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 93 (March 2013)


Election IUSS Division and Commission Officers 2014-2018

We have started the election process for the 4 Division and 44 Commission chairs and vice chairs. This is your chance to become actively involved in the IUSS and shape its future in the years 2014 to 2018. We are now seeking nominations for all positions, and a description of Division Chairs and Commission chairs and vice chairs is given here. Please send in your application before 31st March 2013. Your application should include the position, 100 word bio and homepage URL if available. It should be sent to:
   Positions in Division 1: Prof. Karl Stahr at   Karl.Stahr@uni-hohenheim.de
   Positions in Division 2: Prof. Martin Gerzabek  martin.gerzabek@boku.ac.at
   Positions in Division 3: Prof. Rainer Horn at  rhorn@soils.uni-kiel.de
   Positions in Division 4: Prof. Mary Beth Kirkham   mbk@ksu.edu
The timeline is as follows:
   February 2013                - call for nominations
   May 2013                        - a list 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
We look forward receiving your application and candidacy.

Vacancy: IUSS Treasurer 2014

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

French Soil Science Journal now in full open-access

There is no charge for publication or handling of the papers. Papers must be submitted in French, with an abstract in English. Captions to tables and figures must be provided both in French and English. Papers are released on the web as soon as they are accepted and edited. A Spanish translation of the abstract is offered for free by the editorial board. Please submit your papers to   Dominique.Arrouays@orleans.inra.fr

Remote Sensing of Soils for Environmental Assessment and Management

A special call for papers has been announced by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing for the April 2014 issue of Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing entitled, “Remote Sensing of Soils for Environmental Assessment and Management.”  Imaging systems integrated with complex analytical methods will revolutionize the way we inventory and manage soil resources across a wide range of scientific disciplines and application domains. This special issue will highlight systems and methods that directly benefit environmental professionals who focus on imaging and geospatial information for improved understanding, management, and monitoring of soil resources. http://www.asprs.org/PE-RS-Submissions-Policy-and-Guidelines/Call-for-Papers-Remote-Sensing-of-Soils-for-Environmental-Assessment-and-Management.html   

Vacancy: Senior Lecturer in Soil Science (The University of Queensland, Australia)

The School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at The University of Queensland (Australia) seeks to appoint a Senior Lecturer in the broad Discipline of Soil Science, which includes the areas of soil biology/microbiology, soil physics, soil chemistry, or plant nutrition. The position will be advertised in March or April 2013 at www.uq.edu.au/uqjobs/ and is full time, fixed-term for 4 years. For more information, see www.uq.edu.au/agriculture/ or contact Dr Peter Kopittke: p.kopittke@uq.edu.au  The Times Higher Education-QS table ranks UQ in the top 100 universities globally, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University World Rankings names UQ as a top 20 Asia-Pacific institution.


10th Meeting of the Brazilian Chapter of the International Humic Substances Society (XEBSH - 2013) will be held in Santo Antônio de Goiás, Goiás State of Brazil which is located in the Cerrado (Brazilian savannah), in the metropolitan region of Goiânia, the State Capital, October 14 – 18, 2013. The focal topic of the Meeting will be “Natural Organic Matter and Environmental Quality” and the following thematic issues will be discussed: Structure, formation and characterization of humic substances and natural organic matter; Mechanisms of carbon sequestration and loss in the environment, greenhouse gas emission and mathematical modeling; Humic substances and natural organic matter in aquatic systems, water treatment; Humic substances and natural organic matter in environmental processes associated with metals and anthropogenic substances; Characterization and function of humic substances and natural organic matter affected by fire (natural and biochar) and its application; Interactions between humic substances (HS) and pesticides; HS based pesticides and fertilizers; nanomaterials and its application. More information about the Meeting is available at its website: http://www.cnpaf.embrapa.br/eventos/xebsh/


Biochars, Composts and Digestates. Production, Characterization, Regulation, Marketing, Uses and Environmental Impact will be held in Bari, Italy, from 17-20 October 2013, presided by Prof. Nicola Senesi of the University of Bari. The Conference will focus on and develop the various scientific and applied aspects of biochar, compost and digestate science and technology, including field approaches and implications in a sustainable environment. The Conference will be scheduled in four general sessions and a number of special sessions. The 1st Circular is now available in the Conference website (www.bcd2013.eu), where detailed information can be found, including the General Provisional Programme, the Call for Proposals to convene Special Sessions, the Call for Abstracts, the Registration fees, all deadlines, and much more. Any interested person is cordially invited to visit the BCD2013 website, and encouraged to submit Proposals (by 28 February), by writing to nicola.senesi@uniba.it, Abstract deadline 31 March 2013, through the form available at the Conference website. For more details visit www.bcd2013.eu


Transforming Livelihoods in Africa through Soils Research and Development by Climate Change Adaptation/Mitigation, Enhanced Food Security and Market Linkages. Kenya, 20-25th October 2013. A conference of public and private sector organizations and projects accelerating delivery of needed land and water management technologies to African farmers. The conference, organized by the Soil Science Society of East Africa in collaboration with the African Soil Science Society and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (www.kari.org) will be held in Nakuru, Kenya from 20-25th October 2013. Focusing on the contribution of land and water management in the Agricultural Product Value Chains (APVC), the conference will address threats and opportunities associated with climate change, and scaling of proven technologies for transformational impact on the livelihoods of African small scale farmers. There will be invited keynote speakers in plenary sessions, followed by sessions of related thematic oral and poster presentations and a field excursion. The conference outputs will include electronic copies of the proceedings.


New Publications

Soil Conditions and Plant Growth, edited by PJ Gregory and S Nortcliff. Wiley-Blackwell. 2013.  472 pages. ISBN-10: 1405197706. Building on the extremely successful and popular Russell’s Soil Conditions and Plant Growth, Wiley-Blackwell is pleased to publish this completely revised and updated edition of the soil science classic. Covering all aspects of the interactions between plant and soil, Peter Gregory and Stephen Nortcliff, along with their team of internationally-known and respected authors, provide essential reading for all students and professionals studying and working in agriculture and soil science. Subject areas covered range from crop science and genetics; soil fertility and organic matter; nitrogen and phosphorus cycles and their management; properties and management of plant nutrients; water and the soil physical environment and its management; plants and change processes in soils; management of the soil/plant system; and new challenges including food, energy and water security in a changing environment. Providing a very timely account on how better to understand and manage the many interactions that occur between soils and plants, Soil Conditions and Plant Growth is sure to become the book of choice - as a recommended text for students and as an invaluable reference for those working or entering into the industry. An essential purchase for all universities and research establishments where agricultural, soil, and environmental sciences are studied and taught.
Managing agricultural greenhouse gases: Coordinated agricultural research through GRACEnet to address our changing climate, Edited by MA Liebig, AJ Franzluebbers, and Ron F. Follett.  Academic Press, San Diego, CA.  2012.  547 pages.  ISBN: 978-0-12-386897-8. Concurrent efforts to mitigate agricultural contributions to climate change while adapting to its projected consequences will be essential to ensure long-term sustainability and food security throughout the world.  To facilitate successful responses to climate change, USDA-ARS scientists involved in GRACEnet (Greenhouse Gas through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement Network) published a book documenting recent research accomplishments addressing strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  The book, entitled Managing Agricultural Greenhouse Gases: Coordinated Agricultural Research through GRACEnet to Address our Changing Climate, includes regional syntheses of soil organic carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) dynamics for a broad portfolio of agricultural land uses, as well as additional chapters central to GRACEnet activities (e.g., modeling, method development, economic outcomes of GHG mitigation options, adaptation research, and international collaboration).  Although GRACEnet is an ARS project, the reported findings have broad natural resource implications on a national level, as well as important international applications given the similarity of environmental conditions to other parts of the world.
Water Harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa. Edited by William Critchley and John Gowing. Routledge, 2012. 224 pages. Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa is constrained by highly variable rainfall, frequent drought and low water productivity. There is an urgent need, heightened by climate change, for appropriate technologies to address this problem through managing and increasing the quantity of water on farmers’ fields – water harvesting. This book defines water harvesting as a set of approaches which occupy an intermediate position along the water-management spectrum extending from in situ moisture conservation to irrigated agriculture. They generally comprise small-scale systems that induce, collect, store and make use of local surface runoff for agriculture. The authors review development experience and set out the state of the art of water harvesting for crop production and other benefits in Sub-Saharan Africa. This includes an assessment of water harvesting schemes that were initiated two or three decades ago when interest was stimulated by the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. These provide lessons to promote sustainable development of dryland agriculture in the face of changing environmental conditions. Case studies from eight countries across Sub-Saharan Africa provide the evidence base. Each follows a similar format and is based on assessments conducted in collaboration with in-country partners, with a focus on attempts to promote adoption of water harvesting, both horizontally (spread) and vertically (institutionalization). Introductory cross-cutting chapters as well as an analytical conclusion are also included.
Diluvial soils and their amelioration, by M. Abduyev. Ithaca Press, 2012. 279 pp. This book was first published in 1968 in Russian. The author (1926-1979) has conducted pioneering work on salinized soils in the foothill plains and steppe of Azerbaijan. Other books that have recently been translated include: Accelerated reclamation of alkaline argillaceous soils of Azerbaijan, Salinization of the Shirvan steppe and prevention measures, Diluvial soils on the plains of Azerbaijan,  Alkali soils of Azarbaijan and their improvement. To order copies email baku@teas.eu
The Physical Geography of Bangladesh, by Hugh Brammer. 2013. 548 pp. ISBN 978 984 506 049 3. www.uplbooks.com In his eighth book on Bangladesh’s physical environment and agriculture, the author draws together his long experience in surveying, observing and studying the country’s physical geography and provides a revised map of the country’s physiographic regions. He draws attention to the interrelationship between geomorphology and soils, and to the country’s dynamic geomorphology, particularly changes in river courses and the impacts of earthquakes. Chapters 1−6 give a comprehensive description of Bangladesh’s geology, geomorphology, climate, hydrology and soils. They provide the background for the detailed descriptions of the 18 physiographic regions in Chapter 7−24. A novel feature is a concluding section in each of the latter chapters suggesting further studies that could be undertaken to provide more detailed information on each region’s geomorphological development. Chapter 25 compares the units shown on the geological map of Bangladesh and those on the physiographic map in this book. Differences in interpretation of the field evidence are discussed, especially in relation to the origin of the Madhupur Clay and the soils formed over it.