Update: 20.11.2017

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 146 (August 2017)


IUSS News

Website for IUSS World Congress 2018 now online

The website for the 21st World Congress of Soil Science has gone online. The congress, which is arguably the most acclaimed meeting in the area of soil science, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12-17, 2018. Registration and call for abstracts is open.
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Anthropcentrism and Soil Health

The newest Viewpoint on “The Anthropcentrism and Soil Health” by Rattan Lal, President of the International Union of Soil Sciences is now available on the IUSS website.
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Pedometron 40

The current issue of the newsletter of the IUSS Commission 1.5 Pedometrics is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Pedometrics. It contains articles about the history of Pedometrics, portraits about related IUSS Working Groups and Prof. Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov as well as interviews with soil experts.
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IUSS Stimulus Fund – last call for submissions in 2017

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 September 15, 2017.
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National voting of Officers for IUSS Divisions and Commissions 2017 about to start

Every four years the officers for the IUSS Divisions and Commissions are newly elected. Voting by IUSS Members shall be conducted electronically on a one vote per individual in each National Member Society basis. Elections will be decided by a simple majority of votes cast.
In line with the IUSS Bye-laws (version Oct. 2014) the national Soil Science Societies shall organize the national voting of officers for Divisions and Commissions. The voting system for society members shall be open from 1 September to 31 December 2017. The list of nominated persons (ballot), the corresponding biographies and the guideline for the voting procedure in 2017 are provided on the IUSS website.
The Presidents of the National Member Society are kindly requested to send the results of elections to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at (Cc to R.Horn) before 28 January 2018.
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Investiture as "Doctor Honoris Causa" at the University of Lleida (Spain) of Prof. Dr. Rattan Lal, President of IUSS (13 June 2017)

One of the most relevant programmed activities of the 1st World Conference on Soil and Water Conservation under Global Change (CONSOWA Lleida 2017), was the ceremony of investiture of Prof Dr Rattan Lal, President of IUSS, as “Doctor Honoris Causa” at the University of Lleida (UdL) (Spain), upon proposals of the Departments of Soils and Environmental Sciences and of Crop and Forest Science of the Agricultural and Forestry Schools of UdL and the support of the Sections of Control de la Degradación y Recuperación de Suelos and of Conservación de Suelos y Aguas of the Soil Science Spanish Society (SECS). For this investiture, there was taken into account Dr. Lal’s long time and pioneer research, reflected in numerous publications, directed to solve problems of soil and water management of agricultural soils, and their relations both with C sequestration in soils, control and mitigation of climate changes and finally with food production and food security.
The presentation of merits (laudatio) of Prof. Dr. Rattan Lal was in the hands of Prof. Dr. Ildefonso Pla Sentís. For the ceremony old traditions of the UdL were followed, which was founded in the year 1300.

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General News

Future Policy Award crowns the World’s Best Land Restoration Policies

Ethiopia wins Gold Award; other winning policies from China, Brazil and Jordan. More people, less erosion – Ethiopia’s Tigray region demonstrates that this can be a reality: They will take home the Gold Future Policy Award 2017, beating 26 other nominated policies to the prize. Also known as “Oscar for Best Policies”, the Future Policy Award highlights the world’s best policies that combat desertification and land degradation this year. With unique collective action, voluntary labour and the involvement of the youth, people of Tigray are restoring land on a massive scale. As a result, erosion has decreased significantly, groundwater levels are recharged, and the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices made a significant contribution to food self-sufficiency and economic growth.
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Also worth mentioning is that the Vision Award from the World Future Council went to the international “4 per 1000” Initiative which communicates a new concept for mitigating climate change through the increase of soil organic carbon.
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Agri-environment schemes: impacts on the agricultural environment

Environmental protection and human food security co-exist in a critical balance, one that is often difficult to get right. The pressures of population rise, farming intensification, and loss of habitats and species mean that protections afforded under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy are pivotal to the conservation of agri-ecology. In the EU, agri-environment schemes encourage farmers to undertake environmentally friendly practices and are thus vital to the objective of sustainable agriculture. This Thematic Issue looks at some of the impacts that AES have had on European farm ecosystems, biodiversity and farmers.
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National Soil Health Measurements to accelerate agricultural transformation

For scientists, farmers and ag policy makers, one nagging question has yet to be completely “unearthed:” Just how healthy (or unhealthy) are the nation’s soils? The concept of soil health is gaining widespread attention because it promotes agricultural practices that are not only good for the farmer, but also good for the environment. An abundance of research shows that improving soil health boosts crop yield, enhances water quality, increases drought resilience, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases carbon sequestration, provides pollinator habitat, and builds disease suppression. To help implement widely-applicable, consistent measures of soil health, the Soil Health Institute announces its endorsement of 19 national soil health measurements.
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Measured soil moisture improves wildfire prediction

Despite the known connection between soil moisture and wildfire danger, measured soil moisture is conspicuously absent from the list of variables commonly used in wildfire danger assessments. Instead, assessments enlist the help of the decades-old Keetch-Byram Drought index (KBDI), a soil moisture surrogate calculated from precipitation and estimated evapotranspiration. In the absence of measured soil moisture data, the reliance upon KBDI as a surrogate to assess wildfire danger is understandable. But is the continued reliance on KBDI justified when high quality soil moisture data are available? According to recent work published in Soil Science Society of America Journal, the answer is no.
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Friends of Phragmites

Friends of Phragmites is an organisation established by Prof D. Fanning to promote the use of swamp plants to remediate soils degraded by acid sulphate effects. The Australian Chapter, with new president Simon Smith, held its second plantout to remediate a degraded site near Balmoral, Victoria, Australia.
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Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

Archaeological Soil Micromorphology Training and Workshop 2017

University College London, Institute of Archaeology; Training: 6-9 November, followed by Practice Days and Workshop: 10-11 November 2017.
Contact

The 13th International Conference of the East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies (ESAFS)

“Soil Quality for Food Security and Healthy Life”
Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand, December 12-15, 2017. Good soil quality is required for food security and healthy life of world population. ESAFS 2017 Conference aims to provide advanced scientific information on the researches in soil quality and capacity for crop production. The conference will provide a better understanding of the attributes of soil quality and the way of improving soil and associated environmental quality for sustainable food security and healthy life of East, Southeast Asia as well as world population. Abstract submission deadline: 13 October 2017
Read more (website will be available soon)
Conference Flyer

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New publications

Phosphate in Soils: Interaction with Micronutrients, Radionuclides and Heavy Metals

Edited by H. Magdi Selim. Published August 1, 2017 by CRC Press in the Series: Advances in Trace Elements in the Environment; 381 pages, ISBN 9781138803183, Price paperback £50.00, hardback £102.00. Recent studies reveal that Phosphorus (P) in the form of phosphate, a macronutrient essential for plant growth, and crop yields can influence the bioavailability, retention, and mobility of trace elements, metal(loid)s, and radio nuclides in soils. When this occurs, phosphates can affect the dynamics of heavy metals and influence soil characteristics, impacting soil mobility and toxicity.
Phosphate in Soils: Interaction with Micronutrients, Radionuclides and Heavy Metals utilizes the latest research to emphasize the role that phosphate plays in enhancing or reducing the mobility of heavy metals in soil, and the soil-water-plant environment. It provides an in-depth understanding of each heavy metal species, and expands on phosphate interactions in geological material.
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Soil Nematodes of Grasslands in Northern China

By Qi Li, Wenju Liang, Xiaoke Zhang, Mohammad Mahamood; 1st Edition published August 15, 2017 by Elsevier, imprint Academic Press, 254 pages, Paperback ISBN: 9780128132746, price paperback EUR 75.45.
Soil Nematodes of Grasslands in Northern China presents research on China’s temperate grasslands, providing the findings and results of a large field survey along a transect across the northern temperate grassland. It examines nematode distribution patterns along the transect from trophic group and family, to genus level, also evaluating their relationship with climatic conditions, plant biomass and soil parameters. The book then presents detailed taxonomy information of nematodes to genus or species level, providing keen insights into nematode diversity along the grassland transect in north China.
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Comparison of dung and soil fauna from pastures treated with and without ivermectin as an example of the effects of a veterinary pharmaceutical

By Dr. Jörg Römbke, Adam Scheffczyk, Jean-Pierre Lumaret, Thomas Tixier, Dr. Wolf Blanckenhorn, Dr. Joost Lahr, Dr. Kevin Floate, June 2017, Umweltbundesamt, Texte | 54/2017, 238 pages, download only, no costs.
Soil organisms in manure or organisms that colonize dung pats can be impacted by the application of veterinary medical products, especially parasiticides, to livestock. For this reason, the authorization process for veterinary medicinal products in the European Union and other countries includes a requirement for “higher-tier” tests when adverse effects on dung organisms can be detected in single-species toxicity tests. However, no guidance documents for the performance of higher-tier tests are available, so far. Therefore, an international research project was undertaken to develop and validate a proposed test method under varying field conditions of climate, soil, and endemic coprophilous fauna. The test took place at Lethbridge (Canada), Montpellier (France), Zurich (Switzerland), and Wageningen (The Netherlands). The aim of the project was to determine if fecal residues of a parasitide with known insecticidal activity (ivermectin) showed similar effects on insects breeding in dung of treated animals, coprophilous organisms in the soil beneath the dung, and rates of dung degradation.
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Remote Sensing of Soils

By Shankar R., 1st edition published August 2017 by Springer, 500 pages, 166 illustrations, ISBN 978-3-662-53740-4, price hardcover 149,99 € | £112.00 | $179.00, printed e-book € | $ 24.99.
This book is about applications of remote sensing techniques in the studies on soils. In pursuance of the objective, the book initially provides an introduction to various elements and concepts of remote sensing, and associated technologies , namely Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS) in chapter-1. An overview of the sensors used to collect remote sensing data and important Earth observation missions is provided in chapter-2. The processing of satellite digital data (geometric and radiometric corrections, feature reduction, digital data fusion, image enhancements and analysis) is dealt with in Chapter-3. In the chapter to follow the interpretation of remote sensing data , very important and crucial step in deriving information on natural resources including soils resources, is discussed. An introduction to soils as a natural body with respect to their formation, physical and chemical properties used during inventory of soils, and soil classification is given in Chapter-5.The spectral response patterns of soils including hyperspectral characteristics -fundamental to deriving information on soils from spectral measurements, and the techniques of soil resources mapping are discussed in chapter-6 and -7,respectively. Furthermore, the creation of digital soil resources database and the development of soil information systems, a very important aspect of storage and dissemination of digital soil data to the end users are discussed in chapter-8. Lastly, the applications of remote sensing techniques in soil moisture estimation and soil fertility evaluation are covered in chapter-9 and -10, respectively.
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Sustainable Management of Land Resources: An Indian Perspective

Edited by G.P. Obi Reddy, N.G. Patil, Arun Chaturvedi. Published August 29, 2017 by Apple Academic Press, 796 pages – 116 B/W illustrations, ISBN 9781771885171, price hardback £114.00.
The depletion of land resources is one of the greatest challenges for mankind in this millennium. Shrinking land resources, weather aberrations, deterioration of land quality, and the globalization and liberalization of market economies have become intertwined to influence the sustainable management of land resources and land use plans. This important volume addresses these challenges, looking at how scientists translate their knowledge and experience in sustainable land resources and management into implementable policy decisions, with a particular focus on India.
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Vacancy for Assistant Professor of Soil Resources


Assistant Professor (TT) of Soil Resources

The Department of Environmental Systems Science (www.usys.ethz.ch) of ETH Zurich invites applications for an assistant professor (tenure track) focusing on (1) the role of soil as a key natural resource, supporting a wide range of forest and other terrestrial ecosystem functions and services and/or (2) quantifying the effects of changes of land use and climate on various soil functions at local to global scales. Candidates should be interested in system-oriented multidisciplinary research and are expected to develop an innovative and internationally recognized research program, making an important contribution to linking soil ecosystem services to land-use and climate change.

The successful candidate will have a strong background in soil sciences and demonstrated potential for innovative research. At the assistant professor level commitment to teaching and the ability to lead a research group are expected. Teaching duties will include advanced-level courses on the assessment, modelling or management of soil resources as part of the environment.

Assistant professorships have been established to promote the careers of younger scien¬tists. ETH Zurich implements a tenure track system equivalent to other top international universities.

Please apply online at: www.facultyaffairs.ethz.ch

Applications should include a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a statement of future research and teaching interests, and a description of the three most important achievements.
The letter of application should be addressed to the President of ETH Zurich, Prof. Dr. Lino Guzzella.
The closing date for applications is 31 August 2017.
ETH Zurich is an equal opportunity and family friendly employer and is responsive to the needs of dual career couples. We specifically encourage women to apply.

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