Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 148 (October 2017)

IUSS Alert 148 (October 2017)

IUSS Alert 148 (October 2017)



IUSS at EGU 2018

Abstract submission has started for the EGU General Assembly 2018 (EGU2018) that will take place 08–13 Apr 2018 in Vienna, Austria. You are kindly invited to find a session for your abstract at: https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2018/sessionprogramme

In particular, the Secretariat would like to draw your attention to the fact that IUSS is involved in the organisation of the session SSS1.3/EOS5 Soil science education, outreach and public engagement (co-organized). This session welcomes all perspectives on teaching soil science from school level to continuing professional development in non-academic settings. Contributions are welcomed that move away from concepts and methods for teaching soil science within traditional disciplines (chemistry, biology, physics) to those that use soil systems approaches. Innovative methods from the field, classroom and laboratory are welcome from anyone working with soil science education across varied settings. The conveners also welcome demonstrations of novel approaches for soil science outreach and public engagement that involve scientists and non-scientists. Examples that also measure the effectiveness of educational and outreach activities are especially welcome.

IUSS kindly invites you to submit abstracts until 10 January 2018, 13:00 CET.

If you would like to apply for a Roland Schlich travel support, please submit no later than 01 December 2017. Details can be found at: https://www.egu2018.eu/roland_schlich_travel_support.html.

Read more: https://egu2018.eu/


Awardees of IUSS Awards in 2018

Three awards are presented by the IUSS at each World Congress of Soil Science to recognize outstanding contributions in three areas:

  • IUSS Dokuchaev Award for basic research in soil science
  • IUSS Liebig Award for applied research in soil science
  • The IUSS Jeju Award for a young or mid-career soil scientist

Ryan to receive the Liebig Award of the IUSS

John Ryan, Soil Science Consultant based in Ireland, will receive the Liebig Award of the IUSS at the World Congress of Soil Science in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 2018. John Ryan’s entire career, spanning over 50 years, has been dedicated to the advancement of applied soil science and to implementation of his research findings to increase food production and alleviate rural poverty.

He has worked at the Aridoculture Center in Settat, Morocco; at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon; and, most recently, at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, Syria, which he had to evacuate due to civil war. He has been instrumental in initiating programs that have been successful in addressing serious production limitations in the Middle East and North Africa. He exemplifies extreme service to soil science, because he has risked his life to carry out his research done in the war-torn Middle East, first in Lebanon during its civil war and then in Aleppo, Syria. He is an Honorary Member of the International Union of Soil Sciences.

This will be the fourth presentation of the Liebig Award, established in 2006. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in applied soil science research, contributing to new discoveries, techniques, inventions or materials that increase food security, improve environmental quality or conservation, land and water development, and other areas covered by the divisional structure of IUSS.

Bouma to receive the Dokuchaev Award of the IUSS

Johan Bouma, Emeritus Professor of Soil Science, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, will receive the Dokuchaev Award of the IUSS at the World Congress of Soil Science in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 2018.

Bouma is known for the functional characterization of soils, emphasizing use of data from soil surveys to improve soil physical characterization of soils, now referred to as hydropedology. This work includes his development of the widely used term “pedotransfer functions,” which relate pedogenic soil data to physical parameters. He has been involved in projects in non-European countries, including the Philippines, Costa Rica, Niger, Vietnam, Kenya, China, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and South Africa. In his work, sustainable development has been a guiding principle. He has applied his soil science expertise in the policy arena. He is Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and also the recipient of its Presidential Award. In 2017, he received the Alexander von Humboldt Medal of the European Geosciences Union. He is an Honorary Member of the International Union of Soil Sciences. He was the first soil scientist to be elected as a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.

This will be the fourth presentation of the Dokuchaev Award, established in 2006. The award is made for major research accomplishments, resulting from basic researches in any field of soil science.

Bennett to receive the Jeju Award of the IUSS

John McLean Bennett, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, will receive the Jeju Award of the IUSS at the World Congress of Soil Science in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 2018.

Bennett is a soil physico-chemist with globally recognized expertise in soil structure. His research has focused on water quality interactions with soil physical and chemical mechanisms. His results have direct application for irrigated agriculture and in the coal-seam gas industries. He also is an inspirational educator, introducing innovative problem based soil science learning approaches at his university. In 2017, he became the President of the Australian Soil Science Society.

This will be the first presentation of the Jeju Award. The award has been co-established by the IUSS and the Korean Society of Soil Science and Fertilizer in commemoration of the successful 20th World Congress of Soil Science held in Jeju, Korea, in 2014. The award is given to a young or mid-career soil scientist who has had outstanding accomplishments in education, research, or extension and has made a substantial contribution to the IUSS objectives.


Last call for contributions for the IUSS Bulletin 131

The IUSS Secretariat (iuss@umweltbundesamt.at) is about to start compiling IUSS Bulletin 131 (to be published in December). We are very much looking forward to your contributions, but please send them no later than 15 November 2017. In particular, the Secretariat would welcome conference/meeting reports and reports on activities dedicated to the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), answers to the “Five Questions to a Soil Scientist”, your three favourite soil science books and any other information you would like to share with the international soil science community. Please make sure to send high-resolution photos only.


News from the IUSS Website

Two new IUSS Fact sheets can be found on the IUSS website: Religions and Soil, written by Nikola Patzel (Germany), chair of IUSS working group “Cultural patterns of soil understanding”, and Winfried Blum (Austria), Secretary General of ISSS/IUSS 1990-2002, Professor emeritus at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU Vienna). The fact sheet on Soil and Land use change was elaborated by Ryusuke Hatano (Hokkaido University, Japan) and Sonoko D. Bellingrath-Kimura (Humboldt University of Berlin & Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Landscape Research).

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=647

The most recent Viewpoint on “In Soil We Trust” by Rattan Lal, President of the International Union of Soil Sciences is now available on the IUSS website.

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=636


New Newsletter of Commission 1.1. Soil Morphology and Micromorphology

The most recent issue of the Newsletter of Commission 1.1. Soil Morphology and Micromorphology contains plenty of information about new publications, new books, forthcoming congresses and courses. Note that abstract submission is already open for the 3 symposia dealing with micromorphology at the 21st World Congress of Soil Science next August in Rio de Janeiro.

The Rio Meeting will host the award ceremony of the 2018 Kubiëna Medal, which will be awarded to Maria Innokentievna Gerasimova, for her most continued and valuable contributions to soil micromorphology.

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=419


General News

Soil holds potential to slow global warming, Stanford researchers find

If you want to do something about global warming, look under your feet. Managed well, soil’s ability to trap carbon dioxide is potentially much greater than previously estimated, according to Stanford researchers who claim the resource could “significantly” offset increasing global emissions. They call for a reversal of federal cutbacks to related research programs to learn more about this valuable resource. Stanford-led research finds that reduced tillage and other land management practices could increase soil’s carbon storage enough to offset future carbon emissions. The work, published in two overlapping papers in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics and Global Change Biology, emphasizes the need for more research into how soil – if managed well – could mitigate a rapidly changing climate

Read more: https://news.stanford.edu/2017/10/05/soil-holds-potential-slow-global-warming/
[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, Issue 19 October 2017]


Case studies show big economic benefits of soil health practices

Soil health practices such as cover crops and no-till can result in an economic return of over $100 per acre, according to a set of case studies jointly released by the National Association of Conservation Districts and Datu Research, LLC. Cover crops and no-till can limit soil loss, reduce run-off, enhance biodiversity, and more. Naturally, farmers who are considering adopting these practices are keen to know how they will affect their farm’s bottom line. During the three-year study period, corn-soybean farmers experimented with cover crops and/or no-till, and quantified the year-by-year changes in income they attributed to these practices compared to a pre-adoption baseline. They found that while planting costs increased by up to $38 per acre.

Read more: http://www.nacdnet.org/newsroom/case-studies-show-big-economic-benefits-soil-health-practices/
[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, Issue 19 October 2017]


Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas Website now available

A joint venture from the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative and the European Commission Joint Research Commission, the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas is the first synthesis of global soil biodiversity research and its importance to our living world. Download it for free or order the full Atlas at €25.

Read more: https://atlas.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/


Measure soil aggregates with new test

George Holsapple is seeing his soils improve as never before. The conventional tiller turned vertical tiller from Jewett, Ill., adopted cover crops about four years ago and has noted visual improvement in tilth and water infiltration in his fields of corn, soybeans and cover crops for seed that he farms with his wife Janice and son Thad….

Read more: http://www.cornandsoybeandigest.com/soil-health/measure-soil-aggregates-new-test


Cover Crops Gaining Use

OMAHA (DTN) — The latest survey on cover crop use shows more farmers are using cover crops on a larger set of acreage, and those farmers using cover crops state they have a variety of benefits. The latest cover crop survey, done for the fifth consecutive year, was done by the Conservation Technology Information Center with help from Purdue University and funding from the American Seed Trade Association and USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE)…

Read more: https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/news/crops/article/2017/09/15/farmers-planting-acres-soil-health-2


Rising temperatures, rice, and arsenic uptake

Arsenic is a widely distributed toxic element that naturally occurs in minerals. One of the most common pathways for exposure is when arsenic leaches into drinking water supplies. One crop known to take up arsenic when the element is available in soils or irrigation water is rice. Arsenic accumulates throughout the plant tissues including the grain that is consumed. Rice plants may be exposed to arsenic through soil or irrigation water. Specifically, rice plants release oxygen from their roots when flooded, and this oxygen reacts with iron forming “plaques” along root surfaces. The iron oxide plaques scavenge arsenic, and the plants take up arsenic released from the plaques or dissolved in the soil solution. One factor that can affect arsenic accumulation in the rice grain, is soil temperature.

Read more: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/story/2017/sep/thu/rising-temperatures-rice-and-arsenic-uptake


How Mount Agung’s eruption can create the world’s most fertile soil

Mount Agung in Bali is currently on the verge of eruption, and more than 100,000 people have been evacuated. This eruption is likely to be catastrophic, spewing lava and ashes at temperatures up to 1,250°C, posing serious risk to humans and their livelihoods. Ash ejected from volcano not only affects aviation and tourism, but can also affect life and cause much nuisance to farmers, burying agricultural land and damaging crops. However, in the long term, the ash will create world’s most productive soils.

Read more: http://theconversation.com/how-mount-agungs-eruption-can-create-the-worlds-most-fertile-soil-85134?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=facebookbutton


National Comparison of the Total and Sequestered Organic Matter Contents of Conventional and Organic Farm Soils

By Gahhbour et al in Advances in Agronomy 146: 1-36 (2017), published Oct 1, 2017. Over the past nine years, Northeastern scientists Geoffrey Davies and Elham Ghabbour have been getting their hands dirty, analyzing soil samples from nearly every state in the country. All that sifting, sorting, labeling, and testing has culminated in new research showing that soil from organic farms is better at sequestering carbon than soil from conventional farms. In this article, the authors describe a novel method to extract humic acids from soil samples—a process that takes nine days to complete. They described the method in the paper with the hope that other labs around the world will replicate their findings. IUSS encourages its members to replicate this unique study and would welcome reports.

Read more: https://news.northeastern.edu/2017/10/study-finds-organic-soil-captures-holds-more-carbon/?utm_source=Retiree+and+Emeriti


Jules D’Hoore (1917-2017)

Prof. Jules D’Hoore has passed away at his home. He was the one who spearheaded assembling of the soil map of Africa at 1/5,000,000 scale which was presented in 1960 during the 7th International Soil Congress at Madison, USA. At that time, the baseline documentation of that map, stored in Yangambi, Congo becomes inaccessible, due to political turmoil. Jules had no other option than reconstituting this documentation by personal mailing to correspondents. Jules was famous for his erudition, fluency in languages and his interest in art, culture and history, which he liked to share. He had a sarcastic sense of humor and a capacity for making verbal caricatures, e.g. in his farewell speech at the end of his career at the University of Leuven, he compared the soil to a ‘palimpsest’ – a reused manuscript bearing traces of older writings, and he likened his career as a ‘time of great delight’. Jules was a great man, a polymath whose stories will continue living on among the large community who had the chance of knowing him.

By Hubert Gulink and Seppe Deckers


Chris Dirksen (1936-2017)

The well-known Dutch soil physicist Chris Dirksen passed away on September 17 2017. After completing his International relations degree at Wageningen University, in 1959 he and his wife Dicky Boeijenga moved to the USA. In 1964 Chris obtained his PhD degree at Cornell University, with a thesis on formation of ice lenses in unsaturated soil. Subsequently he was four years with Gulf Research and Development Company at Pittsburgh PA, working on natural convection during segregated burning. In the period 1968-1978, he was with the USDA-ARS, the first five years stationed at University of Wisconsin and next at the US Salinity Laboratory (USSL) in California. In 1978 Chris returned to Wageningen, first to Soil Science and Plant Nutrition and later on to Water Resources.

Throughout his career Chris developed novel laboratory and field methods to determine soil physical properties and monitor processes in unsaturated soils and response of plants to salinity and water stress. At Wageningen, he became much involved in teaching and organizing introductory and advanced soil physics courses. The book Soil Physics Measurements (Catena Verlag, 1999) reflects his promotion of sound methods. At Riverside Chris collected an impressive amount of data on the response of plants to salinity and water stress. At Wageningen he thoroughly analyzed those data, paying close attention to the hysteresis of the water retention curves. In the late 1990s, with colleagues he collected and analyzed more data on plant response to non-uniform, transient salinity and water stress.

By Peter Raats, Wageningen University


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


Asia-EC JRC Joint Conference 2017 on “All That Soil Erosion: the Global Task to Conserve Our Soil Resources”

Seoul (South Korea), 4-7 December 2017. The Asia-EC JRC joint conference will provide a firm platform for all stakeholders of the global environmental policies, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society, to integrate all knowledge on global soil erosion into a comprehensive module.

Read more: http://ssorii.org/asiajrcconf2017/

UK ’4 per mil’ Debate with BSSS 2017 annual conference

London, United Kingdom, 5 December 2017. Call for posters open until Monday 23rd October. The BSSS 2017 annual conference will host presentations and debate on what the ‘4 per 1000’ initiative means for UK soils. The ‘4 per 1000’ (4 per mil) initiative was launched at the COP21 in 2015, with the aim to slow down the increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by annually increasing global soil organic carbon stocks by 0.4 % per year. This initiative has sparked mixed reaction to the feasibility of achieving this, and discussion over what this means for soil management.

Read more: http://www.soils.org.uk/event/1174



Barcelona, 29 January—2 February, 2018. This conference aims to focus on the scientific research towards finding solutions for the societal issues of our time. TERRAENVISION promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and networking. By bringing the people and their knowledge together, we may be able to take the steps towards solutions that can bring our society to a more sustainable situation. In this conference we want to link to International policies such as the sustainable Development Goals, the UN Climate conventions, CAP and COP. Issues proposed for the conference: Climate change, Water Resources, Land degradation and restoration, Erosion processes, Fire in the earth system, Ecosystem services and nature conservation, Science interface: with policy and public. Abstract submission is open.

Read more: http://terra-envision.weebly.com/

10th International Symposium on Plant-Soil Interactions at Low pH 2018 (PSILPH2018)

Putrajaya, Malaysia, 25-29 June 2018. The symposium’s core objective is to address issues related to food production on low pH soil, and at the same time, achieving sustainability. 10th PSILPH2018 aims to gather researchers, scientists, experts and academicians in the field of soil sciences to share their latest research findings and thoughts on the current status of agriculture production; thus, ensuring food security and environmental sustainability. Abstract submission deadline: 30 November 2017.

Read more: http://www.psilph2018.com/


Euroclay meeting of the European Clay Groups Association (ECGA) – Call for sessions

Paris (France), 1-5 July 2019. The next quadrennial Euroclay meeting of the European Clay Groups Association (ECGA) will be held in Paris (France) 1-5 July 2019 (Jussieu Campus, Univ. Pierre & Marie Curie) jointly with the 56th annual meeting of The Clay Minerals Society (CMS), and the 6th Mediterranean Clay Meeting. Proposals should be submitted by e-mail (euroclay2019@sciencesconf.org) by January 31st, 2018.

Conference website: http://euroclay2019.sciencesconf.org
Download the 1st Circular: http://www.iuss.org/media/flyer_euroclay.pdf


New publications

Archaeological Soil and Sediment Micromorphology

Edited by Cristiano Nicosia, Georges Stoops. Published in October 2017 by Wiley-Blackwell, 496 pages, 400 illustrated full-colour plates, ISBN: 978-1-118-94105-8, price hardcover £100.00/€120.00, price e-book £90.99/€108.99.

Archaeological Soil and Sediment Micromorphology goes beyond a mere review of current literature and features the most up to date contributions from numerous scientists working in the field. The book represents a groundbreaking and comprehensive resource covering the plethora of applications of micromorphology in archaeology. Archaeological Soil and Sediment Micromorphology offers researchers, students and professionals a systematic tool for the interpretation of thin sections of archaeological contexts. It is also designed to help stimulate the use of micromorphology in archaeology outside Europe, where the technique is less frequently employed. Moreover, the authors hope to strengthen the proper application of soil micromorphology in archaeology, by illustrating its possibilities and referring in several cases to more specialized publications (for instance in the field of plant remains, pottery and phytoliths).

Read more: http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118941055.html


Soil Pollution: From Monitoring to Remediation

Edited by Armando Duarte, Anabela Cachada and Teresa Rocha-Santos. 1st Edition published by Elsevier on 6 October 2017, imprint: Academic Press, 312 pages, Paperback ISBN: 9780128498736 , price paperback EUR 125.51. Soil Pollution: From Monitoring to Remediation provides comprehensive information on soil pollution, including causes, distribution, transport, the transformation and fate of pollutants in soil, and metabolite accumulation. The book covers organic, inorganic and nanoparticle pollutants and methodologies for their monitoring. Features a critical discussion on ecotoxicological and human effects of soil pollution, and strategies for soil protection and remediation. Meticulously organized, this is an ideal resource for students, researchers and professionals, providing up-to-date foundational content for those already familiar with the field. Chapters are highly accessible, offering an authoritative introduction for non-specialists and undergraduate students alike.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/soil-pollution/duarte/978-0-12-849873-6?start_rank=1&producttype=books&publicationyear=2017&sortby=sortByDateDesc&q=soil


Soil Management and Climate Change: Effects on Organic Carbon, Nitrogen Dynamics, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Edited by Maria Munoz and Raúl Zornoza. 1st Edition by Elsevier in October 2017, imprint: Academic Press, 396 pages, Paperback ISBN: 9780128121283, price paperback EUR 168.26.

Soil Management and Climate Change: Effects on Organic Carbon, Nitrogen Dynamics, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions provides a state of the art overview of recent findings and future research challenges regarding physical, chemical and biological processes controlling soil carbon, nitrogen dynamic and greenhouse gas emissions from soils. This book is for students and academics in soil science and environmental science, land managers, public administrators and legislators, and will increase understanding of organic matter preservation in soil and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Given the central role soil plays on the global carbon © and nitrogen (N) cycles and its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, there is an urgent need to increase our common understanding about sources, mechanisms and processes that regulate organic matter mineralization and stabilization, and to identify those management practices and processes which mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, helping increase organic matter stabilization with suitable supplies of available N.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/soil-management-and-climate-change/munoz/978-0-12-812128-3?start_rank=1&producttype=books&publicationyear=2017&sortby=sortByDateDesc&q=soil


The Indian Nitrogen Assessment. Sources of Reactive Nitrogen, Environmental and Climate Effects, Management Options, and Policies

Edited by Yash P. Abrol, Tapan K. Adhya, Viney P. Aneja, N. Raghuram, Himanshu Pathak, Umesh Kulshrestha, Chhemendra Sharma, and Bijay Singh. 1st edition published in September 2017 by Elsevier, 568 pages, ISBN: 978-0-12-811836-8, price paperback $185.00. This book provides a reference for anyone interested in Reactive N, from researchers and students, to environmental managers. Although the main processes that affect the N cycle are well known, this book is focused on the causes and effects of disruption in the N cycle, specifically in India. The book helps readers gain a precise understanding of the scale of nitrogen use, misuse, and release through various agricultural, industrial, vehicular, and other activities, also including discussions on its contribution to the pollution of water and air. Drawing upon the collective work of the Indian Nitrogen Group, this reference book helps solve the challenges associated with providing reliable estimates of nitrogen transfers within different ecosystems, also presenting the next steps that should be taken in the development of balanced, cost-effective, and feasible strategies to reduce the amount of reactive nitrogen.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/the-indian-nitrogen-assessment/abrol/978-0-12-811836-8



Soil Moisture and Temperature Measurement Sensor

The ML3 ThetaProbe delivers exceptional accuracy and durability

  • Soil moisture ± 1% accuracy
  • Built-in temperature sensor
  • Simple logger or meter connection
  • Buriable – IP68

The ML3 ThetaProbe’s class leading ± 1% accuracy, stability, build quality and reliability have made it the preferred choice of thousands of researchers worldwide.

The ML3 is easy to use. Simply insert the probe into the soil, connect to a data logger or meter, and within seconds you can be accurately measuring soil moisture. A built-in thermistor enables the ML3 to simultaneously measure soil temperature and soil moisture at depth (probe must be fully buried).

The salinity response of the ML3 has been characterised at EC values up to 2000 mS.m-1. It also has a wide operating temperature range, with tests demonstrating that the ML3 can operate down to -40°C. ML3 cables and connectors are extendable, buriable and environmentally protected to IP68.
Read more: https://www.delta-t.co.uk/product/ml3/

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