Update: 21.03.2018

It can take more than 1000 years to form a centimeter of topsoil.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

IUSS Alert - 34 (February 2008)

Information for and from the global soil science community

From the Secretary General

Inter Congress Council Meeting - June 30 to July 4 2008

The Inter-Congress Meeting will take place in Brisbane, Australia from June 30 to July 4 2008.  It is running partly in collaboration with a scientific meeting of the Queensland Branch of ASSSI. Full details together with registration forms will be available shortly. I shall be pleased to receive items for discussion at the Business Meeting of Council no later than February 22nd 2008.

Honorary Member Nominations

I have received a number of nominations for Honorary Membership of IUSS.  The final deadline for receipt of nominations is February 22nd 2008.  I need a short statement (maximum 750 word) about the candidate and their contribution to Soil Science and/or the work of the IUSS and its predecessor ISSS.

Keeping in touch

One of the major problems facing the Secretary General is keeping up to date information on the Officers of the National Soil Science Societies.  Many Societies change their officers annually, and if I am to keep Member Societies informed I need details of current Office Holders, their postal addresses and current email addresses.  Please let me have details of your current Soil Science Society Officers.

Election of IUSS Division and Commission Officers

During December I circulated to National Societies the list of candidates for the elections of IUSS Division and Commission Officers, together with short biographies.  The election period runs from January 1, 2008 to March 1, 2008.  Each IUSS member is entitled to vote in their National ballot which is to be organised by the National Soil Science Society or National Academy of Science.  Each of you should be invited to participate in a ballot either by submitting a ballot paper or by participating in an electronic ballot.  If you are not invited to vote please contact your National Soil Science Society and copy the message to me.

Stephen Nortcliff
Secretary General, IUSS

2008 - International Year of Planet Earth

On 12 and 13 February 2008, the International Year of Planet Earth will be officially launched at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris. This event will be co-organized by the IYPE Corporation and the National Committee of the IYPE in France, together with IUGS and UNESCO. UNESCO's Director General Koichiro Matsuura will host the Event and several Heads of State have been invited. The soils brochure (Soil - Earth's living skin) is now available in English, French, Portuguese, Romanian, and Japanese see www.iuss.org There many activities in which the IUSS and soil scientists participate, two examples:


More than 10,000 scientists, professionals, and students will gather in Houston on 5-9 October 2008 in a meeting is sponsored by the Geological Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, and some other societies. The intention of this first-ever joint meeting is to highlight and stimulate discussions in areas of common interest. It is held under the theme "Celebrating the International Year of Planet Earth". Click here for more information.

The New Zealand Society of Soil Science & Australian Society of Soil Science will hold a meeting from 1-5 December 2008 in conjunction with the International Year of Planet Earth 2008. Theme of the meeting is 'Soil' the living skin of planet earth and it will be held in Palmerston North, New Zealand. For more information click here.

World Development Report 2008

The World Bank published its World Development report 2008. The report calls for greater investment in agriculture in developing countries and warns that the sector must be placed at the centre of the development agenda if the goals of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 are to be realized. There is a lot on soil fertility and soil conservation in this report and here are some quotes that most soil scientists will enjoy: Science and technological innovation are critical for the agriculture-for-development agenda to succeed.. and the need to increase funding for agricultural R&D throughout the developing world cannot be overstated. If you want to read more (there are 386 pages) click here

New book on no till

No-Till Farming Systems, Special Publication No. 3 of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation - http://waswc.soil.gd.cn  www.waswc.org  edited by: T. Goddard, M. Zoebisch, Y. Gan, W. Ellis, A. Watson and S. Sombatpanit. Thirty-four contributions from renowned experts and practitioners around the world provide a comprehensive review of the rapid growth of no-till, the barriers that have been overcome and the challenges that still lie ahead. Chapters cover current research and new directions as well as policy needs, adoption and extension. Five other new books on the topic are also reviewed.

 ISBN: 978-974-8391-60-1. No. of pages: 544. Depending on the destination, price ranges from US$15-20, including delivery. For details contact Samran Sombatpanit sombatpanit@yahoo.com


Is that fun...and for free
See how good you are geographically: click here

Measure your carbon footprint: click here

The complete Darwin collection online: click here including Vegetable Mould and Worms

Who was the first scientist? Click here

Online listening to The Economist? Click here

Climate Change Podcasts - click here

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