Update: 19.02.2018

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 96 (June 2013)


20th World Congress of Soil Science – Korea

We are pleased to announce that the 20th World Congress of Soil Science will be held at the International Convention Center Jeju (ICC Jeju) 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 also a celebration of 90 years IUSS. Jeju is an oval-shaped volcanic island with 1,950 meter Halla Mountain in the middle. Jeju is known for its unique volcanic features making the entire island a volcanic museum. Numerous species of plants from polar to subtropical abound, which make it a treasure trove of nearly 1,800 varieties. The website of the 20th World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) 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 hope that you will take this chance to explore one of the most exciting and wonderful countries in the world. We are looking forward to seeing you on Jeju Island. For further information see www.20wcss.org or e-mail   wcss@20wcss.org

 Key dates:  

Abstract Submission Open: May, 2013

On-line Registration Open: June, 2013

Deadline for Abstract Submission: October 31, 2013

Notification of Abstract Acceptance: January 15, 2014

Deadline for Early Registration; March 20, 2014

Deadline for Regular Registration: May 8, 2014

 New IUSS Bulletin 122

A new IUSS Bulletins available on www.iuss.org – in this Bulletin reports from the World Soil day 2012, some musings from 60 years in soil science by Stan Buol, an article on the ISSS in the period 1939-1945, the 5 questions to a soil scientist are answered by Floria Bertsch, Flavio Camargo, Victor Asio, Milkha Aulakh, Cristine Muggler whereas Peter Schad and Bob White talk about their favourite soil science books. Furthermore, Awards and Prizes, Obituaries, Reports of Meetings and a list of New Publications. Happy Reading!

 Newsletter of Commission 1.6 Paleopedology

The 2013 Newsletter informs about paleopedological events in 2012 and activities planned for 2013. A highlight will be the XIIth International Symposium and Field Workshop on Paleopedology in Kursk/Russia, 10-15 August 2013. Another great event will be the Division 1 Meeting in Ulm/Germany, 30 Sep – 5 Oct 2013, where the Paleopedology Commission will organize three symposia. Two initiatives developed in 2012: AEOMED “Loess and aeolian additions to current surface soils and paleosols in Mediterranean climate“ and RAISIN “Rates of soil forming processes obtained from soils and paleosols in well-defined settings“. Both will organize workshops in the second half of 2013.


Professor in Soil Science and Soil Conservation (University Halle Wittenberg, Germany). The Faculty of Natural Sciences III seeks to appoint a Professor in the broad discipline of Soil Science. The position will be advertised in May 2013 at www.uq.edu.au/uqjobs/ and is full time. The successful candidate is expected to teach and to conduct research on chemical/mineralogical aspects of soils as plant habitats as well as for filters for groundwater recharge. The ideal candidate will have a proven record in Pedology including Soil Diversity, Soil Chemistry, and/or Soil Mineralogy. For more information, see  http://www.verwaltung.uni-halle.de/DEZERN1/PRESSE/Soil_Science.pdf or contact Prof. B. Glaser:   bruno.glaser@landw.uni-halle.de  

 Soil in Nature

There is a Soil, Agriculture, and Agricultural Biotechnology collection ( http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/soil-agriculture-and-agricultural-biotechnology-84826767) in the online educational resource that Nature Education is publishing called the Knowledge Project ( http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge). It is a coordinated library of peer-reviewed/scitable articles intended for college and high school students. Apparently many educators are using these articles as supplementary readings in their courses.

 Conference and Meetings

The Carbon Management, Technology and Trade Conference will be held in 4-6 April 2014 at İstanbul Turkey. The conference aims to bring together Carbon Technologists, Economists and Soil Scientists. The conference outcomes seek to integrate the contemporary scattered discussion that has been going on the individual grounds of Carbon Capture and Storage along with Clean Energy Technologies, Economics and developments in carbon markets and Management of Carbon Sequestration in Soils. You are kindly requested to submit your 250 word abstract by the 30th of November 2013. Further information may be reached from


International Conference on Sustainable Intensification being held in Edinburgh between 25-27th September 2013. Maintaining global food security in order to feed a growing population is now high on the political agenda, but this needs to be achieved in ways that are consistent with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adapting to a changing climate.  This conference will explore the concept of Sustainable Intensification and the extent to which it contributes to multiple challenges. Early bird registration is available until 1st  August.  http://www.sruc.ac.uk/homepage/403/carbon_management_centre_international_conference

Workshop Rates of Soil Forming Processes in Mediterranean Climate, 24-28 September 2013, University of Calabria  https://ppsg2011.uni-hohenheim.de/94442 Abstract submission is open until 15 July, registration until 31 August, application for travel grants (young scientists and scientists from low-income countries) until 30 June. Although the focus will be on Mediterranean soils, contributions on soil forming processes in other climates are welcome as well. Program: 24-25 September: Indoor workshop incl. talks, posters and time for discussions on achievements and challenges in this research field; 26-28 September: Field trip to soil chronosequences along the Ionian coast of S Italy. Keynote talks will be given by Jennifer W. Harden (California/USA), Markus Egli (Switzerland), Daniela Sauer (Germany), Fabio Scarciglia (Italy).

The 2nd Thünen Symposium on Soil Metagenomics (11-13 December 2013 in Braunschweig, Germany) will connect bioinformatics to microbial ecology in order to enhance the capacity to tackle the most burning questions in soil ecology. The conference will focus on the following topics: “What can we learn about the diversity, dynamics, vulnerability and ecological contributions of soil microbial communities and how can we utilize the new sequencing technologies in applied environmental sciences? Which novel possibilities do we have to understand the complex network within microbial communities, and interactions among its members and with the abiotic and biotic environments?” The Symposium will be flanked by a Workshop on Bioinformatic Tools in which developers demonstrate and share applications for analyzing nucleic acid information from soils.  http://www.soil-metagenomics.org

Workshop Soils and Dust in the Mediterranean, Ulm/Germany, 4-5 October 2013. Abstract submission is open until 15 July, registration until 31 August, application for travel grants (young scientists and scientists from low-income countries) until 30 June. 4 October: Workshop, incl. talks and posters on aeolian sediments and additions to soils in the Mediterranean. Possibilities for common efforts to improve our knowledge on aeolian sediments over the Mediterranean, their sources, trajectories, and their analytical identification will be discussed. Known occurrences of loess not yet included in the loess map of Europe will be compiled. 5 October: Field trip “Landscape history, soil development and paleolithic caves along the rivers Blau and Danube”.  https://ppsg2011.uni-hohenheim.de/84832

 New Publications

Soil Hydrology, Land Use and Agriculture: Measurement and Modelling. M K Shukla (Ed.). CABI. ISBN: 9781845937973. Hardcover, 448 pages. Price $180.00. Agriculture is strongly affected by changes in soil hydrology as well as by changes in land use and management practices and the complex interactions between them. This book aims to expand our knowledge and understanding of these interactions on a watershed scale, using soil hydrology models, and to address the consequences of land use and management changes on agriculture from a research perspective. Case studies illustrate the impact of land use and management practices on various soil hydrological parameters under different climates and ecosystems.

Laboratory Guide for Conducting Soil Tests and Plant Analysis. By J. Benton Jones, Jr. Taylor and Francis. ISBN: 978-0-8493-0206-0. Paperback, 384 pages. Price $107.95. With the help of this guide, you can use obtained test results to evaluate the fertility status of soils and the nutrient element status of plants for crop production purposes. It serves as an instructional manual on the techniques used to perform chemical and physical characteristic tests on soils. Laboratory Guide for Conducting Soil Tests and Plant Analysis describes the basis and procedures for each test in detail, including analytical instrumentation procedures and laboratory quality assurance requirements.

Soils of the World. Original German edition published by Spektrum Akademischer Verlag GmbH Heidelberg. Zech, Wolfgang, Hintermaier-Erhard, Gert. 2012, 2012. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-540-30460-9. Hardcover, 180 pages. Price $99.00. This book describes and comprehensively illustrates all earth soils in accordance with the prevailing worldwide WRB classification. However, it goes far beyond description and definition, by presenting the soils in the context of the natural habitats in which they occur. The book is structured in line with ecological zones. Initially their location, the climate and the vegetation as well as the factors influencing the constitution of the soil are briefly presented. All soils representative of the corresponding ecological zone are then defined and described in detail: definition, diagnostic features, physical, chemical and biological characteristics, occurrence and distribution, use and endangering, processes influencing soil formation, distribution maps, diagrams showing profile characteristics and soil formation processes, photographs of soil profiles, photographs of soil-scapes and soil catenas. All these factors contribute to producing an impression of their characteristics as well as their natural surroundings. The very instructive photographs and graphs combine to make the publication an excellent reference book about the earth’s soils and their distribution.

Toxicity of Heavy Metals to Legumes and Bioremediation. Zaidi, Almas; Wani, Parvaze Ahmad; Khan, Mohammad Saghir (Eds.). 2012, 2012, XII. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-7091-0729-4. Hardcover, 248 pages. Price $189.00. This title discusses various effects of heavy metal exposure to legumes as well as the bioremediation potential of rhizosphere microbes. Availability of heavy metals, their uptake and the effects of metals on germination and various physiological functions of plants including legumes are presented. Furthermore, the effects of heavy metals to nitrogen fixing microorganisms and how microsymbionts can overcome metal stress is presented in detail. The influence of glutathione on the tolerance of Rhizobium leguminosarum to cadmium is discussed. The role of nitrogen fixers in decontamination of heavy metal toxicity, mycoremediation of metal contaminated soils, microbially mediated transformation of heavy metals and action of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria and nitrogen fixers together in detoxifying heavy metals are broadly explained. This volume is a useful tool for scientists, policy makers and progressive legume growers intending to develop safe and healthy legumes for future generations.

The Soils of Mexico. World Soils Book Series. By Krasilnikov, P., Gutiérrez-Castorena, M.d.C., Ahrens, R.J., Cruz-Gaistardo, C.O.,Sedov, S. & Solleiro-Rebolledo, E. 2013, XI. Springer. ISBN: 978-94-007-5660-1. Hardcover, 181 pages. Price $129.00. eBook. Price $99.00. Mexico is an extensive country with an extremely complex mosaic of landscapes. The soils of Mexico have still not been completely studied, and there are few publications available on this subject. This book provides a state-of-the-art view on Mexican soils, their geographical distribution, their use and degradation. This is a first attempt to give a systematized characteristic of the soil resources of Mexico. Land resources of the second-biggest economy in Latin America are critical for its sustainable development, and a demand for adequate soil information is high. The information contained within can be used for any soil-related research done in Mexico and in neighboring countries. The book includes detailed characteristics of soils of all the physiographic regions of Mexico with maps, photos and explanatory schemes. The book is based on the experiences of the authors in research and soil survey, as well as on the existent, mainly ‘grey’ literature on Mexican soils. The book is recommended for researchers and university readers, students of all levels and decision-makers, working in the area of soil science, environmental issues, earth sciences, land management and nature conservation.

Shifting Cultivation and Secondary Succession in the Tropics. By A. Aweto, Professor, Department of Geography, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. November 12. CABI. ISBN: 9781780640433. Hardcover, 208 pages. Price $145.00 / £75.00 / €100.00. Shifting cultivation or rotational bush fallowing is the predominant system of arable farming in the humid and sub-humid tropics where several hundred million people depend on this system of agriculture for their livelihood. Shifting Cultivation and Secondary Succession in the Tropics documents and systematizes findings in shifting cultivation over the last six decades and also characterizes secondary succession and related changes that fallow vegetation undergoes to the process of soil fertility restoration under bush fallow. It includes unique features such as graphical illustration of the organic matter equilibrium concept; correlation and multiple regression analysis; core-periphery analogy, encapsulated in the spatio-temporal model and the graphical unified model of succession and soil fertility restoration, therefore providing essential reading for researchers and students within tropical agriculture and related fields such as forestry, geography, environmental science and tropical development.

Ecology and Management of Forest Soils, 4th Edition. By Dan Binkley & Richard Fisher. January 2013. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN:  978-0-470-97947-1. Hardcover, 362 pages. Price $149.95.Forest soils are the foundation of the entire forest ecosystem and complex, long-term interactions between trees, soil animals, and the microbial community shape soils in was that are very distinct from agricultural soils.    The composition, structure, and processes in forest soils at any given time reflect current conditions, as well as the legacies of decades (and even millennia) of interactions that shape each forest soil.  Reciprocal interactions are fundamental; vegetation alters soil physical properties, which influence soil biology and chemistry, which in turn influence the growth and success of plants.  These dynamic systems may be strongly influenced by intentional and unintentional management, ranging from fire to fertilization.  Sustaining the long-term fertility of forest soils depends on insights about a diverse array of soil features and changes over space and time. Since the third edition of this successful book many new interests in forest soils and their management have arisen, including the role of forest soils in sequestering carbon, and how management influences rates of carbon accumulation.  This edition also expands the consideration of how soils are sampled and characterized, and how tree species differ in their influence on soil development. Clearly structured throughout, the book opens with the origins of forest soil science and ends with the application of soil science principles to land management. The coherent overview of the major issues surrounding the ecology and management of forest soils will be particularly useful to students taking courses in soil science, forestry, agronomy, ecology, natural resource management, environmental management and conservation, as well as professionals in forestry dealing with the productivity of forests and functioning of watersheds.