosystem health. We utilize this expertise to answer real-world questions in (agro)ecosystems with respect to alterations in soil physical, chemical, and biological attributes, better known today as “soil health”. Specifically, we focus attention on ecosystem management practices and how they improve or degrade soil health in: 1) dryland/irrigated agriculture; 2) grazed perennial pastures and rangelands; 3) and heavy metal contaminated mined lands. When possible, we link alterations in soil health to water quality, plant health, animal health, and ultimately human health.
My current soil health research focuses on:
- Biosolids land application effects on soil health, and crop and plant growth/health within agroecosystems and grazed rangelands;
- Best management practices to create sustainable, resilient (agro)ecosystems with respect to crop/plant growth, soil health, and edge of field water quality, focused on:
- Alterations in irrigation practice (i.e., furrow vs. sprinkler irrigation)
- Conventional vs. strip vs. minimum tillage
- In-field residue management
- Introduction of animals into managed agroecosystems
- Organic agroecosystems
- Edge of field grassed buffer strips
- Highly disturbed mined land locations (in Colorado, Oregon, Missouri, China).
- Manure applications to naturally degraded lands for improved soil and plant health
- Reductions in irrigation water quantity and the effect on high mountain meadow and pasture ecosystem soil health
- Closing the soil health gap within managed (agro)ecosystems via the use of potential benchmark soils
- Creating a soil health program, metrics, for the state of Colorado
- Correlating soil health management and assessments in the western United States.
Other current research includes:
- Assessing biosolids treatment processes on environmental fate and plant uptake of pollutants (e.g., PFAS and PFOA) following long-term biosolids land application
- Rethinking phosphorus fertilizer applications for potato production profitability
- Improving fertilizer recommendations for fertilizing cool season grasses
- Biochar use for reducing soil heavy metal bioavailability and altering redox chemistry
- Integrated solution systems development for precision agriculture; and
- Big data innovations projects in conjunction with the USDA-ARS and APHIS.
- SOCR 350 Soil Fertility Management
- SOCR 351 Soil Fertility Lab