Update: 21.03.2018

Soil stores 10% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.

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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 91 (January 2013)

Nominations for Dokuchaev and von Liebig awards

The Committee on Awards and Prizes is accepting nominations for the Dokuchaev Award and the Liebig Award.  Nominations are due June 8, 2013.  The Dokuchaev Award recognizes major accomplishments in basic research.  The Liebig Award recognizes outstanding contributions in applied research.  Nominations are accepted only from members of IUSS.  Each nomination must contain the nomination proper and three supporting letters.  If the nominator includes a covering letter, it is counted as one of the three letters.  Nominations must not exceed ten pages.  This means seven pages for the body of the nomination and three one-page letters of support.  Nominations should be sent to M.B. Kirkham ( mbk@ksu.edu).

Soil videos

The Soil Science Society of America has made a series of soil videos named The Story of Soil, check them out at www.iheartsoil.org  Students from Technical University in Berlin have created short videos to raise the awareness of soil. They produced several videos, including The day soil died; Check out www.youtube.com/user/mediasoil FAO produced a video titled Soils, see here www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8TyaL2DAPA, here a video named Let’s Talk About Soil http://vimeo.com/53618201

IUSS Newsletter

The 4th issue of the Newsletter of the IUSS Commission 1.4. “Soil Classification” includes a review of the classification-related talks presented at the SSSA Annual meeting in Cincinnati and the reports on the recent activities of the USC Working Group. Also there are announcements of the soil classification sessions at the First Division conference in Ulm this year and at the 20th WCSS in Jeju, and of the Mammoth Ultra-Continental WRB tour in Sakha (East Siberia). A new section presents a review of journal papers on soil classification. The Newsletter finishes with a traditional historical paper by Marlin Cline

Chinese Soil Science: Virtual Issue of EJSS and SUM

This BSSS journals’ virtual issue includes papers in European Journal of Soil Science and Soil Use and Management, and can be accessed without cost online. The virtual issue is a collection of papers authored by Chinese soil scientists which have been published in these journals and which give a flavour of the breadth and types of research. The twenty papers include the topics: 1) carbon and organic matter; 2) physical and chemical processes, functions and management; 3) biological interactions; 4) nutrient management and 5) soil degradation and impact of land management.


New Editor in Chief of the Journal Land Degradation and Development

From the 1st January 2013, Professor Artemio Cerdà will take over as the Editor in Chief of the Journal Land Degradation and Development from Dr Chris Barrow. Professor Cerdà holds a chair in Physical Geography at the University of Valencia and has been researching soil erosion and degradation processes in Mediterranean environments since 1989. He has been the coordinator of the FUEGORED network of Spanish researchers since 2007 and was elected EGU Soil System Science Division President for April 2011 - April 2013.


Vacancy - Research Fellow in the field of soil physical modelling

The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney, Australia seeks to appoint a Research Fellow in the field of soil physical modelling. The research is focused on fundamental processes governing the exchanges of greenhouse gases between agricultural systems and the atmosphere. The project will employ both chamber-based field methods and micrometeorological techniques. The appointee will be expected to contribute to the mechanistic modelling of gas exchange in the soil and the atmosphere. The model will be calibrated against field data using a Bayesian approach, which will provide scenario modelling. The appointee will be joining a strong, well-funded research program and will also be looking at data processing and preparation of manuscripts for publication. The position is full-time for two years in the first instance, subject to completion of a satisfactory probation and confirmation period for new appointees.  Membership of a University approved superannuation scheme is a condition of appointment. Interested candidates please contact A/Prof Budiman Minasny, email Budiman.Minasny@sydney.edu.au



European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2013 will be held in Vienna (Austria) from 07 to 12 April 2013. Session SSS 8.3 will address Cost effective tools for soil organic carbon monitoring. The demand for quantitative and updated soil information is increasing worldwide in order to deal with global concerns such as food production and climate regulation.  However, traditional soil maps are not able to cope with quantitative changes as well as estimates of the state of several key soil properties.  Cost effective tools to monitor soil properties across continents are required.  The challenge of monitoring soil organic carbon is that a uniform and innovative methodology would be required to compare trends across countries/continents, but at the same time the approach should be flexible enough to allow updating and inserting new data for downscaling to resolve local demands. This session will be convened by Bas van Wesemael (UCL, Belgium), Luca Montanarella (EC-JRC, Italy) and Christian Walter (INRA, France). The keynote will be delivered on behalf of Keith D Shepherd (ICRAF, Kenya). For further information and submission of abstracts:


The Soul of Soil and Civilization, October 14–16, 2014. Soil Science Society of Turkey (SSST) was established in 1964 in order to develop, disseminate, and introduce the theoretical and applied Soil Science in Turkey. 9th International Soil Science Congress on “The Soul of Soil and Civilization” is going to be held at SSST, in collaboration with Federation of Eurasian Soil Science Societies (FESSS), October 14–16, 2014 in Side, Antalya, Turkey. The congress will focus on multidisciplinary approach to soil science, with special interest on basic research, latest and technological developments for soil use and management. The scientific sessions and panels will also emphasize basic concepts of soil.

The IUSS Global Soil C Conference  will be held 3-6 June 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. The IUSS Global Soil Carbon Conference is the first IUSS interdivisional and intercommissional conference that focuses on soil C in space and time, soil C properties and processes, soil C in relation to soil use and management, and the role of soil C in sustaining society and the environment. Abstracts can now be submitted at http://iuss-c-conference.org/ - deadline 1 February 2013.

The call for papers is now open for Pedometrics 2013 Conference to be held in Nairobi, Kenya 26-31 August 2013. Abstracts can be submitted at https://sites.google.com/a/cgxchange.org/pedometrics2013/ The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) will be co-hosting the Pedometrics 2013 conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Conference objectives include: showcase innovative research on the mathematical spatial and temporal modeling of soil through interactive discussions and technical sessions, with specific examples from the tropics. And to encourage the recognition of results from pedometric analyses on informing management decisions and public policy. Student scholarships are available.

A Soil-Waste-Water 2013 workshop will be held 3-5 April 2014 in Landau, Germany. The workshop aims to integrate the currently widely spread and heterogeneous discussion on the benefits and risks of the use of wastes and wastewaters in agriculture. It aims to bring together specialists from soil science, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology and agriculture in order to start a joint discussion with you on how to sustainably use agricultural wastes and low quality water in agriculture. Please submit your abstracts by 15th January. For more information: www.soil-waste-water.de

The International Conference Four Decades of Progress in Monitoring and Modeling of Processes in the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere System: Applications and Challenges will be held in Naples (Italy), 19-20 June 2013.  Papers can be submitted at http://www.spa-conference-naples2013.org. Since we are now witnessing a growing convergence between the monitoring and modeling activities related to the soil-plant-atmosphere (SPA) processes, this event is organized to bring together researchers from different background not only to discuss the achievements obtained thus far, but also to outline future research directions being of interest to the younger generation.

Nicolaus Copernicus University of Torun  & Polish Soil Science Society would like to invite you to join us for the  7th International Conference of the Urban Soils Working Group, SUITMA, of the International Union of Soil Sciences. SUITMAs (Soils in Urban, Industrial, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas) are one of main components of urban ecosystem. They are very diverse and heterogeneous, and fulfill primary functions of utmost importance. However, knowledge related to SUITMAs is still insufficient, which impairs the administration of urban areas and limit the role of soil science in the decision making process for urban land management. SUITMA 7 would be held in UNESCO World Heritage city of Torun, famous for its gothic architecture. One-day pre-conference tour (Northern Poland red brick gothic castles), two-day mid-conference field tour (18 & 19 September 2013) will be offered in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province and a post-conference tour (20 - 23 September 2013) will be organized in Poland and Czech Republic, finishing in Prague, to address issues related to urban and industrial soils of Central Europe. Registration and Abstract submission is open. For more information visit conference website: www.suitma7.umk.pl or email Przemyslaw CHARZYNSKI, Chairman of SUITMA 7: suitma7@umk.pl  You are also welcomed to join SUITMA 7 group on Facebook to be instantly informed on news and updates concerning the Conference.

New Publications

A Passion for Science and Zion, the Yaalon Story, by Dan H. Yaalon, 2012. This well-illustrated autobiography by the soil scientist and IUSS Dockuchaev award recipient Dan Yaalon has sections on his childhood and family, the war years, Israel and his academic career, and also includes recollections of family members, family trees and a list of scientific publications. The book is available from for selected people free upon request yaalon@vms.huji.ac.il provided full postal address is included; or prepaid for US$70 for libraries and institutes.

Digital soil mapping:  theoretical and experimental studies. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute, 2012. – 350 p. (in Russian), Hardcover, e-mail: savigory@gmail.com, price 20 USD (without postal cost) Editor-in-chief: Academician A.L. Ivanov, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences Editorial board: N.P. Sorokina, I.Yu. Savin (editors), V.P. Samsonova, Yu. L. Meshalkina, M.V. Konyushkova. Reviewers:  prof. A.S. Viktorov, prof. V.P. Belobrov. This book provides an insight into the current state of digital soil mapping in Russia and shows the experience in the use of methods widely adopted to digital soil mapping. The papers of authors from different research institutes (V.V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute, Faculty of Soil Science and Geographical Faculty at the Moscow State University, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Physical-Chemical and Biological Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Mathematical Problems in Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, K.A. Timiryazev Moscow Agricultural Academy, D.N. Pryanishnikov Russian Institute of Agrochemistry, V.I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Institute of Biology, Russian Academy of Science) cover various aspects of the problem relating to soil mapping. Twenty contributions are arranged into four sections. In the first section the outlines are given on general theoretical and methodological studies in digital soil mapping; reviews on this subject are presented. The second section is devoted to information sources, databases and some methodological aspects of soil mapping. The next two sections are concerned with the experience gained in utility of computer-based methods for compiling soil maps of different content (genetic, applied maps and maps of definite soil properties) and at all the scales. This publication is the culmination of presentations arising from discussions during seminars on digital soil mapping lasting for 6 years and organized by the commissions on soil mapping and pedometrics of V.V. Dokuchaev Society of Russian Soil Scientists. The book gives a clear understanding of the subject for those involved in soil, soil-ecological, soil-agrochemical, landscape mapping and closely related disciplines.

Dynamics of Wheel-Soil Systems. A Soil Stress and Deformation-Based Approach. Series: Ground Vehicle Engineering. By Jaroslaw A. Pytka. CRC Press. Routledge, Taylor and Francis. ISBN: 978-1-46-651527-5. Hardcover, 331 pages. Price $139.95. Why is knowledge of soil stress and deformation state important for off-road locomotion? How do you measure soil stress and deformation under wheel loads? What are the actual values of stresses and deformation in soil or snow under a passing wheel? Providing answers to these questions and more, Dynamics of Wheel–Soil Systems: A Soil Stress and Deformation-Based Approach is a practical reference for anyone who works with experiment design and data analysis of soil stress and deformation measurements under vehicle load. Based on the author’s 15 years of experience in field experimentation on wheel–soil dynamics, the book describes methods and devices for soil stress and deformation measurements and presents numerical data from full-scale field experiments. These methods offer practical solutions to methodological problems that may arise during the design and preparation of field experiments.

Soil Water and Agronomic Productivity. Series: Advances in Soil Science. Rattan Lal, B.A. Stewart (Eds.). CRC Press. Routledge, Taylor and Francis. ISBN: 978-1-43-985079-4. Hardcover, 594 pages. Price $139.95. Crop water use can be increased by management of surface runoff, groundwater, irrigation, and soil water. Technological innovations to enhance availability of water for agricultural crops depend on soil and site-specific conditions. Devoted to the principles and practices of enhancing water use efficiency, Soil Water and Agronomic Productivity addresses current problems associated with water supplies required for agricultural purposes and food production. Written for professionals and students in agricultural fields, the book focuses on innovative technologies for improving soil water availability, enhancing water use efficiency, and using productive irrigation systems. It also presents techniques to conserve water in the root zone as well as remote sensing techniques to assess soil water regime and predict drought on a regional scale. Soil water management is crucial to reducing the vulnerability to agronomic drought. There are numerous examples of aquifers that have been severely depleted by misuse and mismanagement. Soil Water and Agronomic Productivity explains the factors and causes of the mismanagement of soil water and proposes options for sustainable and efficient use of scarce water resources. Meeting the global food demand will require careful worldwide management of soil and water resources, and this can only be done by sharing information and knowledge.

Handbook of Processes and Modeling in the Soil-Plant System. Rolf Neider, D. Bendi (Eds.). CRC Press. Routledge, Taylor and Francis. ISBN: 978-1-56022-915-5. Paperback, Price $104.95. ISBN: 978-1-56022-914-8. Hardcover, Price $179.99. Learn to create and use simulation models—the most reliable and cost-effective tools for predicting real-world results. The Handbook of Processes and Modeling in the Soil-Plant System is the first book to present a holistic view of the processes within the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Unlike other publications, which tend to be more specialized, this book covers nearly all of the processes in the soil-plant system, including the fundamental processes of soil formation, degradation, and the dynamics of water and matter. It also illustrates how simulation modeling can be used to understand and forecast multiple interactions among various processes and predict their environmental impact. This unique volume assembles information that until now was scattered among journals, bulletins, reports, and symposia proceedings to present models that simulate almost all of the processes occurring in the soil-plant system and explores the results that these models are capable of producing.

Field Sampling for Environmental Science and Management. By Richard Webster, Murray Lark. CRC Press. Routledge, Taylor and Francis. ISBN: 978-184971-368-9. Paperback, 192 pages. Price $49.95. ISBN: 978-1-84971-367-2. Hardcover, 192 pages. Price $145.00. Scientists and consultants need to estimate and map properties of the terrestrial environment. These include plant nutrients and parasites in soil, gaseous emissions from soil, pollutant metals and xenobiotics in waste and contaminated land, salt in groundwater and species abundances above ground. The scale varies from small experimental plots to catchments, and the land may be enclosed in fields or be open grassland, forest or desert. Those who sample the variables to obtain the necessary data need guidance on the design and analysis of sampling methods for their conclusions and recommendations to be valid. This book provides that guidance, backed by sound rationale and statistical theory. It concentrates on design-based sampling for estimates of mean values of environmental properties, emphasizing replication and randomization. It starts with simple random sampling and then progresses to more efficient designs, such as spatially stratified random sampling, stratification by classes and cluster sampling. It includes a section on purposive sampling in classical soil survey, which is relevant to other environmental properties such as vegetation. It also describes the effects of bulking on errors and the use of ancillary information and regression to improve estimates. The authors draw the important distinction between design-based sampling for estimating means and model-based methods (geostatistics) for local spatial prediction and mapping, and focus on the latter. They describe designs suitable for computing variograms and prediction by kriging, as well as a staged approach, so that sampling is neither inadequate nor excessive, and designs adapt as knowledge is accumulated. Including numerous worked case studies of sampling in agriculture, ecology and environmental science, the book will be of immediate practical value.