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IUSS Alert - 49 (May 2009)

Information for and from the global soil science community

Best paper in Pedometrics

The Pedometrics Commission announces the vote for the Best Paper in Pedometrics, 2008.  Six papers have been nominated by Dr David Rossiter of ITC.  All members of IUSS are entitled to vote for the paper they believe is the best.  Details of the papers, links to online versions and information on how to participate in the vote can be found at http://www.pedometrics.org/pm/?p=269

Bravo ENVASSO

The ENVironmental ASsessment of Soil for mOnitoring (ENVASSO) Project was funded as Scientific Support to Policy (SSP) under the European Commission 6th Framework Programme. The project's main objective was to define and document a soil monitoring system for implementation in support of a Soil Framework Directive, aimed at protecting soil in the EU. The ENVASSO Consortium, comprising 37 partners drawn from 25 EU Member States, succeeded in reviewing existing soil inventories, monitoring programmes, soil indicators and criteria that could serve as a base for a soil monitoring system for Europe. Procedures and protocols appropriate for inclusion in a European soil monitoring system were defined and fully documented and 22 of these procedures were evaluated in 28 Pilot Areas. In conclusion, an outline European Soil Monitoring System, comprising a network of geo-referenced sites at which a qualified sampling process is or could be conducted, is presented. The six final reports from the ENVASSO project can be downloaded here http://eusoils.jrc.ec.europa.eu/projects/envasso/

Meeting       

Soil Organic Matters. Tuesday 23rd / Thursday 25th June 2009 at Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK. The meeting has two main aims: (1) To acknowledge the great contribution to soil science made by Professor David Jenkinson FRS over many decades; (2) To bring together scientists actively involved in research in the areas in which David Jenkinson laid foundations in order to review current challenges and trends. Some of the invited speakers have worked with David Jenkinson at Rothamsted Research - others have conducted research in the areas for which he is well known. The topics covered will be: Soil organic matter dynamics; The global carbon cycle and climate change; Soil microbial ecology; Soil nitrogen dynamics including efficiency of use of N fertilizer by crops and the global N cycle. Registration for attendance is still open. For further information and the programme of invited and offered speakers see: www.rothamsted.bbsrc.ac.uk/Research/SoilOrganicMatters/

Soil science enthusiasm on video

Declining number of soil science students is a concern in many universities. We can sit down and grumble, or we can do something about it. One of the remedies is to show the great variety of soil science jobs. Melissa Peart from Australia tells her story in this video. Melissa enjoyed science at school and originally wanted to study history and be an archaeologist. But when she heard about a degree in land and water science at Sydney University, she turned her attention to the environment. The course covered natural resources and sustainability, specifically looking at agriculture, soil, hydrology, geology and geographical information systems. It also offered plenty of field trips. After finishing her honours in soil salinity, Melissa was headhunted by a consultancy group where she worked for three years.  Great Bits: "I find there's a good balance in my job. It doesn't involve me just sitting in front of a computer. I get to travel and go out into the field to do soil and groundwater testing. It's an awesome job and I'd love to keep doing this for a very long time."

Couple of New Publications

Referentiel pedologique 2008 (in French), Association francaise pour l'etude du sol - Denis Baize & Michel-Claude Girard (Eds). Quae. 2008. 436 p. ISBN-13 978-2-7592-0185-3. Price: 45 euros. The Referentiel pedologique is a detailed typology of soils of France, Europe, Africa and other continents. This third edition, which has been entirely reworked, contains three new chapters covering soils in intertropical zones and their specific reference horizons, and two new tools: a rapid access key to the different chapters and an annexe of the possible correspondences between the references in the Referentiel pedologique and the categories in the World Reference Base for Soil Resources. The Referentiel pedologique has been tried and tested in the field for some fifteen years now, and has become indispensable. It was designed to be accessible to non-specialists with some knowledge of the basic vocabulary of soil science, and is indispensable to anyone wanting to take account of the diversity of soil types. www.quae.com/livre/?GCOI=27380100883830&fa=description         

R esponse of Crops to Limited Water: Understanding and Modeling Water Stress Effects on Plant Growth Processes, edited by L.R. Ahuja, V.R. Reddy, S.A. Saseendran, and Qiang Yu. ASA, CSSA, SSSA, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-89118-167-5. Agriculture research today requires a whole-system quantitative approach, and farmers need simple management tools derived from robust models. Agricultural system modelers see a snarl of competing water demands, depleted aquifers, drought, and changing plant water requirements due to global warming and know where the answers lie: in achieving conservation of rain and irrigation water, preservation of groundwater quality, and increased water use efficiency in crop production. The first in the groundbreaking Advances in Agricultural Systems Modeling series from ASA-CSSA-SSSA, Response of Crops to Limited Water: Understanding and Modeling Water Stress Effects on Plant Growth Processes compiles the work of world experts, systematically presenting recent knowledge of water stress effects and emphasizing the knowledge synthesis that will move agriculture forward.

A Handbook of Soil Terminology, Correlation and Classification, edited By Pavel Krasilnikov, Juan-Jose Ibanez Marti, Richard Arnold, Serghei Shoba. Hardback September 2009.  352 pages. ISBN 9781844076833. Soil classification and terminology are fundamental issues for the clear understanding and communication of the subject. However, while there are many national soil classification systems, these do not directly correlate with each other. This leads to confusion and great difficulty in undertaking comparative scientific research that draws on more than one system and in making sense of international scientific papers using a system that is unfamiliar to the reader. This book aims to clarify this position by describing and comparing different systems and evaluating them in the context of the World Reference Base (WRB) for Soil Resources. The latter was set up to resolve these problems by creating an international "umbrella" system for soil correlation. All soil scientists should then classify soils using the WRB as well as their national systems. The book is a definitive and essential reference work for all students studying soils as part of life, earth or environmental sciences, as well as professional soil scientists.

The Fertilizer Encyclopedia, by Vasant Gowariker, V. N. Krishnamurthy, Sudha Gowariker, Manik Dhanorkar, Kalyani Paranjape, Norman Borlaug (Prologue by). ISBN: 978-0-470-41034-9 Hardcover, 880 pages. February 2009. Fertilizers are key for meeting the world's demands for food, fiber, and fuel. Featuring nearly 4,500 terms of interest to all scientists and researchers dealing with fertilizers, The Fertilizer Encyclopedia compiles a wealth of information on the chemical composition of fertilizers, and includes information on everything from manufacturing and applications to economical and environmental considerations. It covers behavior in soil, chemical and physical characteristics, physiological role in plant growth and soil fertility, and more. This is the definitive, up-to-date reference on fertilizers.

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