Update: 21.03.2018

Soil is one of the most complicated biological materials on our planet.

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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 85 (July 2012)


New Pedometron

The new Pedometron is out, and available at the IUSS and pedometrics website.  A-Xing Zhu, the new Chair of the Commission writes his first “From the Chair Message”.  Two delegates to Pedometrics 2011 record their impressions.  Jaap de Gruijter, the 2010 Webster Medal winner, describes how he first became engaged with the interface of soil science and statistics; and there is photographic evidence of the pride that Jaap’s grandson takes in the fact that his grandfather now is also a medal-winner.  There is a report from the Global Soil Partnership meeting that took place in Rome earlier this year, and from the 5th Global Digital Soil Mapping workshop which was held in Sydney.  There are three articles on technical matters from Tom, Dick and Budi.  Tom Orton and colleagues discuss an approach to geostatistical analysis of censored data (such as data on variables with a detection limit).  Dick Brus describes a strategy for sampling and estimating a regional trend in soil monitoring.  Budiman Minasny discusses trends in geostatistical modelling from Matheronian geostatistics through to the world of Markov Chain Monte Carlo.  Finally, there are three Pedomathemagica problems; Alf and Bert the soil surveyors are back in number-land, and one problem promises a bottle of champagne for the first successful solver.

World Food Prize for Soil Physicist Dan Hillel

Daniel Hillel, an adjunct senior scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, USA, has been awarded the World Food Prize for his work in conceiving and promoting water-saving methods that have increased crop production on arid lands in 30 countries. Hillel wrote several seminal soil science books, and developed the scientific basis for “micro-irrigation”–the steady drip and trickle of small, finely calibrated amounts of water onto crops, instead of traditional cyclic flooding and drying of fields. Due largely to his efforts, starting in the 1950s and continuing today, in many places such low-volume, high-frequency irrigation has replaced the high-volume flooding or sprinkling standard through much of the 20th century. Hillel showed that micro-irrigation could not only conserve scare water resources, but that continuously moist soils increase the yields of many row crops and fruit trees. He went on to personally teach the technology to farmers and governments in advisory missions to many nations. More information here: www.worldfoodprize.org




12th International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements. The 2013 ICOBTE conference themes include: Establishing the Frontiers of trace Element Research and Sustainable Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sites. The Conference will be held at the University of Georgia’s Conference Center & Hotel (http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/) in Athens, GA from June 16-20, 2013. The call for on-line abstract submissions will tentatively open in July, 2012, with a deadline for abstract submission of November 30, 2012. The official conference language is English. Reduced registration fees are available to deserving participants from lesser developed countries.  For additional information, please check the ICOBTE 2013 website or contact organizers directly: John Seaman, Chair ( seaman@srel.edu), Jason Unrine, Vice Chair ( jason.unrine@uky.edu), and H. Magdi Selim, International Organizing Committee Chair ( hselim@lsu.edu) http://icobte2013.org/

British Society of Soil Science Annual Meeting 'Soil Science and Food Security' September 4-5th 2012, Nottingham University, UK. The meeting will focus on the required contributions and potential opportunities for soil science with respect to Global Food Security. The forecasted increasingly variable weather patterns will influence the environment and its ability to support sustainable food production. Major challenges include water scarcity, a decrease availability of key inputs to food production, managing carbon and differing local impacts of climate change. Soil science is at the heart of all these issues. For further information and to book: www.soils.org.uk/events

WRB Field Excursion in Australia. The Australian Society of Soil Science and the IUSS Working Group WRB are planning an excursion in Australia. The purpose of the excursion is to see how Australian soils fit into the WRB system and to work out proposals for changes in the 3rd edition of WRB (to be presented at the World Soil Congress 2014 in Korea). The excursion visits the state of Victoria. Dates: November 25 (Sunday) evening to November 28 (Wednesday) evening. After this excursion, the participants are invited to join an excursion in Tasmania, which is the official pre-conference tour of the soil science conference of the Australian Society of Soil Science and the New Zealand Society of Soil Science in Hobart. The excursions can be booked separately. Deadline is August 31.




New Publications

Plants and Heavy Metals. Series: SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science. Subseries: SpringerBriefs in Biometals. Furini, Antonella (Ed.). 2012, 2012, XIV. Springer. ISBN: 978-94-007-4440-0. Softcover, 86 pages. Price $49.95. This title focuses on the many aspects of the interaction between plants and heavy metals. Not only it describes the effects of heavy metal toxicity on the plant cell and its organs but it also examines the mechanisms that plants adopt to scavenge heavy metals at cellular, physiological, and metabolic level. Plants and Heavy Metals also analyses Hyperaccumulator plants and shows their potential role in phytoremediation technologies in light of the recent research results.

Advances in Citrus Nutrition. Srivastava, Anoop Kumar (Ed.). 2012, 2012, XIV.  Springer. ISBN: 978-94-007-4170-6. Hardcover, 477 pages. Price $239.00. Citrus nutrition has been the subject of worldwide research to not only soil scientists, but to researchers covering various other disciplines as well. Despite many breakthroughs in diagnosis and management of nutrient constraints, citrus nutritionists are still baffled by the complex processes associated with precise field diagnosis of different nutrient constraints. Hence, currently available diagnostic tools are more applicable to next season’s crop, instead of addressing the constraints in the current standing crop. In this regard, there has been some distinctive developments. For example, the application of geospatial tools including non-destructive proximal sensing, metalloenzymes through increasing involvement of genomics and metabolomics (e.g., expressed tag analysis), exploiting the dynamic relationship between soil enzymes and fertility variations, etc. Studying the partitioning of nutrients across critical growth stages has, not only improved our understanding on nutritional physiology, but enabled researchers to modulate nutrient requirement according to nutrient demand of growing leaves and fruits according to source-sink relationship. This is where nutrient use efficiency intervenes best to unravel many of the mysteries associated with nutrient requirement at various phenophases of crops. The major abiotic constraints in the form of calcium carbonate (induced iron chlorosis on alkaline soils and Al-toxicity; induced nutrient transformations on acid soils) have taken the understanding of citrus nutrition to another level of excellence, highlighting their significance in cutting down the efficiency of  nutrient use. These developments have undoubtedly added a new dimension to diagnosis of nutrient constraints. As many as 30 chapters from 72 eminent researchers spread over 19 countries have made this maiden book on Citrus Nutrition more special both in terms of quality as well as attracting a global readership.

Radioactivity Transfer in Environment and Food. Series: Environmental Science and Engineering. By Vosniakos, Fokion K. 2012, 2012, XVI. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-642-28740-4. Hardcover, 148 pages. Price $129.00. The book deals with various consequences of major nuclear accidents, such as in 1986 in Chernobyl and in 2011 in Fukushima. The public is extremely interested in learning more about the movements and risks posed by radiation in the environment related to food supply and food safety. Radionuclides are found in air, water, soil and even in us not only after nuclear accidents because they occur also in nature. Every day, we ingest and inhale radionuclides in our air and food and the water. This book provides a solid underpinning of the basic physical-chemistry and biogeochemistry of naturally occurring and anthrop radioactivity. The mechanisms of radioactive element transfer in the atmosphere, tropospheric and stratospheric diffusion of radioactivity, environmental contamination from accidents and the impact of atmospheric pollution on the food chain, soil and plants, are analyzed and the analytical methods are illustrated. The question of natural radioactivity concentration in building materials is addressed too. While the book contains many case studies and data for Greece, it is of general value. It contributes to the development of international environmentally safe standards and economically reasonable standard regulations based on justified radiological, social and economical legislation concepts.

Major Soil Groups of the World: Ecology, Genesis, Properties and Classification. By Jean-Paul Legros. June 2012. Science Publishers. ISBN: 978-1-57808-783-9. Hardcover, 470 pages. Price $139.95. This profusely illustrated book gives an exhaustive account of the principal types of soils of our planet. The "progressive descent of weathering fronts" model, recognized and used by eminent international scientists is the guiding principle of choice to link the observations and to give the reader a synthetic and coherent view of the differentiation of soils. In each case, the introductory reminders summarize the physicochemical and mineralogical principles necessary for understanding the text. The nomenclatures rely systematically and simultaneously on the two most commonly used classifications: Soil Taxonomy and World Reference Base. This reference manual is aimed at students of the undergraduate and graduate courses, but is also intended for workers and scientists in this subject area (geologists, pedologists, agronomists, land-use planners, foresters, etc.) as well as for all those concerned with or interested in protection of the environment.

The Fertile Triangle: The Interrelationship of Air, Water, and Nutrients in Maximizing Soil Productivity. By Benjamin Wolf. June 2012. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1-46-653543-5. eBook, 484 pages. The critical growing information provided in The Fertile Triangle: The Interrelationship of Air, Water, and Nutrients in Maximizing Soil Productivity will allow you to reap the benefits of a successful crop. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the three major components (air, water, and nutrients) that determine crop yields, helping you become a better grower and/or advisor. Dr. Benjamin Wolf has made a valuable contribution to growers and students alike with this comprehensive book written as a result of 50 years of experience consulting growers of numerous crops. You will discover many farm practices and other media (such as soil preparation, use of machinery, and correction of pH and salt levels) that affect the three growing components. Soil fertility and crop production students, farmers, farm managers, consultants, extension personnel, and those who sell various agricultural chemicals used in soil supplements can profit from The Fertile Triangle's complete coverage of air, water, and nutrients in the production of crops and how these items are interrelated. Your new understanding of their importance, their close relationships, and how they are affected by various farm practices will allow you to utilize soil inputs to your full advantage with minimal harmful effects on crops, soils, or the environment.