Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 157 (July 2018)

IUSS Alert 157 (July 2018)

21st World Congress of Soil Science in Rio

With less than 3 weeks to go, the last preparations are being made for this major soil science event to be held 12-17 August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. IUSS will be represented at booth no 32 in the exhibition hall. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Read more: https://www.21wcss.org/


21st WCSS full schedule on your phone – App Launch

The Organizing Committee of the 21st World Congress of Soil Science is pleased to present the event’s app. The application, available for Android and iOS platforms, will be the official tool for publicizing the programme (conferences, symposium, meetings, etc), speakers, poster, sponsors, exhibitors and other information about the WCSS and the Convention Center. Moreover, you can use the app to set a personal agenda. This way you will not miss favorite presentations or meetings.
To install it, go to the link below or use the QR Code. After installation of the app it is important to create an in-app login to allow interaction among participants of the WCSS.



IUSS participates in ICSU Grant Project “TROP-ICSU” – request for input, reminder

TROP-ICSU stands for Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding. As already reported in previous Alerts, the project aims to improve awareness of climate change and the science behind it among students and the general public by developing teaching aids for teachers and science communication modules for the general public.

Within the framework of this project, IUSS is helping to carry out a preliminary survey among educators on Teaching Toolkits for school and undergraduate teachers (educators) to understand how topics related to climate change are currently discussed in the classroom in different parts of the world. This survey, which is available in English, Catalan, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese Portuguese, and Spanish should take approximately 8-10 minutes to complete. Responses will be treated as confidential and will be used for our research purposes in the project only. IUSS should be very grateful for your input.

Complete the online survey: https://tropicsu.org/educators-survey/
Read more: 


Progress with the IUSS book on Global Soil Proverbs

In 2018 – on World Soil Day (5th Dec.) – IUSS intends to publish a book on Global Soil Proverbs which is part of the book series launched during the International Decade of Soils 2015 – 2024. At the time of writing this Alert, the majority of the 35 intended chapters on proverbs has been submitted and is being reviewed.


Eurosoil 2020 – Programme preparation and Call to join Steering Committees

The Swiss Soil Science Society is proud to welcome the European soil community on 23-28th August 2020 to the Eurosoil 2020 in Geneva. Our objective is to “connect people and soil”. The organizing committee led by Prof. Pascal Boivin, has started to prepare a program accordingly. Eurosoil 2020 shall be not only a pure scientific conference. It strives to attract, apart from scientists, representatives of soil-related stakeholders and the interested public, and to give them a stage for their soil-related issues. Therefore, we need your feedback and your contribution.

In a first step, we have defined 6 conference themes based on specific Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations. Brief descriptions and a preliminary list of topics shall be the basis for an open call for symposia/events to be launched this autumn.

We ask you for your feedback on these six conference themes. Specific questions to be answered: (i) In general, do you think that these themes can be the basis for a conference with objectives as set out above? (ii) Are important items missing? (iii) Should certain proposed themes/topics not be included? Suggestions for changes, additions and omissions are most welcome.

Moreover, we want Eurosoil2020 to depart from the classical symposia forms whenever it is necessary. In line with the overall objective, we aim at a diversified mixture of classic oral sessions with a broad range of interactive symposia and events (e.g. PICO, world cafes, panel discussions, Rapid fire, ….). You may suggest any original form of exchange and debate around this question, such as lunch sessions, debates etc. Our Professional Congress Organizer (MCI) is particularly engaged in innovative forms of scientific events and we are open to this.

Finally, we are looking for volunteers to join one or more Steering Committees for the different themes or sub-topics, and for young scientists to help us boost young scientist’s involvement. The task of the steering committees is mainly to help with launching the call for proposals for each SDG Theme in autumn 2018 and in creating an exciting program by evaluating the proposed symposia/events in spring/summer 2019.

We would appreciate your feedback by mid of September 2018. Should you have questions, you may approach any member of the organizing committee (eurosoil2020.com).

Pascal Boivin, President ECSSS and Organizing Committee Eurosoil 2020, pascal.boivin@hesge.ch

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/media/eurosoil_2020_pre-programm.pdf


General News

Michael Stocking († 2018)

With sadness, the British Soil Science Society announces the death of Michael Stocking, Prof Emeritus in the School of International Development, on 21 May 2018. He completed his PhD at Oxford University in 1969 and, over almost 50 years, developed an international profile and reputation as a researcher and adviser in tropical agricultural development, land resources, conservation of biodiversity and soil conservation. He was one of very few soil scientists known by anthropologists and political economy specialists.

Read more: https://www.uea.ac.uk/alumni/your-uea/latest-news/prof-michael-stocking


International Science Council held first General Assembly in Paris

The International Science Council (ISC), formed from the merger of two organizations representing the natural and social sciences, held its inaugural General Assembly in Paris on July 4. In a historic meeting hosted by the French Académie des Sciences, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) merged to form the International Science Council, a unique global non-governmental organization representative of both the natural and social sciences.

[from the ISC Special Newsletter, 6 July 2018]

Read more: https://mailchi.mp/icsu/l55rfn3vbl-699877?e=95903252eb


Listening to earthworms burrowing and roots growing – acoustic signatures of soil biological activity

Soil is a critical living system that supports key biogeochemical cycles, a rich array of ecological processes, and contributes to numerous ecosystems services. The complex aggregation and arrangement of mineral and organic soil constituents give rise to an important and fragile trait called soil structure, considered central to soil agro-ecological functioning. Soil structure results from a dynamic equilibrium that may take decades to build but seconds to alter (e.g., passage of a heavy vehicle), and reported recovery times from such damage range from months to centuries. The maintenance of favourable soil structure for agricultural production is particularly challenging due to its sensitivity to tillage and other aspects of crop management. For example, it is estimated that about 68 Mha of land worldwide are affected by soil compaction, highlighting the importance of soil structure management for sustainable agricultural production and environment protection.

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-28582-9


Novel soil bacteria possess diverse genes for secondary metabolite biosynthesis

In soil ecosystems, microorganisms produce diverse secondary metabolites such as antibiotics, antifungals and siderophores that mediate communication, competition and interactions with other organisms and the environment.
Most known antibiotics are derived from a few culturable microbial taxa and the biosynthetic potential of the vast majority of bacteria in soil has rarely been investigated.

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0207-y.epdf?shared_access_token=AaRnTrLVF6Z_lWZie-UwUNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0NhPqqqq2tyNkbsR6YIQw4Z_qLzjWeRD_atLdsncOox_MI5pzoyJVqWnrLY6H4HBJTItQZrBsxlucEoZ9v7Y4FbtCZEOUmZc4JN40JW0T6lCr7zOIIAbfhbqIMdNCoFNvk%3D


Heatwave unveils ancient settlements in Wales

The dry spell has left parched fields with unmistakable “crop marks” painted into the landscape.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) has been busy recording the details – before they disappear when it next rains.

The crop marks are made by vegetation drawing on better nutrients and water supplies trapped in long-gone fortification ditches – leading to lush green growth that stands out.



Field, Lab, Earth Podcast is launched by ASA, CSSA, SSSA

Field, Lab, Earth is the podcast all about past and present advances in the fields of agronomic, crop, soil, and environmental sciences. A joint production of the Tri-Societies, the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, it features interviews with authors published in our journals, books, and magazines. Opinions and conclusions expressed by authors are their own and are not considered as those of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, its staff, its members, or its advertisers.

See podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/field-lab-earth/id1398459753

[From the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 27 June 2018]


Journal of Environmental Quality (July-August): Special Issue on Predicting Soil Organic Carbon in Agroecosystems under Climate Change

Adapting to the anticipated impacts of climate change is a pressing issue facing agriculture, as precipitation and temperature changes are expected to have major effects on agricultural production in many regions of the world. These changes will also affect soil organic matter decomposition and associated stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC), which have the potential to feedback to climate change and affect agroecosystem resiliency. This special issue brings together multiple efforts to assess effects of climate change on SOC stocks around the globe in grassland, pasture, and crop agroecosystems under varying management practices. The overall goal of these efforts is to identify optimum practices to enhance SOC accumulation. Fourteen of the 20 contributions apply dynamic process-based models to assess climate and/or long-term management impacts on SOC stocks, and four papers use statistical SOC models across landscapes or regions. Also included are one meta-analysis and one long-term study.

[Gollany and Venterea, 2018 (from the Introductory paper in the Special Issue)]


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


Alpine Soil Partnership Symposium in Bavaria

7 November 2018, Bavaria, Germany. Sustainable soil management means adapting land uses to changing climate conditions. Especially in forestry this long-term perspective needs to be taken into account. How can living soils help us meet future challenges? We cordially invite you to the Alpine Symposium on Regional Solutions for Climate Resilient Municipalities and Sustainable Soil Management.

Read more: http://www.alpine-space.eu/projects/links4soils/news/links4soils_munich_alpine_symposium_nov2018.pdf


NARO-MARCO International Symposium on Nitrogen Cycling and Its Environmental Impacts in East Asia

19-22 November 2018, Tsukuba, Japan. Nitrogen is a prerequisite for all living things on earth. The remarkable population growth and economic development of the past half century in East Asia have been realized with a large increase in the anthropogenic production and use of “reactive nitrogen” for supplying food, energy, and other materials. However, negative impacts to the local, regional, and global environments as a consequence of the excessive use of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen have been concerned and the development of appropriate management system of reactive nitrogen has been an urgent issue in East Asia and the world. This symposium aims to share the current information and knowledge and exchange opinions among participants on the nitrogen cycling and its environmental impacts in East Asia and the world;

Read more: https://www.naro.affrc.go.jp/english/events/laboratory/niaes/081536.html

Download 2nd circular: https://www.iuss.org/media/secondcircular_naro_ver20180704.pdf


New publications

Soil and Sustainable Development Goals

Edited by Rattan Lal, Rainer Horn and Takashi Kosaki. Published in the series GeoEcology Essays in July 2018 by Schweizerbart. 196 pages, 49 figures, 21 tables, ISBN 978-3-510-65425-3, US-ISBN 1-59326-269-8, price paperback EUR 29.90; reduced price for IUSS members: EUR 25.00 (plus shipping costs).

In 2015, the UN formulated seventeen global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among them ending poverty, eliminating hunger, protecting the planet and ensuring peace and prosperity. Although judicious management of soils is critical to advancing most of these goals, the word soil is not once mentioned in any of these laudable goals. SDG#15, for example, mentions land degradation but does not specifically focus on soils. In line with previous UN programs, SDGs thus reflect an utter lack of awareness of the importance of the most basic of all natural resources on which depends all terrestrial life – soils.
Consequently, this book aims to document the importance of soil and soil protection to reaching these Sustainable Development Goals. This fifteen-chapter book, authored by experienced and knowledgeable researchers from around the world, is a synthesis of the knowledge and state-of-the- science, linking soil properties and processes to specific SDGs. The volume highlights individual soil related aspects of these SDGs, such as the contribution of soil science, soil management and use,
measures to minimize erosion, climatic effects, carbon sequestration by soils, soil restoration, the role hydrology plays in sustainable soil management, ways to preserve soil structure of fertile volcanic soils.
Soil and water pollution, which must be controlled in order to preserve soil and environmental health are also discussed. Other chapters deal with how to convince the general public of the usefulness of the SDGs and point out how the public may contribute to them, ways to manage Chernozems and the role IUSS plays in furthering and implementing the soil related measures are also discussed herein.

Read more: www.schweizerbart.com/9783510654253


Managing soil health for sustainable agriculture Volume 1: Fundamentals

Edited by Don Reicosky. Published in July 2018 by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. 340 pages, ISBN-13: 9781786761880, price hardback £160.00.

There has been growing concern that both intensive agriculture in the developed world and rapid expansion of crop cultivation in developing countries is damaging the health of soils which are the foundation of farming. At the same time we are discovering much more about how complex soils are as living biological systems. This volume reviews the latest research on soil science. After an overview of the role of soil as a provider of ecosystem services and in conservation agriculture, the book reviews soil structure and chemistry as well organic matter, soil microorganisms and fauna. The second part of the book discusses soil dynamics, from water and nutrient cycles to carbon capture and erosion mechanisms.

Read more: https://shop.bdspublishing.com/checkout/Store/bds/Detail/WorkGroup/3-190-56260


Managing soil health for sustainable agriculture Volume 2: Monitoring and management

Edited by Don Reicosky. Published in July 2018 by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. 458 pages, ISBN-13: 9781786761927, price hardback £200.00.
This second volume of what is likely to become a standard reference for soil scientists and agronomists as well as the farming community and government agencies responsible for monitoring soil health discusses key methods for monitoring soil health, gives a comprehensive review of techniques to manage soil health from no-till and conservation tillage techniques to the use of rotations, intercropping and cover crops and includes case studies of ways of supporting smallholders in maintaining soil health in regions such as Africa, Asia and South America.

Read more: https://shop.bdspublishing.com/checkout/Store/bds/Detail/WorkGroup/3-190-56261


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