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 73 (May 2011)

Information for and from the global soil science community

2012 Young Micromorphology Publication Awards

Commission 1.1 - Soil Morphology and Micromorphology will award the Young Micromorphologist's Publication Award every 2 years: at each International Working Meeting on Micromorphology, and at each World Congress of Soil Science. The purpose of this award is to encourage and promote the use of soil  micromorphology by young scientists. The Award will be given to one or more young scientist who has published research in the preceeding 4 years, that is an outstanding contribution to the principles, methodology, or application of micromorphology. The author must be less than 35 years old at the time of acceptance of the publication, and he/she must be the first author. The paper must be published in an international journal with wide distribution, but not necessarily a scientific journal. The award is not restricted to papers published in the English language only. The selection of the awardees will be the responsibilitiy of the Kubiena Award Commitee. Applicants should submit the following: (1) a pdf file of the paper(s) to be considered for the award, (2) proof of age for eligibility (ex: photocopy of ID or other document with birthdate), and (3) a cover letter explaining why they should be considered for this award. Letters of support from senior micromorphologists, outlining the qualities of the publication(s) are also welcome. Applications are due September 30, 2011. Send to: Dr. Rosa M Poch, Dep. Medi Ambient I Ci'ncies del S'ol, Universitat de Lleida, Av. Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Catalonia (Spain), Fax: +34973702613, rosa.poch@macs.udl.cat

Micromorphology Newsletter

In this newsletter you will find the report on the course in Tubingen 2011, and the announcement of future courses in Medellin 2011 and in London 2011. Also, there will be meetings, workshops and congresses very shortly: Pisa 2011, Vienna 2011, Lleida 2012, Eurosoil2012 Bari, Moskow-Smolensko 2012. Some of these meetings are very close to each other, which may be an advantage for people coming from overseas. You will also find new publications, announcements, short research notes and new projects where we need your help. See here http://loess.umcs.lublin.pl/micro.htm


The 7th International Acid Sulfate Soil Conference (7th IASSC) will be held in Vaasa, Finland, in the end of August 2012. There will be a four-day conference on August 26-30, including a one-day mid-conference field tour, and two one-day excursions August 31 - September 1. The conference is organized by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) and the Acid Sulfate Soil Working Group of the International Union of Soil Sciences (ASS WG), in cooperation with several other organisations. Please visit our website http://www.7iassc.fi  for additional information, for the first circular, background, news and preregistration.

New Publications

Soil Evaluation - Materials for Lectures and Seminars. By Starodubtsev V.M., Petrenko L.R., and Struk V.S., Kyiv: AGRARMEDIA Group, 2011.  98 p. ISBN 978-966-2424-37-9. Soft cover. The manual provides its readers with a know-how pertaining to different ways and aspects of soil and land evaluation in Ukraine and some other countries. Soil areas (mapping units) as well as land plots can be evaluated in grade points, from 0 to 100, regardless of their multiform peculiarities and ways of practical utilization. General grades allow competing the soils and lands regardless of the crops grown on them. Such grades pertain to potential productivity of evaluated objects. They also allow comparative economic analyses of farms and other enterprises, using lands as a means of production. Partial soil and land evaluation makes possible to estimate the potential productivity of soils and land areas with regard of the crop grown on them or any other form of their employment in agriculture, horticulture, and cultivation of vegetables and fruits. The book deciphers the application of the so-called 'desirability functions', proposed by T.O. Grinchenko for both general and partial soil, climate, and land area evaluation. It also directs the readers' attention to the weak points of different methods of soil and land evaluation in Ukraine, such as Kuzmichov, Siry, Novakovsky et al., and Medvedyev et al methods. The solution of the problem of soil and land evaluation in Ukraine is still not 'waiting sound the corner'. At the same time, such solution is must in the employment of such an evaluation in various decision-making activities of land users, economists, traders, ecologists, and, especially so, of land surveyors and proper use managers. The book will be useful to the graduate university students of agrobiology, soil science, ecology, land management, and agricultural economics.

 Elevated Carbon Dioxide:  Impacts on Soil and Plant Water Relations.  By M.B. Kirkham. 2011.  CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida. 399 pages.  ISBN: 978-1-4398-5504-1. Between 1958 and 2008, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased from 316 to 385 ppm.  Continued increases in CO2 concentration will significantly affect long-term climate change, including variations in agricultural yields.  Focusing on this critical issue, Elevated Carbon Dioxide:  Impacts on Soil and Plant Water Relations presents research conducted on field-grown sorghum, winter wheat, and rangeland plants under elevated CO2.  It describes specific results from pioneering experiments performed over a seven-year period in the Evapotranspiration Laboratory at Kansas State University, along with experiments appearing in peer-reviewed journal articles.

Recent Trends in Soil Science and Agronomy Research in the Northern Great Plains of North America. By Malhi, S.S., Gan, Y.T., Schoenau, J.J., Lemke, R.L. and Liebig, M.A. (eds.), 2010. Research Signpost, Trivandrum, Kerala, India. ISBN: 978-81-308-0422-4, 427 pp. The book 'Recent Trends in Soil Science and Agronomy Research in the Northern Great Plains of North America' summarizes published research in soil science and agronomy from various field experiments conducted in the soil-climatic/agro-ecological regions of the Northern Great Plains of North America. Collectively, the book represents an up-to-date compilation of scientific information related to the sustainable management of dryland cropping systems in this important agricultural area. Fifteen chapters, written by Canadian and U.S. scientists, review a myriad of topics focused on developing a better understanding of dryland cropping systems and their management. Specific topics reviewed in the book include the impact of soil, crop and fertilizer/nutrient management practices, land use, landscape, organic amendments, and other parameters in dryland cropping systems on crop production, economics, plant diseases, grain and forage quality, nutrient accumulation and distribution in soil, soil properties, microbial diversity, greenhouse gas emissions, and water-, nutrient- and energy-use efficiency. Information in the book may be most useful to researchers and practitioners in the Prairie Provinces of Canada, adjoining northern U.S. states, and other parts of the world possessing similar soil-climatic attributes as the Northern Great Plains.

Bodenkundliches Praktikum Exercises in Pedology -  An Introduction into Soil Analysis and Interpretation for Soil Scientists, Geologists and  Ecologists, especially Agriculturists and Forester (in German). Blume, Hans-Peter, Stahr, Karl; Leinweber, Peter. 3rd Edition, 2011, XIII, 255 p., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-3-8274-1553-0. Price 39,95. Students are instructed, how to describe, to classify  and to map soils as well as to measure their water, air and nutrient dynamics in the field. They also find  several methods (mainly ISO Standards), to study their physical, chemical, mineralogical and biological conditions. The interpretation of soil data is shown -: How to reconstruct the direction, the intensity and the duration of different soil forming processes? Advice for site property assessment is given. How to classify the rooting capability, the water, air and nutrient conditions of soils, as well as their microbial activity, their erosion risk, and the risk of groundwater poisoning.  At the end conclusions are drawn for an improved land use and the necessity of meliorations.

Phosphorus in Action. Biological Processes in Soil Phosphorus Cycling. Series: Soil Biology, Vol. 26. Benemann, Else K.; Oberson, Astrid; Frossard, Emmanuel (Eds.) 1st Edition., 2011, XV, 483 p., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-3-642-15270-2. Price 149,95.  Phosphorus (P) is a finite resource which is essential for life. It is a limiting nutrient in many ecosystems but also a pollutant which can affect biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems and change the ecology of water bodies. This book collects the existing, up-to-date information on biological processes in soil P cycling, which to date have remained much less understood than physico-chemical processes. The methods section presents spectroscopic techniques, characterization of microbial P forms, as well as the use of tracers, molecular approaches and modeling of soil-plant systems. The section on processes deals with mycorrhizal symbioses, microbial P solubilization, soil macrofauna, phosphatase enzymes and rhizosphere processes. On the system level, P cycling is examined for grasslands, arctic and alpine soils, forest plantations, tropical forests, and dryland regions, while aspects of P management with respect to animal production and cropping are also presented. The final chapter examines the interactions between global change and P cycling.

Understanding Soils in Urban Environments. Pam Hazelton (University of Technology, Sydney), Brian Murphy (NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change), 160 pages, Publisher: CSIRO Publishing, February 2011, Paperback, ISBN: 9780643091740. Price AU $ 59.95. Soil properties such as water retention, salinity and acidity are not just issues for agriculture and forestry. They are equally as significant in creating environmental and structural problems for buildings and other engineering works. As an increasing proportion of the world's population is living in cities, and building and related infrastructure development continues, these problems assume ever-greater importance. In addition, existing works contribute to urban soil erosion and pollution as well as increased levels of urban runoff. Understanding Soils in Urban Environments explains how urban soils develop, change and erode. It describes their physical and chemical properties and focuses on specific soil problems, such as acid sulfate soils, that can cause environmental concern and also affect engineering works. It also addresses contemporary issues such as green roofs, urban green space and the man-made urban soils that plants may need to thrive in. It provides a concise introduction to all aspects of soils in urban environments and will be extremely useful to students in a wide range of disciplines, from soil science and urban forestry and horticulture, to planning, engineering, construction and land remediation, as well as to engineers, builders, landscape architects, ecologists, planners and developers.   


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