Update: 21.03.2018

There are over 100,000 different types of soil in the world.

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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 104 (February 2014)


Nominations - IUSS President

This year we need to elect the IUSS President for the period 2017-2018. As its Senior Officer, the President of the IUSS will provide leadership, focus and direction both within and outside of the Union. The President will Chair meetings of Council, the Executive Committee and the President's Committee and will be responsible for the proper conduct of the business of the Union. The person nominated should be an outstanding soil scientist of high international stature and have very strong interpersonal skills to carry out these duties in an exemplary manner. The appointment represents a total of six(6) years commitment to the IUSS by serving two years each as President-Elect (2015/16), President (2017/18) and Past-President (2019/20). More details on the position and how to be nominated can be found at www.iuss.org  Nomination close 28th February 2014 and the elected President will be presented at the World Congress of Soil Science in Korea in June 2014.


90 years IUSS 1924-2014 – Please send us your pictures

The ISSS (now IUSS) was established in 1924 and this year we celebrate our 90th anniversary. At the World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) in jeju, Korea in June there will be a photo exhibition on all the congresses. If you have any WCSS pictures that you would like to share please send them to   wcss@20wcss.org and   hartemink@wisc.edu



Conferences and meetings

6th Global Workshop on Digital Soil Mapping,  11-14 November, 2014,  Nanjing, China. The four day conference includes three days of indoor sessions and one day of field excursion on Nov. 13th. The early-bird registration and submission of abstract ends on June 30, 2014, while the regular registration and full-length paper submission ends on Sep. 30, 2014. More details at  http://dsm2014.csp.escience.cn  The full-length papers will be published in a monograph by Springer after peer review.

SSSA Specialized Conference- Soil’s Role in Restoring Ecosystem Services will be held in Sacramento, CA, USA on March 6-9, 2014. Soils provide provisioning and regulating ecosystem services relevant to grand challenge areas of: climate change adaptation and mitigation, food and energy security, water protection, biotechnology for human health, ecological sustainability, and slowing of desertification. The purposes of this conference will be to evaluate knowledge strengths and gaps, encourage cross-disciplinary synergies to accelerate new learning, and prioritize research needs. Professional and research scientists, consultants, natural resource managers, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students encouraged to attend. www.soils.org/meetings/specialized-conferences/ecosystem-services

SSSA Soil Consulting Scientists 2014 Field Trip-Puerto Rico will be held in Puerto Rico on February 18-21, 2014. The geology, geomorphology and soils of Puerto Rico are incredibly varied for an island that is only 110 miles long and 40 miles wide. Ten soil orders are represented on the island. Rainfall ranges from almost 200 in/yr. in the rainforest to 18 in/yr. in the semi-arid region. On this trip we will travel much of the island to examine pits with some very unique soils. Registration deadline is February 10, 2014. www.soils.org/membership/divisions/consulting-soil-scientists

Biogeochemical Interfaces in Soil – Towards a Comprehensive and Mechanistic Understanding of Soil Functions. 6-8 October 2014, Germany. During pedogenesis, mineral, organic, and biological soil components are “glued” together into a three dimensional, large, and heterogeneous biogeochemical interface (BGI), which properties affects fundamental soil processes and functions. Yet, visualizing and characterizing BGIs architecture, identifying factors controlling their formation and maturation, and examining processes occurring at these interfaces have been challenging so far. Integrating advanced instrumental analytical tools with theoretical models may help to unravel BGIs composition and properties, and ultimately link their processes to functions. Scientists from soil-related reserach intrigued in gaining a mechanistic understanding of the formation and functioning of soils are heartily invited to submit their contributions. www.spp1315.uni-jena.de

XI International Symposium on Enchytraeidae will be held in Georgsmarienhütte near Osnabrück, Germany, July 25-27, 2014. Enchytraeids or 'potworms' are small relatives of earthworms and abundant in soils worldwide. They influence carbon dynamics and nitrogen mineralization and improve soil structure. Species-specific preferences towards factors such as pH and moisture create site-specific species assemblages and make enchytraeids good soil biological indicators. The symposium has a traditional focus on taxonomy and applied soil ecology, but actually it covers all aspects of the biology of enchytraeids, including developmental biology, physiology, phylogeny, and ecotoxicology. More information see: www.ect.de


New Publications

Sustainable agroecosystems in climate change mitigation. Edited by: Maren Oelbermann. 2014, ± 328 pages. ISBN: 978-90-8686-235-1. Price €76.This book bridges our current knowledge gaps and recognizes the contribution of sustainable agricultural practices as a way forward in reducing the global carbon and nitrogen footprint. It suggests that policies and practices integrating microbial technology, modern crop cultivars, conservation practices, increased manure application, organic farming and agroforestry have a greater capacity to sequester carbon and reduce carbon-based greenhouse gases, leading to more robust agroecosystems compared to conventional agriculture. It is argued that empirical models can represent powerful tools for assessing how mitigation and adaptation strategies can be used to optimize crop yield and minimize greenhouse gas emissions under future climate change scenarios.

Soil testing for balanced fertilisation: technology-application-problems-solutions. Edited by Dr HLS Tandon. 2014.  ISBN: 81-85116-69-5. Pp. 170+xiv  Fertiliser Development and Consultation Organisation, 204-204A Bhanot Corner, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi110048 (India). Price US$60 (Inclusive of airmail despatch). Contact   tandonhls@gmail.com. This book is devoted to soil testing as a research-based tool for making fertilizer recommendations and its various aspects ranging from various technologies, their application, problems and possible solutions. Its  nine chapters deal with (i) various methodologies for developing soil-test based fertilizer recommendations from conventional  approaches to GIS based tools (ii) the agro-economical evaluation of soil test based fertilizer recommendations, (iii) special features of soil testing in coordination with plant analysis for horticultural tree crop (iv) initiatives required for rejuvenating soil testing services (v)  government initiatives and programmes for expanding and strengthening soil testing services, (vi) Field level experiences,  problems and solutions for making soil testing a  more widely  usable facility  as outlines by a state government and a fertilizer company  involved in soil testing for many years and finally (vi) an introduction to the various analytical  instruments being used or for potential use in  modern well equipped, appropriately staff soil testing laboratories.

Remote Sensing of Energy Fluxes and Soil Moisture Content. By George P. Petropoulos. 2013. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1-46-650578-0. Hardcover 562 pages. Price $139.95. Discussing the state of the art in the remote sensing of surface turbulent heat fluxes and soil surface moisture content, this book offers the most up-to-date understanding of the natural processes of Earth systems and their interactions with man-made activities. Identifying effective, accurate, and practical methods, it allows researchers to obtain much-needed data on the soilscape at decreased cost: both reducing the amount of field data collection and increasing coverage area. An all-inclusive overview of methods and modeling techniques, it provides case studies and considers future trends, prospects, and scientific challenges.

Soils in Natural Landscapes. By Earl B. Alexander. 2013. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1-46-659435-7. Hardcover 319 pages.  Price $99.95. In any complete investigation of terrestrial ecosystems, rocks and soils must be considered. Soils are essential resources, providing water and nutrients for vascular plants, and mitigating the flow of water from the land. In addition, soil diversity is critical for biotic diversity. While there are many references on the agricultural perspective of soils, there is a need for a basic soils book for those concerned with natural landscapes and ecosystems. The text fills this niche, providing a thorough introduction to the physics, chemistry, and biology of soils and their roles in local to global systems. The book begins by describing the field of soils and the major roles of soils in natural landscapes. The chapters that follow cover a range of topics: Soil parent material, Architecture of soils, Temperature and soils, Water, air, and climate, Classification of soils, Soil landscapes, Plant nutrition, Soil organisms, Organic matter in soils. The author also discusses global issues such as water and carbon cycles, global warming, and acid rain. He addresses land management for different uses, soil quality, and soil degradation. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this book provides practical insights for the evaluation of soils in natural environments and their non-intensive management.