Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 162 (December 2018)

IUSS Alert 162 (December 2018)


Season’s Greetings

The IUSS would like to wish all its members and friends a very merry Christmas, and a prosperous and happy New Year!


IUSS Bulletin 133

IUSS Bulletin 133 in a totally new look and feel is now online, featuring a variety of articles from a review of the 21st World Congress of Soil Science, the 3rd International Soil Judging Contest, an activity report of the IUSS Secretariat including recent IUSS Award winners, recent achievements during the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), conference and meeting reports, upcoming conferences and meetings, new publications and obituaries of outstanding soil scientists. The IUSS Secretariat would like to thank all contributors for their valuable documents for this Bulletin.
Should you wish to submit contributions for the next Bulletin, which will be published in June 2019, or place paid advertisements, please contact the IUSS Secretariat at iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

Download the bulletin right here: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=76


Book on Global Soil Proverbs

The next issue of the Soil book series of IUSS under the umbrella of the International Decade of Soils 2015 – 2024 is on Global Soil Proverbs which is already in press. It will be published in the CATENA series GeoEcology Essays. An impressive number of soil proverbs compiled in 32 chapters has been put together, which reflects the importance soil always has and will continue to play in our lives.

Editors: Jae E. Yang, M.B. Kirkham, Rattan Lal, Sigbert Huber. ISBN 978-3-510-65431-4, US-ISBN 1-59326-271-X. Books can be ordered from the IUSS Secretariat (iuss@umweltbundesamt.at); price paperback EUR 34.90 (plus shipping costs); reduced price for IUSS members: EUR 30.00 (plus shipping costs).

Proverbs are truths that link one generation to another. They have been passed down through millennia to provide advice about how to live life. Every country has a vast archive of proverbs that have been transferred orally from generation to generation. The very name “proverb” indicates that they originated “before” (Latin, pro) the written “word” (Latin, verbum). Ever since our ancestors settled down and started to farm the soil, proverbs have been used to communicate knowledge. Many proverbs about soils are available globally, but no effort has been made within the soil science community to compile and integrate them into a comprehensive book. Therefore, the International Union of Soil Sciences has published this book on soil proverbs. The objective of the book is to collect soil proverbs and, through them, share insights about philosophy, culture, and life in each country, as they relate to soils.

The book has 32 chapters from 29 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania. In each chapter, authors provide soil proverbs in both English and their native language. Chapters are illustrated with pictures related to the proverbs. Some themes are common, such as the need to sustain the soil to sustain humanity, while other themes are particular to a country due to its geography and climate, such as “The peas can be sown when the first swallows come” (Russia) or “If you want to store wheat, plough lowland areas” (Tunisia). The book is written both for soil scientists and the general public. Readers will see the diversity of proverbs from the different countries, but each one is written in its own beautiful language. The proverbs will provide soil wisdom from many countries and show how we all are connected through the soil.

More information will soon be available at: https://www.schweizerbart.com


György Várallyay (1935-2018)

György Várallyay, agricultural engineer, professor of soil science, soil mapping and soil water management, academic, professor emeritus at the Hungarian Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry (RISSAC) and IUSS Honorary Member, died on December 2, 2018.

He was chairman of the Hungarian Soil Science Society, a prominent member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS), member of the International Soil Science Society (ISSS) and the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), for which he served as Deputy Chairman in 1978-1982, and then as Chairman of Committee VI of Soil Technology (CSS), member of the Committee of International Programs (CIP), and the Awards and Honours Committee.

Dr. György Várallyay’s main research areas were soil mapping, computer aided soil information systems (GIS) and soil databases, and environmental monitoring issues.

In addition, he dealt with soil water management problems, various phenomena of soil degradation, the exploration, prediction and prevention of salt accumulation, salinization, soil acidification, structural depletion, and compaction problems. He developed a successful method for predicting the salinization process. His greatest international achievement was the creation of a world map of soil degradation, together with several leading soil researchers.

We all miss Dr György Várallyay’s contribution to soil science, his thoughtful clear guidance and comprehensive professional knowledge and enjoyable conservation.

(Based on text from Kalman Rajkai, Hungary)


General News

World Soil Day, 5 December 2018

Be the Solution to Soil Pollution

Years of our actions and habits on soil have left a legacy of pollution worldwide. Soils have a great potential to be the solution to the increasing challenge of soil pollution. They act as a sponge that filters contaminants, degrading and attenuating their negative effects. But soil buffering capacity is limited. If exceeded, contaminants can seep into the environment and enter the food chain.
Growing food on uncontaminated soils provides safe food and helps fight hunger. Ninety-five percent of our food comes from soils: conserving and sustainably managing soils is critical in successfully feeding a growing world population. Simultaneously, it can restrain the risk soil pollution poses to agricultural productivity, human health and the health of all organisms on Earth.


Everyone has a role to play

Did you know that 1/3 of globally produced plastic ends up in our soils? Half of it is disposable, single-use plastic? That up to half of your shopping consists of packaging? Reverse the trend and take up the challenge to #StopSoilPollution! Everyone can do something great in their own small way…

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1O3_0GKiEg&feature=youtu.be

World Soil Day at the United Nations

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has co-organized official WSD events at the UN Secretariat in New York, US, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, at the Land Development Department in Bangkok, Thailand, and at a dedicated side event at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The events in Rome and New York were broadcast live via the UN channels.
FAO country offices around the world in Bangladesh, India, Iran, Panama, Philippines, Sri Lanka etc… and also in FAO regional offices for Near East and North Africa, South America, Europe and Central-Asia – organized WSD18 celebrations by calling on to raise awareness on soil resources to mobilize public support for tackling soil pollution and sustainable soil management.

WSD18 around the globe

On our World Soil Day event interactive map, over 200 pins from 60 different countries show the enthusiasm and the involvement of the soil science community in keeping soils in the global agenda.

Take a look at the map: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/worldwide-events/en/

Your outstanding World Soil Day (WSD) 2018 event will have the chance to compete for the WSD award 2019!

Your event should comply with the theme ‘Be the solution to soil pollution’ and be held between 20 Nov – 20 Dec 2018.

The 1st World Soil Day Award bestowed upon…

Sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, the first World Soil Day Award has been granted to Practical Action of Bangladesh jointly with the Soil Resource Development Institute. They organized colourful rallies, a ‘Soil Care Award’ ceremony, seminars, ‘Farmers Dialogue’ fora, and field visits in Dhaka and 22 other districts. More than 5,500 participants were involved, ranging from farmers to scientists, policy makers, practitioners and general public with great media visibility.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/world-soil-day-award/en/

Glinka World Soil Prize: the winner is…

Professor Rattal Lal won the Glinka Prize for his work on Sustainable Soil Management. He has been listed among the world’s most influential scientific minds (2012) and among the top 1 percent of all researchers in agriculture. Prof. Lal’s focus has been on soil organic carbon restoration and improvement of soil structure. His efforts have led to the eco-intensification of agricultural systems, following a soil-centric approach, which ensures long-term sustainability. His work has played a major role in converting science into policy and decision making.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/pillars-action/2-awareness-raising/glinka-world-soil-prize/en/

[All articles above are from the World Soil Day 2018 GSP Special Announcement #11]


Outcomes from CBD-COP14

The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) wants to share some exciting outcomes from the recent Convention on Biological Diversity COP14 meeting in Egypt: Countries confirmed the need for, and the COP14 endorsed two important items: to consider the preparation of a report on the state of knowledge on global soil biodiversity and make it available for consideration before COP15 (2020), and planning an international symposium in 2020 on global soil biodiversity.

Read the full draft decision (most relevant articles can be found on page 4ff): http://files.constantcontact.com/a3128908401/492416f3-6227-4d2c-acd6-914bb8c99d8a.pdf

New GSBI-Website: https://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/


News from the International Science Council

The ISC Governing Board (GB) released a communiqué with the outcome of the GB meeting (8-10 October 2018) and about the initiation of intensive work by the GB after the meeting. The GB agreed to communicate with ISC Members regularly. The intention is to keep the Members such as IUSS informed about the work of GB and the ISC Secretariat and to share strategic ideas and actions for the future development of the Council. The GB welcomes questions, insights and ideas that Members may have in response to the information provided.

The ISC GB is developing a program of action to implement the mission of the Council, which is to be “the global voice for science.” As agreed in the ISC’s high-level strategy, adopted by ISC Members in Taipei in October 2017, the Council will use its voice to: (i) speak for the value of science and of evidence-informed understanding and decision-making; (ii) stimulate and support international scientific research and scholarship on major issues of global concern; (iii) articulate scientific knowledge on such issues in the public domain; (iv) promote scientific rigor, creativity and relevance in all parts of the world; and (v) defend the free and responsible practice of science.

The ISC GB issued a draft document where four strategic challenge domains are discussed. These domains are those in which the global voice for science is most needed and could be most effective. It is important to note that there are major synergies between the four following domains, which will contribute to the Council’s need for rapid development of awareness, brand and reputation whilst favouring the efficient use of resources:

Domain 1: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Better understanding the globally coupled natural, physical and social systems of our planet and finding pathways for more sustainable and equitable evolution is a major and urgent task. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by in 2015 by Member States of the United Nations provides an integrated framework for this task. The contribution of science to the development and implementation of the goals at national, regional and global levels is vital.

Domain 2: The digital revolution. Global society is in the throes of a disruptive, digital revolution in the means by which information and knowledge, which have always been powerful drivers of human material and social progress, are acquired, stored, communicated and used. There are few areas of individual, commercial, social or political action to which this is not relevant. It poses powerful opportunities and radical challenges both to science and to society.

Domain 3: Science in policy and public discourse. As exemplified by challenge domains 1 and 2, society unarguably needs science more than ever, but it is arguably less inclined than in the past to listen to its voice. It is therefore essential to the ISC vision of “advancing science as a global public good” to ensure understanding and strengthening of the ways in which science contributes effectively both to policy processes and to the increasingly contentious public discourse about global priorities.

Domain 4: The evolution of science and science systems. The scientific enterprise has always needed to adapt to the changing environment within which it operates. New awareness of inherent structural inequalities, new socio-political demands and norms, new technologies, new funding practices and new scientific opportunities and challenges are creating mounting pressures for a renewed period of adaptation, which affects all scientists and science systems in all parts of the world.
By Alik Ismail-Zadeh, ISC Secretary (shortened)

[From IUGG Electronic Journal Volume 18 Number 12 (1 December 2018)]


PhD project: Towards sustainable land management: Improving microbial nitrogen-sequestration from artificial soils

Do you know any suitable, interested undergraduate or Master students looking for a project? Please encourage them to participate in the project below! It includes an internship at the Eden Project, Cornwall. The application deadline is 8th January 2018.

For any further information, feel free to contact sabine.lengger@plymouth.ac.uk.

Read more: https://www.aries-dtp.ac.uk/studentships/towards-sustainable-land-management-improving-microbial-nitrogen-sequestration-from-artificial-soils/


Carbon budget in the EU agricultural soils

Soil plays a significant environmental role in balancing the climate as it may act as a carbon sink or source of CO2 to the atmosphere. Using a new biogeochemistry-erosion model to quantify the impact of future climate on the carbon cycle, JRC tracks the possible transformations of the organic carbon across the landscape. Accelerated soil erosion in EU agricultural land due to more intense precipitation will lead to a 35% increase in eroded carbon in the period 2016-2100.  This is likely to exacerbate carbon losses from agricultural land to the atmosphere (up to 23% of the predicted losses under the RCP4.5 scenario), thus increasing the effect of climate change.

Read more: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/11/eaau3523

Data available at: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/carbon-budget-eu-agricultural-soils

[From the European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.114 (October – November 2018)]


Biodiversity factor in soil erosion

The relationship between soil erosion and biodiversity is extremely multifaceted. According to the current (limited) knowledge, earthworms can play a key role in reducing soil erosion, mainly due to their burrowing activity that increase soil porosity. In addition, the ecological impact of soil erosion on soil-living communities is a challenge. The soil erosion—biodiversity interactions are presented in the paper published in Global Ecology and Biogeography. Based on available pan-European (11 countries) maps of earthworm richness and abundance, we developed an “Earthworm factor” (Et-factor) to be integrated into soil erodibility (K-factor) calculation.

Read more: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/geb.12782

Data available at: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/biodiversity-factor-soil-erosion

[From the European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.114 (October – November 2018)]


Land and Soil Management Award (by European Landowners’ Organisation)

The prize rewards land use and soil management practices mitigating soil threats i.e. soil degradation, erosion, reduction of organic matter content, diffuse contamination, and compaction as well as the reduction of soil biodiversity, salinization, sealing, flooding and landslides. In doing so, the award sheds light on outstanding achievements, encouraging new concepts of land and soil protection and their implementation in land management, as well as enhancing awareness about the importance of land and soil functions.

Deadline: December 31, 2018

[From the European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.114 (October – November 2018)]


Scientists call for eight steps to increase soil carbon for climate action and food security

Leading scientists call for action to increase global soil carbon, in advance of the annual climate summit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Katowice, Poland (COP24) and World Soil Day (5 Dec).The amount of carbon in soil is over twice the amount of carbon found in trees and other biomass. But one-third of the world’s soils are already degraded, limiting agricultural production and adding almost 500 gigatons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, an amount equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 216 billion hectares of U.S. forest.

Modalities for climate action in agriculture were addressed on 3rd December at the first workshop of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, a breakthrough initiative of the 2017 UNFCCC climate negotiations.

Read more: https://scienmag.com/scientists-call-for-eight-steps-to-increase-soil-carbon-for-climate-action-and-food-security/?fbclid=IwAR0N_Pu43B68IeWz0YO2cPQ0oldLBRoi7_7qth0j5fy9CkfRjY769SDahnI


Climate change: Can 12 billion tonnes of carbon be sucked from the air?

Is it remotely feasible to remove 12 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air? Every year. For decades to come. That’s the challenge posed by the latest conclusions of the UN’s climate science panel.
It says that only by pulling this heat-trapping gas out of the atmosphere can we avoid dangerous climate change.
But according to one leading researcher, there’s a bit of a hitch: “We haven’t a clue how to do it”.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-environment-46345280?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR1XFhLyG2K6tp5hpUqpCcGQ4ASuEdQKKt8aIRkVUVKI_vVgtWqm-SQ98CE


Climate change is making soils saltier, forcing many farmers to find new livelihoods

Salt is essential for cooking, but too much salt in soil can ruin crops and render fields useless. As sea levels rise, low-lying coastal areas are increasingly being inundated with saltwater, gradually contaminating the soil. These salts can be dissipated by rainfall, but climate change is also increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including droughts and heat waves. This leads to more intensive use of groundwater for drinking and irrigation, which further depletes the water table and allows even more salt to leach into soil.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-making-soils-saltier-forcing-many-farmers-to-find-new-livelihoods-106048


In 100 years’ time, maybe our food won’t be grown in soil

It takes a lot to make a room of soil scientists gasp. Last month, I presented at the National Soils Conference in Canberra, and asked 400 colleagues a simple question: do you think soil will play as significant a role in food production in 100 years as it does today? A sea of hands went up: the consensus was clearly “yes”. I demurred, saying I’m not so sure. Gasps rippled across the room. Why say that? You’re a soil scientist! Are you crazy?
A century is a long time. Most of our scientific horizons seem no more than a decade or two away. But how we manage food and our environments need very long-term, inspired thinking. Within my concern about whether the future of food production is on terra firma, there is also a hope.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/in-100-years-time-maybe-our-food-wont-be-grown-in-soil-108049


How soil bacteria are primed to consume greenhouse gas

New research has revealed that some soil bacteria are primed ready to consume the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide when they experience life without oxygen in the environment.



Solving the sandy soil puzzle

Congolese scientist Lydie-Stella Koutika wins the TWAS-Al-Kharafi Prize for work investigating how to enrich nutrient-poor soil in the face of growing poverty and climate change.

Read more: https://twas.org/article/solving-sandy-soil-puzzle


Can we grow more food on less land? We’ll have to, a new study finds

If the world hopes to make meaningful progress on climate change, it won’t be enough for cars and factories to get cleaner. Our cows and wheat fields will have to become radically more efficient, too.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/climate/agriculture-food-global-warming.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FAgriculture%20and%20Farming&mc_cid=3129943aa0&mc_eid=5dd98208d4

[From ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 12 December 2018]


Increased soil contamination puts food safety and food security at risk

Urgent action is needed to address soil pollution and contain the multiple threats it poses to global food safety and food security, said FAO today marking World Soil Day. Thousands of chemicals, which are commercially produced on a large scale, plastic and electronic waste, non-treated wastewater can all become a source of soil pollution, paving the way for the pollutants to enter the food chain with serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of people and planet.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1173588/icode/

[From ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 12 December 2018]


The most neglected threat to public health in China is toxic soil

Soil contamination occurs in most countries with a lot of farmland, heavy industry and mining. In Ukraine, for example, which has all three, about 8% of the land is contaminated. A chemical dump in upstate New York called Love Canal resulted in the poisoning of many residents and the creation of the “superfund”, a federal programme to clean up contaminated soil. But the biggest problems occur in China, the world’s largest producer of food and of heavy industrial commodities such as steel and cement.

Read more: https://www.economist.com/briefing/2017/06/08/the-most-neglected-threat-to-public-health-in-china-is-toxic-soil?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/themostneglectedthreattopublichealthinchinaistoxicsoil&fbclid=IwAR21zJXcfrj7BTQ-3XG6v4heZkbAKcrmoZfRGp5Rbjc9pwi3cYanbjZtZA4


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


EGU General Assembly – SSS9.2/BG2.33 Call for Abstracts: ‘Change across Soil Interfaces: examining soil functions and processes’

April 7-12, 2019, Vienna. We invite abstract submissions to a European Geosciences Union (EGU) session exploring the wealth of multiscalar processes and functions which occur across soil interfaces including those between microbes and aggregates, bulk soils and roots and the interactions of soils with the bedrock and atmosphere. The EGU General Assembly will bring together soil scientists from around the world and will take place in Vienna between the 7th and 12th April 2019. Submissions are invited from researchers in all sub-disciplines and all career stages of soil science.

Deadline for abstract submissions: January 10, 2019, 12:00 GMT

Read more: https://tinyurl.com/soil-interface

If you have any questions about the session, contact Dan Evans on d.evans3@lancaster.ac.uk


International Workshop on Archaeological Soil Micromorphology

11 – 12 April 2019, Nancy, France. The aim is an informal meeting, where participants are invited to bring their thin sections and where microscopy time and exchange of ideas and experiences prevail. Posters to present your thematic issues and problems are welcome.

Registration form until March 1, 2019 to: anne.gebhardt-even@inrap.fr

Download the first circular: https://www.iuss.org/media/wasm_nancy2019_1st_circ.pdf


International Conference on Successful Transformation toward Land Degradation Neutrality (Future Perspective)

17-19 June 2019, Ankara, Turkey. The objective of this congress is to create a unique ground (platform) by bringing together broad groups of senior scientists, academics, experts, policy makers, young researchers and students from different national and international institutions to analyze the current and the future trends of soil and land resources; establish new policies based on the principles of land degradation neutrality and finally create a universal message for the sustainable use of world soil and land resources.

Abstract submission deadline: February 15, 2019

Read more at the website of

SSST, http://www.toprak.org.tr/en/

ÇEM, http://www.cem.gov.tr/erozyon/MainPage.aspx?sflang=en

Download the first announcement: https://www.iuss.org/media/first-announcement-soil.pdf


Wageningen Soil Conference 2019 (WSC2019)

August 27-30th, 2019, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Wageningen University & Research is delighted to invite you to join us at the 4th edition of the Wageningen Soil Conference. As in previous editions, the aim is to discuss the importance of soils. In the 2019 edition, the focus will be on “Understanding soil functions: from ped to planet”. To do this we will adopt a new style of conference, with traditional conference talks in the mornings, followed by a range of scientific and interactive topic masterclasses in the afternoons. Masterclasses will include a range of topics linking to four themes: 1) Soil functions for society; 2) Innovative methods for measuring soil functions; 3) Modelling & mapping of soil functions across scales; 4) Can we understand synergies and trade-offs between soil functions. We also invite you to offer to lead a course as part of this week. Finally, if you would like to plan a side event or meeting in the afternoon, we can provide you with the venue. Get together with colleagues and discuss future project proposal ideas or have a project meeting, as part of the conference.

First Circular, plus Call for Masterclasses and more info are available at http://www.wur.eu/wageningensoilconference2019.


5th World Congress of the IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations)

September 29 to October 5, 2019; Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. The Congress will be a great opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge on technological innovations, as well as to stay up to date on the latest research findings and trends for the future of forestry and forest research in all areas of the world.

Deadline for Abstracts: 10 January, 2019

Read more: http://iufro2019.com/


XII Latinoamerican Soil Science Congress “Diversidad Productiva: pilar del manejo sostenible de los suelos”

October 7 to 11, 2019, Montevideo, Uruguay. The Uruguayan Soil Science Society (SUCS, http://www.sucs.org.uy) is a IUSS member. SUCS, the Latinoamerican Soil Science Society and other Institutions are organizers of the XII Latinoamerican Soil Science Congress.
Abstract submission until February 28, 2019

Website: http://www.clacs.org


New publications

Editor’s Choice – free access to Geoderma Regional papers

Geoderma Regional was founded in 2014 in the realization that global issues require soil studies and solutions on national and regional levels. The journal is supported by an active group of authors, dedicated editorial board, and thrives with the help of excellent reviewers. Geoderma Regional has embraced every aspect of soil science, and since 2014, nearly 200 papers have been published from all corners of the globe. A special issue on “Digital Soil Mapping across the Globe” illustrated studies from Scotland, Chile, Madagascar, France, India, and Belgium. Here we present a fine selection of papers from all over the world, and hope that you enjoy reading them, and that it may inspire you to submit your next research or review paper to the journal.

Read more: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/geoderma-regional/editors-choice/geoderma-regional-the-editors-selection


Earthworm species diversity: 71 new species described in a Zootaxa Special Issue

Global diversity of earthworms and enchytraeids (Clitellata): papers in honor of András Zicsi (1928–2015) (ed. Rüdiger M. Schmelz). Zootaxa 4496, 575 pp.; 30 cm. Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand. ISBN 978-1-77670-496-5 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-77670-497-2 (Online edition).

Orders: magnolia@mapress.com.

The contribution of earthworms to soil health and sustainable agriculture is very well known. Less well known is the diversity of species that exist in soils of the world. Some 7000 species of earthworms and enchytraeids are currently known – the latter are small, whitish, and also soil-dwelling relatives of the earthworms. Now a Special Issue of the journal Zootaxa uncovers 71 more species of earthworms and enchytraeids new to science, in a volume of 575 pages and 40 articles with more than 100 authors. The species were found in 15 different countries of South America, Africa, and Eurasia. This volume was published to commemorate András Zicsi (1928-2015), the eminent German-Hungarian earthworm taxonomist. It provides a good overview on the current state-of-the-art of earthworm taxonomy, with respect to methods, styles and standards of description, geographical and thematic focus. DNA-sequences are increasingly used to corroborate or even to establish new species, even though detailed morphological descriptions remain the backbone of earthworm taxonomy.

Earthworm taxonomy is not an ivory tower discipline. Many species are discovered in areas where people live, work, and sustain their livelihood. Because of their body size they are often known by the locals before science gets hold of them. Farmers are interested in the species that live on their lands. Sustainable agriculture is unthinkable without earthworms. The amount of endemic species with a narrow distribution range—and therefore with risk of extinction due to soil degradation or land use change—is tremendous. So earthworm taxonomy really matters. This volume increases the number of known species by 1 %, a small but notable proportion.

Read more: http://www.mapress.com/j/zt/article/view/zootaxa.4496.1.3/16177


Soil and nutrients loss in Malawi: an economic assessment

By Solomon Asfaw, Carlo Orecchia, Giacomo Pallante and Alessandro Palma. Published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Malawi. ISBN 978-92-5-131141-7 (FAO).

Soil and nutrient loss are among the major impediments to a stable and sustainable agricultural development in Malawi. This report analyses the economic impact of both soil and nutrient loss in Malawi with new data collected through field surveys, merged with detailed climatic data and socio-economic information.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/3/CA2663EN/ca2663en.pdf


Soil Sequences Atlas III and IV

Edited by M. Świtoniak & P. Charzyński, Toruń: 2018, 218 pages (volume three), and 262 pages (volume four).
These are the third and fourth books in the series of Soil Sequence Atlases. The first volume was published in 2014, the second in May 2018. Main pedogeographic features are presented in the form of sequences to give a comprehensive picture of soils – their genesis and correlations with the environment in typical landscapes of Central Europe from Russia furthest North, through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary to the southernmost Slovenia and Georgia. Soils of various landscapes are presented. A total of 136 soil profiles of 20 WRB Reference Soil Groups are included. The main objective of those books is to present the diversity of relations between soil and landscape, climate, hydrology and humans, and to present interpretations reflecting the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (2015) classification with comments on the choice of qualifiers. PDFs can be freely downloaded on Research Gate and in Nicolaus Copernicus University repository.

Read more (volume 3): https://repozytorium.umk.pl/handle/item/5510

Read more (volume 4): https://repozytorium.umk.pl/handle/item/5511

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