Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 166 (April 2019)

IUSS Alert 166 (April 2019)


IUSS at EGU General Assembly 2019

At EGU 2019, which took place in Vienna from 7 to 12 April 2017 and attracted 16,273 scientists from 113 countries of which 53% were under the age of 35 years, IUSS shared a booth with ESAFS (East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies), ECSSS (European Confederation of Soil Science Societies), BGS (Soil Science Society of Switzerland) and DBG (German Soil Science Society). IUSS presented its Divisions and their most recent activities as well as the IUSS book series under the umbrella of the International Decade of Soils 2015 – 2024.

The latest book in the IUSS soil book series Global Soil Proverbs – Cultural Language of the Soil was presented by IUSS Secretary Sigbert Huber on 11 April, 15:45-16:15. IUSS President Elect Laura Bertha Reyes Sánchez, co-author of the chapter on proverbs in Mexico, talked about her insights. President Takashi Kosaki provided an outlook on the next IUSS soil book. The book can be ordered already from iuss@umweltbundesamt.at; reduced price for IUSS members: EUR 30.00 (plus shipping costs).

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=704

The book presentation was followed by a meet and greet session with IUSS President 2019-2020 Takashi Kosaki from Japan and IUSS President Elect 2019-2020 Laura Bertha Reyes Sánchez from Mexico.

Read more: https://www.egu2019.eu/


International Poster Contest ‘Soilutions’ to solve soil degradation problems

IUSS considers stopping soil degradation as one of its most important tasks, and invites you to propose in a poster your ‘Soilutions’ to address soil problems in order to preserve this unique resource and life. The ideas and proposals should represent the role of the soil as an essential natural resource to preserve the environment. IUSS will award 1,000 USD from the Stimulus Fund for the best ‘Soilutions’ poster and 500 USD each for the second and third best poster. The posters shall be submitted until May 31, 2019. The best 12 posters will be displayed on the IUSS website and a calendar shall be made using these posters.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=26&goback=619


Call to vote for the Best Paper Award in Pedometrics 2018

The Awards Committee of the Pedometrics Commission has received nominations from an open call for the Best Paper 2018 competition. With nominations from the panel members a total of 27 papers were considered. Each committee member selected their top 15 papers in rank order (excluding papers on which they were co-authors) and the top five papers in terms of support across the committee as a whole are to be put to an open vote. The result will be announced at the Pedometrics 2019 Meeting at Guelph in June 2019.

Votes should be received by Murray Lark at murray.lark@nottingham.ac.uk before midday, BST on 31st May. As before: Please rank papers in order, with the first paper the one you regard as most deserving. You need not provide a rank for every paper nominated.

Votes must be received from a traceable email address, and if I cannot verify their origin they will be discarded.

Authors/co-authors should not vote for their own papers.

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

Murray Lark on behalf of the Awards Committee (Sabine Grunwald, Gerard Heuvelink, Lin Yang, Uta Stockman, Alessandro Samuel-Rosa).


Request for contributions to IUSS Bulletin 134 – reminder

The IUSS Secretariat (iuss@umweltbundesamt.at) kindly invites all IUSS members to submit their contributions for the next IUSS Bulletin 134 (to be published in June) no later than 15 May 2019. In particular, we 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. Also we would like to give more room to national soil science societies to present their recent activities. Please make sure to send high-resolution photos only together with the copyright information (owner of the photos).

General News

We should discuss soil as much as we talk about coal

Most discussions about fighting climate change focus on electricity and the need for renewable energy. De-carbonizing the way we generate electricity would be a huge step, but it won’t be enough if we don’t reach zero net emissions from every sector of the economy within 50 years (and make a serious dent in the next ten). That includes the agriculture, forestry, and land use sector, which is responsible for 24 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions—just one percentage point less than electricity. I wish agricultural innovation got as much attention as the impact on climate change from electricity, because its success is just as critical to stopping climate change. Future changes in income and population may come close to doubling the current environmental impacts of the food system. I believe creative, scalable solutions to this challenge are out there, and now is the time to invest in their R&D.

Read more: https://www.gatesnotes.com/Energy/We-should-discuss-soil-as-much-as-coal

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 2 April 2019]


Dung beetles and soil bacteria reduce risk of human pathogens

Food safety regulations increasingly pressure growers to remove hedgerows, ponds, and other natural habitats from farms to keep out pathogen-carrying wildlife and livestock. Yet, this could come at the cost of biodiversity, making the farmland less hospitable to pollinators and other beneficial insects or birds. New research published in the Journal of Applied Ecology encourages the presence of dung beetles and soil bacteria at farms as they naturally suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens before spreading to humans.

Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190319083915.htm

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 2 April 2019]


The multi-faced role of soil in the Near East and North Africa – New policy brief out now!

The policy brief, launched on 31 March 2019 at the Near East and North Africa Land and Water Days, aims to raise awareness and trigger policy action on the added value of soil resources in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1187691/?fbclid=IwAR0Udo860xzVlYriOwqY6Gb9Op-5qfsBOpW9YNvAhD31×54MOMjdBLOaKiY


Soil suitability for ground penetrating radar

This map shows the suitability of soils to be imaged using ground penetrating radar. The map was made by evaluating properties derived from soil mapping by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. This suitability rating is a “soil survey interpretation.” Interpretations predict soil behavior for specified soil uses and under specified soil management practices.

Read more: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcseprd1451423.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0UfaPKArILn4zoPqdGtURxM5yOdKtOH66HblIWUrMDokSlzlmAsQstNqw


Assessment of the global status and regional trends of soil pollution

Do you have info about #soilpollution in your country or region? Participate in the Global Soil Partnership questionnaire on the global status & regional trends of soil pollution

Read more: http://bit.ly/2VWtlN3


Apply to receive the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Accreditation is available to attend IPBES 7 (Paris, 29 April – 4 May) and / or to receive advance online access to the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, launching Monday May 6. The report from the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES.net) has been prepared over three years by 150 leading experts from 50 countries.

To apply for online or site accreditation go to: http://bit.ly/IPBES7Media

Read more: https://www.ipbes.net/


Soil loss due to crop harvesting (SLCH) in the European Union

This study aims to scale up the findings of past studies, carried out at regional and national level,  to obtain preliminary insights into the magnitude of soil loss from cropland due to sugar beets and potatoes harvesting in EU. The 4.2 million ha of root crops in the EU contribute to 14.7 million tons of SLCH. Sugar beet cultivation has decreased significantly during the last 16 years resulting in a SLCH decline of 37% compared to the period 1987-99. According to this article, the SLCH is less intense compared to the water, wind, tillage and gully erosion. Data are available in ESDAC.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/soil-loss-due-crop-harvesting-european-union

[From: European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.117 (Apr- May 2019)]


Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES)

The Rainfall Erosivity Database on the European Scale (REDES) includes Annual R-factor values for 1,675 precipitation stations within the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. The R-factor in REDES has been calculated using high temporal resolution (5-min, 15-min, 30-min, hourly) rainfall data. REDES has been used to develop the European R-factor map, monthly R-factor assessments and projections of future erosivity. The R-factor raw data per station are made available in ESDAC (monthly or individual storm events can be distributed upon request).

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/rainfall-erosivity-european-union-and-switzerland

[From: European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.117 (Apr- May 2019)]


Join the very first MOOC on Tropical Soil Science

Soils are the foundation of sustainable developments and access to soil knowledge is more important than ever before. Therefore, a global community of partners designed the very first Massive Online Open Course on tropical soils and how they affect the world above ground. Enrollment is now open on the EdX platform and FREE for this run. MOOC starts on May 13, 2019.

Watch the trailer and subscribe here: https://www.edx.org/course/as-above-so-below-soils-ecosystems-and-livelihoods-in-the-tropics


Call for manuscripts

Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening” Special Issue in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph

We aim at producing a special issue on the various environmental aspects of the use of compost in the urban environment. Papers dealing with the presence and behavior of contaminants in urban soils amended with compost or in green roofs constructed with compost, as well as studies on the transference of different pollutants to waters, plants and the food chain are welcome. We also encourage the submission of reports of practical experiences on the integration of organic waste management strategies into urban agriculture systems and urban soil protection schemes. Papers reporting results from different countries are particularly welcome, in order to obtain a worldwide perspective of this subject.

Manuscript submission until October 31st, 2019

Read more: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph/special_issues/Composts_Gardening


Call for Papers for the Virtual Special Issue “New Research on Soil Degradation and Restoration”

Soil degradation is a main issue all over the world. Physical, chemical and biological degradation of soil environments need detailed research, also going deeper in some new aspects poorly covered up to now. Similarly, new quality research on restoration of degraded soils, dumping sites, different areas affected by mining activities, and so on, would be clearly useful in order to prevent and/or solve critical environmental hazards. In view of that, the editors of this Special Issue encourage authors to submit new quality manuscripts on the matter, focusing on soil degradation, soil restoration, and/or on soil degradation + restoration simultaneously.

Read more: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-environmental-management/call-for-papers/call-for-papers-for-the-virtual-special-issue-new-research


Soil Microbiology vacancy – UW Madison

The Department of Soil Science seeks applications for a tenure track faculty position in soil microbiology. This position carries a commitment to the three functions of research, instruction, and outreach, as well as professional and university service as appropriate to faculty rank. The deadline for assuring full consideration is June 14, 2019, anticipated begin date is October 1, 2019.

Read more: https://jobs.hr.wisc.edu/en-us/job/501005/assistant-professor

Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


7th Session of the Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly

5-7 June 2019, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy. The Plenary Assembly constitutes the decision making body of the Global Soil Partnership. It embraces all the GSP partners in a yearly meeting to review and prioritize GSP actions while facilitating a balanced regional decision-making process.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1184885/


ISMOM 2019 – 8th International Symposium on Interactions of Soil Minerals with Organic Components and Microorganisms “Understanding Soil Interfacial Reactions for Sustainable Soil Management and Climatic Change Mitigation”

23-28 June, 2019, Seville, Spain. It is a pleasure to invite you to participate in the 8th ISMOM (International Symposium on Interactions of Soil Minerals with Organic Components and Microorganisms). This symposium is part of a series of international symposia organized by Commission 2.5 (Soil chemical, physical and biological interfacial reactions) of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and aims to provide a platform for fruitful discussions between scientists and students from soil sciences, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics, ecology or environmental sciences.

The ISMOM 2019, “Understanding Soil Interfacial Reactions for Sustainable Soil Management and Climatic Change Mitigation” follows successful 4-yearly meetings in Canada, France, Italy, China and Chile. There will not be parallel sessions, and generous periods will be allotted to poster presentations, discussions and social events.

Deadline for poster abstract submission: May 15, 2019

Read more: https://www.ismom.2019.org


2019 Alaska and Arctic Soils Field Tour

The trip is July 11-23, 2019. We can take 12-15 students/professionals and 2-4 instructors. All must sign up for a 1-credit course at Univ. Alaska-Fairbanks. Cost is listed below. This is largely a camping soils and ecology trip with picnic meals that starts in Anchorage and follows the highway past Denali to Fairbanks, and then follows the Dalton Hwy past the Arctic Circle to Deadhorse.

Highlights: observe 20 soils, Matanuska glacier, hike in Denali NP, visit musk ox and/or reindeer farms, three research sites, permafrost tunnel, Alyeska pipeline, patterned ground, sorted rock circles, tundra rehabilitation. The sun will not set on this trip.

There are three spots still available on a first come basis. The base trip should cost $1735 plus airfare for undergraduates. There are no funds for scholarships or discounts for students this year. Airfare may start to go up on May 20. This is a continuation/expansion of Chin-Lu Pings Arctic Soils Field Course at Univ. Alaska-Fairbanks.

Read more: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc19sO7s7YydhvWgePQJRbz0rE1ZuJpGhekDzM-1KBy8NDrEw/viewform?usp=sf_link


3rd International summer school “Monitoring, modeling and management of urban green infrastructure and soils”

Topic: Anthropogenic landscapes and soils of European Russia: from Sea to Sea

July 21 – August 11, 2019, Russia. The 3MUGIS summer school is an annual event, which addresses relevant contemporary environmental consequences and opportunities of urbanization with special emphasis on soil functions. The summer school aims to provide a solid background practical skills training in addressing impacts of urbanization through the monitoring and assessment of urban soils, design and maintenance of urban green infrastructure, and projects of sustainable urban development.

More information: https://www.iuss.org/media/3mugis-2019.pdf

Invitation letter: https://www.iuss.org/media/3mugis-2019_invitation_letter.doc

Read more: http://3mugis.org/


International Soil Conference of Indonesian Soil Science Society (ISCO-ISS)

August 5-7, 2019, Trans Luxury Hotel Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. The following topics will be covered: Soil Health and Fertility, Biodiversity and Bioresources; Soil Physics, Water Conservation and Agroforestry; Land Use Planning and Policy, Socio-cultural and Economical Aspect of Land Management; Soil Mineralogy, Genesis and Classification; Mining Reclamation and Environment Disaster Management; GIS And Remote Sensing on Agriculture, Integrated Farming System, Precision Agriculture and Green Technology.

Abstract submission deadline: May 15, 2019

Read more: http://isco-iss.faperta.unpad.ac.id/index.php/isco/2019


BSSS 2019 Annual Conference “Managing Soil Resources to Secure Our Future”

September 4- 5, 2019, Sheffield, United Kingdom. The multi-functionality of soils puts ever greater pressure on how and what expert advice is provided to manage our soils and the time that remains until we have to reduce Greenhouse gas emission gets ever shorter. Innovative research and research applications from all areas in soil science will be required to tackle these challenges. We invite you to present your latest research at this meeting and contribute to having soil science make a difference.

Abstract submission deadline: July 4, 2019

Read more: https://www.soils.org.uk/event/1674


2019 ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting

Embracing the Digital Environment

November 10-13, 2019, San Antonio, Texas, USA

Final abstract deadline: June 11, 4:00 PM CDT

Read more: https://www.acsmeetings.org/



VI International Soil Classification Congress in 2020 in Mexico

16-24 April, 2020, Querétaro, Mexico

This congress is part of the events organized by Commission 1.4 of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and is composed of a five-day field workshop beginning in Cuatro Ciénegas and ending with a three-day conference in Querétaro.

Field Workshop from Cuatro Ciénagas to Querétaro Arrival at Cuatro Ciénagas: April 16, 2020, Field Workshop: April 17 to April 21, 2020 Arrival at Querétaro: April 21, 2020, in the evening

Conference in Querétaro: April 22 to 24, 2020

Our main objective is to provide a forum to continue the works and discussions from previous meetings about soil classification systems as a medium to communicate soil functions and management. The particular aim is to present options for conserving and improving soils in areas with subhumid, semiarid, and arid climates. For that reasons we invite leading soil scientists, students and professionals interested in analyzing in depth the indicators, indexes, and models that will improve soil classification as a tool for soil conservation, global change mitigation, and communication to stakeholders at multiple cartography scales.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: December 15, 2019

Congress website: http://iscc2020.org/


16th International Conference on Soil Micromorphology

August 30 – September 3, 2020, Krakow, Poland

The registration will start in September 2019.

Download the first circular: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=311

Conference website: http://www.icosm2020.sggw.pl/


9th International Acid Sulfate Soils Conference

Acid Sulfate Soils: Progress, Policy and Prospects

November 15 – 20, 2020, Adelaide, Australia

Abstract Submission and Conference Registration opens: 1st November, 2019

Abstract Submission and Early Registration closes 1st February, 2020

Read more: https://biological.adelaide.edu.au/acid-sulfate-soil/iassc/


New publications

Soil Fauna Assemblages

Global to Local Scales. By Uffe N. Nielsen. Published as Part of Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation in March 2019 by Cambridge University Press, 378 pages, 52 b/w illustrations, 2 tables, ISBN: 9781316642108, price paperback £ 34.99. This volume provides a modern introduction to the soil fauna and their contributions to ecosystem function, the mechanisms that structure soil fauna assemblages from local to global scales, and the potential impacts of global change on soil fauna assemblages and through this ecosystem function. Wanting to be an accessible primer, this book is a high level overview of current knowledge rather than a detailed tome of all existing information, with emphasis being placed on key findings and general patterns. It focuses on the soil fauna but contextualizes these assemblages in relation to the microbial assemblages belowground and the vegetation aboveground. It is clear that our knowledge of soil fauna assemblages is ever increasing, but there is still a lot to discover. Key areas of research are highlighted, with particular reference to the future of soil fauna assemblages.

Read more: https://www.cambridge.org/at/academic/subjects/life-sciences/ecology-and-conservation/soil-fauna-assemblages-global-local-scales?format=PB


Modern Soil Microbiology, Third Edition

By Jan Dirk van Elsas, Jack T. Trevors, Alexandre Soares Rosad and Paolo Nannipieri; 3rd Edition published by CRC Press, April 24, 2019, 472 pages, 25 Colour & 73 b/w Illustrations, ISBN: 9781498763530; price hardback £61.60; eBook: £69.30; eBook Rental from £38.50.

The living soil is crucial to photosynthesis, biogeochemical cycles, global food production, climate change, biodiversity, and plant and animal health. In the past decade, scientists have made significant advances in soil microbiology research. While the basic principles are now better understood, knowledge has been forthcoming on the best available technologies and methods applied to researching soil microorganisms, their diversity, interactions, biochemistry, survival, gene expression, and their roles in global climate change, plant disease suppression and growth stimulation, and biogeochemical cycles. This knowledge can be applied to better predict the transformation of pollutants in soil and the activities of microbes in the rhizosphere. It will also assist us in fostering crop production in an era with an increasing human population and intensification of agriculture.

Following the tradition of its predecessors, Modern Soil Microbiology, Third Edition, is an indispensable source that supports graduate/undergraduate teaching for soil and environmental microbiologists in academia, as well as in government and industrial laboratories. It is a comprehensive collection of chapters on various aspects of soil microbiology, useful for all professionals working with soils. Compiled by internationally renowned educators and research scholars, this textbook contains key tables, figures, and photographs, supported by thousands of references to illustrate the depth of knowledge in soil microbiology.

Read more: https://www.crcpress.com/Modern-Soil-Microbiology-Third-Edition/Elsas-Trevors-Rosado-Nannipieri/p/book/9781498763530


Ecosystem Consequences of Soil Warming: Microbes, Vegetation, Fauna and Soil Biogeochemistry

Edited by Jacqueline Mohan, 1st Edition published by Academic Press 13 April 2019, 592 pages, eBook ISBN: 9780128134948, Paperback ISBN: 9780128134931, price paperback: € 132.68; price ebook: € 147.56.

Ecosystem Consequences of Soil Warming: Microbes, Vegetation, Fauna and Soil Biogeochemistry focuses on biotic and biogeochemical responses to warmer soils including plant and microbial evolution. It covers various field settings, such as arctic tundra; alpine meadows; temperate, tropical and subalpine forests; drylands; and grassland ecosystems. Information integrates multiple natural science disciplines, providing a holistic, integrative approach that will help readers understand and forecast future planetwide responses to soil warming. Students and educators will find this book informative for understanding biotic and biogeochemical responses to changing climatic conditions. Scientists from a wide range of disciplines, including soil scientists, ecologists, geneticists, as well as molecular, evolutionary and conservation biologists, will find this book a valuable resource in understanding and planning for warmer climate conditions.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/ecosystem-consequences-of-soil-warming/mohan/978-0-12-813493-1



financially supported

PR2 Profile Probe – accurate soil moisture profiles down to 40 cm and 100 cm

Analog and Digital (SDI-12) versions available __________________________________________________

  • Accurate moisture content – not just trends
  • Minimal soil disturbance
  • Low salinity and temperature sensitivity
  • Dual purpose – portable readings and installed monitoring

The PR2 Profile Probe enables you to monitor soil water profiles with ease and flexibility. Simply install an access tube into the soil, insert the PR2 Profile Probe and connect the meter to display an instantaneous reading, or connect the PR2 to a data logger and leave the system to record soil moisture changes over time. The PR2 is built around patented sensing technology which provides unprecedented performance in all soil types, with minimal influence from either salinity or temperature. The PR2/4 model measures soil moisture at 4 depths down to 40 cm – the PR2/6 measures at 6 depths down to 100 cm. Probes are available with either analog or SDI-12 outputs, enabling integration with a wide range of data loggers, sensors and equipment.

More information on the PR2 Profile Probe https://www.delta-t.co.uk/product/pr2/


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