Update: 21.03.2018

It can take more than 1000 years to form a centimeter of topsoil.

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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 90 (December 2012)


5 December – World Soil Day!

The IUSS launched the 5th December as World Soil Day in 2002. World Soil day celebrates the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change. It is celebrated particularly by the global community of 60,000 soil scientists charged with responsibility of generating and communicating soil knowledge for the common good. It is held on December 5th because it corresponds with the official birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej ,The King of Thailand, who has officially sanctioned the event. In an increasing number of countries across the world this day is celebrated each year with a wide ranging of activities and festivities. Please send us a report of the celebrations in your country and we shall report this to global soil science community. Have a wonderful World Soil Day 2012!


New IUSS Bulletin

IUSS Bulletin 121 is now published. In this Bulletin, some words from the IUSS President elect Rainer Horn, draft minutes from the IUSS Council meeting in Jeju, Korea in June 2012, the IUSS Strategic plan, Five questions to Cynthia Stiles, Jim Thompson, Zbigniew Zagorski and Ingrid Kogel-Knabner, the favourite soil science books of Pandi Zdruli, Christian Feller and Artemi Cerda, the World Food Prize for Dan Hillel, and awards and prizes for Victor Targulian and Pedro Sanchez, obituaries for Alain Ruellan, Benno Warkentin and Fernando Ortega Sastriques, followed by reports of meetings and a list of new soil publications. Happy reading! The IUSS Bulletin can be freely downloaded from our website www.iuss.org under IUSS Bulletins


The Dust Bowl and Soil Secrets on tv

A 4-hours documentary on The Dust Bowl chronicles the man-made ecological disaster in the USA in which the wheat boom of the "Great Plow-Up" was followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s. The documentary can be seen on the web, click here. Soil Secrets is an Australian broadcast that focuses on the most diverse habitat around. A range of new technologies means scientists and farmers are now able to access much more detailed information about the biology of the soil and how to manipulate it for greater productivity and profit. To watch this half an hour documentary click here




The IUSS Global Soil C Conference  will be held 3-6 June 2012 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 2012. 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: o 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.

XX Latinamerican Soil Science Congress will be organized by the Latinamerican Soil Science Society (SLCS) www.slcs.org.mx  and the Peruvian Soil Science Society in Cuzco Peru from 9-15 November 2014. Soon we will have a final web exclusive for the congress for early subscriptions. Speakers will be Dr. Pedro Sanchez (World food Prize 2002) , Dr. Ratan Lal (Ohio University) , Dra. Cheryl Palm (Columbia University), Dr. Eddie Schrevens (Leuven University Belgium) , Dr. Patrick Lavelle (Paris University) , Dra. Carmen Felipe-Morales (UNALM University , Peru). All are welcome to participate and to know more our Inca culture.

Egyptian Society of Soil Science. It is our great honor and pleasure to host the meeting 2014 in Kafr El-Sheikh, Egypt on May 5-8, 2014. It will be an opportunity for the international community to exchange ideas and develop a common vision for the future of world climate changes and Sustainable Development of Natural Resources. The main theme of this meeting will be “Socio-economic indicators of climate change, impacts of climate changes on sustainable development of natural resources”. Papers on all aspects of sustainable environmental sciences will be welcome as well. This conference will offer outstanding international speakers. There will be time for abstracts, posters, and many informal discussions that have helped make past meetings successful. The URL 2014 meeting is: www.esss.org.eg


(10-15 August 2013, Kursk & Voronezh regions, Russia) is an activity of Commission 1.6. During the field workshop unique loess-paleosol sections, Paleolithic sites, alluvial and colluvial pedosedimentary sequences including Late Pleistocene and Holocene paleosols, classical and modern concepts concerning genesis of Chernozems, their paleoenvironmental implications and Pre-Holocene heritage will be demonstrated and discussed. The preliminary list of sessions includes: Loess- and tephra-paleosol sequences; alluvial and colluvial soil-sedimentary sequences; paleosols and pedosediments of human habitats; surface paleosols and relic features in modern profiles; Chernozems as paleo-environmental archives; pre-quaternary paleosols: paleoecology and post-burial changes; biological markers in paleosols. Contact: paleopedology2013@gmail.com Website: http://agora.guru.ru/display.php?conf=paleopedology2013

Workshop "Rates of Soil Forming Processes in Mediteranean Climate"

The workshop will be held on 24-28 September 2013 in Calabria and Basilicata, South Italy. It will comprise a 2 days-meeting at the University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende, plus a field trip to soil chronosequences near Rossano (1 day) and Metaponto (2 days). We will discuss what we can learn from soil chronosequences, and we will also address problems in Pleistocene soil chronosequence studies, including soil variability, climate changes, geomorphic processes, and dust influx. Abstract submission: 1 January - 30 April 2013; Registration: 1 January - 30 June 2013 Organizers: Dr. Fabio Scarciglia ( scarciglia@unical.it), Dr. Daniela Sauer (




ISRIC World Soil Information, Wageningen, the Netherlands (www.isric.org)

[ESG ISR-0011]  Soil scientist or physical geographer  (BSc or equivalent), familiar with soil classification systems, GIS, remote sensing and terrain analyses, database management. Well-developed communication abilities for lecturing in international arena as well as writing and verbal communications in English. The position will be based at ISRIC, Wageningen, the Netherlands. The contract period will be 2 years with annual renewal based on performance and with possibility for extension. Working hours: max 38 per week. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with responsibility and experience. For full job description and how to apply, click here


[ESG ISR-0012]  Soil scientist or physical geographer (MSc or PhD degree) with expertise in dynamic modelling of soil- and landscape related processes. The aim is to facilitate efficient exchange of soil data between soil scientists and the users community. Experience in practical field research is an asset, ability to work in international environment. Good interpersonal, verbal and writing communications in English are essential. Command of French or Spanish is an asset. The position will be based at ISRIC, Wageningen, the Netherlands. The contract period will be 2 years with annual renewal based on performance and with possibility for extension. Working hours: max 38 per week. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with responsibility and experience. For full job description and how to apply, click here


[ESG ISR-0013] Soil data expert/physical geographer (BSc or equivalent) or geo-informatics/GIS familiar with soil geography, background in agricultural science or physical geography, experience in programming, spatial databases, and remote sensing. The position will be based at ISRIC, Wageningen, the Netherlands. The contract period will be 2 years with annual renewal based on performance and with possibility for extension. Working hours: max 38 per week. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with responsibility and experience. For full job description and how to apply, click here


Postdoctoral positions Czech Republic

Applications are invited for postdoctoral positions at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic. The topics include: Mapping and Prediction of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks; Impact of Erosion on Soil Structure and Transport Processes in Soils; Land Management, Land-Use Changes; Mobility of Metals on the Boundary of Bio-, Pedo- and Geosphere; Mobility and Bioavailability of Risk Elements in Soil. The deadline for applications is 1 December 2012. Please send applications to: CULS Prague, Personnel Department – Vyskocilova, Kamycka 129, 165 21 Prague 6 – Suchdol, Czech Republic, or by e-mail to: vyskocilova@rektorat.czu.cz.


New Publications

Mima Mounds: The Case for Polygenesis and Bioturbation. Geological Society of America (GSA) Special Publication 490. Book is available at: http://rock.geosociety.org/Bookstore/default.asp?oID=0&catID=9&pID=SPE490 Producing the volume on soil mounds, which are planet-wide in occurrence, involved several decades’ work by contributors, editors and referees dedicated to bring polygenic-biogenic points of view undergirded by solid scientific standards to a topic too long buffeted by controversy—the origin of mima-pimple-prairie-natural mounds. Understanding how soil mounds form provides an appreciation of the notable role of animal bioturbations as a collectively fundamental and long under-emphasized array of pedogenic processes.

Fertiliser management: balance, efficiency, profitability, by  Tandon HLS. 2012. ISBN: 81-85116-67-9. Fertiliser Development and Consultation Organisation, 204-204A Bhanot Corner, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi110048 (India). Pp. 187+xii. Price per copy US$60. Inclusive of airmail delivery. Contact fdco@airtelmail.in Farmers around the world used  closed to 164 million tonnes of N+P2O5+K2O through fertilisers (2009 figures).Efficient fertilizer management is the only sensible and scientifically proven route for using fertilizers. It leads to a satisfactory level of nutrient use efficiency (NUE), increased crop response rates and also minimises losses of applied nutrients, and therefore produces minimal adverse effects on the environment, of which all of us are also a part. This book presents a research-based practically useful account of various aspects of fertilizer management.It  covers a wide range of topics of practical importance such as . (i) Introduction ad Scope (ii) Plant Nutrients: Their Role, Uptake and Removal by Crops (iii) Soils: Their Composition, Properties and Fertility Status (iv) Fertilisers: Their Composition and Characteristics (v) Fertilisers: Their Transformation in Soils and Application Aspects (vi) Formulation of Fertiliser Recommendations (vii) Impact of Fertiliser Application on Crop Yields (viii) Product Selection and Efficient Fertiliser Management (ix) Economics of Fertiliser Use (x) Fertiliser Production and Consumption (xi) Fertiliser Quality Aspects (xii) Fertiliser Promotion,  Marketing Distribution (xiii) Fertiliser Calculations and Conversion Factors and (xiv) References alongwith  Other Sources of Information.


Compost Handbook:  research - production – application, by MC Manna, A Subba Rao, Asha Sahu and UB Singh,2012.  ISBN: 81-85116-64-4. Published by Fertiliser Development and Consultation Organisation, 204 Bhanot Corner, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi 110048 , India. Price per copy  US$60 inclusive of airmail charges (contact fdco@airtelmail.in). Composting of recyclable wastes is a proven route for their productive use in farming. This  Compost   Handbook  written by Dr MC Manna, A Subba Rao, Asha Sahu and UB Singh (of the ICAR’s Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal )  and edited by  Dr HLS Tandon of FDCO  provides a research-based, practically useful  account of various types of composts production to practical application. The authors have covered all major aspects of composts and composting. After a short introductory chapter, the handbook contains theme based chapters on  (i) Organic wastes: Their Sources, Nutrient Concentration and Suitability for Composting (ii) Methods of Composting in India and Abroad (iii) Factors Affecting Composting Process (iv) Structural and Functional Diversity of Microorganisms Involved in Composting  (v) Enrichment of Composts and technologies for Accelerating Composting (vi) Composition, Quality and Quality Standards of  (vii) Methods of Compost Analysis (viii)  Impact of Compost on Crop Productivity and Soil Health (ix) Research and Development Needs (x) References  followed by a need based glossary.

Soil Remediation and Rehabilitation. Treatment of Contaminated and Disturbed Land. Series: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 23. By Meuser, Helmut. 2013. Springer. ISBN: 978-94-007-5750-9. Hardcover, 411 pages. Price $179.00. This book provides a comprehensive overview of remediation and rehabilitation techniques and strategies for contaminated and anthropogenically disturbed land. Rehabilitation approaches in the urban environment, such as brownfield redevelopment and urban mining, are discussed. In relation to contaminated land, techniques for soil containment and decontamination of soil, soil vapour and groundwater are comprehensively and systematically presented. Complicated treatment techniques are schematically depicted and can be readily understood. The more traditional approaches, such as soil washing, bioremediation, and pump-and-treat, are introduced, but the younger fields of remediation, like phytoremediation, funnel-and-gate, and steam-enhanced extraction, are also taken into consideration. Agricultural, silvicultural and environmentally sustainable rehabilitation strategies for reclaiming disturbed land/terrain in former mining or natural-resource extraction areas, such as open-cast mines, quarries, harvested peatlands, open-pit mines and subsided mining terrain (sinkholes), are introduced.

Material Cycling of Wetland Soils Driven by Freeze-Thaw Effects. Series: Springer Theses. By Yu, Xiaofei. 2013. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-642-34464-0. Hardcover, 150 pages. Price $129.00. Freezing and thawing of soils is a common phenomenon in the winter-cold zone. The thesis titled “Material Cycling of Wetland Soils Driven by Freeze-Thaw Effects” systematically explores the freeze-thaw effects on the accumulation and release processes of carbon and nitrogen in wetland soils, which is a good step toward the investigation of biogeochemical processes in wetlands in seasonal freeze-thaw areas. It is also developing strategies aimed at global warming effects on the accumulation and release of carbon and nitrogen in wetlands.