The use of Environmental Isotopes for Integrated and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

from 09/28/2009 to 10/01/2009

Damascus, Syria

Description and Objectives

Workshop Themes: 

§ Assessment of incidental, short, medium and long term rates of soil erosion by determining the concentrations and proportions of 7Be, 210Pb, and 137Cs in the soil, also sediment dating.

§ Assessment of water age dating and mean residence time, and characterization of water cycle by determining the concentrations of 2H, 18O, 13C, 3and 14C… in water and rainfall.

 § Assessment of organic matter dating, past physiological plant types (C3 and C4), drought tolerance of plants, and the efficiency of biological Nitrogen fixation by plants and micro-organisms, by determining the concentrations and proportions of 14C, 13C/12C, and 15in soil and biological material.

Main Topics

The Aim:

Promoting an integrated approach by making greater use of environmental isotopes for sustainable management of natural resources (water, plant, soil) to combat desertification, to mitigate climate change particularly in dry areas and to help decision makers to adopt suitable plans for sustainable development.

Scientific Consultant

Dr. D.E. Walling

Professor, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, EXETER, UK.



- Dr. Ian D.L. Foster 

Emeritus Professor of Geomorphology, Coventry University, UK.


- Dr. W George DARLING

Hydrogeochemist, British Geological Survey. E-mail:

- Dr. Roland Bol

Physical Geograph&Soil Science specialist, North Wyke Research, Devon, EX20 2PT, UK.


- Dr. Habil. Y. Kuzyakov

Professor of Agroecosystem Research, University of Bayreuth, Germany,


Short Papers

Arab scientists who are working on the use of isotopes in the management of natural resources and related fields are invited to present short papers or case studies about their research work. Short papers (up to 10 pages) should be written in English and sent in electronic format (Microsoft Word) to the e-mail addresses and before the 1st August 2009. The short papers will be reviewed and evaluated by the scientific committee on the basis of their scientific content and compliance with the objectives and scope of the workshop. Authors will be notified of the decision of the committee no later than the 1st September 2009.

The name, complete mailing addresses, phone/fax number and e-mail of the author/authors must be submitted. In the case of several authors, a corresponding author should be designated.

Dead Lines

1st August 2009: Submitting application forms

1st August 2009: Submitting short papers

20th August 2009: Acceptance of applications to participate 

 1st September 2009: Notification of accepted papers

How To Apply

All scientists and practitioners who are working in the fields of hydrology and land (soil, plant and water) management may apply to participate in this workshop and, if desired, to present a short paper by filling in the attached application form (No registration fees are required). All application forms should be submitted by fax to the ASST before the 1st August 2009. Applicants will be considered on the basis of their qualifications and experience in the fields of hydrology and land (soil, plant and water) management. Accepted applicants will be notified by 20th August 2009.


For more details, please refer to the attachment and to our website

Dr Maher AGI

Secretary General, ASST


Arab School for Science and Technology (ASST)

P.O.Box 7028

Damascus – Syria

Tel. +963 11 511 8904

Fax +963 11 511 1083

E-mail: asst@


Day 1   Monday, 28, 9, 2009

Opening session and registration

08:50- 09:20    Registration

09:20-09:25     Welcoming speech by Dr. Maher AGI – ASST secretary General

09:25-09:40     Welcoming speech by Dr. Ibrahim Osman – General Director of the Atomic Energy Commission - Syria

09:40-10:00     Introduction to the workshop by Prof. Des Walling – the workshop consultant

10:00-10:20  Coffee break 

Use of environmental isotopes in water studies

10:20-11:20     The water cycle (Dr. George Darling)   
11:20-12:20     Groundwater dating (Dr. George Darling)  

12:20-13:30    Lunch break

13:30-14:30     Water in arid and semi-arid environments (Dr. George Darling) 

14:30-14:50    Coffee break

Case studies by participants

14:50-15:50     Environmental isotopes as a tool for water management: some applications in Syria (Dr. Z. Kattan)

15:50-16:30   Discussion 


Day 2   Tuesday, 29, 9, 2009

Use of environmental isotopes in Plants and Soil

 09:00–10:00   Identification of drought tolerant plants using δ13C   (Prof. Yakov Kuzyakov)   

 10:00 –11:00   15N techniques for identifying more efficient rhizobium strains and legumes for N2 fixation (Prof. Yakov Kuzyakov)   

11:00-11:30    Coffee break

11:30-12:30     Using isotopes to study soil organic matter dynamics (Prof. Philip Ineson)

12:30-13:30    Lunch break

13:30-14:30     Use of stable isotopes in terrestrial ecology and global change studies (Prof. Philip Ineson)

14:30-14: 50   Coffee break

Case studies by participants

14:50-15:50     Carbon Isotope Discrimination for Six Durum Wheat and its Relation with Morpho- physiological Traits and Water Use Efficiency (Prof.  Ammar Wahbi & Dr. Ahmad Shaaban).   

15:50-16:30     Discussion


Day 3   Wednesday, 30, 9, 2009

Use of environmental isotopes in soil erosion and sediment budget investigations and in employing sediment deposits as archives of environmental change

 09:00–10:00   Using Cs-137 to document rates of soil redistribution (Prof. Des Walling)    

10:00 –11:00   Using other radionuclides to document soil redistribution and further isotope applications in sediment budget investigations (Prof. Des Walling)        

11:00-11:30    Coffee break

11:30-12:30     Dating sediments over late Quaternary and Holocene timescales (Prof. Ian Foster)

12:30-13:30    Lunch break

13:30-14:30     Dating late Holocene sequences and some examples of environmental reconstruction (Prof. Ian Foster)

14:30-14:50    Coffee break

Case studies by participants

14:50-15:50     Trans-boundary Suspended Sediment Transport – Evidences from Remote Sensing and Sediment Core Dating (Dr. Abdul Nabi Al-Ghadban).    

15:50-16:30    Discussion


Day 4   Thursday, 1, October, 2009: 

Integration of isotopes’ studies for sustainable management of natural resources

0 9:00–10:00   An Integrated Approach for the Use of Environmental Isotopes to Sustain the Environment and Mitigate Climate Change (Dr. A. F. Asfary).    

10:00 –11:00   Integrated Assessment of Land Resources for Sustainable Development in Syria (Dr. A. F. Asfary).     

11:00-12:00     Panel discussion with participants  

 12:00-16:00    Visit & tour + lunch

Media gallery