Update: 12.02.2018

In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

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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 101 (November 2013)

20th World Congress of Soil Science2014

The WCSS will be held on Jeju Island, Korea, from June 8th to 13th, 2014. The theme of the conference is Soils Embrace Life and Universe, and the congress is a celebration of 90 years of the IUSS. The website is www.20wcss.org and you will find valuable information and announcement by the Organizing Committee. We cordially invite you to join us and be part of the 20th World Congress of Soil Science. We are looking forward to seeing you on Jeju Island. For further information see www.20wcss.org  or e-mail   wcss@20wcss.org New deadline for Abstract Submission: 30 November, 2013

Guy Smith Medal Award  – Invitation for nominations

The selection criteria for the Guy Smith award are: She/he must  have made a significant  contribution  to the development of a national classification system, or to conceptual aspects of  soil classification; Be an active member, honorary member, or formerly active member of a national or international soil science professional society; and the medal is not awarded posthumously. The current IUSS officers of the Commission and related Working Groups cannot be nominated. For more information:  http://clic.cses.vt.edu/IUSS1.4/GuySmithAward/index.htm Deadline proposals by December 15th 2013; please send your nomination to:   seppe.deckers@ees.kuleuven.be;   lanjos@ufrrj.br;   maria.i.gerasimova@gmail.com

Newsletter Soil Morphology and Micromorphology

The October 2013 Newsletter of Commission 1.1. Soil Morphology and Micromorphology has been published and is accessible at:  http://www.loess.umcs.lublin.pl/october2013.pdf. Among other information, the members of the commission are encouraged to send their abstracts to the three symposiums of the next IUSS World Congress organised by the Commission (one of them divisional); and also to send nominations to the Young Micromorphologist Publication Award, to be presented in the World Congress. The deadline for both calls is November the 30th. It is also a pleasure to announce the publication of the special issues of the Spanish Journal of Soil Science and of Quaternary International with selected papers of the 14th IWMSM held in Lleida in 2012.



The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for the position of Project Leader, Senior Soil Scientist and Soil Ecologist. The Senior Soil Scientist will lead an initiative supporting Soil Health Consortia in West Africa and manage soil-related partnerships. The Soil Ecologist will lead the assessment of the Sustainable Land Use KPI and the design and evaluation of NRM options within the West and East/Central African Action Areas of the Humid tropics (www.humidtropics.org). Details can be found at  http://bit.ly/1aF5rrr and at  http://bit.ly/15L6RBd IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from women. Closing date is 15 November 2013.

ISRIC - World Soil Information is looking for a new Director. As Director you will be responsible for the integral management of ISRIC. We offer a full-time position with a competitive salary. ISRIC is located in Wageningen, The Netherlands. For further information about this position, please visit ISRIC web page www.isric.org or contact Dr. H.M.C. van Holsteijn (   hein.vanholsteijn@wur.nl) or Drs. G.W.J. van Lynden (   godert.vanlynden@wur.nl).


New Publications

Minor Element Geochemistry at the Earth's Surface: Factors of distribution, transport, soil interactions and their environmental significance. Velde, Bruce D.; Bauer, Andreas (Eds.). 2013, Springer. ISBN 978-3-642-31358-5. Hardcover, 360 pages. Price $179.00.Provides basic tools to understand relations between plants and soil. Provides basic methods to interpret x-ray diffraction spectra used to identify clay minerals. The book could serve as a basis for innovative research as well as for existing lectures for students. The importance of clay minerals for soil functioning is well recognized.

Precision in Crop Farming. Site Specific Concepts and Sensing Methods: Applications and Results. Heege, Hermann (Ed.). 2013 Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-6759-1. Hardcover, 346 pages. Price $189.00. High yields and environmental control in crop farming call for precise adaptations to local growing conditions. Treating large fields in a uniform way by high capacity machinery cannot be regarded as a sustainable method for many situations. Because differences existing within single fields must be considered. The transition from former field work carried out manually or by small implements to present day high capacity machinery caused that the farmers lost the immediate and close contact with soils and crops. However, modern sensing and controlling technology can make up for this deficit.  High tech methods that include proximal sensing and signals from satellites can provide for controls that allow adjusting farming operations to small fractions of one ha and sometimes even down to some m2, hence in a site-specific mode. This applies to operations for soil cultivation, sowing, fertilizing and plant protection. This book deals with concepts, applications and results, and has an interdisciplinary approach that pervades all chapters.

Ecosystem Services and Carbon Sequestration in the Biosphere. Lal, R.; Lorenz, K.; Hüttl, R.F.; Schneider, B.U.; von Braun, J. (Eds.). 2013. Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-6454-5. Hardcover, 464 pages. Price $209.00. This book describes comprehensively potential, co-benefits and drawbacks of carbon (C) sequestration for ecosystem services. Soil generates numerous ecosystem services for human wellbeing and ecological functions. The services discussed include provisional (feed, food, timber, biofuel), regulating (carbon sequestration, pests, diseases), cultural, and supporting (soil formation, nutrient cycling) services. Recarbonization of the biosphere is a potential strategy to redistribute C among global pools, and to enhance ocean but most importantly land-based C sinks with possible feedback on soil-based ecosystem services. Land use and soil management can degrade soil quality, and either reduce quantity and quality of ecosystem services or lead to disservices and create large ecological footprint. Thus, trade-offs between carbon sequestration and ecosystem services must be considered when incentivizing land managers through payments for ecosystem services. Together with sustainable management of land-based C sinks for climate change adaptation and mitigation this will minimize the risks of recarbonization of the biosphere for ecological functions and human wellbeing.

Principles of Sustainable Soil Management in Agroecosystems. Rattan Lal, B.A. Stewart (Eds.). 2013. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1-46-651346-4. Hardcover, 568 pages. Price $139.95. With the use of high-level soil management technology, Africa could feed several billion people, yet food production has generally stagnated since the 1960s. No matter how powerful the seed technology, the seedling emerging from it can flourish only in a healthy soil. Accordingly, crop yields in Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean could be doubled or tripled through adoption of technologies based on laws of sustainable soil management. Principles of Sustainable Soil Management in Agroecosystems describes the application of these laws to enhance ecosystem services while restoring degraded soils and promoting sustainable use. With chapters contributed by world-class soil scientists, ecologists, and social scientists, this book outlines critical changes in management of agricultural soils necessary to achieve food security and meet the food demands of the present and projected future population. These changes include conversion to no-till and conservation agriculture; adoption of strategies of integrated nutrient management, water harvesting, and use of drip sub-irrigation; complex cropping/farming systems such as cover cropping and agroforestry; and use of nano-enhanced fertilizers. The book is based on the premise that it is not possible to extract more from a soil than what is put into it without degrading its quality. The strategy is to replace what is removed, respond wisely to what is changed, and be pro-active to what may happen because of natural and anthropogenic perturbations. The chapters, which exemplify these ideas, cover a range of topics including organic farming, soil fertility, crop-symbiotic soil microbiota, human-driven soil degradation, soil degradation and restoration, carbon sink capacity of soils, soil renewal and sustainability, and the marginality principle.