Third International Conference on Evaluation, Monitoring, Simulation, Management and Remediation of the Geological Environment and Landscape

pcr2.jpg16 - 18 June 2008
The New Forest, UK


GeoEnvironment08.jpgThe 3rd International Conference on Evolution, Monitoring, Simulation, Management and Remediation of the Geological Environment (Geo-Environment 2008) meeting took place at the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT) Campus in the New Forest, England.  The meeting was organised by WIT, the Complutense University in Madrid and Tartu University in Estonia.

The Conference was chaired by Professor Ulo Mander from Tartu University; Prof Carlos A Brebbia from WIT; and Professor Jose Francisco Martin-Duque from Complutense University.

The Conference aimed to study the role of geosciences in environmental management, to achieve a better understanding of natural systems and their processes.  The study of the Earth’s materials and dynamic process is essential for different fields of application, and to increase our knowledge of varying environmental problems, such as air, soil and water pollution, soil erosion, waste disposal, water quality, building materials and foundations, and many others.  Understanding geological process is also essential to other fields of study, such as engineering, environmental management, land preservation and restoration, urban environment, land and ecosystem inventories and scenery assessments and landscaping.

The Conference brought together international information, experience and research in order to achieve a great knowledge and ability to help communities to develop in a sustainable way.  It discussed some of the problems facing the public and private sectors and the engineering and scientific communities.

Carlos Brebbia opened the meeting by welcoming the delegates to the WIT Campus and explaining the different activities taking place there, such as research, training, academic publishing and industrial support.  WIT, Carlos explained, does not attempt to repeat the work of other University Institutions, but to act as a link for the transfer of knowledge at an international level among research institutions, industry and universities.  WIT has formal links with many organisations around the world, which contribute to the international recognition of its activities.  The main area of research at WIT is the development of advanced modelling techniques and their applications in engineering and sciences.

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Carlos concluded by thanking the delegates for their participation and wishing them a successful conference.  There were many different activities planned for the delegates during a rather short time, but he hoped that this would help them to understand the work of WIT as well as give them a better knowledge of the unique area that is the New Forest.

 Conference Sessions

The Conference papers were groups in the following sessions:
  • Remediation and restoration
  • Environmental modelling
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Environmental hazards and pollution
  • Landscape analysis


The Conference also benefited from a number of invited talks, including:
  • “Batch-operation as a method to enhance oxygen supply in a constructed wetland” by U Mander, University of Tartu, Estonia
  • “Silica sand slope gullying and mining in Central Spain: erosion processes and geomorphic reclamation of contour mining” by JF Martin-Duque, Complutense University, Spain
  • “Research development on debris flow, large wood and flash flood in the Dolomites” by F Comiti, University of Padova, Italy
  • “Sediment transport monitoring in a Northern Puglia watershed” by F Gentile, University of Bari, Italy
  • “Dam-break shock waves: a two-phase model for mature and immature debris flow” by S Mambretti, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • “Computer model comparisons for debris flow modelling” by V D’Agostino, University of Padova, Italy

 Eminent Scientist Award

geo4.jpgDuring the second day two important sessions on Sediment Transport and Debris Flow organised by Daniele De Wrachien of the University of Milano and Mario Lenzi of Padova University were held.  Carlos  introduced the sessions by referring to the outstanding scientific career of Prof De Wrachien.

Daniele De Wrachien is Full Professor of Irrigation and Drainage at the University of Milano.  He graduated in Geography at the same University and obtained there a PhD in Advanced Applied Geology.

In 1967, he was appointed at the Department of Agricultural Hydraulics of Milano University, subsequently becoming lecturer in Geopedology, Associate Professor of Irrigation and Drainage and Full Professor in 1986.

As Executive Officer of well-established regional and world-wide scientific and Professional Associations, Daniele has been actively involved in the organisation of 40 international events, performing the roles of convenor and invited keynote speaker.  They were held in about 15 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and America.  He has collaborated with WIT in several important meetings, publications and research proposals.

In his capacity as the President of Eur Ag Eng (European Society of Agricultural Engineers), he established links of close cooperation between that Society and numerous like-minded international organisations, among which it is worth mentioning ICID (International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage).

Daniele is the author of more than 150 publications in all areas of soil and water phenomena, such as irrigation, draining, flow and transport processes, crop water requirements, water resources use and management, soil erosion and conservation, using both advanced laboratory and field observation techniques and mathematical simulation models. His research is now focused mainly on complex spatial patterns of the  environment, with attention given to the spatial variability of hydrological characteristics.

Following this introduction, Carlos awarded to Daniele De Wrachien the ‘Eminent Scientist’ Medal of the Wessex Institute for his outstanding achievements in the field of engineering sciences.  The Medal, which has been awarded since 1985 to renowned scientists from all over the world is also a testimony to the high ethical and professional standards of all awardees.

Prof De Wrachien expressed his appreciation for the award and spoke of the support of the European Society of Agricultural Engineers and the International Commission of Agricultural Engineering for the Meeting.


The participants had several occasions for social interaction including a visit to Buckler’s Hard in the New Forest, an historical shipyard location where several of the famous British Navy ships were built.  The place is now an heritage village and has a well designed museum, with numerous models, old ship blueprints and descriptions of the way of life at that time.

A field trip took place during the second day of the Conference.  The delegates visited the site of a recent landslide and current coastal engineering works at Lyme Regis, Dorset.  That is an area where significant sea cliff recession has taken place during the last few years.  Of particular concern is a slip surface that has opened up in May 2008 and which happened in the proximity of an old dump.  Concerns are expressed regarding the liquid seeping from the old landfill site.

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 Conference Dinner

The Conference dinner took place at Rhinefield House, a well known New Forest landmark.  The house built in a neogothic style is only 100 years old but it has the appearance of a castle.  Major attractions are the beautifully landscaped gardens and a number of rooms done in a variety of styles.  They include an impressive entrance hall with a roof resembling the Great Hall of Westminster, rooms in Italian and French styles, a wood panelled restaurant with a carving on the mantelpiece depicting the defeat of the Spanish Armada.  The most unusual room is called The Alhambra Room which is decorated in the gesso work resembling the famous palace in Granada.  The standard of the cuisine was excellent.

Carlos thanked the delegates for participating in the banquet and referred them to the appropriate pages of the new edition of the New Forest book which describes in some detail the history of the house.

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 Close of the Conference

The Conference was very successful in terms of quality of presentations and discussions.  The book is now being distributed throughout the world and the papers are also archived in the Wessex Institute Library (see below).

geo10.JPGThe Conference closed with a piano recital by Pier Paolo Strona, a friend of the Wessex Institute of Technology over a number of years.  Pier Paolo, who until recently, worked as a Senior Researcher at Fiat Research Centre in Torino, is an accomplished concert piano as well as an excellent photographer.  His connection with WIT dates from the time that he was involved in Structural Analysis and started to use some of the codes developed by Carlos and his staff.  He graduated as an Engineer at the Politecnico di Torino and as a Musician at the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna.  He has given numerous piano recitals and has recently published a major book entitled “Musicological Studies on Goldberg Variation of Bach” where he relates that music to mathematical and nature patterns as well as to architectural and landscape shapes.

His interest in photography has resulted in five books and he has contributed to most of the photographs in the new edition of “The New Forest” book written by Carlos.  In addition, he prepared a CD for WIT containing some selected pieces, entitled “Music from the New Forest”.

The recital at the Conference contained pieces by JS Bach, Gurdjieff, Gershwin PDQ, Bach, Chopin, Joplin and Beethoven; resulting in a variety of different styles and types of music.

The recital was well received by the appreciative audience.

At the end, Carlos thanked the delegates for attending the Conference and wished them a safe trip home.  The success of the Conference, Carlos said, was in great part due to its friendly atmosphere which was crucial to fostering contacts among the participants.

 Publication of Papers

The proceedings of Geo-Environment and Landscape Evolution III: Evolution, Monitoring, Simulation, Management and Remediation of the Geological Environment and Landscape, 272pp (ISBN: 1-84564-117-7) are available in hard back from WIT Press priced at £89/US$178/€133.50. Orders can be placed by telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223, fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the WIT Press web site at:

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as volume 100 of WIT Transactions on The Built Environment (ISSN: 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at:

Patagonia a forgotten land – from Magellan to Peron, by C.A. Brebbia,  384 pp (ISBN 978-1-84564-061-3) is available in hard back from WIT Press, priced at £33/US$59/€49.50.  Orders can be placed as above.

The New Forest: A Personal View, by C.A. Brebbia, 128pp (ISBN 1-84564-145-0) is available in hard back from WIT Press, priced at £27/US$54/€40.50.  Orders can be placed as above.