Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 153 (March 2018)

IUSS Alert 153 (March 2018)

National voting of Officers for IUSS Divisions and Commissions 2017 – results

Every four years the officers for the IUSS Divisions and Commissions are newly elected. Voting by IUSS Members is conducted electronically on a one vote per individual in each National Member Society basis.
In line with the IUSS Bye-laws (version Oct. 2014) the national Soil Science Societies shall have organized the national voting of officers for Divisions and Commissions. The voting system for society members was closed 31 December 2017 at the latest. The Presidents of the National Member Society were kindly requested to send the results of elections no later than 28 January 2018, later on extended to February 12 and finally to March 9.
Voting results from 35 societies with 127,148 individual votes were received. Elections were decided by a simple majority of votes cast. The officers elected are published on the IUSS website. The term for these officers will start with the 21st WCSS in Rio.

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


IUSS Presidential Elections 2018 – call for nominations

The election of the next President of the IUSS is due this year. The appointment of the President represents a total of six years commitment to the Union by serving two years each as President-Elect (2019/20), President (2021/22) and Past-President (2023/24).
The Standing Committee on Presidential Elections has defined the respective procedure and the guidelines. Nominations should be made by two accomplished, highly-respected senior soil scientists.

Full nomination documentation should be submitted electronically to Roger Swift (Email: r.swift@uq.edu.au) by June 30, 2018. A copy should also be sent to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

Procedure and guidelines: http://www.iuss.org/media/president_election_full_info_2018.pdf


21st World Congress of Soil Science – Selection of Mascots until 31 March

Two mascots stand to vote – the choice is yours!

Have a look: https://www.21wcss.org/?secao=conteudo&id=51

Please consider that early registration ends March 31, 2018
Read more: https://www.21wcss.org/

Download the congress information: http://www.iuss.org/media/21wcss_-_meeting_information.pdf


Request for contributions to IUSS book on Global Soil Proverbs

In 2018 – on World Soil Day (5th Dec.) – IUSS intends to publish a book on Global Soil Proverbs. The Secretariat would like to thank all potential authors for the numerous letters of intent which have been submitted so far. For those who still wish to contribute to this book, please send a letter of intent to contribute a chapter until 31 March 2018 to yangjay@kangwon.ac.kr and in Cc to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

The guideline for writing a contribution to this book can be found in the newsroom on the IUSS website: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=26


WRB translations

The international soil classification system World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) is available in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Polish and Georgian. The French translation is new. It has been done by Jean Chapelle with the support of Xavier Legrain, Frank Berding and Stefaan Dondeyne. It is co-published by FAO and the Soil Science Society of Belgium. And in the Spanish translation, almost two years after its publication, some errors have been corrected. The documents are available at two webpages:

– The WRB webpage at FAO:

– The homepage of the IUSS Working Group WRB:

[By Peter Schad, Chair of IUSS Working Group WRB]


General News

ICSU/NASAC/ISSC call for pre-proposals: Pathways towards Sustainable African Urban Development

As part of the 5-year “Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa” (LIRA 2030 Africa) programme, the International Council for Science (ICSU), in partnership with the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) will support up to 11 collaborative research projects across Africa (to the value of up to 90,000 Euro each over two years) that will that explore integrated approaches for sustainable urban development in Africa.

We are inviting African early career scientists to submit collaborative research proposals that apply a systems approach to analyzing urban processes in Africa. Applicants should have no more than 10 years work experience following their PhDs or equivalent research experience. The deadline for pre-proposal submission is 14 May 2018 (18:00 CET).

Read more: http://bit.ly/2FeJA4g


GSP World Soil Charter Survey

Unanimously endorsed at the 39th FAO Conference in June 2015, the revised World Soil Charter (WSC) contains guidelines for action by stakeholders at all levels. The purpose of the revised WSC is to inform decision-making at the global scale and foster the implementation of sustainable soil management (SSM) at the regional/local levels. The revised WSC updates the vision and guiding principles endorsed in the first version, published in 1981, that no longer reflected the world soil situation and therefore needed to be updated. The Global Soil Partnership is launching a short survey to assess activities by and within GSP partners in support of the principles of the revised World Soil Charter. The outcomes of the survey will be presented at the 6th GSP Plenary Assembly (June 2018) and will be used to evaluate the impact of GSP initiatives and plan future activities. The deadline for completing the survey is 8 April 2018.

Read more: http://fao.msgfocus.com/q/1mbRtfS2NhGvWrs6IYai/wv


The #SoilPollution Photo contest is open! Tell us your story NOW

The UN FAO’s Global Soil Partnership on the occasion of the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18) is organizing an online photo contest as a pre-event. The theme of the contest is “Soil Pollution” and will serve to increase awareness and encourage people to take action against the hidden reality of soil pollution, which aggressively impacts human health, food safety and security, and the environment. Take a picture and uncover the reality of soil pollution, which plagues our daily lives. Use your creative side while changing everyone’s perception of Soil Pollution! Interested photographers can submit their photo to GSOP18@fao.org by 1 April 2018 and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or Instagram accounts, using the competition hashtags: #SoilPollution #BeTheSolution #BeatPollution.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1104597/


An Assessment of the global impact of 21st century land use change on soil erosion

Human activity and related land use change are the primary cause of accelerated soil erosion, which has substantial implications for nutrient and carbon cycling, land productivity and in turn, worldwide socio-economic conditions. In a recent published article in Nature Communications, we present an unprecedentedly high resolution (250 × 250 m) global potential soil erosion model, using a combination of remote sensing, GIS modelling and census data. We challenge the previous annual soil erosion reference values (published in the literature), as our estimate of 35.9 Pg yr−1 of soil eroded in 2012, is at least two times lower. Moreover, we model the spatial and temporal effects of land use change between 2001 and 2012 and the potential offset of the global application of conservation practices. Our findings indicate a potential overall increase in global soil erosion driven by cropland expansion.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/themes/global-soil-erosion


Net erosion and sediment transport using WaTEM/SEDEM

The JRC in collaboration with the University of Basel and the Universite Catholique de Louvain have quantified the potential spatial displacement and transport of soil sediments due to water erosion at European scale. Long-term averages of annual soil loss and deposition rates were computed by means of the extensively tested spatially distributed WaTEM/SEDEM model. According to a recent research study in Europe, the estimated sediment yield totals about 164 ± 13 Tg yr-1. The Sediment Delivery Ratio (SDR) i.e., the ratio between sediment yield (SY) and gross erosion, indicates that the sediment routed down the hillslopes to the riverine system accounts for 15.3% of the total eroded soil. Further improvement of the calibration scheme in the model transport parameter is foreseen to better reconcile the good agreement between predicted and measured sediment yield. The net erosion and sediment transport data are available (100m resolution) in ESDAC:

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/estimate-net-erosion-and-sediment-transport-using-watemsedem-european-union


G2 model and regional erosion data

G2 is a quantitative model, mapping soil loss (G2los module) and sediment yield (G2sed module) on month-time intervals, designed to run in a GIS environment. A functional combination of G2 with Hakanson risk index has led to the introduction of a third module serving as a heavy metal spatial risk assessment module, namely the G2met. According to a recent review, G2 is designed to produce regional/ local erosion assessments on monthly time-step. The data (monthly erosion rates plus other layers) are available for five application areas: Cyprus, Korce region (AL), Crete island (GR), Tirana (AL) and Strymonas/Struma catchment (GR/BG).

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/g2-soil-erosion-model-data-crete-greece-and-strymonas-greecebulgaria-ishmi-erzeni-albania


European Landslide Susceptibility Map version 2 (ELSUS v2)

This new update of the European Landslide Susceptibility Map shows levels of spatial probability of landslide occurrence covering 37 European countries at 200 m cell size. The map has been generated through spatial multi-criteria evaluation modelling using pan-European datasets on slope angle, shallow subsurface lithology and land cover, along with more than 149,000 landslide locations for model calibration, and map validation and classification. ELSUS v2 has been produced jointly by BGR (Hannover, Germany), CNR-IRPI (Perugia, Italy), CNRS-EOST (Strasbourg, France) and JRC (Ispra, Italy), and is freely available for download from the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC).

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/european-landslide-susceptibility-map-elsus-v2


Soil GHG fluxes using LUCAS soil-DayCent

We ran the state-of-the-art biogeochemistry model DayCent on approximately 8,000 soil sampling locations, classified as arable, from the most extensive harmonized land use and soil inventory network for the EU (LUCAS survey). The model was driven by measured soil characteristics and complemented with updated datasets, including a RPC4.5 climate change scenario. Our main idea was to quantify the net soil GHG fluxes, simulating two representative mitigating practice options starting in 2016, in comparison with a baseline of current agricultural practices. The first scenario was an integrated crop residue retention and lower soil disturbance management (IRS) while, the second saw the introduction of N fixing cover crops incorporated before the successive main crop (CC), generally referred to as ‘green manure’. JRC has published a study in Nature Climate Change showing that soils can be a net sink of greenhouse gases through increased storage of organic carbon. The data are available in ESDAC.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/soil-ghg-fluxes-using-lucas-soil-daycent


Soil health practices for mitigating natural disasters

FEMA reports that more than 25 million Americans – almost 8 percent of the population – were affected by major disasters in 2017. From severe flooding in Puerto Rico and Texas to mudslides and wildfires in California, major natural disasters in 2017 cost over $306 billion nationally. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to preparing for natural disasters. Steps for planning ahead will engage our nation’s infrastructure, emergency responders, private citizens and members of every level of government. By building healthier soils, land managers across the nation can increase human safety and protect critical infrastructure for all Americans when disaster events occur. Natural disasters impact us all. Improving the health of our nation’s soils is one step we can take to prepare for and ultimately mitigate those impacts.

Read more: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2018/02/28/soil-health-practices-mitigating-natural-disasters?org=1364&lvl=100&ite=1135&lea=140666&ctr=0&par=1&trk=


UK farmers to be given first ever targets on soil health

A new bill will be brought before parliament this year mandating, for the first time, measures and targets to preserve and improve the health of the UK’s soils, amid growing concern that we are sleepwalking into a crisis of soil fertility that could destroy our ability to feed ourselves. The UN has warned that the world’s soils face exhaustion and depletion, with an estimated 60 harvests left before they are too degraded to feed the planet, and a 2014 study in the UK found matters are not much better, estimating 100 harvests remaining.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/13/uk-farmers-to-be-given-first-ever-targets-on-soil-health?org=1364&lvl=100&ite=1209&lea=140666&ctr=0&par=1&trk=


Hidden “rock moisture” possible key to forest response to drought

A little-studied, underground layer of rock may provide a vital reservoir for trees, especially in times of drought, report scientists. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), looked at the water stored inside the layer of weathered bedrock that lies under soils in mountain forest ecosystems. This transitional zone beneath soils and above groundwater is often overlooked when it comes to studying hydrologic processes, but researchers found that the water contained in the fractures and pores of the rock could play an important role in the water cycle at local and global levels. Researchers found that water in bedrock can sustain trees through droughts even after the soil has become parched.

Read more: https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=244513&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


How Dirt Can Clean the Air

Soil management offers huge potential for keeping carbon emissions in the ground. A paper published this week in the journal Scientific Reports estimates that improved land-use practices could increase the amount of carbon stored in the top layer of soils worldwide by between 0.9 and 1.85 billion metric tons each year.

Read more: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-dirt-can-clean-the-air/


Cost of agricultural productivity loss due to soil erosion in the European Union: From direct cost evaluation approaches to the use of macroeconomic models

Much research has been carried out on modelling soil erosion rates under different climatic and land use conditions. Although some studies have addressed the issue of reduced crop productivity due to soil erosion, few have focused on the economic loss in terms of agricultural production and gross domestic product (GDP). In this study, soil erosion modellers and economists come together to carry out an economic evaluation of soil erosion in the European Union (EU). The study combines biophysical and macroeconomic models to estimate the cost of agricultural productivity loss due to soil erosion by water in the EU.

Read more: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ldr.2879/full


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


GSOP18 – Global Symposium on Soil Pollution

May 2 – 4, 2018, FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy.

The Symposium aims to provide scientific evidence to support actions and decisions to prevent and reduce soil pollution for increased food safety, security and nutrition, and ecosystem services, while promoting the restoration of polluted sites. The Symposium will explore promising research related to soil management practices, policies, and action plans for minimizing soil pollution with a focus on remediation and prevention. With this bold action, the organizers are pursuing the benefit of uncovering the reality of soil pollution.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/global-symposium-on-soil-pollution/en/


Laboratory Skills Course in Soil Biology and Biochemistry

June 4-8, 2018, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands.

The course will include training in soil quality parameters such as labile C, microresp – respiration, extracellular enzyme activity, nematode and enchytraied extraction and basics of identification. Earthworm sampling and identification. Deadline for registration: March 30, 2018

Read more: http://landmark2020.eu/meeting/laboratory-skills-course-soil-biology-biochemistry-wur-2018/


ESSC International Conference: “Soil and Water Security: challenges for the next 30 years!”

June 6 – 8, 2018, Imola, Italy.

The objective of the conference is to stimulate reflections on the importance of environmental resources for humankind, paying special attention to the new challenges and opportunities concerning Soil and Water Security and Conservation for the next 30 years. The Conference is open to soil scientists, educators and policy-makers. It will consist of invited lectures, scientific sessions with oral and poster presentations, and will be subdivided into four main topics.
Please note that the European Society for Soil Conservation (ESSC) provides 2 grants of 500.00 Euro each to 2 young researchers (less than 35 years old) members of the ESSC, to support their participation to the SoWaSe – ESSC International Conference on “Soil and Water Security: Challenges for the next 30 years!”.

Download the first circular: http://www.iuss.org/media/1st_circular_letter_essc_2018_int._conference.pdf
Download circular letter on ESSC grants: http://www.iuss.org/media/circular_letter_essc_2018_imola_grants.pdf
Read more: https://events.unibo.it/sowase-essc-conference-imola2018


North American Forest Soils Conference – International Symposium on Forest Soils
Soils-Forests Interactions in Changing Environments

June 10-16 2018, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Presentations on research using field trials, laboratory investigations, long-term monitoring experiments and ecosystem modelling studies that address the conference theme and sub-themes are invited. If possible, presentations should include a statement of the forest management implications of the work. The conference sub-themes are intended to encourage submissions with broad representation of the various soils-forests regions of North America and internationally.
Early registration before Friday, April 13th, 2018

Read more: http://www.cef-cfr.ca/index.php?n=Colloque.NAFSC-ISFS2018


10th International symposium on plant-soil interactions at low pH 2018 (10th PSILPH2018)

June 25-29, 2018, Palm Garden Hotel, IOI Resort City, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The Faculty of Agriculture, University Putra Malaysia in association with Malaysia Society of Soil Science (MSSS), Department of Agriculture of Malaysia and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), will be organizing the 10th International Symposium on Plant-Soil Interactions at Low pH (10th PSILPH). In line with the symposium theme “Achieving Sustainable Food Production on Acid Soils, the 10th PSILPH aims to gather researchers, scientists, experts and academicians in the field of soil science, plant physiology and others to share and discuss the latest research findings and thoughts on current status of agriculture production and practices; thus, ensuring food security and environmental sustainability.

Extended abstract submission deadline: 31 March 2018; Early registration deadline: 30 April 2018

Read more: http://www.psilph2018.com


13th Congress of Croatian Society of Soil Science

„Utilizing potential of soil and land resources: Key roles of science and effective policy“

September 10-14, 2018, Vukovar, Croatia.

Congress intensively aims to provide an advanced scientific knowledge in soil and land management, covering all the main areas of soil science, starting from soil genesis and classification coming to soil quality and capacity for food production. Congress will provide a variety of opportunities to present and exchange ideas and expertize in soil science and land management that the soil science community may offer to educational institutions and academia, bussines and policy makers, gathered so far in interdisciplinary research. We’ll try to gain a more well developed perspective in application of inovative and advanced technologies related to soil functions in different fields of human activities: agriculture, forestry, environment, waste management, civil engineering and other.

Read more: http://www.tloznanstvo.eu/kongres/


21th ISTRO Conference 2018

September 24-27, 2018, Paris, France.

The International Soil Tillage Research Organization (ISTRO) is an international association whose objective is to stimulate research on tillage and no till, compaction and, more broadly, to contribute to soil protection and to improve soil quality. The scientific topics during the conference will focus on advances in soil structure characterization, soil compaction, biogeochemical processes and carbon sequestration, with a special interest on soil ecology and ecosystem services. Equipment strategies will also be discussed with soil tillage strategies, smart farming, tires and tillage equipment design. New information has been made available regarding the mid conference field day and the post conference tours.
Abstract submission ends 31 March 2018.

Read more: http://istro2018.webistem.com


International Soil Modeling Consortium conference

“New perspectives on soil models”
November 5-7, 2018, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Read more: https://soil-modeling.org/



SSSA International Soils Meeting “Soils Across Latitudes”

January 6-9, 2019, San Diego, California, USA.

Fostering collaboration with other North American Soil Science Societies, The Soil Science Society of America will host scientists, professionals, educators, and students at the SSSA International Soils Meeting. “Soils Across Latitudes” will be held Jan. 6-9, 2019, in San Diego, California in collaboration with the Canadian Society of Soil Science and the Mexican Society of Soil Science.

Website: https://www.sacmeetings.org/


New publications

The Soils of Iran

By Roozitalab, Mohammad Hassan, Siadat, Hamid, Farshad, Abbas (Eds.). 1st edition published in March 2018 by Springer, 255 pages, 184 illustrations, 156 illustrations in colour, ISBN 978-3-319-69046-9, price hardcover 114,99 € | £92.00 | $129.00; price ebook: 95,19 € | £73.50 | $99.00.

This unique book addresses Iran’s extremely rich soil diversity and resources, which have developed under various climatic conditions ranging from dry to humid conditions. Featuring contributions by a group of respected experts on Iranian soils and agriculture, it provides comprehensive information on the management approaches needed for sustainable soil utilization and conservation under such conditions, and the attendant challenges. As such, it offers a valuable resource for anyone interested in soils and agriculture in Iran, but also in other Middle East and North African countries with similar climatic conditions. The book contains 14 chapters which illustrate the long history of indigenous knowledge and soil research, climate, geology and geomorphology, vegetation cover, soil forming factors and processes, major soils, properties and their classification. Furthermore, it presents past climate change and paleosols, agroecological zones, soil fertility, soil biology and biotechnology, human induced land degradation and “soil management in space and time”. In the end, major challenges facing the soil resources of the country are defined and recommendations are made to face the future challenges.

Read more: http://www.springer.com/de/book/9783319690469



financially supported

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.

More information on the ML3 ThetaProbe https://www.delta-t.co.uk/product/ml3/

IUSS Alerts are e-mailed to nearly 9,000 people in over 100 countries. Please forward the IUSS Alerts to your friends and colleagues. Send information for IUSS Alerts to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at

The IUSS is on LinkedIn and Facebook