Update: 21.03.2018

Soil stores 10% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.

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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 122 (August 2015)

FAO soil and land legacy maps

FAO Land and Water Division (NRL) has made an effort to make Soil Legacy data and information available for their users. In that regard, FAO has just finished uploading 1228 soil and land legacy maps (mainly soil maps and also land use, geological and land cover legacy maps).
More at: http://www.fao.org/soils-portal/soil-survey/soil-maps-and-databases/fao-soil-legacy-maps/en/


Soil Treasure Unearthed

Nearly century-old soil samples, maps, and survey reports for the U.S. were discovered. Soils of each Region of the U.S. are represented. These materials were donated to US Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Library and a ceremony took place when they were delivered on August 19, 2015. Article submitted by Susan Y. Demas, MLRA Soil Scientist to Pedologue, Newsletter of Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Soil Scientists, Spring/Summer (2nd 2015 issue) 2015 http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53cab412e4b09085a6633398/t/55b16e96e4b0a7f88e9e65e9/1437691542544/PEDOLOGUESpring%3BSummer2015.1.pdf


Answer to earthworm's ability to digest poisons unearthed by scientists

All plants contain toxins which continue to work after leaf fall, so how worms are able to stomach dead grass and leaf litter has long been a mystery. British scientists have cracked the global earthworm mystery: they have worked out how the planet’s great subterranean reprocessing system copes with the poisons that would choke most herbivores.
More here: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/04/earthworms-ability-digest-poisons-unearthed-molecules-drilodefensins


Brazilian website on soil

Easy Pedology (http://www.pedologiafacil.com.br) by Helium Prado, researcher of Instituto Agronomico de Campinas in Brazil, deals with different topics of soil classification and management. It is available in English and Portuguese. The site main objective is a simpler way to socialize soil knowledge for students and professionals in agricultural sciences, biological, geological and geomorphological.


Rise of the citizen scientist

An article in Nature reflects a paper in Geoderma entitled ‘Can citizen science assist digital soil mapping?’ (D. G. Rossiter et al. Geoderma 259–260, 71–80; 2015) which makes the case that, non-specialists can help expert soil scientists to track quality, properties and types of soil. It goes further: these amateur soil researchers should be recruited to help with existing and future national surveys. Civil engineers and construction workers routinely view the subsoil, and digging foundations for buildings and trenches for pipelines offers a unique look at the spatial variability of different layers. An army of geocachers — twenty-first-century treasure hunters — visit harsh terrain and difficult-to-access places, and could collect soil data. And they routinely use satellite navigation to record their journeys.
See full article here: http://www.nature.com/news/rise-of-the-citizen-scientist-1.18192?WT.mc_id=FBK_NATURE_1508_FHEDITORIALCITIZENSCI_PORTFOLIO


Kenyan loan rates linked to soil quality

Agricultural produce remains Kenya’s largest export and in many parts of the country, the loss of fertile top soil is a major problem. Population growth, erosion and poor methods constantly threaten the viability of the soil and its ability to grow crops. But now, a Kenyan company is offering loans to farmers where the interest rates charged are linked to the quality of the soil, providing an incentive for soil preservation. The BBC’s Hannah McNeish reports from the Aberdares in central Kenya for Africa Business Report.
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33732443


Let’s Talk About Soil !

Most people are unaware of the wonderland that is hidden below our feet. And yet, without soils we would not live. We could not feed ourselves, produce our clothes or the fuel and medicinal products we need. Soils recycle waste materials back into nutrients, store and filter water, and are home to a breath-taking amount of organisms. All of this happens ‘hidden’ from our eyes. That’s why it is high time to put soils in the spotlight! In collaboration with Heerenstraat Theater Wageningen and Lazuur food community, ISRIC-World Soil Information is organising a film & discussion event Let’s Talk About Soil! on Friday, 25 September 2015, 19:30-22:30 hours. If you are interested to participate, please make sure you book a ticket on time, as space is restricted. Admission fee is 4 Euro. For more details, see our webpage: http://isric.org/content/let’s-talk-about-soil (will be updated on August 31)


SOIL FUN RUN in conjuction with International Year of Soils 2015

The Malaysian Society of Soil Science with the collaboration of the Department of Agriculture Malaysia, will conduct a SOIL FUN RUN on Saturday, 17 October 2015 starting 8.30am at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) campus. This run is aimed to create awareness and understanding for the importance of soil in our daily lives and appreciates Mother Nature’s finite resource. The run which is held at UPM, Malaysia’s premiere agriculture university, will enable participants to enjoy the beautiful greeneries in the vicinity and at the same time understand about soil and its properties. It is planned to have various stops along the run where the participants would be exposed to various pieces of information on soils such as a soil profile, soil play etc. Participants are required to pass all these stations before completing the run.


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

10th Training on Infrared Spectroscopy for prediction of Soil and Plant Nutrients, September 7-11 2015 at ChromAfrica LLC, Nairobi, Kenya.

IR (Infrared Spectroscopy) spectra are used to predict soil C and N contents. The course is aimed at lecturers and laboratory staff in the field of agriculture, soil science, plant science, and agronomy. Application forms can be downloaded at http://www.chromafrica.com and returned before 30/08/15. For further information contact info@chromafrica.com or md@chromafrica.com .

11th Training on Infrared Spectroscopy for prediction of Soil and Plant Nutrients, October 28-30 2015 at ChromAfrica LLC, Nairobi, Kenya.

IR (Infrared Spectroscopy) spectra are used to predict soil C and N contents. The course is aimed at lecturers and laboratory staff in the field of agriculture, soil science, plant science, and agronomy. Application forms can be downloaded at http://www.chromafrica.com and returned before 14/10/15. For further information contact info@chromafrica.com or md@chromafrica.com .

Celebration of International Year of Soils 2015 – Achievements and Future Challenges, IAEA/Vienna International Centre, Austria, December 7, 2015.

The IUSS together with the FAO and IAEA is organizing a conference in Vienna to celebrate the International Year of Soils (IYS) together with the World Soil Day (WSD). Speakers from regional soil science societies (Africa, Australia, East and Southeast Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America and North America), the IUSS Council, the chairs and vice-chairs of the IUSS Divisions, Commissions and Working Groups as well as several high level representatives from the Royal Family of Thailand, FAO, IAEA, European Commission, Austrian government and scientific partners will be invited to discuss the achievements of the IYS and the future challenges in soil science as well as opportunities for international cooperation.
Please, find the updated provisional programme here: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/iys_2015_celebration_-_draft_programme_20151207_v7.pdf


New publications

Soil hydrological impacts and climatic controls of land use and land cover changes in the Upper Blue Nile (Abay) basin: UNESCO-IHE PhD Thesis

by Ermias Teferi Demessie; August 18, 2015 by CRC Press. 240 Pages, ISBN 9781138028746. Paperback, price: GBP £49.29. The study was conducted on the headwater area of the Blue Nile river, which is the runoff and sediment source of the downstream Nile basin countries (i.e. Egypt and Sudan). It represents the first attempt to assess how land change affects and interacts with land degradation, soil hydrology and climate (variability) in the Upper Blue Nile basin. New pedotransfer functions (PTFs) are developed and verified for high altitude tropical soils of data scarce areas for assessing soil water availability and retention.

Labile Organic Matter—Chemical Compositions, Function, and Significance in Soil and the Environment, SSSA Special Publication 62, 2015

published by: Soil Science Society of America, Inc. Because of its dynamic nature, labile organic matter is a key player in ecological and environmental phenomena in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Editors Zhongqi He and Fengchang Wu include contributions from more than 30 senior researchers and innovative junior investigators from six countries. A timely synthesis of recent research, this book shows an appreciation for the remarkable range of wet chemistry and advanced instrumental techniques available for labile organic matter research. With issue-oriented comprehensive reviews and problem-solving case studies, this collection brings together soil and aquatic scientists to provide a comprehensive understanding and guidelines for managing the sources and fates of labile organic matter. This book will serve as a valuable reference source for university faculty, graduate students, soil scientists, ecologists, limnologists, marine scientists, environmental scientists, agricultural engineers, and any who work with various aspects of labile organic matter in the environment. IN PRESS! This book is being published according to the “Just Published” model, with more chapters to be published online as they are completed.
For more details see: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/books/tocs/sssaspecialpubl/sssaspecpub62


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