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 94 (April 2013)

Election IUSS Division and Commission Officers 2014-2018

We have received several applications for election of the 4 Division and 44 Commission chairs and vice chairs that will run the IUSS for the period 2014 to 2018. This is the opportunity for you to become involved in the running and soil scientific progress of the IUSS. The deadline for application has been extended to 30th April 2013 and applications should include the position, 100 word bio and homepage URL if available.  Your nominations for candidates should be sent to:

Positions in Division 1: Prof. Karl Stahr                      Karl.Stahr@uni-hohenheim.de

Positions in Division 2: Prof. Martin Gerzabek        martin.gerzabek@boku.ac.at

Positions in Division 3: Prof. Rainer Horn                   rhorn@soils.uni-kiel.de

Positions in Division 4: Prof. Mary Beth Kirkham    mbk@ksu.edu

The timeline is as follows:

May 2013                        - compiling lists of candidates and their bios

1 August 2013                - the electronic election system will open and announced for voting

31st October 2013        - voting closes

1st January 2014           - announcement new IUSS Officers

A description of the duties and activities of Division Chairs and Commission chairs and vice chairs is given here


Vacancy: IUSS Treasurer 2014

The IUSS seeks a new treasurer per 2014. The treasurer (i) provide the IUSS President’s Committee with audited accounts (ii) undertake efficiently and promptly all IUSS President’s and Executive Committee Business, liaises with the Chair or the Budget and Finance Committee on budgetary details and financial matters, and (iv) undertakes miscellaneous items regarding investments. A full description of the Treasurer’s activity is here. The IUSS is looking for a candidate with outstanding financial skills, and who combines prompt service and the capability for setting a vision of the IUSS finances. Your application letter should contain a short CV and be sent to the IUSS Secretary General (   hartemink@wisc.edu). Closing date: 15th May 2013

Call For Nominations: SSSA Awards & Scholarships

The Soil Science Society of America is accepting nominations for 2013 Awards and scholarships which honors researchers, educators, professionals, and students. Nominate a colleague or student for one of the dozens of awards and scholarships. Deadlines: April 9 to initiate online nominations and April 16 for reference letters and final submission.



NUTRIHORT: Nutrient management, innovative techniques and nutrient legislation in intensive horticulture for an improved water quality will be held from 16 to 18 September 2013 in Ghent (Belgium). Production of vegetables, potatoes, flowers and ornamental trees in the open field or in greenhouses is challenging because of the need to balance high productivity and sometimes late harvests with lowering nutrient losses to the environment. NUTRIHORT will present the current knowledge of sustainable and innovative techniques of vegetable and ornamental plant production. The conference will focus on innovative fertilization, crop residues management, crop rotation, organic matter management and soil quality practices in horticulture. Throughout, the focus will be on the conflict between crop quality expectations and legislative requirements to protect water quality. The deadline for abstract submission is 1 May 2013. For further information and more details please visit the conference website www.ilvo.vlaanderen.be/nutrihort


New Publications

Molecular Environmental Soil Science. Series: Progress in Soil Science. Xu, Jianming & Sparks, Donald L. (Eds.). 2013, X. Springer. ISBN: 978-94-007-4176-8. Hardcover, 490 pages. Price $179.00. This book focuses on the Critical Zone supporting life at the Earth’s surface with emphasis on the new and emerging subject area of molecular environmental soil science. Advances in research methodology, and the use of synchrotron radiation in particular, are extensively reviewed. The role of microbes and biomolecules in mineral transformations, metal cycling, and the degradation of natural and anthropogenic organic compounds are also highlighted. The book is unique because it integrates a number of key contributions from traditionally separate disciplines. It also adds an important, and much needed, molecular dimension to an area of science that has traditionally been viewed on larger scales. The book identifies knowledge gaps, provides future research directions and addresses advances in research and education at molecular level. in this extremely important and challenging area of science for years to come. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Project Committee noted that the Conference, on which the book is based, identifies and builds on the need to view and understand the Critical Zone at the molecular level. The book will be an invaluable reference for researchers, students and professionals in this field of work.

Soils: Principles, Properties and Management. By Osman, Khan Towhid. 2013, XXII. Springer, ISBN: 978-94-007-5663-2. Hardcover, 271 pages. Price $129.00. eBook. Price $99.00. Aimed at taking the mystery out of soil science, Soils: Principles, Properties and Management is a text for undergraduate/graduate students who study soil as a natural resource. Written in a reader-friendly style, with a host of examples, figures and tables, the book leads the reader from the basics of soil science through to complex situations, covering such topics as: the origin, development and classification of soil; physical, chemical and biological properties of soil; water and nutrient management; management of problem soils, wetland soils and forest soils; soil degradation; Further, the ecological and agrological functions of soil are emphasized in the context of food security, biodiversity and climate change. The interactions between the environment and soil management are highlighted. Soil is viewed as an ecosystem itself and as a part of larger terrestrial ecosystems. Each chapter is prefaced by a summary and closes with a series of study questions to reinforce concepts.  Students in soil science, as well as those in agricultural, biological and environmental sciences, will find this book invaluable. Professionals, including horticulturalists, geologists and silviculturists, will also find this book of interest.

The Soils of Italy. Series: World Soils Book Series. Costantini, Edoardo A.C. & Dazzi, Carmelo (Eds.). 2013, XI. Springer. ISBN: 978-94-007-5641-0. Hardcover, 248 pages. Price $229.00.

The Soils of Italy is the first comprehensive book on Italian pedology in seventy years. Taking advantage of the authors’ large experience and of the most up-to-date  information and technology, this book treats the main soil types of Italy, their diffusion, their functions, ecological use, and the threats to which they are subjected during centuries of intensive management. It also deals with future scenarios of the relationships between soil science and other disciplines, such as urban development, medicine, economics, sociology, and archaeology. The description of the soils is accompanied by a complete set of data, pictures and maps, including benchmark profiles. Factors of soil formation are also treated, making use of new, unpublished data and elaborations. The book also includes a history of pedological research in Italy, spanning over a century.

Plant-Based Remediation Processes. Series: Soil Biology, Vol. 35. Gupta, Dharmendra Kumar (Ed.). 2013, XV. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-642-35563-9. Hardcover, 299 pages. Price $189.00. Phytoremediation is an emerging technology that employs higher plants for the clean-up of contaminated environments. Basic and applied research have unequivocally demonstrated that selected plant species possess the genetic potential to accumulate, degrade, metabolize and immobilize a wide range of contaminants. The main focus of this volume is on the recent advances of technologies using green plants for remediation of various metals and metalloids. Topics include biomonitoring of heavy metal pollution, amendments of higher uptake of toxic metals, transport of heavy metals in plants, and toxicity mechanisms. Further chapters discuss agro-technological methods for minimizing pollution while improving soil quality, transgenic approaches to heavy metal remediation and present protocols for metal remediation via in vitro root cultures.

Combating Desertification in Asia, Africa and the Middle East: Proven practices. Heshmati, G. Ali & Squires, Victor (Eds.). 2013, X. Springer. ISBN:  978-94-007-6651-8. Hardcover, 440 pages. Price $209.00. This book of 21 chapters is about the ‘how’ of desertification control as opposed to an analysis of the ‘why’ and fills a gap in the desertification-related literature in that it shows what to do in situations ranging from fixing mobile sands to arresting  accelerated  soil erosion in sloping lands.  More than 40 years of work by the Chinese in sandy land reclamation has led to the development of effective techniques. There are numerous illustrations (many in color) to show the successful techniques.  This compilation demonstrates that desertification and land degradation can be controlled and reversed with existing techniques in such widely varying environments as the Sahel of Africa to Sri Lanka and the Philippines in SE Asia, from high elevation in Lesotho to low lands on desert margins in Mongolia. Proven approaches include technical interventions, changes in governance and to the legislative framework and policy reform.  The contributors are local experts working in-country and bring to the book insights into many little-known aspects of the technical, ecological, social, cultural and economic factors determine success or failure of desertification control efforts.