About Dorcas Franklin
Dr. Franklin has conducted research in sustainable nutrient management and water quality at multiple scales. Her research has included studies in preferential flow paths through the soil profile as well as nutrient movement across the landscape. She has conducted rainfall simulations and worked on-farm to determine management impacts on N, P and C losses in runoff. Knowledge of mechanisms and transformation processes are applied to design sustainable and resilient management systems and to develop decision tools for improved water and soil health, efficient use of manure- and fertilizer-derived nutrients, and improved productivity of crop, forage, and animal systems.
She also proposed and implemented a participatory soil health and water quality program with local producers, educators and researchers in both Georgia and North Carolina to develop new and to determine which management practices are working for the environment and the producer. Much of this research has been focused toward developing a P Index which utilizes the impact of both landscape and management.
She has worked to both qualify and quantify the impact of management, soil, and geomorphology on spatial and temporal distributions of stream nutrients and improving nutrient uptake and use by agronomic practices. Her work in geomorphic analysis and spatial distribution of stream nutrient concentrations has shown that watershed drainage density can be an indicator of aquatic system vulnerability to nutrient enrichment.
Some of her recent work has focused bio-management to build soil biodiversity to improve resilience for better sustainability in light of climate change, extreme weather, and the burgeoning demand on our food and water systems. She identified landscapes which are more vulnerable during wet phases to loss of legacy-phosphorus. Her multi-scale work has been included in recommendations made by SERA 17 Phosphorus Management and Workgroup.
Recently, her research interests have focused on cover crops to recycle nutrients and on using global positioning systems on cattle. Dr. Franklin’s work on developing more sustainable agroecosystems include: reducing N loses from composting manures, utilization of bio inoculants to improve plant available N and P from manures, to improve plant nutrient density, and to determine its influence on nematode community structures. She is also deeply involved in developing strategic-rotational grazing practices to capture and bank more rainfall in our pastures, use of mixed forage systems and strategic placement water, hay and shade to effectively manage cattle to capture C in soil and to redistribute and recycle nutrients on pastures rather than allowing nutrients in manure to be lost to the atmosphere or streams.