Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 171 (September 2019)

IUSS Alert 171 (September 2019)


Results of IUSS Poster Contest ‘Soilutions’ to solve soil degradation problems now online

IUSS considers stopping soil degradation as one of its most important tasks, and invited to propose ‘Soilutions’ in the form of a poster in order to preserve this unique resource and life itself.

The ideas and proposals should represent the role of the soil as an essential natural resource to preserve the environment. This is very relevant for reaching many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The contest was an initiative under the umbrella of the International Decade of Soils 2015-2024 which shall contribute to increase the awareness about the importance of soil.

IUSS received 42 posters which were evaluated by a Committee. After the evaluation results were approved by the Executive Committee, the IUSS awarded Hernández Huerta Aldo Alfredo (Mexico) with 1,000 USD for the best ‘Soilutions’ poster and Richard Gantlett (United Kingdom) and the group of M.A. Samarasekara, A.G.S.D. De Silva and R. Thusyanthini (all Sri Lanka) with 500 USD each for the second and third best posters. The best 12 posters plus a cover poster shall be used to produce a ‘Soilutions’ calendar.

IUSS thanks all contestants and congratulates the winners!

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/


Request for contributions to IUSS Bulletin 135

All IUSS members are kindly invited to submit their contributions for the next IUSS Bulletin 135 (to be published in December) no later than 20 November 2019. Please send your contributions to the IUSS Secretariat (iuss@umweltbundesamt.at). In particular, we would welcome conference/meeting reports and reports on activities dedicated to the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), 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). According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) IUSS is only allowed to use photos, if the copyright holders give IUSS the right to include them in its publications. Please make sure to check the copyright of all photos submitted.


IUSS on social media

There are new posts on Twitter in September, see: https://twitter.com/iuss_org
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.
Check out the shared soil physics videos of the Oklahoma State University (USA) on our YouTube channel: 


Spanish Soil Science Society

We are inviting you to read and spread the Comic “Living in the soil” http://www.secs.com.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Comic-ingl%C3%A9s-WEB.pdf
Cómic “Vivir en el suelo” 2015 (Spanish version):
Cómic “Vivere nel suolo” 2016 (Italian version):


Polish Soil Science Society

We are inviting you to look into the book “Guidelines for Soil Description and Classification Central and Eastern European Students’ Version” which is a contribution of the Soil Science Society of Poland to the deepening of knowledge and improvement of the teaching and learning of soil science in a didactic way.

Read more: http://soils.umk.pl/didactical/


News from the Latin American Soil Science Society

XLIV Mexican Congress of Soil Science

During the XLIV Mexican Congress of Soil Science in Aguascalientes and in collaboration with the IUSS the OPENING SYMPOSIUM “The sustainability of the soil resource within the framework of the Sustainable Development Objectives” will be held in Aguascalientes, Mexico on October 29th 2019. Special guests from IUSS are President Takashi Kosaki, the IUSS Former President Rainer Horn and the IUSS Former Secretary General Winfried Blum.

An WRB Course will be held during the XLIV Mexican Congress of Soil Science being taught by Dr. Peter Shad from October 30 to November 3 in Aguascalientes, México.

XXII Latin-American Congress of Soil Sciences (XXII CLACS)

Within the framework of XXII CLACS, on October 8th, the third meeting of the Latin-American Network of Soil Laboratories (LATSOLAN) of FAO Pillar 5 of the Global Soil Partnership will be held in Montevideo, Uruguay with the assistance of the FAO General Secretariat.

Thus are the Soils of my Nation”

Children from Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Peru and Uruguay will show their school orchard researches, works and didactic presentations about the soil resource during the VII Latin American Symposium on Educational Innovations on Teaching and Learning of Soil Sciences for children and young people, taking place in the framework of the XXII Latin-American Congress of Soil Sciences (XXII CLACS), on October 9th at the Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel in Montevideo, Uruguay.


General News

Glinka World Soil Prize 2019: Call for Nominations

Take up the challenge and select the next champion! Partners and focal points of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) are invited to nominate pioneer soil scientists and/or soil institutions for the prestigious award. This annual prize, which comes in the form of a medal and USD 15 000, rewards efforts towards Sustainable Soil Management and the fight against soil degradation.

The deadline for submission of the nomination form is extended to 15 October 2019.

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

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No. 24, August 2019]


Apply for the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award

Sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, the King Bhumibol World Soil Day (WSD) Award 2019 consists of a medal and USD 15 000 for the most engaging event of the WSD 2018 campaign “Be the solution to soil pollution”. The call for applications is now open until 30 September 2019! If you have organized a successful WSD 2018 celebration, please submit your report to enter the competition…Don’t miss the chance to win!

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

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No. 24, August 2019]


FAO online consultation: Mainstreaming gender for sustainable soil management

Soils are the foundation of agriculture and sustainable soil management contributes to increasing food production, enhancing the nutrient content of food, and adapting to and mitigating climate change. However, women are often precluded from participating fully in soil management by limited land rights and roles in decision making, among others. In this online discussion we would therefore like to explore with you the relations between gender equality, sustainable soil management and food security.

Your insights will help inform the draft of the “Guide on gender and sustainable soil management”, to be prepared by the Regional Soil Partnerships and the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), together with the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division of FAO.

Close of discussion: 14 October 2019

Read more: http://www.fao.org/fsnforum/activities/discussions/soil-gender


Provide your inputs on the first draft of the Hazard list until 7 October 2019

A working group, co-facilitated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the International Science Council (ISC), has been tasked with developing new hazard definitions and classifications, and seeks input from stakeholders to ensure the list is robust, and reflects the full spectrum of local and regional terminology.

Deadline: 07 October 2019

Read more: https://fr.surveymonkey.com/r/hazardslist


Call for reviewers for IPBES sustainable use assessment

The IPBES Executive Secretary has announced a call for an assessment of the sustainable use of wild species. This assessment will consider various approaches to the enhancement of the sustainability of the use of wild species and to strengthen related practices, measures, capacities and tools for their conservation through such use, taking into account the multiple worldviews and knowledge systems that operate within different socio-ecological contexts. The assessment will be solution-oriented, with the overall aim of identifying challenges and opportunities to establish or strengthen measures and conditions that ensure and promote the sustainable use of wild species.

The period for this first external review is from 27 August to 20 October 2019.

If you would like participate as an expert reviewer in this external review of the sustainable use assessment, please follow these steps:

1) Register as user of the IPBES website (https://www.ipbes.net/user/register) if you have not already done so
2) Apply to become an IPBES external reviewer for individual chapters at 
https://www.ipbes.net/registration-sustainable-use-fod (this will only work when logged in first as IPBES website user)
3) Once registered, you will immediately receive an email providing confidential access to the draft chapters and will be requested to submit your comments in English using a template that is available on the same webpage.

Read more: https://www.ipbes.net/sustainable-use-wild-species-assessment

[From a message from the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, 30 August 2019]


To slow global warming, U.N. warns agriculture must change

Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change. The panel of scientists looked at the climate change effects of agriculture, deforestation and other land use, such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands. Together, those activities generate about a third of human greenhouse gas emissions, including more than 40% of methane. That’s important because methane is particularly good at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And the problem is getting more severe.

Read more: https://choice.npr.org/index.html?origin=https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/08/08/748416223/to-slow-global-warming-u-n-warns-agriculture-must-change

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 4 September 2019]


How we use land contributes to climate change

From cutting back on fossil fuels to planting a million trees, people and policymakers around the world are looking for more ways to curb climate change. Another solution to add to the list is changing how we use land. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released a special report this month that emphasized the importance of proper land management, such as protecting forests from being converted to farmland, has on mitigating climate change. ASA and SSSA member Cynthia Rosenzweig talks to NPR’s Science Friday about the ways we can use land to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

Read more (and listen to the interview): https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/ipcc-2019-land-use-climate-change/

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 4 September 2019]


Interview with Prof. Rattan Lal about soil and climate change

Read more: https://www.columbusunderground.com/low-hanging-fruit-dr-rattan-lal-on-how-soil-farming-can-help-save-the-climate-jb1


Stop abusing land, scientists warn

Scientists are to deliver a stark condemnation of the damage being done to the land surface of the planet. Human activities have led to the degrading of soils, expanded deserts, felled forests, driven out wildlife, and drained peatlands, they will say. In the process, land has been turned from an asset that combats climate change into a major source of carbon.
The scientists will say this land abuse must be stopped to avoid catastrophic climate heating.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49149761?fbclid=IwAR0jgPkJM1_IE_rUbHf7XjSeb8NVCIe5rwE9jasGcmdRVCZARcOHOEcyKMM


Climate Change and Land

An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.

Download the report: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/?fbclid=IwAR1uLGUkjQ9A4eUYm0AVBPQmgxu99dPplHOttAOkEng2tWGTBbHS3SvUVPQ


A Review of Libyan Soil Databases for Use within an Ecosystem Services Framework

Ecosystem services (ESs) are increasingly being used by many countries around the world as a framework for addressing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This review article of the usability of Libyan soil databases for ESs and SDGs is the first of its kind for North Africa. The objectives of the article are to: describe the available soil resources of Libya in relation to an ES framework; provide examples of the usability of Libyan soil databases for ES applications (e.g., provisioning, Healthy Eating Plate), and describe some of the typical disservices in the country.

Read more: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/8/5/82?fbclid=IwAR3FMJPE4hlkMnJavEu9zGpqoH8f2-B8l2n21o91r6w1K07BqTU73Xn_pxg


Soils: what lies beneath your feet?

Soils: Have you ever thought about what lies beneath your feet? Discover why soils are important and how soil scientists are working to protect the world’s most precious natural resource.

Watch the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&feature=youtu.be&v=S7I-yEUZ1j4&fbclid=IwAR3u9SaD5KhM1BuLyoQguquROm8lBMFPISu2YjM1qLEiaERLcOYHo2WKwt0&app=desktop

[From Soil Science Australia]


Chemical properties at European scale based on LUCAS topsoil data

A new set of maps of baseline topsoil chemical properties at high resolution (500m) is available for the European Union. This group of datasets contains 8 chemical properties: pH (H20), pH (CaCl2), Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), Calcium carbonates (CaCO3), C:N ratio, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) using soil point data from the LUCAS 2009/2012 soil surveys (around 22,000 points) for EU-26 (not included Cyprus and Croatia). The derived maps can be baselines to monitor soil quality and provide guidance to agro-environmental research and policy developments in the European Union.  The chemical properties maps for the European Union were produced using Gaussian process regression (GPR) models. The methodology and more details can be found in the relevant publication in Geoderma. 

Data are available in ESDAC:

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 119 (August-September 2019)]


Long-term no-till supports greater asymbiotic nitrogen fixation

Nitrogen is a major crop production input, and N fertilization can lead to surface and groundwater quality degradation. In North Dakota, N rate experiments have indicated that long-term (six years or more) no-till fields require less N for maximum yield and profitability compared with crops grown under a conventional tillage system. A recently published article in the Soil Science Society of America Journal explains that part of the reason behind the lower N requirement in no-till fields is due to the greater activity of asymbiotic N fixers in long-term no-till soils compared with neighboring conventionally tilled soils.

Read more: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/csa/articles/64/9/8a

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 18 September 2019]


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


LAND Management in the era of the new CAP

LANDMARK: Strategic Research for Strategic Plans – Final Conference
23 October 2019, Brussels, Belgium.
LANDMARK is a broad consortium of academic and applied research institutes, Chambers of Agriculture and policy makers. This workshop will provide a detailed analysis of the state of existing knowledge, future requirements and priorities for policy options related to the protection or enhancement of soil functions across the EU.

Registration until 16 October: https://web.jrc.ec.europa.eu/remjrc/screen/meeting/4346/registration-form
Project website: 


GLOSOLAN – 3rd meeting of the Global soil laboratory network

28 – 30 October, 2019, FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy.

Evidence-based decisions are central to the achievement of Sustainable Soil Management (SSM), which in turn is critical to the achievement food security and nutrition, and to the Agenda 2030. While the quantity and quality of soil data are fundamental, soil information must also be harmonized and globally consistent to have impact. Established in 2017, in the framework of the Global Soil Partnership’s Pillar 5, the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) facilitates networking and capacity development through cooperation and information sharing between soil laboratories with different levels of expertise.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1177427/


Soils as records of Past and Present: the geoarchaeological approach

Focus on: is there time for fieldwork today?

6-7 November 2019. Bruges, Belgium.

For more than 50 years Roger Langohr has been an international authority within various fields of soil science research and contributed substantially for improvement of interdisciplinary research strategies. His holistic approach on understanding the book of nature through field observations of soils has inspired researchers from far beyond the borders of Belgium.

Registration deadline: October 15, 2019

Read more: https://www.4terres.ch/gamb19


29th SSSEA Conference – Sustainable Land and Water Management and Climate Smart Agriculture

18-22 November 2019, Naivasha, Kenya

Innovations and Practices for Enhanced Food and Nutrition Security. The Soil Science Society of East Africa (SSSEA) invites participation at a conference intended to critically analyze Land and Water Management (LWM), Technologies, Innovations and Management Practices (TIMPs) and strategies promoting Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA).

Contact: soilseakenya@gmail.com

Read more: First announcement



ISCRAES 2020 – International Symposium on Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems 

19 – 22 May 2020, Dublin, Ireland.

The theme of this symposium is “Contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) through the Development of Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems”. Addressing the central goals of the UN-SDGs requires a multi-disciplinary approach involving academic, industrial and policy-related collaborations for scientific knowledge advancement and exploration of ways for their practical implementation.

Abstract submission deadline: November 30, 2019

Early bird registration deadline: January 06, 2020

Read more: http://www.iscraes2020.org/

Download flyer: https://www.iuss.org/media/iscraes_flyer_f.pdf


4th Soil in the Environment Conference: SITE 2020

28 June – 1 July 2020, Toruń, Poland

On behalf of the organizing committee, it is our pleasure to invite you to attend 4th International Conference of Young Scientists Soil in the Environment and to the city of Toruń. We invite to beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city of Toruń all students and young researches (but senior ones are also welcome). We invite to participate not only European students and researches but also from all other regions of the world.
Early bird registration until 29 February 2020
Deadline for registration: 15 May 2020

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/site-torun-2020


International Workshop on Archaeological Soil Microscopy and Phytoliths Analysis (WASM)

8-10 July, 2020, Paris, France.

The workshop will follow the traditional conduct with informal microscopy sessions in order to share ideas and experience.

Contact: quentinborderie@yahoo.fr

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/media/wasm-paris2020_-_first_announcement.pdf


2020 SSSA Kirkham Conference

14-17 September, 2020, Kruger National Park, South Africa. Held every four years, the conference is generally attended by 100 people or less to provide in-depth discussions on new and emerging research.

Questions? Please contact Kirkham Conference Chair Brent Clothier at brent.clothier@plantandfood.co.nz.

Website: www.soils.org/membership/divisions/soil-physics-and-hydrology/kirkham-conferences


New publications

Healthy Soils for Healthy Vines – Soil Management for Productive Vineyards

By Robert White and Mark Krstic. Published in September 2019 by CSIRO Publishing, 224 pages, colour photographs, illustrations, ISBN: 9781486307388, price hardback: 140.00 AUD. Sales in Australia and New Zealand only. This title is available elsewhere through CABI (https://www.cabi.org/bookshop).

Healthy Soils for Healthy Vines provides a clear understanding of vineyard soils and how to manage and improve soil health for best vineyard performance. It covers the inherent and dynamic properties of soil health, how to choose which soil properties to monitor, how to monitor soil and vine performance, and how vineyard management practices affect soil health, fruit composition and wine sensory characters. It also covers the basic tenets of sustainable winegrowing and their significance for business resilience in the face of a changing climate. + Full description

This book will be of practical value to anyone growing grapevines, managing a vineyard or making wine, from the small individual grower to the large wine company employee. It will be of special interest to winegrowers employing organic, natural or biodynamic methods of production, where the primary focus is on the biological health of the soil.

Read more: https://www.publish.csiro.au/book/7706


Launch of the recently endorsed International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers

The Fertilizer Code provides a locally-adaptable framework and voluntary set of practices to serve the different stakeholders that are directly or indirectly involved with fertilizers. It sets out roles, responsibilities, and actions of government; the fertilizer and nutrient recycling industries; agricultural extension and advisory services; research and academia; farmers and other end users in relation to the production, trade, policy, regulation and use of chemical and mineral fertilizers, organic fertilizers, and reused and recycled nutrients.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1200213/

Download the publication: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5253en/ca5253en.pdf


RECSOIL: Recarbonization of global soils to offset global emissions

RECSOIL is an initiative to unlock the potential of soil organic carbon for climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is presented as a tool to implement the soil component of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. RECSOIL aims to mobilize action on the ground through farmers, who are the drivers for sequestering organic carbon in agricultural soils. The multiple benefits of soils will be prized via the provision of incentives to farmers who implement this set of innovative practices.

The booklet “RECARBONIZATION OF GLOBAL SOILS: A DYNAMIC RESPONSE TO OFFSET GLOBAL EMISSIONS” presents soil carbon sequestration as a feasible option for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation as part of a market-based mechanism. The questions raised inlcude: What is the current state of research on soils as a record of past and present? How has soil research contributed to important archaeological insights ? How do formerly collected soil data help us today? Can we still learn from nature through field observation? What are some of the future challenges ?

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1201385/

Download the publication: http://www.fao.org/3/i7235en/I7235EN.pdf


Assessing the environmental impact of agriculture

Edited by Bo P. Weidema. Published on 27 August 2019 by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited; 386 pages, hardback ISBN-13: 9781786762283, price hardcover GBP 160.00.

It has been estimated that agriculture and land use are responsible globally for around 24% of the greenhouse gas emissions fuelling climate change. Assessing the environmental impact of agriculture provides a review of current research on the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) and other modelling techniques to measure and model the environmental impact and improve the sustainability of agriculture. The book is divided into three sections. Chapters that feature in Part 1 review key issues in using LCA and modelling applied to farming systems. Chapters in Part 2 provide more details on the modelling of three particular impacts, namely freshwater, pesticides and social impacts. Part 3 is dedicated to detailing the options available for reducing the environmental impact and improving the performance of both crop and livestock farming.

Read more: https://shop.bdspublishing.com/store/bds/detail/workgroup/3-190-72759


IUSS Alerts are e-mailed to more than 2,400 individual subscribers and 80 national soil science societies globally. Please forward the IUSS Alerts to your friends and colleagues. Send information for IUSS Alerts to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at
If you would like to receive the monthly IUSS Alert by email, please subscribe here 

The IUSS is on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook