Update: 12.02.2018

Five tonnes of animal life can live in one hectare of soil.

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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 108 (June 2014)

World Congress of Soil Science – almost!

Only one week to the 20th World Congress of Soil Science 8-13th June in Jeju, Korea. It is a special congress as the IUSS celebrates its 90th anniversary, but most of all it brings together some of the best and most international soil science with 2,900 papers from 112 countries. The full program is available at the congress website (www.20wcss.org) including instructions for presentations and advice on travel, weather, venue etc ( http://www.20wcss.org/mail/m-e14.htm). We greatly looking forward welcoming you at the World Congress of Soil Science!

IUSS Working Groups

The scientific activities of the IUSS are organized through the Divisions and Commissions and Working Groups. We have recently updated the list of IUSS working groups (see also the IUSS website), and the groups and their chair are listed below. If you are interested to join any of these Working Groups please contact the chair.

Acid Sulphate Soils   - Chair Peter Österholm   posterho@abo.fi

Cryosols - Chair Dimitry Konyushkov    dkonyushkov@yandex.ru

Digital Soil Mappingwww.digitalsoilmapping.org  - Chair Mogens Greve    mogensh.greve@agrsci.dk

Digital Soil Morphometrics - www.digitalsoilmorphometrics.org  - Chair Alfred Hartemink   hartemink@wisc.edu  

Forest soils - Chair   Zhihong Xu   zhihong.xu@griffith.edu.au 

Global Soil Change -  Chair Dan Richter   drichter@duke.edu

Heritage Soils - Chair David Dent   dentsinengland@hotmail.com  

Hydropedology - Chair Henry Lin    hul3@psu.edu 

Land Degradation - Chair  Bal Ram Singh   balram.singh@ipm.nlh.no

Modelling of Soil and Landscape Evolution -  http://soillandscape.org  - Chair Peter Finke   Peter.Finke@UGent.be 

Paddy Soils -  Chair Ho Ando    handou@tds1.tr.yamagata-u.ac.jp   

Proximal soil sensing - www.proximalsoilsensing.org - Chair Raphael Viscarra Rossel    Raphael.Viscarra-Rossel@csiro.au

Soil monitoring – Chair Dominique Arrouays   Dominique.Arrouays@orleans.inra.fr

Soil Information Standards - www.soilinformationstandards.org - Chair   peter.wilson@csiro.au 

Soils of Urban, Industrial, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas (SUITMA) -  http://ticri.inpl-nancy.fr/urban_soils.en  - Chair    Jean-Louis.Morel@ensaia.inpl-nancy.fr

Universal Soil Classification System -  http://clic.cses.vt.edu/IUSS1.4/ - Chair Jon Hempel   jon.hempel@lin.usda.gov

World Reference Base -  http://www.fao.org/nr/land/soils/soil/en/ - Chair Peter Schad   schad@wzw.tum.de


Commission 1.4 Soil Classification Newsletter 

The chair and vice-chair of Commission 1.4 Soil Classification have released Newsletter 7 ( http://clic.cses.vt.edu/IUSS1.4/Newsletters/IUSS_Soil_Classification_Newsletter_1.4.7.pdf). The 36 page newsletter contains a summary of the past four years activities of the Commission and alerts members of presentations scheduled for the 20th WCSS. The classical 1932 soil characterization paper on soil colloids in relation to classification of soil by H. Byers and M. Anderson is included for review.


Bringing soil science to young people

Wondering how to introduce soil science to young people? Soil Farming and Science – free, multi-media teaching resources – is an introduction to nitrogen, phosphorus and soil properties. It also explores issues surrounding agricultural intensification and environmental impacts. Videos and short articles profile these topics along with the innovative ways science is helping farmers balance productivity, nutrient management and water quality. Novel, yet simple hands-on activities explore soil quality, nutrient leaching and some often-unseen aspects of the nitrogen cycle. The resources are also of value outside of the classroom with one farm consultant saying, “They provide a thorough understanding of nutrient cycles in an easily assimilated manner. Most importantly it is a non-threatening format for farmers who feel too shy to say they don’t fully understand nutrient cycling.” See  http://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/Contexts/Soil-Farming-and-Science


Conferences and meetings

International Conference on Natural Resource Management for Food Security and Rural Livelihoods to be organized by Soil Conservation Society of India, New Delhi, 10-13 February 2015, New Delhi, India. The conference aims to address the issues and challenges ahead for management of natural resources to meet the food demands and economic sustainability during the 21st century. The focus of the Conference will be to protect, conserve and develop the natural resources and use them on sustainabe basis to alleviate hunger, enhance livelihood security and improve the quality of life. Scientists, scholars, students, academicians, extension workers, policy makers, farmers, farm organizations and other stakeholders from the field of natural resource management across the continents are invited to submit the abstract of their papers and attend the conference to deliberate on the issues. For details and updates visit website: www.soilcsi.in or contact   icscsi2015@gmail.com

The 7th International Symposium of the Interactions of Soil Minerals with Organic Components and Microorganisms (ISMOM) will be held in Montreal, Canada from July 5th – 10th, 2015. This event is organized jointly by Commission 2.5 of the International Union of Soil Sciences, the Canadian Society of Soil Science and the Association québécoise de spécialistes en sciences du sol. Scientific areas include: Macro and micronutrients dynamics in soil; Dynamics of pollutants in soil; Soil microbiology; Organo-mineral interactions in soil; Analytical and methodological advances in soil; For detailed information, please visit  http://ismom2015.conference.mcgill.ca/index0f50.html?p=home


New Publications

Soil Colloids: Properties and Ion Binding. Series: Surfactant Science Series Volume 156. By Fernando V. Molina. 2013. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1-43-985114-2. Hardcover 545 pages. Price $179.95.  Within the field of soil science, soil chemistry encompasses the different chemical processes that take place, including mineral weathering, humification of organic plant residues, and ionic reactions involving natural and foreign metal ions that play significant roles in soil. Chemical reactions occur both in the soil solution and at the soil particle–solution interface—the latter surface reactions being vitally important in soil properties and behavior. The binding of ions to soil particles is important in defining the fate of foreign species, such as pollutants, and has a direct impact on nutrient availability. The text examines soil colloidal components and their interactions with ionic species, integrating soil science and colloid chemistry and considering the latest advances in this active research area. Part I covers the fundamentals of colloid science for readers not familiar with these principles. It discusses all the important concepts, without excessive detail such as extensive mathematical derivations. Part II deals with soil and its components, especially clay and oxide minerals and humic substances. It covers their composition and characteristics, with an emphasis on colloidal properties and ion sorption on colloids. Part III provides in-depth coverage of ion binding to soil colloids, with a focus on modeling, including recent advances. Chapters in this section describe general concepts and the issues arising from the heterogeneous nature of most natural colloids, particularly organic ones. Reviewing the state of the art in dealing with the more complex interactions, the text covers ion binding to minerals and humics, presenting different theoretical approaches, as well as ion binding to multiple components, or whole natural soils.

The Soils of the Philippines. World Soils Book Series. By R.B. Carating, R.G. Galanta, and C.D. Bacatio. 2014, XXV. Springer. ISBN: 978-94-017-8681-2. Hardcover, 293 pages. Price $179.00. The first soil survey in the Philippines was done in 1903. The Soils of the Philippines, is the first comprehensive summary of more than a century of soil-survey work. It integrates the soil concepts of the reconnaissance soil-survey results, with the semi-detailed soil surveys that continue to this day.  The result is the first-ever genetic key for classifying Philippine soils at soil series level; thus, making it possible for any newcomers to the soil survey field to confidently produce their own soil map, at a more detailed map scale, to suit the project requirements. This book brings together discussions on soils and soil mapping units and up-to-date international techniques and technologies. The Soils of the Philippines is asource of authoritative and updated data on soil resources for macro-level resource management planning. As the country leaps from an agricultural economy towards modernization and a more diversified economic base, some of the soil series in the Philippines, for example the Guadalupe series underlying the skyscrapers of Makati City, are becoming extinct as a result of urban development. Therefore, this book serves as the repository for the soils that we possess, the soils that have been lost through decades of urbanization while, at the same time, it creates a soil classification system for the soils we are yet to discover.

Chemistry of Europe’s Agricultural Soils (2 parts). By C. Reimann, M. Birke, A. Demetriades, P. Filzmoser and P. O’Connor (Eds.). Part A: Methodology and Interpretation of the GEMAS data set.  Geologisches Jahrbuch B102. 2014. Schweizerbart. ISBN 978-3-510-96866-6. Hardcover 528 pages. Price 118 Euro. Part B: General Background Information and Further Analysis of the GEMAS Data set. Geologisches Jahrbuch B103. 2014. Schweizerbart. ISBN 978-3-510-96847-3. Hardcover 352 pages. Price 78 Euro (both volumes together: 150 Euro).

The GEMAS project (Geochemical Mapping of Agricultural and Grazing Land Soil -  http://gemas.geolba.ac.at/) collected during 2008 and until early 2009 a total of 2108 samples of agricultural (Ap-horizon, ploughed land, 0–20 cm) and 2023 samples of grazing land (0–10 cm) soil each from 33 European countries, covering an area of 5,600,000 km2. The average sample density is 1 site/2500 km2 per land cover class.  All samples were analysed for 52 chemical elements after an aqua regia extraction, 41 elements by XRF (total), and soil properties, like CEC, TOC, pH (CaCl2), following tight external quality control procedures. In addition, the agricultural soil samples (Ap) were analysed for 57 elements in a mobile metal ion (MMI®) extraction, Pb isotopes and magnetic susceptibility. Part A provides a short introduction to the project, a description of the analytical methods used and gives an overview of the extensive quality control procedures carried out to guarantee the homogeneity of the project data set. The core of the book is the collection of geochemical maps and description of results, element by element in alphabetical order. It closes with a discussion of the results and the conclusions of the project. Part B of the GEMAS atlas provides a more detailed interpretation of the spatial distribution of selected elements (As, C, Cd, K, Th, U) at the European scale than it was possible to provide in Part A, the geochemical atlas. To highlight the importance of scale it also contains interpretations of the data set at a more local scale (Scandinavia and Ukraine). Possibilities for more-in-depth uses of the data set from assessing the impact of agriculture (carbon stock), through risk assessment to unravelling geological processes (loess distribution) are demonstrated. Several Chapters cover the background information needed for the interpretation of a geochemical atlas (geology, soil formation, distribution of mineral deposits). Finally, data on the regional distribution of some rarely analysed elements (B, Cl, F) at the European scale are presented.

Application of Soil Physics in Environmental Analyses: Measuring, Modelling and Data Integration. By W.G. Teixeira, M.B. Ceddia, M.V. Ottoni, G.K. Donnagema (Eds.). Progress in Soil Science Series. 2014. Springer, Dordrecht. ISBN 978-3-319-06012-5 Hardcover 476 pages. Price $209.00. 

The importance to preserve soil and water is widely recognized. Soil physics has grown considerably in the last years, however, those advances are thoroughly dispersed. In this volume, the authors will bring together the effectiveness of new field and lab sensors  and the state-of-the-art in modeling and data analysis. The topics have been divided as follows: Part 1 - Integrating data in soil physics proposes re-establishing the knowledge chain, linking tacit knowledge to cutting edge science. The use of field soil data or what has been called hydropedology, is discussed and exemplified. Part 2 - Data analysis in soil physics and pedotransfers functions presents the analysis of data in state-space and geostatistical approaches. Part 3 – Different approaches to characterize soil physical quality indicators is focused on new techniques used to characterize, map and interpret soil physical parameters. The challenge of assessing soil physical quality is discussed from the simplest to the most complex indicators. Part 4 - Sensors and monitoring in soil physics centers the discussion on equipment and sampling techniques for monitoring soil physical parameters. Technological advances are addressed, such as X-ray tomography,  which provides a means to evaluate pore topological properties in a noninvasive way. A comparison with in situ and remotely sensed data of soil moisture and limitations in using these data for hydrological modeling are also discussed. Part 5 - Creating data bases and models applied to soil physics discusses alternative approaches for modeling water flow and solute transport in the vadose zone. A review of multi-component solute transport models and examples of their use in agricultural and environmental applications are given. The phenomenon of dynamic non-equilibrium in soil water flow is discussed as the need of a paradigm change. Root water uptake is also covered with advanced approaches and the last two chapters address the challenges to develop soil data bases