Update: 12.02.2018

Five tonnes of animal life can live in one hectare of soil.

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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 70 (February 2011)

Information for and from the global soil science community

The American Dust bowl - revisited

There is a long review by Stanley Trimble of UCLA in the newish journal Aeolian Research of a book originally published some 30 years ago, Donald Woster's  Dust Bowl: the Southern Plains in the Nineteen Thirties, OUP.  The review seems well worth a read by the soil science community. See Trimble, S.W., 2010. Donald Worster's 'Dust Bowl'. Aeolian Research 2, 1-4.

Meetings and Conferences

EUROSOIL 2012, the 4th International Congress of the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies (ECSSS) will be held in Bari, Italy, from 2 to 6 July 2012, organized by the Italian Society of Soil Science (SISS) and presided by Prof. Nicola Senesi of the University of Bari, Bari, Italy. The Congress will focus on and develop the various aspects of fundamental and applied soil science and technology, field approaches and social, economical and political implications in relation to the present and future needs and emergencies of mankind and environment. The Congress structure will consist of symposia, workshops and other events, including short courses, business meetings, open debates, roundtables, technical specialized meetings and/or demonstrations. The Congress will be structured prevalently on bottom-up proposals received from scientists, educators, and decision makers involved in soil science and related disciplines. Any interested person is cordially invited to visit the EUROSOIL 2012 website, and encouraged to submit proposal(s) for convening symposia and/or workshops and/or organizing any other kind of events through the appropriate form available in the Congress website by 28 February 2011. For more details visit www.eurosoil2012.eu

Sandstone Landscapes: Diversity, Ecology and Conservation. 22-28 April 2012, Poland. The conference is intended to provide a forum to communicate results of research on various aspects (geology, geomorphology, hydrology, soil science, ecology, biology) of sandstone landscapes from many different parts of the world. There will be a particular focus on linkages between different components of natural systems and sustainable management of sandstone areas, many of which are protected for their scenic, earth science, biological or cultural reasons. Field sessions will also give conference participants the opportunity to visit one of the most spectacular sandstone areas in central Europe, including the famous table hill of Szczeliniec Wielki, visited by Johann Wolfgang Goethe in 1790. Finally, we hope that the participation and interaction of sandstone researchers from various specialized fields will strengthen cross-disciplinary cooperation and enhance the global understanding of Sandstone Phenomenon. First two conferences were organized in Doubice (north-west Czech Republic) and in Luxembourg. Present, the third conference will be in April 2012 at resort Kudowa Zdroj in south-west Poland, near the Stolowe Mountains National Park.  More information is available at the site of University of Wroclaw: http://www.geom.uni.wroc.pl/Sandstone_Landscapes_Circular1.pdf

East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies Meeting. The Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka will host the 10th ESAFS International Conference  at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Colombo on 10 - 14 October 2011 .  The conference theme is, 'Soil , a precious Natural Resource: Agricultural Ecosystems, Environmental health & Climate change'.   The Technical session will comprise several parallel sessions on   a wide array of soil related areas. There  will also be a poster session. More details are posted on the conference website    www.esafs10sl.org  which will be regularly updated. Hence, please check often or register your interest to participate online and we will keep you informed. Contact soilscisoclk@gmail.com for further clarifications.

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

New Publications

The Black EarthEcological Principles for Sustainable Agriculture on Chernozem Soils. Series: International Year of Planet Earth, Vol. 10. Krupenikov, Igori Arcadie, Boincean, Boris P., Dent, David. Springer, 2011, X, 190 p. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-94-007-0158-8. $99.95. Soil is the Earth's living skin. It provides anchorage for roots, holds water long enough for plants to make use of it and the nutrients that sustain life, otherwise the Earth would be as barren as Mars. It is home to myriad micro-organisms and armies of microscopic animals as well as the familiar earthworm that accomplish biochemical transformations from fixing atmospheric nitrogen to recycling wastes; it receives and process all fresh water, provides the foundations for our built environment; and comprises the biggest global carbon store that we know how to manage. This book is about the best soil in the world - the black earth or chernozem: how it is being degraded by farming and how it may be farmed sustainably. Industrialisation of farming has laid bare contradictions between the unforgiving laws of ecology and economics. Soil organic matter is the fuel that powers soil systems and the cement that holds the soil together - and in place - but agriculture is burning it up faster than it is being formed: even the chernozem cannot long survive this treatment. Here is the evidence for this trend and, based on long-term field experiments, ecological principles for sustainable agriculture that can reverse the trend and, at the same time, feed the world. Unlike other volumes in the series, this is not an edited collection of scientific papers.

Ecological Aspects of Nitrogen Metabolism in Plants. Joe C. Polacco, Christopher D. Todd, ISBN: 978-0-8138-1649-4, Hardcover, 448 pages, March 2011. Price $156.00. Ecological Aspects of Nitrogen Acquisition explores not only how plants compete for nitrogen in complex ecological communities The book also looks in greater detail at the associations plants recruit with other organisms, ranging from soil microbes to arthropods, as nitrogen acquisition strategies, and how these contribute to individual and evolutionary fitness. The book is divided into four sections, each addressing an important set of relationships of plants with the environment and how this impacts the plant's ability to compete successfully for nitrogen, often the most growth-limiting nutrient. Ecological Aspects of Nitrogen Acquisition provides thorough coverage of this important topic, and will be a vitally important resource for plant scientists, agronomists, and ecologists.

Handbook of Erosion Modelling. Roy P. C. Morgan (Editor), Mark Nearing (Editor), ISBN: 978-1-4051-9010-7, Hardcover, 416 pages, December 2010, Wiley-Blackwell. Price $102.00. The movement of sediment and associated pollutants over the landscape and into water bodies is of increasing concern with respect to pollution control, prevention of muddy floods and environmental protection. In addition, the loss of soil on site has implications for declining agricultural productivity, loss of biodiversity and decreased amenity and landscape value. The fate of sediment and the conservation of soil are important issues for land managers and decision-makers. In developing appropriate policies and solutions, managers and researchers are making greater use of erosion models to characterise the processes of erosion and their interaction with the landscape. A study of erosion requires one to think in terms of microseconds to understand the mechanics of impact of a single raindrop on a soil surface, while landscapes form over periods of thousands of years. These processes operate on scales of millimetres for single raindrops to mega-metres for continents. Erosion modelling thus covers quite a lot of ground. This book introduces the conceptual and mathematical frameworks used to formulate models of soil erosion and uses case studies to show how models are applied to a variety of purposes at a range of spatial and temporal scales. The aim is to provide land managers and others with the tools required to select a model appropriate to the type and scale of erosion problem, to show what users can expect in terms of accuracy of model predictions and to provide an appreciation of both the advantages and limitations of models. Problems covered include those arising from agriculture, the construction industry, pollution and climatic change and range in scale from farms to small and large catchments.

Soil Carbon Dynamics. An Integrated Methodology. Edited by: Werner L. Kutsch, Michael Bahn, Andreas Heinemeyer. Hardback, ISBN: 9780521865616, 2010. Cambridge UP 298 pages. Carbon stored in soils represents the largest terrestrial carbon pool and factors affecting this will be vital in the understanding of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This book provides an integrated view on measuring and modeling soil carbon dynamics. Based on a broad range of in-depth contributions by leading scientists it gives an overview of current research concepts, developments and outlooks and introduces cutting-edge methodologies, ranging from questions of appropriate measurement design to the potential application of stable isotopes and molecular tools. It includes a standardised soil CO2 efflux protocol, aimed at data consistency and inter-site comparability and thus underpins a regional and global understanding of soil carbon dynamics. This book provides an important reference work for students and scientists interested in many aspects of soil ecology and biogeochemical cycles, policy makers, carbon traders and others concerned with the global carbon cycle.

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