Update: 03.08.2017

A handful of soil can contain billions of soil microorganisms.

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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 140 (February 2017)


IUSS News

International Decade of Soils (2015-2024)

As one of the outreach activities during the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), the book Soils within cities – Global approaches to their sustainable management was published. Edited on behalf of the International Union of Soil Sciences, this book is the result of a joint effort of the international SUITMA (Soils of the Urban, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas) working group of the International Union of Soil Sciences. IUSS would like to thank all authors and especially SUITMA for their dedication and work on this book. For further details please check the section on New Publications.

Another way of reaching out to a broader audience is IUSS’s participation as supporting partner in an ICSU Grant Project led by IUBS called “TROP-ICSU: Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding”. The project started in February and will last for three years. IUSS will contribute its expertise in developing teaching/learning tools on the impact of climate change on soils and vice versa as well as its impact on our environment. It will furthermore help identify ecologically sensitive areas in the context of climate change.

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IUSS Stimulus Fund

IUSS has established an annual Stimulus Fund to support suitable activities within its Commissions and Working Groups. Where appropriate, the Fund will also support other activities to assist the development of Soil Science generally but particularly in regions of the world where lack of resources limit opportunities. The current submission period will end March 15, 2017.

Details on the IUSS Stimulus Fund can be found here: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=594

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Call for nominations for the Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal

This medal will be awarded by IUSS Division 1 Soils in Space and Time and Commission 4.5 History, philosophy and sociology of soil science. The nominees may be proposed by institutions, societies, commissions and working groups of the IUSS, and by individuals. The deadline for nominations ends on Dec. 1, 2017. The Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal is awarded once every four years at the World Soil Congress. The first presentation will take place at the XXI. World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2018.

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=26

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Call for Kubiëna medal nominations

The Kubiëna Medal was introduced by Subcommission B – Soil Micromorphology of the ISSS to commemorate the memory of Walter L Kubiëna for his distinguished contribution to soil micromorphology. It is given for outstanding and sustained performance in the discipline of soil micromorphology and to date there have been eight awards: E. Yarilova, R. Brewer, H.J Altemüller, G. Stoops, E.A FitzPatrick, L. Wilding , H. Mucher, N. Fedoroff and R. Miedema. The next medal will be presented at the 2018 IUSS Congress in Rio. Nominations should be sent to rosa.poch@macs.udl.cat by the end of April 2017.

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=172

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Call for nominations of IUSS Division and Commission Officers 2018-2022

We have started the election process for the 4 Division chairs and 44 Commission chairs and vice chairs. The First and Second Vice-Chairperson of each Division shall be appointed by and from the host country where the next World Congress of Soil Science will take place.

This is your chance to become actively involved in the IUSS and shape its future in the years 2018 to 2022. We are now seeking nominations for all positions, and a description of the Divisions is given here: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=40. The description of the specific duties and functions of Divisions and Commission officers is given here: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/duties_and_functions_of_division_and_commission_chairs_and_vice_chairs.pdf.
IUSS Full Members (national soil science societies who paid the membership fees) are encouraged to propose candidates to the Divisional Nominating Committees. Nominees cannot be nominated for more than one position.

Please send in the application before 31st March 2017. The application should include the position, a 100 words biography and homepage URL, if available. It should be sent to:
Positions in Division 1: Prof. Erika Micheli at micheli.erika@mkk.szie.hu
Positions in Division 2: Prof. Kazuyuki Inubushi at inubushi@faculty.chiba-u.jp
Positions in Division 3: Prof. Bal Ram Singh at balram.singh@nmbu.no
Positions in Division 4: Prof. Christian Feller at christian.feller@ird.fr

The timeline is as follows:
31 March 2017 – call for nominations ends
2 May 2017 – list of candidates and their biographies available
1 September 2017 – voting system will open
31 December 2017 – voting system will close
12 February 2018 – announcement of new IUSS officers

We look forward to receiving your application and candidacy.

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General News

Seeking Input on Fundamental Changes to Soil Taxonomy

Soil Taxonomy is the dominant soil classification system in the United States and many other nations. Development of the system began in the early 1950’s and by 1965 was adopted for USDA soil surveys. Over the next five decades a tremendous number of taxa were added to the classification system. For example, between 1983 and 2010 over 160 new subgroups were added just to the Inceptisols. While the number of taxa in Soil Taxonomy has grown rapidly, there have been relatively few conceptual changes to maintain the original goal of the document to be a basic system of soil classification. Thus, the system has become quite complex with each new added taxon and definition resulting in an increasingly cumbersome document that is even difficult for trained soil scientists to effectively apply. Thus, few other disciplines use the system to communicate soils information. Because of the growing number of issues with Soil Taxonomy the Soil Science Society of America established the Fundamental Changes to Soil Taxonomy Task Force.

The objective of the task force is to facilitate an open and transparent process to develop a suite of fundamental changes to Soil Taxonomy leading to a soil classification system that can and will be used by more than just experienced pedologists in the United States. The changes will reflect concepts used in other soil taxonomic systems (specifically the WRB) and thus will require broad input from soil scientists in both the United States and international community. Changes will be developed to simplify format and taxa without losing the knowledge-base in the current system. The task force expects the proposed changes to have minimal negative effects on existing National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) mapping products. Thus, the proposed changes would ensure that Soil Taxonomy serves the dual purposes of an applied system to assess the potential and limitations of the soil resource and as a classification system for the discipline of soil science. The final product would be vetted through the National Cooperative Soil Survey, potentially leading toward the publication of a 3rd edition of Soil Taxonomy.

At this time the Fundamental Changes to Soil Taxonomy Task Force is ready to solicit input from the larger community on drafts of several proposed fundamental changes to Soil Taxonomy. If you would be interested in commenting on these draft proposals please send an email to fundamentalchanges@etal.uri.edu.

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Call for Nominations: SSSA Awards, Scholarships

Nominate deserving colleagues for Soil Science Society of America Awards and Fellow in soil science research, education, industry, consulting, and extension. Initiate nominations by March 29 with reference letters and final submission by April 5. Students are encouraged to apply for SSSA scholarships, including Golden Opportunity Scholars, by April 5 with reference letters and final submission by April 12, 2017.

Read more: http://www.soils.org/awards

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Dr K.L.Sharawat (1941 – 2016)

Dr Kanwar Lal Sahrawat was born on 7 November 1941 and died on 3 February, 2016. He initially served ICRISAT as a Soil Chemist from February 1978 to December 1991 in the Resource Management Programme. Later on, he moved to West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) where he worked as Principal Soil Scientist from April 1991 to June 2001. Later, he joined ICRISAT-India as a Consultant/Visiting Scientist and worked there from May 2002 till February 2016. He played a major role in preparing soil fertility atlas to help showcase various types of soils and their deficiencies. Dr Sahrawat received several awards and honorary positions. Being a keen writer, Dr Sahrawat contributed to 186 refereed journal articles and authored more than 100 publications, book chapters, research bulletins and workshop proceedings. Dr Sahrawat was a warm, gentle, honest, and hardworking human being who was a friend to many and a mentor to all who had the good fortune of knowing him.

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Soil air permeability facilitates its hydraulic permeability prediction

Reliable prediction of soil hydraulic characteristics is often required to assess soil and ground water contamination risk or soil remediation activities. Soil permeability to water either in saturated or unsaturated zones is one of the most important hydraulic characteristics. Direct measurement of soil permeability to water or hydraulic conductivity is the most reliable approach to characterize it. However, its direct measurement, either in the laboratory or the field, is time consuming and requires significant human intervention. Therefore, soil scientists have attempted to develop several indirect approaches to predict soil permeability to water using its readily available properties. Soil air permeability is one of its most appropriate readily available properties in this regard. In the November–December 2016 issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal, researchers introduce a semi-theoretical equation to predict soil water permeability to water in unsaturated zone using its air permeability as a predictor.

Read more: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/story/2017/jan/thu/soil-air-permeability-facilitates-its-hydraulic-permeability-prediction

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Governing tenure rights to commons responsibly: 12 strategies and illustrative cases from practice

Commons are natural resources such as land, fisheries and forests that people use collectively for things such as livestock grazing, fodder, firewood, fish and non-timber forest products. They are a source of food and income and an important safety net in times of hardship, especially for marginalized and vulnerable people. Commons are also essential to people’s culture and identity. The problem is that legitimate tenure rights to commons are often not recognized and protected by national law. New Guide and Animation Film offers strategic guidance and inspiration on how to secure tenure rights to commons based on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests.

Read more: http://globalsoilweek.org/news-and-opinion/governing-tenure-rights-to-commons-responsibly-12-strategies-and-illustrative-cases-from-practice

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2017’s Vermont Regenerative Soils Program

An Act relating to establishing a regenerative soils program has been enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont. The Secretary shall establish a program called the Vermont Regenerative Soils Program within the Agency to certify land in the State as regenerative and to encourage the use of regenerative soil practices within the State. The certification shall include a seal indicating that the Secretary certified land or a farm as a whole as a member of the Vermont Regenerative Soils Program.

Read more: http://studiohill.farm/2017s-vermont-regenerative-soils-program/

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Why is it good to have the ground covered by snow?

By trapping heat energy, snow restricts the depth of the frost layer, or area of soil containing ice. In other words, soils with deep snow cover often have thinner frost layers than those without snow. The area below the frost layer serves as a refuge for animal and plant life that call it home. In turn, thinner frost layers provide more room for organisms to live during the winter months. Bare soils are defenceless, as they have no protection from wind, rain, and runoff. Snow acts as an armour to protect soil from wind and water erosion.

Read more: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/why-is-it-good-to-have-the-ground-covered-by-snow/

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Seasonal fate of phosphorus in vineyard soils

Growing premium wine grapes requires the right soil and climate. An ideal combination occurs in parts of California where the majority of the wine grapes in the United States are produced. As an agricultural system, wine grapes are a specialty crop, and there is limited research on the soils and nutrient dynamics that occur in vineyards. “There’s a huge need for a better understanding of nutrient cycling and soil fertility in vineyards,” says Stewart Wilson, lead author of a recent Soil Science Society of America Journal article titled, “Seasonal Phosphorus Dynamics in a Volcanic Soil of Northern California.” According to Wilson, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California–Davis (UC-Davis), research presented in the article was initiated when growers in Lake County, CA, approached scientists at UC-Davis about fertilizer use in vineyards.

Read more: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/story/2017/jan/thu/seasonal-fate-of-phosphorus-in-vineyard-soils

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Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

3rd International Scientific Conference on “Sustainability challenges in agroecosystems”

Osijek, Croatia, 19-21 June, 2017. Primary objective of the International Soil Tillage Research Organization (ISTRO) initiative is promotion, development and growth of interest and knowledge about soil tillage science, relationship of soil tillage and environment, exchange of ideas and experiences and spreading of modern approach of technology application in agroecosystems. This conference, being created as well for scientific community as for experts and practitioners, will cope with main goals of ISTRO respective research in soil tillage and field traffic and their relationship with the soil environment, land use and crop production. Submission of abstracts until 1 April, 2017.

Read more: http://www.hdpot.hr

Download 2nd Circular: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/crostro_2017_second_announcement.pdf

ESSC International Workshop “Soil Classification: a powerful tool for planning Soil Conservation”

Riga, Latvia, July 21, 2017, organised by the European Society for Soil Conservation (ESSS) and the Soil Science Society of Latvia (SSSL). Rationale: Soil classification has been largely used as a proxy for soil qualities which are functional in planning soil conservation measures. This activity has been traditionally carried out by National and Regional Soil Services, at the detailed and semi-detailed scales, but also by International bodies, especially at the broad scales. However, the use of soil classification for the specific implementation of soil conservation measures at the local scale is still a challenge. The development of the WRB soil classification system has progressively improved the characterization of the functioning of the soil system, giving better insights not only on soil processes, but also on soil functional qualities for agriculture and environment. The workshop is addressed to collect expertise and examples on the use of soil classification for the implementation of soil conservation/soil degradation measures and plans of intervention at different scales and for different purposes. Interactions between soil classification, soil conservation planning, and soil mapping are also welcome.

Download 1st Circular: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/essc_int._workshop_on_soil_classification_1st_circular.pdf

Read more: http://www.azb.lu.lv/eng/

International WRB Soil Classification Field Workshop in Latvia and Estonia

It starts July 22 in the morning in Riga and ends July 27 in the evening in Tallinn.

This workshop will look at differently formed automorphous, semihydromorphous and hydromorphous soils (approximately 24 soil profiles) in intensively and extensively used agricultural lands and in deciduous and coniferous forest lands of the boreo-nemoral region. Soils are developed mainly on Late Weichselian glacial deposits (formed by loamy sand, sandy clay, loam, clay, gravel, sand) and altered to some extent by postglacial aeolian, marine, lacustrine, alluvial and mire sediments, as well as formed on pre-Quaternary sedimentary rocks. The soils show different organic surface layers: mull, moder, mor, amphi etc.

Organizers: Raimonds Kasparinskis and Endla Reintam and their teams, the Latvian and Estonian Soil Science Societies as well as the University of Latvia and the Estonian University of Life Sciences.

Registration and payment closes 30th of June.

Read more: http://www.azb.lu.lv/eng/

7th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture (WCCA)

Rosario, Argentina, August 1-4, 2017; The 7th WCCA provides the opportunity to learn from No-Till farmers associations and network with an international gathering of agricultural experts. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay want to show the modern agriculture, based on the principles of Conservation Agriculture (CA), our known No-Till System, and with farmers, the crucial actors of this revolution. Agricultural production systems are not sustainable unless they are profitable, and CA holds the key to building and maintaining healthy soils and profitable farming systems. Food security, climate change, smallholder and family agriculture, gender equality, biotech, machinery innovations, bioenergy, water, soils, crops, agribusiness, legislation and more are going to be part of the 7WCCA proposal.

Read more: http://congresoaapresid.org.ar/

OrgaTrop 2017 – International Conference on Organic Agriculture in the Tropics: State-of-the-Art, Challenges and Opportunities

Gajah Mada University, Yogayakarta, Indonesia, August 20-24, 2017. There is an urgent need for more research, both fundamental and applied, on organic farming practices in the tropics, and for a better dissemination of existing knowledge towards the practitioners in the field. Organic farming in the tropics presents a number of specific challenges that justify a dedicated conference. The aim of this conference is therefore to bring together scientists, policy makers and practitioners active in organic farming to present the latest research developments, and discuss how new and existing knowledge can be implemented in an efficient manner in order to foster further development of organic farming especially in the tropics.

Download Conference Flyer: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/orgatrop2017_flier.pdf

Read more: http://web.faperta.ugm.ac.id/orgatrop2017/

7th International Conference on Cryopedology “Cryosols in Perspective: A View from the Permafrost Heartland”

Yakutsk, Russia, August 21–25, 2017. The conference is organized by the Cryosols Working Group of the IUSS and is hosted by the Institute of Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. Tentative session program includes a wide range of problems related to Cryosols and soils of cold regions: genesis, geography, classification, and mapping of Cryosols; ecosystem functions of Cryosols; Cryosol dynamics and regimes under changing climate; pedobiology of the cryosphere; paleopedology and pedoarchaeology in permafrost areas; carbon cycle in permafrost areas; new methods in Cryosol research; and Cryosol management. A workshop for young researchers—Pedology–Geocryology Interaction—and field seminars devoted to morphogenetic analysis of soil profiles in the permafrost zone are planned. The program includes a one-day mid-conference field tour to acquaint participants with specific features of coarse- and fine-textured Cryosols in the ultracontinental climate of Central Yakutia and post-conference field tours to examine pedogenesis in thermokarst depressions (alases) and to enjoy spectacular Lena Pillars included in UNESCO World Heritage List. Deadline for registration and abstract submission: May 15, 2017.

Read more: http://www.cryosols.org

Second Global Soil Biodiversity Conference

Nanjing, China, 15-20 October 2017. The China Soil Microbiome Initiative (CSMI) and Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) are pleased to announce the second Global Soil Biodiversity Conference (GSBC2). GSBC2 is centered on the theme “Integrating Soil Biodiversity with Global Sustainability”, and offers an exciting program ranging from topics involving soil biodiversity and global issues on sustainability. The abstract submission is welcome for oral or poster presentation within one of the topics. The deadline is February 28, 2017

Read more: http://gsbiconference.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1

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New publications

Soils within Cities: Global approaches to their sustainable management – composition, properties, and functions of soils of the urban environment

Levin/Kim/Morel/Burghardt/Charzynski/Shaw (Eds.), February 2017 by Schweizerbart Science Publishers in the series GeoEcology Essays, 253 pages, 113 figures, 23 tables, ISBN 978-3-510-65411-6. The book can be ordered from the IUSS Secretariat (iuss@umweltbundesamt.at ) at the price of €29.90 plus shipping costs; a reduced rate of €25.00 (plus shipping) is available for IUSS members.

As the proportion of people living in urban areas has been and still is increasing, Soils within Cities: Global approaches to their sustainable management undertakes to shed light on the role and importance of soils in cities, and stresses the need to consider and manage this unique component of the urban ecosystem on our way to build sustainable cities. Edited on behalf of the International Union of Soil Sciences, this book is the result of a joint effort of the international SUITMA (Soils of the Urban, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas) working group of the International Union of Soil Sciences. Thirty-four short contributions comprehensively highlight key aspects and characteristics of soils of the urban ecosystem and the problems and challenges associated with them. The authors lay out the fundamentals of soil science applied to anthropized environments (environments degraded by human activity), including composition, properties, and functions of soils of the urban environment, their pedogenic evolution, classification and mapping. Furthermore, contributions present examples of actual urban soil surveys conducted in the US, Poland, Germany and Russia. Approaches to managing soils of the urban environment with focus on brownfields, soil sealing and urban agriculture, and the management of soil sealing are described.

A separate chapter is dedicated to the ecosystem services urban soils can provide, including sustaining and controlling water quality and quantity, providing C and P storage capacity, supporting biodiversity, pollution problems, and pointing out ecosystem services that even contaminated industrial and mine soils are able to provide. “Soils within Cities” is aimed at expanding our view of soils of our planet, and having them taken into consideration for human well-being. It provides city planners and managers with a special reference that can serve to offer citizens a better life in the long run.

Read more: http://schweizerbart.com/9783510654116

New Pesticides and Soil Sensors

1st Edition. Edited by Alexandru Grumezescu. February 2017 by Academic Press. 792 pages, ISBN: 9780128042991; eBook ISBN: 9780128043707, price hardcover: €143.00.

New Pesticides and Soil Sensors, a volume in the Nanotechnology in the Agri-Food Industry series, is a practical resource that demonstrates how nanotechnology is a highly attractive tool that offers new options for the formulation of ‘nanopesticides’. Recent advances in nanopesticide research is reviewed and divided into several themes, including improvement of the water solubility of poorly soluble pesticide active ingredients to improve bioavailability and the encapsulation of pesticide active ingredients within permeable nanoparticles with the aim of releasing pesticide active ingredients in a controlled or targeted manner, while also protecting active ingredients from premature photo-degradation.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/new-pesticides-and-soil-sensors/grumezescu/978-0-12-804299-1

International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy 2016

By Harald Ginzky, Irene L. Heuser, Tianbao Qin, Oliver C. Ruppel, Patrick Wegerdt (Editors). 2017 by Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-42507-8 (Print) 978-3-319-42508-5 (Online), price $159.00 / €145.59 / £104.50.

The first volume of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy was prepared in 2016. The second volume (2017) is currently under preparation and a third volume is planned for 2018.
The intention of the first volume 2016 is to establish a platform for discussion among legislators, lawyers and policymakers regarding regulatory concepts and approaches on the international, regional and national level. The new International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy aims to bring together the global legal fraternity, academics, judges and local legal practitioners to continue the discourse on soils in the attempt to improve the legal promotion and protection of soils by inter alia enhancing existing governance solutions. This first volume of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy focuses on contents and implementation of the objective of a “land degradation neutral world”, which is also prominently addressed in SDG Target 15.3.

Read more: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-42508-5

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New Scientific Journal

Looking to publish your research on soil or plant nutrition? Look no further!

Soil Science and Plant Nutrition (SSPN) welcomes your submissions. Find out how you can submit by visiting the journal’s homepage here: http://bit.ly/tandfonline-SSPN

You might also be keen to know that IUSS members are entitled to an exclusive subscription price, allowing you to stay up to date with all the latest research. http://bit.ly/subscribe-sspn

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