Update: 21.03.2018

A handful of soil can contain billions of soil microorganisms.

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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 110 (August 2014)

App for WRB

The recently released new edition of the World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014 has now a support tool. It is an application for a smartphone that allows the user to browse step by step the key for reference soil groups and then to include the principal and supplementary qualifiers. The "help" button allows revising the definitions for each qualifier. The application has been developed by Denis Orlov under request of the Division 1 of the IUSS. The app works under Android, the versions for Windows-based smartphones and iPhones are coming soon. The app can be downloaded at  http://www.fao.org/soils-portal/soil-survey/soil-classification/world-reference-base/en/

ICSU Grants Programme

The ICSU Grants Programme supports collaborative scientific initiatives of relevance to science and society. Its intent is to encourage cutting edge scientific development at the interface both of traditional scientific disciplines and at the interface of science and policy. The Grants Programme is competitive and peer-reviewed. Proposals must be led by the ICSU Scientific Unions. Proposals for 2015 grants must focus on ICSU’s strategic priorities as detailed in the ICSU Strategic Plan II, 2012–2017 (www.icsu.org/about-icsu/strategic-priorities). ICSU particularly encourages the submission of proposals that (i) actively involve the ICSU Regional Offices, (ii) promote the involvement of young scientists, women scientists, and scientists from developing countries, and/or (iii) forge new partnerships between organisations that do not routinely collaborate. The total funding available for the Grants Programme in 2015 is €300000 and a ceiling of Euro 30,000 is imposed on all applications. For further information on the Grants Programme please contact Rohini Rao at   rohini@icsu.org. Deadline for receipt of applications: 1 December 2014

Conferences and meetings

39th Annual Conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria, 9 – 13th March 2015 Kwara State, Nigeria. The Soil Science Society of Nigeria is pleased to announce that the 39th Annual Conference of the Society tagged “Landmark 2015” will be held at the Landmark University Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria from Monday 9 – Friday 13th March, 2015.  The Capital of Kwara State is the City of Ilorin which is located 306km inland from the Coastal city of Lagos and 500km from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. There are daily flights from Lagos – Ilorin and Abuja – Ilorin. The Theme of the Conference is “Managing Nigerian Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation” The objective of the meeting is to share recent advances in scientific and technological developments, identify gaps in knowledge and discuss ways in which Nigerian soils can be better managed to meet the challenges of enhancing food and nutrition security through the dual approach of climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Conference is one of the activities to mark the 2015 International Year of Soils in Nigeria. For further Information, please contact: Prof. O. O. Agbede  (Chairman LOC). Dept. Of Crops and Soil Science Website; soilsnigeria.net  E-mail:   agbeolu@yahoo.com

British Society of Soil Science 2014 Annual Meeting “Delving into the dark; emerging techniques, approaches and tools for soils research” which takes place at the University of Manchester, Manchester, England on 3rd and 4th September 2014. Within our exciting programme there will be 24 speakers including keynote addresses from Professor John Crawford (Rothamsted Research, Hertfordshire, UK) and Dr Jennifer Pett-Ridge (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, USA). We also have a number of posters being displayed at the meeting. Full details can be found here   http://www.soils.org.uk/event/230

Soil Functions and Climate Change - do we underestimate the consequences of new disequilibria in soil properties? – SUSTAIN-2015- September 23-26, 2015; Kiel Germany. Soil properties and functions undergo changes also forced by environmental conditions. The key role of soil structure, its functions and its changes under various climatic conditions will be discussed to define boundary conditions for reliable predictions in a changing environment, for a more precise definition of prediction model input parameters as basis for a reliable analysis of soil and environmental properties and functions. This 1st international congress will deal with such interactions and necessary topics in soil physics, chemistry, biology and coupled processes. www.soils.uni-kiel.de/Sustain-2015

Soil-Forming Processes and their Rates: Invitation to Workshop and Field Trip in the Mojave Desert, 26-31 Oct 2014. organized by IUSS Commission 1.6 and INQUA Project Group RAISIN; contact: Eric Mc Donald (Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV,   Eric.McDonald@dri.edu) and Daniela Sauer (TU Dresden, Germany,   daniela.sauer@uni-hohenheim.de). Program: SUN, 26 Oct: 6-9pm Reception/appetizers at DRI (Desert Research Institute), Las Vegas; MON, 27 Oct: 9am-2pm Workshop presentations at DRI, Las Vegas, afternoon: transfer to Desert Studies Center at Zzyzx, Mojave Desert (arrival 6:30pm); TUE, 28 Oct: 9-12:30 Workshop presentations, afternoon: field trip to Silver Lake Playa; WED, 29 Oct - FRI, 31 Oct: Field trips to Providence Mountains, Death Valley, Panamint Valley, Panamint Mountains, where well-analyzed soil chronosequences on various dated parent materials will be shown and discussed.  Registration and abstract submission: 5 Aug–20 Sep through the website:  https://ppsg2011.uni-hohenheim.de/84878

New Publications

3rd edition of  World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) was presented at the 2014 World Congress of Soil Science. It is a follow-up of the first (1998) and second edition (2006). It is available as pdf and as app for Android at the WRB homepage on the FAO site:  http://www.fao.org/soils-portal/soil-survey/soil-classification/world-reference-base/en/. This third edition provides a system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. The central concepts of most of the 32 Reference Soil Groups have been maintained

12th edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy created an opportunity to update Soil Survey Technical Note No. 10 – Buried Soils and Their Effect on Taxonomic Classification. The buried soil concept was originally proposed in soil taxonomy to cover soils subject to catastrophic events like flooding on flood plains and burial by volcanic eruptions, and though recent interest in human-transported materials and subaqueous soils has expanded the application of the buried soil concept. This and other Soil Survey Technical Notes are available online at  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/ref/?cid=nrcs142p2_053566. Soil Taxonomy was recognised as an international system of soil classification at the 2014 World Congress of Soil Science.

World soil distribution educational poster, IUSS Working Group WRB 2014, Published by European Commission Joint Research Centre, IUSS, UN FAO  and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Prepared by J. Gray, J. Deckers, B. Murphy and S. Dondeyne. Free download (2 or 26 MB file) from the JRC website:  http://eusoils.jrc.ec.europa.eu/events/Conferences/20wcss.html This free educational poster aims to convey some fundamental principles of soil formation and to graphically illustrate how different environmental factors give rise to different soils. The main feature is two central charts that graphically present the distribution ranges of 23 of the 32 World Reference Base (WRB) soil groups according to the factors of climate, parent material and topography. It also includes supporting information on the five main factors of soil formation, a table on WRB soil attributes with correlation to Soil Taxonomy and a number of soil profile and landscape photos. The poster is primarily intended as an educational tool, particularly for students but also for many practicing soil and environmental scientists.

Antarctic Terrestrial Microbiology: Physical and Biological Properties of Antarctic Soil Habitats. Edited by D. Cowan. 2014. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-642-45212-3. Hardcover, 299 pages. Price $189.00. This book brings together many of the world’s leading experts in the fields of Antarctic terrestrial soil ecology, providing a comprehensive and completely up-to-date analysis of the status of Antarctic soil microbiology. Antarctic terrestrial soils represent one of the most extreme environments on Earth.  Once thought to be largely sterile, it is now known that these diverse and often specialized extreme habitats harbor a very wide range of different microorganisms. Antarctic soil communities are relatively simple, but not unsophisticated.  Recent phylogenetic and microscopic studies have demonstrated that these communities have well established trophic structuring, and play a significant role in nutrient cycling in these cold, and often dry desert ecosystems. They are surprisingly responsive to change, and potentially sensitive to climatic perturbation. Antarctic terrestrial soils also harbor specialized ‘refuge’ habitats, where microbial communities develop under (and within) translucent rocks. These cryptic habitats offer unique models for understanding the physical and biological ‘drivers’ of community development, function and evolution.

Biological Control of Plant-Parasitic Nematodes: Soil Ecosystem Management in Sustainable Agriculture. By G.R. Stirling. 2nd Edition. 2014. CABI. ISBN: 978-17-806-4415-9. Hardcover, 496 pages. Price $240.00. Plant-parasitic nematodes are one of multiple causes of soil-related sub-optimal crop performance. This book integrates soil health and sustainable agriculture with nematode ecology and suppressive services provided by the soil food web to provide holistic solutions. Biological control is an important component of all nematode management programs, and with a particular focus on integrated soil biology management, this book describes tools available to farmers to enhance the activity of natural enemies, and utilize soil biological processes to reduce losses from nematodes.