Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 169 (July 2019)

IUSS Alert 169 (July 2019)


IUSS Twitter account

We invite you to follow us on our Official Twitter Account @IUSS_ORG , where we promote our official activities and remain in touch with the Soil Science Scientists community worldwide.


IUSS Bulletin 134

IUSS Bulletin 134 is now online, featuring a variety of articles from the minutes of Council meetings at the 21st World Congress of Soil Science, the activity reports of the IUSS Divisions, recent achievements during the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), conference and meeting reports, news from the Alerts Dec. 2018 to May 2019, upcoming conferences and meetings, new publications and obituaries of outstanding soil scientists. The IUSS Secretariat would like to thank all contributors for their valuable contributions to this Bulletin.

Should you wish to submit contributions for the next Bulletin, which will be published in December 2019, or place paid advertisements, please contact the IUSS Secretariat at iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.


Proceedings of the last two World Congresses now online available

Proceedings with the abstracts of the presentations or posters of the 21st WCSS in Rio have been created and are available on the IUSS website:

Proceedings 21st WCSS – Volume I (Abstracts of oral presentations), ISBN 978-85-86504-29-7: proceedings_of_the_21wcss_volume_i.pdf (5 MB) and
Proceedings 21st WCSS – Volume II (Abstracts of poster presentations), ISBN 978-85-86504-27-3: 
proceedings_of_the_21wcss_volume_i_i.pdf (8 MB).
Additionally the proceedings with all abstracts of the 20th WCSS in Jeju, Korea, were made available on the IUSS website: 
20wcss_abstracts.pdf (32 MB)
Read more: 


Newsletter of Commission 1.1 available on the IUSS website

The June 2019 Newsletter of the IUSS Commission 1.1 Soil Morphology and Micromorphology produced with the support of Richard Heck is available online.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/newsletters/soil-morphology-and-micromorphology-newsletters-commission-11/


News from the Latin American Soil Science Society (SLCS)

Master of Science in Sustainable Soil and Water Management

In line with the main tasks defined by IUSS for the “International Decade of the Soils”  the Latin-American Soil Sciences Associations and Societies are working specifically on some educative and governance activities to achieve soil preservation. On June 18, 2019, the National Associations of Soil Science of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador launched a joint “
Master of Science in Sustainable Soil and Water Management”. The Agrarian University of Nicaragua and the ONG-CRS for Guatemala and México also contribute to this project. That constitutes a great Central-America effort, which is an example of work in unity for the mutual benefit of their countries and in favor of the preservation of natural resources soil and water of Latin America.

General Law on Chilean Soils

On June 3, 2019, working together as a team, the NGO Sustainable Land, the Geological Society of Chile, the College of geologists of Chile, the Chilean Society of Soil Science and the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities very successfully presented a proposal for a General Law of Soils of Chile before the Senate of the Republic of Chile. The IUSS President Elect supported this action through an explanatory video addressed to the senators and through which she argued the need for a Law on the Protection of Chilean Soils. The session ended with the introduction of a working plan into the Senate of the Republic of Chile to work on the proposed General Law on Chilean Soils.

 “Thus are the Soils of my Nation”

Months ago, the Spanish Soil Science Society launched a call to select young people who would participate in our VII Latin American Symposium on Educational Innovations on Teaching and Learning of Soil Sciences, to be held on October 9, 2019, at the “Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel” in Montevideo, Uruguay, during the XXII Latin-American Congress of Soil Sciences (XXII CLACS).

The winner is Lucía Iglesias Abarca from IES Bajo Cinca de Fraga (Huesca), Spain, with the work entitled “EFFECT OF THE USE OF SOIL IN FUNGI BIODIVERSITY” who will be traveling to Uruguay accompanied by her tutor D. Fernando Teijeira Romón with funding from the Spanish Society of Soil Science. The Latin-American Soil Science Society congratulates Lucia and her tutor.

We are looking forward to welcoming you at our VII Latin American Symposium on Educational Innovations on Teaching and Learning of Soil Sciences.


General News

Eurosoil2020 – Show your soil

Do you want to show your soils in a creative, unforgettable way?  Among events we are preparing for Eurosoil, we are pleased to introduce a participatory project with an artist, Cédric Bregnard. He produces artistic performance in conferences, in the streets, or during events, with delegates and the public in general. He mostly focused on trees – see some examples of recent performances in the attached file. Our common project is to focus on soils. Eurosoil participants will be able to paint soil profiles in large sizes.   Moreover, Geneva Region organizes an “Off Eurosoil”: in the whole region and during one month, soil events will be organized for the public, a way to “Connect people and soil”. Hence, the event will take place both inside and outside of the conference center, allowing the public of the region (Geneva and neighboring France) to work together with the delegates on Cédric Bregnard’s performance.   We would like the main soils of Europe, your soils, to be drawn by the delegates and the public, and therefore, we need your support:

  • Selecting at least one soil profile – with plants or trees and showing the roots
  • Inviting Cédric Bregnard so that he takes the pictures based on which the performance will be held.

Please let us know if you are willing to participate. We hope to show to Europe a magnificent gallery of our soils.

Read more: https://www.cedricbregnard.ch or https://www.facebook.com/cedricbregnard.photo/


News from the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS)

The Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) was enacted into law by the NISS establishment Act of 2017. NISS is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Nigerian Government recognizes the increasing pressure on soil and the alarming rate of soil degradation and has therefore charged the Institute with the responsibility of promoting rapid sustainability of high quality soil through scientific methods and to regulate all issues pertaining to soil management and its practices in Nigeria.

Feel free to contact us by email: info@niss.gov.ng; follow us on facebook @nissng or on http://twitter.com/nissng

Read more: www.niss.gov.ng


Soil Profile Analytical Database 14 (SPADE14)

The existing Soil Profile Analytical Database (SPADE), a component of the Eurasian Soil Database (ESDB), has been updated to include estimated analytical data for the dominant soil units (STUs) of the 1:1.000.000 Soil Geographical database of Europe. Among other attributes, the SPADE14 includes
Depth, Horizon names, Bulk density, Carbon-to-Nitrogen ratio, Total carbonate, Gypsum, Cation exchange capacity, Electric conductivity, calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium,  Texture, Organic matter content, pH, Porosity, Structure, Water retention capacity. SPADE14 includes 1078 estimated soil profiles for 28 countries. Data are available in ESDAC: 

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/spade-14  
[From: European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.118 (Jun- Jul 2019)]


LUCAS 2015 Topsoil data of Switzerland

The dataset contains the data of physical and chemical properties analysed in samples taken in Switzerland within the context of LUCAS 2015 survey. These data have been used in the study “Comparison of sampling with a spade and gouge auger for topsoil monitoring at the continental scale”. The LUCAS 2015 campaign in Switzerland had 150 sampling locations distributed in arable, grassland, and woodland land cover classes in mineral soils in Switzerland. At each sampling location, topsoil samples (0–20 cm) were taken with the LUCAS spade and the gouge auger sampling methods. Altogether, 300 samples were taken at the 150 locations: 150 samples with spade and 150 with gouge auger. The samples were analysed for texture properties, organic carbon, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium carbonate, pH and electrical conductivity.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/lucas-2015-topsoil-data-switzerland
[From: European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.118 (Jun- Jul 2019)]


Soil Health Institute released progress report on adoption of soil health practices

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) has released PROGRESS REPORT: Adoption of Soil Health Systems Based on Data from the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture. The analysis includes a state-by-state breakdown of both cover crops and no-till production. In relation to soil health-promoting practices, the main data that the Census provides is on use of cover crops and tillage. Overall, the 2017 Census of Agriculture showed considerable progress with soil health practices from 2012 to 2017, with 5 million additional acres of cover crops and 8 million additional acres of no-till in the U.S.

Read more: https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-institute-releases-progress-report-on-adoption-of-soil-health-practices/
[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 24 July 2019]


Scientists hit pay dirt with new microbial research technique

Long ago, during the European Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci wrote that we humans “know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” Five hundred years and innumerable technological and scientific advances later, his sentiment still holds true.

Read more: https://www.soils.org.uk/news/25-jun-2019/scientists-hit-pay-dirt-new-microbial-research-technique?fbclid=IwAR1SJN9ti7ns_7KYnjTo-2K2jo-Cq4K_yDIWFpWgIDb60jUVrg7BAWt5tSA


These bizarre wormlike creatures eat Rock, poop sand, and may even redesign rivers

Most clams are happy to make their burrow in a nice, soft bed of sand or mud. Not this mollusc. A recently uncovered relative of the shipworm puts the hard into hardcore, chewing holes into rocks and excreting the debris as sand.
Lithoredo abatanica joins a short list of freshwater animals capable of literally weathering the landscape and creating real estate for other species to hide in, while potentially affecting the course of their river ecosystem.

Read more: https://www.sciencealert.com/a-newly-discovered-genus-of-shipworm-eats-holes-into-rocks-and-poops-out-sand?fbclid=IwAR0bwAe8BMNUPJpzq1P9rFBS3yT52TVtcXlJWqOCptczejYti8ZxWQweHqg


Women in Marial Ajith are realizing their community’s potential

Adut Akuei used to go every evening to the hospital to visit little Akol Akot, her three-year old granddaughter, who was seriously malnourished. Adut and her daughter Angong could often only feed her with asida, a dish made out of ground sorghum. She wasn’t getting all the nutrients she needed from her food, and the way the food was washed also left her susceptible to food-borne illnesses that stopped absorption of nutrients and further weakened her body.
With FAO’s help, Adut and the other women are doing their part to realize the community’s potential. In late 2018, FAO, with funding of the Governments of the Netherlands and Norway, started helping mothers enhance and diversify the diets of their children to fight malnutrition. The women now grow their own vegetables, making the most of their soil.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/fao-stories/article/en/c/1193556/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social+media&utm_campaign=fao


Why we need to stop treating soil like dirt

Guardian journalist Josh Toussaint-Strauss finds out how we are destroying the earth’s soil, but also discovers some of the progress we’ve made in the race to protect it.

Watch the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSHR4sUZpcw&fbclid=IwAR3peIOqw7UAzS-6-1UNHsPxgiwmfKlfC63S4xkJ-EA27YCNzwyX2wnGti8


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops



2 September 2019, Barcelona, Spain. We are pleased to announce you that the SOILS4EU project

  • Impact of soil degradation on human health
  • Potential of Earth Observation for improved soil monitoring

These interactive workshops are organized as side events of the TERRAenVISION 2019 Conference “Working towards the Sustainable Development Goals” (Barcelona, 2-7 Sept 2019). The aim of the workshops is to present and discuss two in-depth reports on the above topics prepared by SOILS4EU for the DG for Environment, and to gather expert opinions and feedback on the content of both reports. Please feel free to contact Antonio López-Francos (lopez-francos@iamz.ciheam.org) if you have any further questions.
Registration through the TERRAenVISION conference registration website.
Read more: 
https://terraenvision.eu/the-program/ and https://www.iuss.org/media/soils4eu_workshops_5and6_2sept2019.pdf


International Committee on Contaminated Land – 14th ICCL-meeting

23/24 October 2019, Lima, Perú. The Ministry of Environment of Perú (MINAM) and the Secretariat of COMMON FORUM on Contaminated Land in Europe in its function as acting on behalf of ICCL are privileged to invite you to the 14th meeting of the International Committee on Contaminated Land (ICCL).
Submission of presentations until 31st July 2019
Online registration will be opened 22nd August 2019

Read more: http://www.iccl.ch/meetings.html

Download the 2nd Announcement: https://www.iuss.org/media/14th_meeting_iccl_second_announcement_june_2019_f.pdf


Joint International Conference on “Soil and Water Resources Management for Climate Smart Agriculture and Global Food and Livelihood Security”

Nov 5-9, 2019, New Delhi, India. The Joint International Conference is being organized by Water Conservationists (WASWAC), International Soil Conservation Organization (ISCO) and Soil Conservation Society of India (SCSI). Natural resources, especially soil & water, are essential components not only of the agro-ecosystems, but also of the total biosphere. However, over the time, these resources have been degraded and depleted in the absence of judicious use, management and conservation. The degradation of soil and water resources has long been recognised as a primary threat to productive and sustainable agriculture. Ongoing climate changes have added complexities to the challenges faced by land users and policy makers, whether in developed and developing countries. This international conference, therefore, is intended to provide a forum, and perhaps, action plan, to address these global concerns.

Abstract submission until August 31, 2019

Download the 2nd announcement: https://www.iuss.org/media/revised_second_announcment_19-7-2019.pdf

Website: http://scsi.org.in/sw_index.html



International Soil Classification Congress 2020

16-24 April 2020,  2020, Coahuila · Nuevo León · San Luis Potosí · Querétaro, México

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

Please bear in mind that the deadline for early-bird registration and payment of the field workshop is the 31st of this month of July 2019.

Key dates are:

April 16, 2020: arrival

April 17 – 21, 2020: field workshop

April 22 – 24, 2020: conference

The deadlines for the field workshop are:

Early-bird registration: July 31, 2019

Final registration: November 30, 2019

The deadlines for the conference are:

Abstract submission: December 15, 2019

Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2020

Early-bird registration: January 31, 2020
Regular registration: February 29, 2020
On-site registration possible

Read more: https://iscc2020.org/


New publications

Intelligent Soil Management for Sustainable Agriculture. The Nutrient Buffer Power Concept

By Kodoth Prabhakaran Nair. 1st edition published by Springer International Publishing in 2019, 389 pages, hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-15530-8, eBook ISBN 978-3-030-15530-8, price hardcover 176,79 €, price eBook 101,14 €.

This book conceptualizes a revolutionary idea based on a mechanistic-mathematical model in which the “Buffer Power” of the principal and problematic nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and zinc is quantified. This is achieved by using either a very sophisticated technique, electro-ultra-filtration, or a simple adsorption-desorption equilibrium technique, and by integrating the “Buffer Power” of the nutrient in question into the computations, accurate fertilizer recommendations are made. This technique was field tested across Europe, (Germany and Belgium), Africa (The Republic of Cameroon), and Asia (both Central Asia- Turkey and South Asia-India), during a period of three decades in test crops, such as, summer rye (Secale cereale), maize (Zea mays), wheat (Triticum aestivum), white clover (Trifolium repens), a highly nutritious and palatable fodder crop for Africa, black pepper (Piper nigrum) and cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Remarkable precision in predictability of plant uptake of phosphorus, potassium and zinc was obtained employing the technique.

Read more: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030155292?wt_mc=ThirdParty.SpringerLink.3.EPR653.About_eBook#otherversion=9783030155308


Soil Resources and Its Mapping Through Geostatistics Using R and QGIS

Edited by Priyabrata Santra, Mahesh Kumar, N.R. Panwar and C.B. Pandey. 1st Edition published by CRC Press on 15 July 2019. 362 pages, hardback ISBN: 9780367340520, price hardback: £92.00.
This book will provide an exposure to recent developments in the field of geostatistical modeling, spatial variability of soil resources, and preparation of digital soil maps using R and GIS and potential application of it in agricultural resource management.

Please note: This title is co-published with New India Publishing Agency, Delhi. Taylor & Francis does not sell or distribute the Hardback in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Read more: https://www.routledge.com/Soil-Resources-and-Its-Mapping-Through-Geostatistics-Using-R-and-QGIS/Santra-Kumar-Panwar-Pandey/p/book/9780367340520



financially supported

Professor or Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) of Physics of Soils and Terrestrial Ecosystems

The Department of Environmental Systems Science (www.usys.ethz.ch) at ETH Zurich invites applications for the above-mentioned position focusing on (1) physical processes controlling water, energy, and/or mass fluxes in the subsurface and (2) their implications for biogeochemical processes, organisms and/or ecosystems. Candidates are expected to pursue a system-oriented research program linking physical and biological processes across a range of scales. A focus on forest systems and forested landscapes is particularly welcome.

The successful candidate is expected to have a strong background in soil physics, physical hydrology, geophysics, or related fields, to have an international track record in research (commensurate with the career stage), and to be a motivated and effective teacher. Teaching duties will include introductory and advanced-level courses in soil physics and environmental physics. In general, at ETH Zurich undergraduate level courses are taught in German or English and graduate level courses are taught in English.

The level of the appointment will depend on the candidate’s career track and qualifications. Assistant professorships have been established to promote the careers of younger scientists. ETH Zurich implements a tenure track system equivalent to other top international universities.

Please apply online: www.facultyaffairs.ethz.ch

Applications should include a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a statement of future research and teaching interests, and a description of the three most important achievements. The letter of application should be addressed to the President of ETH Zurich, Prof. Dr. Joël Mesot. The closing date for applications is 15 September 2019. ETH Zurich is an equal opportunity and family friendly employer and is responsive to the needs of dual career couples. We specifically encourage women to apply.


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