Update: 08.12.2017

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.

World Soil Day 2012

Africa

The Africa Soil Health Consortium wanted a fitting way to stimulate thinking about World Soil Day on 5 December 2012.  They decided to turn their newsletter over to a diverse group of thinkers on soil health who between them covered the major issues of integrated soil fertility management.  The result is a newsletter consisting of 15 wishes.

“We wanted contributors to explore one idea that could make a major difference to Africa’s soil,” explains Duncan Sones, the ASHC associate responsible for the newsletter.  “We know that having a vision for how things could, or should, be is at the heart of theories of change.  And that by pooling ideas – especially from a diverse group of people – we get better ideas – the wisdom of crowds. We wanted to shape the debate in ways that avoided the exclusive language of scientific journals.”

George Oduor, project management for ASHC, said: “These ideas are being shared to inspire and perhaps, in some cases, to provoke. They are not necessarily ideas shared or endorsed by ASHC, or our funders, and some are contradictory. But by exploring these big ideas our experts wanted to advocate for the coming year, we hoped it would challenge our thinking.”

Wishes came in a variety of guises. Margaret Kroma from AGRA, had the biggest wish -to see women’s land rights incorporated into human rights.  As she points out investment in soil fertility is unlikely if land tenure is insecure. 

Valerie Kelly of Michigan State University wanted the governments of Africa to think again about fertilizer subsidy.  In her wish she states: ”In most cases, fertilizer subsidies have become the dominant government contribution to the agricultural sector, with very little attention to all the supporting investments that are needed for fertilizer use to result in significant and sustained soil and productivity improvements… there has been little systematic analysis of the costs and benefits of the subsidies and the extent to which program objectives were attained.

Francis Tetteh of the CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kumasi, Ghana wished that fertilizer subsidy schemes were better run to stop abuses.

The relationship between researchers and farmers was central to the wish of Christian Witt from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He imagined that the emerging technologies that are delivering information and guidance to farmers could become the source of research data.  Diagnostic tools that have a ‘post-harvest’ value addition for the data collected. The lack of connection between research and extension has created disconnects which limit the success of both professions.

Peter Okoth, from International Centre for Tropical Agriculture Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute, wished for better demonstration plots to convince smallholder farmers of the need to feed their soil so it can feed them.  He said: “Too often farmers are told to get their soil tested in laboratories– which is usually not possible - and then they are told in language they don’t understand to apply inputs they can’t get.” Fortunately embedded within many of 15 wishes in the publication are visions of a future where small practical steps have solved many of these issues.

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Bangladesh

The International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) proposed 5th December as WORLD SOIL DAY in 2002. As observance of the Soil Day the Department of Soil Science, BAU has organized a seminar on ‘Soil Degradation in Bangladesh’ on 05 December at 11 a.m. Renowned soil scientist, Prof. Dr. M. Jahiruddin gave a scientific talk on causes and extent of soil degradation in Bangladesh and possible remedies to Soil Degradation.

Ex Vice Chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University and Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University Prof. Dr. M. Musharraf Hussain Mian was present there as the chief guest. He emphasized the importance of maintaining soil health for securing rapidly increasing population of Bangladesh as well as world. More than 50 Soil Scientists from Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BINA), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Soil Science Department, Bangladesh Agricultural University attended the seminar.


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Dubai

The Dubai based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) along with the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) -managed by UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), headquarters at Rome Italy, has celebrated December 5 as the First World Soil Day. The World Soil Day was initiated by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002.

At this occasion I would like to share the slogan: Healthy soils are essential for food security and sustainable ecosystem services At this special occasion, great news for UAE nationals is the recent completion of National Soil Map and the UAE Soil Information System (UAESIS), and I would like to congratulate all of you on this significant achievement, especially the managements of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW). Ismahane said, the future challenges for all of us are how to transform soil knowledge to tangible actions to facilitate rational use of soil resources for sustainable national development, biodiversity conservation, environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation. Ismahane stressed, that in the absence of science based informed decisions the soils will continually be degraded and will undermine the Millennium Development Goal of poverty and hunger eradication.  We must jointly raise our voice in the national and international policy debate, advocating for soil management approaches that contribute to achieving sustainable development and an equitable access to this finite resource. As ICBA DG I assure you all that we are closely working with colleagues across UAE and the world for the sustainable use of soils and their conservation. 

Dr Ismahane Elouafi

Director General, International Center for Biosaline Agruiculture Dubai

United Arab Emirates   Email: I.elouafi@biosaline.org.ae


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Germany

In Germany the World Soil Day was used to announce the Soil of the Year 2013: The Plaggic Anthrosol (Plaggenesch). The German name Plaggenesch combines the terms “Plaggen” and “Esch”. “Plaggen”, or sods, are flat blocks of soil material with its above herbal or shrub or grassy vegetation and felted roots, shallowly scraped with a hoe or a spade. “Esch” originated from the Gothic word “astic”, and describes a usually slightly more elevated area of the arable land. According to German Soil Taxonomy, the diagnostic horizon of a Plaggenesch is the “E” horizon, which is more than 40 cm in thickness, containing at least 0.6 % organic matter and increased phosphate contents. Additionally, artefacts such as charcoal, pieces of bricks and other remnants of daily use are typical findings. Plaggenesch soils can be differentiated into “Brown Plaggenesch” (resulting from loamy meadow sods of a brownish colour – picture on the left) and “Grey Plaggenesch” (composed of sandy and greyish heather sods – picture on the right).

Brown Plaggenesch

Brown Plaggenesch

Grey Plaggenesch

Grey Plaggenesch

Further information and material (posters, flyers, CD’s)

Kuratorium Boden des Jahres, Professor M. Frielinghaus, ZALF Müncheberg, frielinghaus@zalf.de

Prof. Luise Giani, Uni Oldenburg: luise.giani@uni-oldenburg.de

Prof. Klaus Mueller, Dr. Lutz Markowski, HS Osnabrück: k.mueller@hs-osnabrueck.de; l.makowsky@hs-osnabrueck.de

Dr. Wolf Eckelmann, BGR Hannover: w.eckelmann@bgr.de

Bundesverband Boden (BVB), www.bvboden.de

Deutsche Bodenkundliche Gesellschaft (DBG), www.dbges.de

Museum am Schölerberg Osnabrück, Tel.: 0541-56003-0, info@museum-am-schoelerberg.de


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Italy

The Italian Society of Soil Science (SISS) and the Italian Society of Pedology (SIPe) organised on the 4-5th of December 2012 the celebration of World Soil Day 2012, in Bolzano, in collaboration with the South Tyrol Museum of Nature.

More than 100 participants from any parts of Italy, among soil scientists, students, teachers, people of local and national administration, celebrated "the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change", as proposed during the 17th International Union of Soil Science Congress (Bangkok, 2002).

The programme of 2-day workshop "The man and the soil: a never-ending story" consisted of oral, poster presentations and a large public debate on link between soil and society. The contributions from participants highlighted the essential role that soil plays for humankind and put emphasis on the vulnerability of this important resource. The contributions pointed out that soil is a finite resource, non-renewable on a human time-scale and that inappropriate management practices, increasing demand or change in population pressure drive unsustainable and inadequate governance over this essential resource. The thousand-year-old relationship between soil and man was illustrated, and key-questions such as developing awareness about the importance of soil for the Man of Tomorrow were discussed. Thus, special emphasis was done to soil education and to the activities that schools and museums developed on this topic. The closing event of the World Soil Day 2012 was to present the conclusion draw from the workshop, coupled to a visit of the interactive education activity for primary school on soil "Scava scava: Kosmos Boden" organised by the South Tyrol Museum of Nature, a good example of link between soil science and society.

A sculpture exhibited at the South Tyrol Museum of Nature during the exhibition devoted to the soil.

The hand that sustains soil.

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Thailand


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Yazd University, Iran

Student association of soil science of Yazd University held the first world day meeting in collaboration with National Salinity Research Center (NSRC). Both departments (Soil Science Department of Yazd University and NSRC) are young institutions mainly working on problem affected (saline and polluted) soils.

At this meeting speakers from Tarbiat Modares University (TMU), Yazd University and NSRC stated their comments about the challenges in soil science at national and local scales. The speakers and their topic of presentations were:

  • Dr. M.J. Malakouti; Emeritus Professor, TMU, The role of improving soil quality in improving the common health of society. 
  • Dr. M. Akhavan Ghalibaf; Assistant Professor, Yazd University. Yazd as a pattern of symbiosis with soil.
  • Y. Hasheminejhad; Staff Member, NSRC, Salinity a challenge or opportunity.
  • Y. Hasheminejhad; Staff Member, NSRC, New tools of soil salinity assessment.
  • J. Salem; Staff Member, Agricultural Research Center, Food security in relation with soil and water resources.

 At the end a fair of NSRC findings, publications and some instrumentation was visited by participants.

 


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