Update: 12.02.2018

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 87 (September 2012)


New IUSS President – Rainer Horn

Prof Rainer Horn has been elected the new IUSS President. Prof Horn is an international renowned soil physicists the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany. Since the start of the IUSS in 1924 the President was always from the country that organized the World Congress of Soil Science. In 2010 it was decided to decouple the President from the Congress – and Rainer Horn is the first elected IUSS President in that role. He will serve as President-Elect until the end of the 20th Congress in June 2014 at which stage he will assume the role of President until the end of 2016 and move into the position of Past President for 2017 and 2018. His term as President-Elect will commence on 1st January, 2013. Prof Horn’s webpage can be viewed here

Conference report

The 4th IUSS Conference for Soil Classification was held in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA from June 11 to 14, 2012. Dr. Mark Kuzila at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, hosted the conference with additional sponsorship from IUSS, Virginia Tech, and the National Soil Survey Center (NSSC). The conference was attended by about 60 people, and included about 30 oral presentations, two field trips and a dozen posters. The Conference web site has the abstracts, presentations, and posters in Adobe Acrobat® format. The information is also linked through the ICOMANTH web site and the NCSS Newsletter in an article written by Kenneth Scheffe, NSSC.

Predatory Open-access Journals

Do you regularly get emails asking for article submission in open-access journals?  Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian from University of Colorado at Denver, has catalogued a list of what he called predatory, open-access publishers: http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/ Predatory open-access journals exploit the author-pays model of open-access publishing for their own profit. These journals prey on young researchers with a promise of rapid articles publishing in exchange for a publishing fee. They usually have no transparency in the process with little or even no peer-review process. There are several soil science titles, e.g.  Transnational Journal of Agriculture and Soil Sciences,  Journal of Soil Science and Environmental Management (by Academic Journals). Soil scientists may wish to scrutinise this list http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/, and think hard whether to submit their work to these journals.



The 22nd edition of the international symposium Soil Forming Factors and Processes from the Temperate Zone, 20-22 September, 2013, Iaşi, Romania. The theme of this year’s edition is Terroirs, vineyards and wines, and the symposium will include a two days field application related to the relations between soils, vineyards and the specificity of wines, in the eastern part of Romania and the Republic of Moldova (passport needed). All the information concerning accommodation and costs will be made available in the second circular, and on the site of our journal: www.soilscience.ro More Information: Ionut Vasiliniuc e-mail: vasiliniucionut@yahoo.com.

New Publications

Competitive Sorption and Transport of Heavy Metals in Soils and Geological Media. H. Magdi Selim(Ed.). 2012 by CRC Press. Taylor and Francis. ISBN: 978-1-43-988014-2. Hardcover, pages 426. Price $129.95. Bringing new understanding to heavy metals sorption and transport in soils and aquifers, this book explores sorption and mobility of single versus multiple heavy metals species in the vadose zone. It relates transport mechanisms with processes which govern sorption mechanisms that dominate in a competitive system of multiple heavy metal species. Based on knowledge presented in this book, one can identify competitive transport processes of heavy metals which can be subsequently used as a predictive tool.


Desertification, Land Degradation and Sustainability. Anton Imeson 2012. Wiley Blackwell ISBN 978-0-470-71448-5  Hardcover pages 326 price Euro 108, Paper ISBN 978-0-470-7-71449-2 pages 326.  Price Euro 42  EBook ISBN  978-1-1199-7978-4  90 Euro. The holistic treatment covers both historic and present day desertification and considers both geology and culture.  The theme is Man’s impact on the earth from the perspective of the soil and its functions.  Paradigms that enable scale, change and integration across disciplines are illustrated.  Relevant principles from soil science, hydrology and ecology, soil conservation and the social sciences, ethics and law are treated and discussed in the context of land degradation caused by fire, farming, economic investments, grazing. European, and UNCCD actions and strategies are discussed and a global soil conservation policy seen as the way ahead. .


Plant Salt Tolerance: Methods and Protocols. Series: Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol. 913. Shabala, Sergey; Cuin, Tracey Ann (Eds.). 2012  Springer. ISBN: 978-1-61779-985-3. Hardcover, 432 pages. Price $159.00.Soil salinity is destroying several hectares of arable land every minute. Because remedial land management cannot completely solve the problem, salt tolerant crops or plant species able to remove excessive salt from the soil could contribute significantly to managing the salinity problem. The key to engineering crops for salt tolerance lies in a thorough understanding of the physiological mechanisms underlying the adaptive responses of plants to salinity. Plant Salt Tolerance: Methods and Protocols describes recent advances and techniques employed by researchers to understand the molecular and ionic basis of salinity tolerance and to investigate the mechanisms of salt stress perception and signalling in plants. With chapters written by leading international scientists, this book covers nearly 30 different methods, such as microelectrode and molecular methods, imaging techniques, as well as various biochemical assays. Written in the highly successful Methods in Molecular Biology™ series format, chapters contain introductions to their respective topics, lists of the necessary materials and reagents, step-by-step, readily reproducible laboratory protocols, and notes on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls. Authoritative and easily accessible, Plant Salt Tolerance: Methods and Protocols serves as an essential read for every student or researcher tackling various aspects of the salinity problem.


Phytoremediation and Biofortification: Two Sides of One Coin. Yin, Xuebin; Yuan, Linxi (Eds.). 2012 Springer. ISBN: 978-94-007-1438-0. Softcover, 126 pages. Price $49.95. Phytoremediation consists of using plants and their associated microbes for environmental cleanup. Over the past 10 years, this treatment has gained recognition as a cost-effective, non-invasive, alternative or complimentary technology to engineering-based remediation methods. Biofortification, on the other hand, is an agricultural process that increases the uptake and accumulation of mineral nutrients in agricultural products through plant breeding, genetic engineering, or manipulation of agricultural practices. This book shows how, despite having different goals, both phytoremediation and biofortification technologies can be closely connected as they are both based on the phytoextraction process that involves plant uptake, accumulation, and transformation of nutrient elements from soil. More specifically, this brief offers a comprehensive introduction to Phytoremediation and Biofortification of selenium (Se), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), cadium (Cd) and copper (Cu), and illustrates the emerging integration of these two bio-technologies. Phytoremediation and Biofortification: Two Sides of One Coin is a valuable resource to students, technicians, and academics who are interested in the treatment of environmental problems (bioremediation) through the use of plants, and in the field of biofortification.

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