Update: 21.03.2018

In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

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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 71 (March 2011)

Information for and from the global soil science community

New Soil Science Journal

The SJSS is an international journal launched by the Spanish Soil Science Society published in electronic format every four months which welcomes scientific research in Soil Science from all countries and geographic areas. In particular, this publication seeks to act as a scientific connection between academic communities and other research centres whose activities are dedicated to the different areas of Soil Science represented by the Spanish Society of Soil Science: soil research, study, education, and management. It will be an open-access, free-of-charge for authors, peer-reviewed journal, that, from the very beginning, will comply with all the requirements for indexing and cataloguing of the main citation databases.  The SJSS will be mainly in English, but will accept also contributions in Spanish and Portuguese. It will be published in the Universia portal (www.universia.es/index.htm) together with other open-access electronic publications. The first issue will appear during this year. The instructions for authors can already be found in the web page of the Spanish Society of Soil Science: www.secs.com.es/normas.htm


The Swiss open-access journal Sensors (impact factor 1.9) will launch a special issue on sensing organic pollution in soil, air and water. Organic pollution, including petroleum hydrocarbons, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated aromatic compounds, and pesticides in soil, water and food, and its vapor in air are disastrous. Portable, rapid, cheap and robust sensing technologies, their sensitivity, selectivity, speed, reliability/robustness at various conditions are of interest.

Website: www.mdpi.com/si/sensors/sopsawf/ Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2011. Guest Editors: Claes-Goran S. Granqvist, Professor, The Angstrom Laboratory, Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University Laszlo B. Kish, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas A&M University

Soil Science Society of America Celebrates 75th Anniversary

The Soil Science Society of America celebrates its 75th Anniversary in 2011. Founded in 1936, SSSA supports peer-reviewed publications, including Soil Science Society of America Journal, an Annual Meeting, science policy activities, certification programs, and educational outreach. According to President Chuck Rice, the importance of the soil ecosystem is moving to the forefront of discussions about climate change, food security, water quantity and quality, contamination, and human health. SSSA completed its assessment of the Grand Challenges facing the soil science discipline: click here. SSSA is planning several anniversary activities, including events at the Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, 16-19th October 2011.

Global move towards soil security needed

Leading international soil scientists have called on Australian governments and industry to lead the world in collaborating with farmers to increase the uptake of soil carbon for improved soil security. The call was made as part of at the recent global soil carbon summit held at the University of Sydney. Australian agriculture is set to experience the destructive effects of ongoing climate change first and hardest. The summit marked the beginning of an international soil carbon initiative to improve understanding and raise awareness of soil security in Australia and around the world. More info click here

Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Soil Mapping

The Division of Plant and Soil Sciences at West Virginia University is seeking a postdoctoral fellow in soil science at the National Soil Survey Center-Geospatial Research Unit. Responsibilities of the position are to conduct research on development of digital soil property maps at regional and continental scales in support of the GlobalSoilMap.net project. Efforts will include regionalizing and disaggregating existing soil survey information, incorporating existing and new point data, and investigating use of other environmental data to improve spatial prediction of soil classes and soil properties. For more information including how to apply, visit http://www.caf.wvu.edu/plsc/soilscience/postdoc_DSM.pdf or contact Jim Thompson ( james.thompson@mail.wvu.edu). 

Meetings and Conferences

The 6th conference of the Urban Soils Working Group, SUITMA (Soils in Urban, Industrial, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas) will be held in Marrakech (Morocco), from 3 to 7 October 2011. After successful events in Germany, France, Egypt, China, and the United States, the 2011 conference will offer a further step forward in the knowledge of urban soils, focusing on the functions of SUITMAs in global change issues. Beside a three-day conference (3,4 & 7 October), a two-day field tour (5 & 6 October) will be offered to examine soils and landscapes, soil-based restoration, research, and mapping projects under semi-arid climate, and a post-conference tour (9 - 12 October) will be organized in Senegal to address issues related to urban soils under tropical conditions. For more detail visit suitma6.com

28th Congress of the Polish Society of Soil Science connected with International Scientific Conference 'Soil - Human - Environment' will be held September 5 10, 2011 in Torun, Poland. The hosts of the Congress and Conference is Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. Main topics of the conference are: soil genesis, classification and cartography, soil chemistry and physics, soil biology, degradation, conservation and reclamation of soils, use and management of soils, field session. Invited speakers with lectures as well as oral and poster presentations and field sessions will be good opportunity to discuss the importance of soils and soil science for  human and environment presently and in the future. For more details please visit: www.zgleb.umk.pl/kongres.html

The Consortium for the Improvement of Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA) invites paper and poster submissions for an international conference on 'Challenges and Opportunities for Agricultural Intensification of the Humid Highland Systems of sub-Saharan Africa', to be convened in Kigali, Rwanda from 24-27 October 2011. The conference aims to take stock of the state of the art of agricultural intensification and to chart the way forward for agricultural research for development in the African humid highlands. Abstracts for both oral and poster presentations are invited under the four conference themes: Farming system components, Farming systems integration, Drivers and determinants for adoption, and Knowledge intensive approaches. Register on the conference website at http://tinyurl.com/69lr2k3

New Publications

That Hard Hot Land. By Mary L. Keenan. ISBN: 978-0-9564910-0-8. Hardback: A4 size, 416 pages, 22 maps, 270 photographs marykeenan44@hotmail.com Between December 1933 and April 1934 three very different men travelled 6000 miles through western and southern Sudan by train, motor car, lorry, river steamer, donkey, and on foot.  The expedition aimed to investigate the relationship between the vegetation and soil through a strip of country with similar temperatures but with great variations in rainfall.  A ten day trek to the volcanic caldera of Jebel Marra, Darfur is described with geological, botanical, and ethnographical observations.  Journeys are described, hunting with local tribes, fishing, and shooting for bushmeat.  Tribes and their customs, chiefs, government officials, governors, district commissioners, doctors, teachers, tourists, missionaries, and all others met during the expedition; as well as agriculture, water, cotton growing, salt mining, experimental fruit farms, roads and railways, hospitals, schools, and much more, are described and researched. Readers of That Hard Hot Land, whether for serious academic study or for general interest, will be taken on a specific journey through Sudan, during a specific time in history.  This is part of Sudan's history, for those who have been, for those who are here now, and for those who will come.

Soil Atlas of the Czech Republic. Edited by Josef  Kozak,  Czech University of  informationLife Sciences, Prague 2010, 150 p. hardcover, ISBN: 978-80-213-2028-4. The book involves in the introductory part and principle information, concerning soil functions, its degradation and contamination, endangered areas, soil survey, digital soil mapping, soil rating, modelling and GIS demonstrated on 66 figures. Predominant part of the publication is devoted to the taxonomic classification system of the Czech Republic, compared with WRB and to soil maps. It includes 71 pictures of soil profiles, micromorphological features, moisture regimes and tables of principal diagnostic properties. Presented are map of soil associations dominants at scale 1:250.000, parent materials at 1:500.000, geomorphological soil regions 1:500.000  and soil regions in the SOTER  system at scale 1:1 million.

Physical Soil Mechanics. Series: Advances in Geophysical and Environmental Mechanics and Mathematics. Gudehus, Gerd. 1st Edition., 2011, XIII, 840 p. 1000 illus., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-3-540-36353-8. Price 199,95. Soil is matter in its own right. Its nature can be captured by means of monotonous, cyclic and strange attractors. Thus material properties are defined by the asymptotic response of sand- and clay-like samples to imposed deformations and stresses. This serves to validate and calibrate elastoplastic and hypoplastic relations with comparative plots. Extensions capture thermal and seismic activations, limitations occur due to localizations and skeleton decay.Attractors in the large characterize boundary value problems from model tests via geotechnical operations up to tectonic evolutions. Validations of hypoplastic calculations are shown with many examples, possible further applications are indicated in detail. This approach is energetically justified and limited by critical points where the otherwise legitimate continuity gets lost by localization and decay. You will be fascinated by the fourth element although or just as it is so manifold.

Soil Mechanics Lab Manual 2e. by Michael E. Kalinski, ISBN 978-0-470-55683-2, 2011. Paperback, 208 pages. Price $61.60. Soil Mechanics Lab Manual prepares readers to enter the field with a collection of the most common soil mechanics tests. The procedures for all of these tests are written in accordance with applicable American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Each chapter in the manual describes one test. Instructor may choose to combine more than one test during a given laboratory session. For example, the moisture content and specific gravity laboratory exercises are relatively short, so it would be reasonable to combine these exercises into one three-hour laboratory period. Laboratory exercises and data sheets are included at the end of each chapter. Brief video demonstrations are available online for each of the laboratory experiments described in this manual. Each demonstration includes a brief background of the test, required equipment, and step-by-step procedure for the measurement and reduction of experimental data. Data sheets are written to be used for practical purposes as well as educational purposes, with places to insert information regarding project, boring number, and soil Recovery Depth/Method. The procedures for all of the tests described in this manual are written in accordance with applicable American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. It is important to be familiar with these standards to under-stand, interpret, and properly apply laboratory results obtained using a standardized method. Each test described in this manual has an associated ASTM standard number.

Remote Sensing of Soil Salinization. Impact on Land Management. Edited by Graciela Metternicht and Alfred Zinck. CRC Press, Francis & Taylor Group, 2009, 377 pp. Catalog no. 65025. ISBN: 978-1-4200-6502-2. Providing an overview of soil salinity assessment using remote sensing technologies, this book analyzes basic issues of remote detection, such as the spectral behavior of salt type and vegetation influence. Each remote sensing platform is evaluated  for its advantages  and disadvantages. International contributors  present the latest technological developments and image classification techniques used to detect and map land degradation caused by soil salinization. An accompanying CD-ROM includes color images.

Field Guide Afghanistan - Flora and Vegetation.  Siegmar-W. Breckle & M. Daud Rafiqpoor (2010), ISBN 978-3-940766-30-4, Hardcover, 864 pages, December 2010. Scientia Bonnensis. Sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) the Book is part of a Developmental Project.  This comprehensive Field Guide, written in both English and Dari is the first pictorial atlas to the flora of Afghanistan, including more than 1,200 out of Afghanistan's 4000 plant species in colour photographs, with brief descriptions of morphology, ecology and local distribution, and other relevant remarks. The introductory chapters give an overal survey on geology, soils, climate, vegetation and economic plants of the country, as well as on biodiversity, taxonomy and documentation. Some 4,500 copies of the book are on the way to Kabul for distribution for free to universities and educational institutes throughout Afghanistan. Some 500 copies are distributed for free worldwide to Herbaria, Museums and Libraries sponsored by the Sibbald Trust of the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh.


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