On 14 December 2007 our colleague, the First-Degree Senior Researcher Dr. Docho Dochev and a member of the Editorial Board of Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, suddenly passed away. The decease of the prominent scientist is a great loss to Bulgarian agricultural science.
He was born on 13 October 1933 in Plovdiv. In 1957 he graduated from the Faculty of Horticulture with Viticulture of the Higher Institute of Agriculture – Plovdiv and was awarded a Diploma of an agriculturist. In 1962 he started his work at the Fruit-Growing Institute – Plovdiv as a researcher on fruit crop irrigation. His good command of several foreign languages helped him to get acquainted for a short time with the publications of leading scientists in the area of irrigation and to summarize the results and to write two review papers. The years to come were devoted to profound studies on the theoretical basis of irrigation and the parameters of the irrigation regime of the major fruit crops.
Dr. Dochev defended successfully his PhD thesis on peach irrigation and in 1972 he acquired a PhD degree. Four years later, he was promoted the Second-Degree Senior Researcher. His specializations at the Fruit-Growing Institute – Rome, INRA – France, in the USA and in Israel – Volcani Centre, Bet Dagan broadened and enriched his knowledge in fruit-growing, irrigation, mineral nutrition and physiology of fruit crops.
The research studies of Dr. Dochev were mainly in the area of fruit-growing and agrotechnique, and, especially on the water- and nutrient regime of the fruit crops. He published over 150 papers and monographs.
A significant part of Dr. Dochev’s studies were devoted mainly to establishing the water regime parameters of the major crops at all the consecutive stages of the development of the scientific-and-technical progress in the area of hydromeliorations – by furrows, by over- and under-crown sprinkling, as well as all the modifications of microirrigation.
Many of his studies were carried out with the aim of explaining the physiological and biochemical plan of the effect of irrigation on the water regime, the nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism, mineral nutrition, the activity of some enzymatic systems and endogenous growth regulators, etc. Having in mind the biological characteristics of the fruit crops, a number of research experiments targeted water – plant response relationship under irrigation conditions, as well as the establishment of the character and the process of adapting reaction to the unfavorable conditions of the environment in the transition from vegetation to dormancy and vice versa.
The established parameters of the optimal irrigation regime from biological aspect and the respective biophysical coefficients in apple and peach created the necessary complex scientific basis about irrigation of the major fruit crops under the conditions in our country. The respective parameters laid the foundations for the development of the lacking scientific basis for designing and exploitation of the existing hydromelioration funds in fruit-growing and for operational forecasting of the exploitation irrigation regime by information consulting system introduced in the major fruit-growing regions in our country.
The irrigation regimes were established at the biological optimum also with the aim of reducing the irrigation rate by applying regulated water deficit at stages of slowed down growth of the fruits, without exerting a negative effect on the quantity and quality of the fruit yield.
In 1991 Docho Dochev, after he had written his habilitation thesis, acquired the First-Degree Senior Researcher.
Dr. Docho Dochev cast in his lot with the Fruit-Growing Institute – Plovdiv where he spent most of his creative research activity. His colleagues remember him as a highly erudite and sympathetic person, always ready to offer his help to everybody who had the pleasure to work with him but always putting high requirements to himself mainly. In his capacity of a long-year member and a Chairman of the Scientific Council at the Fruit-Growing Institute – Plovdiv, Deputy Chairman of the Specialized Scientific Council in Fruit-Growing, Viticulture and Vegetable Production to the Higher Certifying Commission and a member of the Higher Certifying Commission, and, with his high professional qualification, remarkable intellect and erudition, he contributed greatly to raising the prestige of the fruit-growing science and of the Institute he worked for. He was a Deputy Director in research and a Head of the Department of Agrotechnique at the Fruit-Growing Institute – Plovdiv and a Director of the Complex Experimental Station in Fruit-Growing and Viticulture in Pomorie. While holding those positions, he worked eagerly and very efficiently.
The decease of Dr. Docho Dochev is a great loss to Bulgarian agricultural science.
Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science