Update: 16.03.2018

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 102 (December 2013)

5th December World Soil Day!

World Soil day celebrates the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to humanity. It is celebrated by the global community of 60,000 soil scientists charged with responsibility of generating and communicating soil knowledge for the common good. Today, many events focus on increasing the public awareness of soil and its contribution to humanity. The  World Soil Day was initiated by the IUSS in 2002, and the day has been officially designated by the UN system. Happy World Soil Day!

New IUSS Bulletin

A new IUSS Bulletin is available on www.iuss.org and in this bulletin information on the upcoming World Congress of Soil Science in June 2014; the list of 2014-2018 Division and Commission Chairs and Vice chairs (welcome!); the IUSS Dokuchaev award to Alex McBratney and the von Liebig award to Magdi Selim; 5 questions to Megan Balks, Brenda Buck and Eric Brevik, the favourite books of Tom Sauer and Yakov Pachepsky; reports of meetings, and a list of new soil publications.


ICSU GeoUnions website launched

IUSS has been an active member of ICSU for over 20 years.  In the last decade we have worked successfully with other GeoUnions (Geologists, Geophysicists, Astronomers, Geographers.)  to ensure that ‘geo-related’ topics are given a good level of exposure within ICSU. To facilitate the appropriate focus on ‘geo’ areas of science the GeoUnions group has met at least annually. Whilst we regularly exchange newsletters and details of meetings it was agreed to establish a website hosted by ICSU. The website is:  http://icsu-geounions.org The responsibility for maintenance of the website is to be taken by the International  Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.


Conferences and meetings

ELS 2014 - the Earth Living Skin: Soil, Life and Climate Changes, under the auspices of the Soil System Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union, 21 – 25 September 2014 in Nova Yardinia, Italy (www.els2014.eu). The Conference Series set up the ambitious goal of studying soils as the main environmental interface where atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere design incredible living systems with time. Scientists with a temporary or consolidated interest for these fields of science are warmly invited to participate to this Conference, to bring their knowledge or their doubts, thus contributing to create a permanent forum of stimulating scientific debates, a good platform for exchanging new ideas, and an occasion for young scientists to meet colleagues from different disciplines and develop collaboration.

International Conference on Biogeochemical Processes at Air-Soil-Water Interfaces and Environmental Protection, June 23-26, 2014, Imola, Italy. The objective of the Conference is to promote exchange and discussion on the complex processes occurring at the Air-Soil-Water interfaces, from the molecular scale to the landscape, in a perspective of environmental protection. The Conference will consist of invited lectures, scientific sessions with oral and poster presentations and a field and cultural excursion. The ESSC will provide 2 grants of 500 Euro each for 2 young   researchers (less than 35 years old) working in a European country, to   support their participation to the International Conference (info:   http://aswep-essc.unibo.it/)


New Publications

Geopedology. Elements of geomorphology for soil and geohazard studies. J.A. Zinck. 2013. ITC, Enschede, The Netherlands. ISBN 978-90-6164-352-4. Ebook, 127 pages. Geopedology attempts to integrate elements of geomorphology and pedology for soil survey. Following a short review of the various ways soil geomorphology is considered by practitioners, the geopedologic approach is described in conceptual, methodological and operational terms. The bases for building a hierarchical taxonomy of geoforms able to support soil surveys of different orders are laid down. The most common geoforms are distributed over the six categories of the classification system. The attributes used for identifying and describing the geoforms are analyzed. English and Spanish versions can be downloaded for free from:  http://www.itc.nl/Pub/Home/library/Academic_output/ITC-Special-Lecture-Notes-Series.html

Soil and Water Contamination, 2nd Edition. By Marcel van der Perk. 2013. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-0-415-89343-5. Hardcover, 450 pages. Price $89.95. This textbook provides an overview of transport and fate processes of environmental contamination, in such a way that the reader can both understand and predict contaminant patterns in soil, groundwater, and surface water. In contract to most existing texts, soil and water pollution are treated as integrated environmental matter from a geographical/spatial perspective at point, local, regional, and catchment scales. The spatial approach links up with recent developments and trends in environmental legislation and other integrated catchment management initiatives. The new edition contains several re-written parts, new material on pesticides and pharmaceutical contaminants and a greater number of exercises, case studies and examples. A lecturer package with worked solutions and exams, will be made available upon adoption. It consists of four coherent parts: 1. Introduction to soil and water contamination; 2. Source, role, and behavior of substances in soil and water; 3. Transport and fate processes of substances in soil and water; and 4. Patterns of substances in soil and water.

Soil Colloids: Properties and Ion Binding. Series: Surfactant Science. By Fernando V. Molina. 2013. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1-43-985114-2. Hardcover, 544 pages. Price $179.95. The fundamental problem of ion binding to natural colloids is a multidisciplinary research field which raises special challenges. These come mainly from the heterogeneous and sometimes ill-defined nature of natural colloids, especially humic substances. Soil scientists and colloid chemists tend to have different views of the problem. This book presents the latest advances in this active research field. The first part reviews the fundamentals of colloid science, the second covers soil composition and the characteristics and properties of main soil components, and the third provides in-depth coverage of ion binding to soil colloids, including recent advances.

Biofuel Crop Sustainability. Bharat Singh (Ed.). 2013. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-0-470-96304-3. Hardcover, 480 pages. Price $199.95. Biofuel Crop Sustainability brings together the basic principles of agricultural sustainability and special stipulations for biofuels, from the economic and ecological opportunities and challenges of sustainable biofuel crop production to the unique characteristics of particular crops which make them ideal for biofuel applications. This book will be a valuable resource for researchers and professionals involved in biofuels development and production as well as agriculture industry personnel. Chapters focus the broad principles of resource management for ecological, environmental and societal welfare, the sustainability issues pertaining to several broad categories of biofuel crops as well as the economics and profitability of biofuels on both a local and international scale. Coverage includes topics such as utilizing waste water for field crop irrigation and algae production, reliability of feedstock supply, marginal lands, and identifying crops with traits of significance for survival and growth on low fertility soils. The development of production practices with low external inputs of fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticides is also covered.