Dr. R.P. Dhir, a pedologist by specialization, has spent much of his professional life at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, India, and his job requirements took him to natural resource surveys, problem of desertification, settlement and land use evolutionary studies, use of saline water and each of these enriched knowledge about the problems and potentialities of a naturally disadvantaged Thar. The self-acquired proficiency in use of aerial photographs and satellite imagery together with experience gained from ground provided rare insights into natural resource-human use interactions. No less promising has been the natural archives, which have helped reconstruct the past climates of Thar. In a way these activities have continued even today. Dr. Dhir has made an effort to summarize the knowledge gained over the past nearly five decades.
Dr. D. C. Joshi, (ex) Principal Scientist (Pedology), Natural Resources and Environment Division, ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, has over 35 years experience of using aerial photographs, satellite images and GIS for soil resources appraisal, kind and intensity of land degradation, desertification status and wastelands mapping. He has significantly contributed in research projects viz. spectral reflectance characteristic of sandy and salt affected soils of arid region, soil characterization and investigating their chemistry, amelioration of soils degraded due to brackish water irrigation and their management. He was Principal Investigator of the Indo-Hungarian Intergovernmental collaborative remote sensing based project “Mapping of salt affected soils and management of soils irrigated with saline/ high RSC water (carbonate) water (1999- 2002)”. He has efficiently and successfully coordinated World Bank aided NATP projects in arid Agro-ecosystem.
After superannuation from ICAR-CAZRI, Jodhpur, during the years 2004 to 2011, he worked as consultant at the State Remote Sensing Application Centre (SRSAC), Jodhpur, for “Soil resource mapping under NRIS (National (Natural) Resources information System), Project” of Department of Space, Govt. of India. This culminated in the digitization of soil series/ association map of the entire Rajasthan State at 1: 50, 000 scale. District wise Soil and land capability maps have been published as “Soil Resource Atlas: Rajasthan State”.
Dr. S. Kathju, retired Principal Scientist (Plant Physiology), CAZRI, Jodhpur, is basically Plant Physiologist. He has over 30 years of experience working on diverse problems in the field of soil-water-plant relationships. For long he had been editing quarterly research journal Annals of Arid Zone.