Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 172 (October 2019)

IUSS Alert 172 (October 2019)


Request for contributions to IUSS Bulletin 135 – last call

We invite all IUSS members to send their contributions for IUSS Bulletin 135 no later than 20 November 2019 to 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. We would like to present recent activities of national soil science societies to. 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.


Hangsheng “Henry” Lin (1965 – 2019)

IUSS is sad to announce that Hangsheng “Henry” Lin passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 26, 2019.

Henry received his BS and MS in China, PhD at Texas A&M University. He was on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts – Lowell and the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point before joining the Pennsylvania State University in 2001. He was a professor of water quality and environmental science in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in the College of Agriculture. He had mentored over 40 graduate students and postdocs and published over 240 scientific articles. He was the Fellow of Soil Science Society of America and Agronomy Society of America. His research was highly regarded internationally and he was named the founding father of hydropedology. Henry Lin was chair of the IUSS Working Group Critical Zone System. Henry was a devoted husband, a loving father and a great friend. He will be greatly missed.

Read more: https://kochfuneralhome.com/tribute/details/1979/Hangsheng-Lin/obituary.html#tribute-start


Newsletter of the Malaysian Society of Soil Science (MSSS)

The most recent newsletter of the Malaysian Soil Science Society is now available on the IUSS website. It contains information about recent events such as the Soil Science Conference of Malaysia (SOILS 2019), a Course on Soil Identification and Classification, about the initiative ’One Hand Saves the World’ and an outlook towards World Soil Day on 5 December 2019.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/newsletters/malaysian-society-of-soil-science-newsletter/


News from the Latin American Soil Science Society: SLCS

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

With more than 700 people attending, the Latin-American Congress of Soil Science (CLACS) was a very successful event, and the city of Florianópolis, Brazil, was chosen as venue for the XXIII CLACS, which will be held in 2021.
For the first time in the 67 years of its existence, the Latin-American Soil Science Society has a woman as President, Dr. Elisângela Benedet da Silva. At the same time, Dr. Mary Selva Viera was elected as the new Latin-American Soil Science General Secretary.
During the Congress, Professor Dr. Rainer Horn was presented with the Latin-American Soil Science Award 2019.

Thus are the Soils of my Nation”

In the framework of the XXII Latin-American Congress of Soil Sciences (XXII CLACS) in Montevideo, Uruguay, 150 children from Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Peru and Uruguay participated in the VII Latin American Symposium on Educational Innovations on Teaching and Learning of Soil Sciences for children and young people, presenting their ‘scholar orchards’ research and didactic presentations about the resource ‘soil’ (orally or on posters). The children’s conference was organized by Dr. Ronald Vargas, who is the Secretary General of FAO’s Global Soil Partnership.

All 150 children received a commemorative WSD t-shirt as a gift from FAO, and SLCS offered some books as part of a raffle.

Latin-American Soil Science Society Collaboration Booth

A Collaboration Booth for Soil Science Societies, to be shared free of charge, was set up successfully during the XXII Latin-American Congress of Soil Sciences to promote IUSS books and materials, EUROSOIL 2020 and XXIII CLACS-2021.


Stop Soil Degradation and the IUSS’s Educative Projects to Achieve It

The Soil Science Society of Poland, is inviting you to participate in the “4th Soil in the Environment Conference: SITE 2020”. This invitation goes especially to Young Researchers involved in soil science. The Conference will be held on 28th June – 1st July 2020 in Toruń, a beautiful medieval city in the north of Poland.

Read more: https://sites.google.com/view/site-torun-2020
The Spanish Soil Science Society organizes the school contest “Challenge stop soil erosion”. IUSS invites you to send your drawing to 


Soil Sequences Atlas vol. 5 – request for contributions

Edited by Marcin Świtoniak & Przemysław Charzyński

Dear Colleagues,
We would like to invite you to contribute a chapter to a 5^th^ volume of series of Soil Sequences Atlases we are co-editing, and which we are planning to publish in 2021.
Main pedogeographic features presented in the form of sequences give a comprehensive image of soils, their genesis and correlations with the environmental factors in typical landscapes. Depending on dominant differentiated factors affecting the soil pattern, different types of sequences can be distinguished – toposequences, lithosequences, chronosequences, anthroposequences, etc. Volumes 1-4 of the Atlas include more than 20 Reference Soil Groups represented by over 250 profiles.
The atlases are both printed in a paper form and also freely available in electronic (pdf) form: 
www.soils.umk.pl, ResearchGate and Academia.edu.
If you are interested in this venture, as we hope you are, please take note of the following:

  • An abstract of 150-250 words should be submitted to the editors by email (swit@umk.pl and pecha@umk.pl) preferably by end of January 2020. Abstracts should feature the working title of the proposed chapter, the author or authors responsible for it and WRB classification of soil profiles to be included in soil sequence..
  • Chapters need to be written in English, and language editing is the responsibility of the authors.
  • The editors have the right to select chapters submitted;
  • We will be aiming to have a broad representation of soils from different continents/regions,
  • The first draft of the chapter is to reach the editors by 30th September 2020.
  • Chapters will need to follow the pattern of chapters from previous volumes. The style sheet for references and bibliography will be forwarded to all authors.

We do hope you will feel able to respond positively to this invitation, and we look forward to hearing from you.
M. Świtoniak & P. Charzyński


IUSS on social media

There are new posts on Twitter in October, 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 new shared video of Soil Science Australia on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLi-8j0XEXF7nrixZwcMAXA6-8PB3MPvOk


General News

Be active: even small actions count – WORLD SOIL DAY, 5 Dec. 2019

Stop soil erosion, Save our future

Erosion is putting our soils in danger. Due to climate change and unsustainable management practices, we are witnessing an alarming decline in fertile soils, which is forecast to continue and make them progressively sterile and ever more prone to drought, desertification and floods.

On World Soil Day – 5 December 2019 – focus your attention on being part of the solution… Small actions can have a significant impact on the health of our soils for Zero Hunger!

Greening the future photo challenge

In the framework of the World Soil Day 2019, the FAO Global Soil Partnership would like to challenge children, teens, young people, and adults worldwide to cover the soil and take a step to #StopSoilErosion. Planting local species is a fun and easy way to help the soil, fight erosion and raise awareness for WSD. 

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

Download the FAO communication kit 

Are you planning to have an event on soils for World Soil Day or to spread the word on social media? Use and share our key messages, infographics, action cards, postcards and videos to raise awareness on soil erosion. Discover our posters, web banners and T-Shirts in different languages…Our material is yours!

Download the kit: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/campaign-materials/en/

[From: GSP Special announcement #19 – WSD: Get involved!, 23 October 2019]


Signals 2019 – Land and soil in Europe

We cannot live without healthy land and soil. It is on land that we produce most of our food and we build our homes. For all species — animals and plants living on land or water — land is vital. Soil — one of the essential components of land — is a very complex and often undervalued element, teeming with life. Unfortunately, the way we currently use land and soil in Europe and in the world is not sustainable. This has significant impacts on life on land.

Read more: https://www.eea.europa.eu/signals/signals-2019


Uncovering how microbes in the soil influence our health and our food

Until recently, most agricultural experts thought of soil as nothing more than a matrix to hold plants and minerals. But the same technologies that have allowed us to better understand the bacteria and fungi that make up our microbiome have led to breakthroughs in soil science. And what they are showing is that those microbes play key roles in preventing soil erosion, conserving water and breaking down environmental pollutants. They also capture and store atmospheric carbon — which might help fight climate change. If this were all soil microbes did, they would clearly be central to our well-being and survival on this planet. But emerging research suggests that the soil microbiome might have an even more direct effect on our health by communicating directly with our own cells and by boosting the nutrient content of our food.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/uncovering-how-microbes-in-the-soil-influence-our-health-and-our-food/2019/09/27/81634f54-a4ba-11e9-bd56-eac6bb02d01d_story.html

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


New sensor measures biological activity in soil at field scale in real time

Measuring carbon dioxide emissions from soils at both the soil surface and deeper down at the plants’ roots is key to understanding biological activity in soils, which offers a measure of a soil’s health, including its ability to cycle nutrients and support plant growth. Scientists have been working on techniques to quantify carbon dioxide concentrations in soils for the last century. Now, for the first time, researchers have developed an autonomous sensor that allows for constant measurements of soil and root respiration in heterogeneous soil. The primary goal of measuring both soil and root respiration is to characterize the soil in terms of plant–soil–microbe interaction. But respiration concentrations also provide information on greenhouse gas production from soils, which has implications for global climate change as well as soil–gas dynamics that affect soil fertility and plant growth.

Read more: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/csa/articles/64/10/8

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 16 October 2019]


Soil on moon and Mars likely to support crops

Researchers at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands have produced crops in Mars and Moon soil simulant developed by NASA. The research supports the idea that it would not only be possible to grow food on Mars and the Moon to feed future settlers, but also to obtain viable seed from crops grown there. Wieger Wamelink and his colleagues at Wageningen University & Research, cultivated ten different crops: garden cress, rocket, tomato, radish, rye, quinoa, spinach, chives, peas and leek. The researchers simulated the properties of Lunar and Martian regolith and “normal” soil (potting soil from Earth) as a control. Nine of the ten crops sown grew well and edible parts were harvested from them.

Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191015115359.htm

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 16 October 2019]


Linking Coffee to Soil – Can Soil Health Increase Coffee Cup Quality in Colombia?

Understanding the effects of soil health (SH) on the quality of high-value crops such as coffee may enable farmers to receive financial benefits prompted by product differentiation and price premiums. This study assessed the existence and nature of the relationship between coffee cup quality and SH. Soil and coffee seed samples were collected from 68 member-farms of a cooperative participating in a high-quality coffee value chain and 67 non–member-farms located across six municipalities in Cauca, Colombia, and 117 farms across two municipalities in Antioquia, Colombia. Elevation was recorded on each farm. Soil samples were tested for 13 SH indicators including wet aggregate stability, available water capacity, active carbon, organic matter (OM), protein, respiration, pH, P, K, Mg, Mn, Fe, and Zn. Coffee samples were tested by professional cuppers for physical, granulometric, and sensorial traits including fragrance/aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, uniformity, sweetness, clean cup, and balance. Pearson correlation tests, principal component analysis, and canonical correlation analysis were conducted on all measured variables for Cauca and Antioquia separately and combined. Results show that coffee quality and sensorial traits tended toward a negative relationship with physical and biological SH, primarily with the indicators available water capacity and OM and the labile OM-related soil properties active carbon and respiration, whereas chemical indicators variably correlated with coffee quality. This suggests that coffee may be similar to wine grapes in that high-quality products not necessarily derived from soils with high values of SH indicators. The results of this study can guide further work to identify suitable management strategies that maximize coffee quality without significantly jeopardizing production or the environment.

Read more: https://journals.lww.com/soilsci/Abstract/2019/02000/Linking_Coffee_to_Soil__Can_Soil_Health_Increase.4.aspx


Retention and release of nutrients from polyhalite to soil

Recent discoveries of polyhalite (K2SO4.MgSO4.2CaSO4.2H2O) in the UK provide an alternative to conventional fertilizer sources. This work investigated the interaction of polyhalite, commercially known as POLY4, with soil using leaching columns. Different physical forms of polyhalite (powder, crushed rock and granules) were compared to potassium chloride (KCl) for the movement of potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur (as sulphate) through the soil profile using 19.7 L of water, equivalent to 4500 mm rainfall.

Read more: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/sum.12548#.XaMBI58gLgc.twitter


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


Symposium on Soil Erosion: Connecting Science, Policy and Practice

5 – 6 December 2019, Leuven, Belgium.

During the symposium, one of the major causes of declining soil and water quality within Europe will be tackled in three thematic sessions. The symposium aims to close the gaps between science, policy and practice, thus contributing to a more sustainable land use and the adaptation to climate change. After the international sessions, a session in Dutch on Friday afternoon will focus on the current soil erosion policy in Flanders and the latest developments, insights and experiences.

Read more: https://www.eventbrite.nl/e/tickets-symposium-on-soil-erosion-connecting-science-policy-and-practice-74793345911?utm_source=Bodemerosie+congres&utm_campaign=9737ffc831-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_07_02_02_20_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c19d1b2390-9737ffc831-244817517



Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity: Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity


10 – 12 March 2020 | FAO HQ, Rome, Italy;
Soils host a tremendous diversity of organisms that are fundamental to terrestrial ecosystems. Soil biodiversity drives many ecological processes, including soil formation, nutrient and water cycling, climate regulation, production of food, medicine and fibre, disease and pest control. In the presence of a changing climate, land degradation and biodiversity loss, soils have become one of the most vulnerable resources in the world.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/soil-biodiversity-symposium/en/


Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) – 44th Annual Conference, Coal City, 2020

Climate-smart soil management, soil health/quality and land management: synergies for sustainable ecosystem services”

16 – 20 March 2020, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Main Campus Ebeano City, Agbani Enugu State, Nigeria

The Soil Science Society of Nigeria is delighted to invite you to join us at the 44th edition of the its annual conference. As in previous editions, the aim is to discuss the importance of soils. In the 2020 edition, the focus will be on “Climate-smart soil management, soil health/ quality and land management: synergies for sustainable ecosystem services”. 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 (at no extra fee, fee is included in conference fee).

Call for posters: https://www.iuss.org/media/call_posters_-_soil_science_society_of_nigeria_44th_annual_conference.pdf

Website: http://www.soilsnigeriaconference.com


EGU General Assembly 2020

3–8 May 2020, Vienna, Austria

The EGU General Assembly 2020 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience. The EGU is looking forward to cordially welcoming you in Vienna.

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 January 2020

Particular call for papers for SSS5.7 session co-sponsored by IHSS called Mutual interaction of humic substances with heavy metals, pesticides and PAHs

Conveners: Jerzy Weber, Teodoro Miano, Aleksandra Ukalska-Jaruga

Fate and activity of heavy metals, pesticides, PAHs and other xenobiotics depend on their interaction with humic substances present in soil, coal, freshwater and marine systems. They may be deactivated due to various interactions with humic substances, and from the other hand, xenobiotics may affect the properties of humic substances. These processes play a crucial role in many various processes affecting quality of the terrestrial and aquatic systems, and they are dependent on the properties of specific fractions, including humic acids, fulvic acids and humin. Papers covering various aspects of mutual interaction between humic substances and heavy metals, pesticides and PAHs are welcome. This will provide deeper insights and understanding of the mechanisms of xenobiotics sorption on humic substances, as well as their influence on properties of humic substances occurring in terrestrial and aquatic systems.

The EGU journal SOIL is considered (provisional acceptance) to publish selected papers presented at the session. It also will be open for all volunteered submissions within its scope.

The deadline for abstract submission (100 to 500 words) is 15 January 2020 at 13 CET. Online submission: https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2020/session/34793

Information concerning the submission process: https://egu2020.eu/abstracts_and_programme/how_to_submit_an_abstract.html

Website: https://egu2020.eu/


8th International Crop Science Congress (ICSC)

June 21 – 25, 2020, Saskatoon, Canada. The scientific programme will cover the following topics: Genetics, Genomics and Breeding; Biotechnology and Agriculture; Germplasm and Evolution; Agronomy and Translational Physiology; Climate Change and Food Security; Addressing Biotic Challenges; Role of Omics Technologies in Food Sustainability and Predictive & Digital Agriculture

Early Bird registration until March 2, 2020

Submissions to be considered for oral presentations close: February 28, 2020

Submissions for poster presentations close: May 15, 2020

Read more: https://www.icsc2020.com/


WRB Workshop Summer 2020

21 – 26 June 2020, Toruń, Poland.

Globalization itself and solving the global environmental issues, as well as the unification of research and teaching on the global level require harmonization of technical languages, such as the terminology and classifications used in soil science. Important part of professional language are rules of soil characterization and classification. As so many „languages” – national systems are used in the world, the common Lingua Franca is needed to understand each other. The World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) is probably the best proposal to facilitate international exchange of information in soil science. The second edition of “WRB summer” follows the successful first meeting in July 2019. Under the auspices of IUSS Working Group WRB, the Workshop will be held by experts who have been organizing the soil classification trainings for nearly 10 years. The aim of event is to help beginners using WRB or enhance skills in soil classification during one day indoor and 3 days intensive field activities. Field days will be organized in various environmental conditions to show widest variety of soils possible.

The venue is in a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city of Toruń. One of fieldwork days will be in vineyard (wine tasting included).

Students, PhD students and young researches are particularly invited (but senior researchers are also welcome)

Registration opening: 21 November 2019

Early-bird fee payment deadline: 1 February 2020

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/summerwrb/home


Eurosoil 2020, Connecting people and soil

24-28 August 2020, Geneva, Switzerland

The objective of Eurosoil 2020 is to bring together leading research scientists working on soil related topics and stakeholders dealing with issues of public concern, such as soil degradation and consequences of climatic changes. The important bridging role of soil practitioners to translate scientific knowledge into practice will be emphasized during Eurosoil 2020.

Call for Contributions opens 2 December 2019 Call for Contributions deadline: 20 February 2020 Early Bird Registrations deadline: 28 May 2020

Read more: www.eurosoil2020.com


16th International Conference on Soil Micromorphology (ICoSM)

August 30 – September 3, 2020, Kraków, Poland. Venue: Jagiellonian University, 3rd Campus, Gronostajowa Str.

Download the second circular: http://www.icosm2020.sggw.pl/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2nd_Circular_ICoSM_2020_Krakow.pdf

The optional micromorphological course will take place on August 25–30, 2020. All necessary information is available at http://www.icosm2020.sggw.pl/course/

The optional post-conference trip will take place on September 4–6, 2020. Detailed information about the trip will be announced later.

Read more: http://www.icosm2020.sggw.pl/


First IUSS Conference on Sodic Soil Reclamation   

17-19 September, 2020, Changchun, China.

The conference will focus on the key issues of sodic soil reclamation, covering theory and also management. The activity will be organized in oral and poster presentations, seminars and a field trip for the participating researchers, enterpreneurs and decision-makers. The overall objective of the meeting is to contribute to the improvement and utilization of sodic lands in different regions of the world.  

Deadline for abstract submission: July 1, 2020

Deadline for full text of paper: Aug. 1, 2020

Contact: wangzhichun@iga.ac.cn

Website: http://ssr.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/65578


Soils Conference 2020

29 November 2020 – 4 December 2020, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

The joint conference will be hosted by Soil Science Australia and the New Zealand Society of Soil Science.

Temporary website: https://www.soilscienceaustralia.org.au/soils-conference-2020/


New publications

Soil Carbon – Science, Management and Policy for Multiple Benefits

Edited by: Steven A Banwart, Elke Noellemeyer and Eleanor Milne. Published in paperback by CABI in October 2019, 420 pages, ISBN: 9781786395504.

This book brings together the essential evidence and policy opportunities regarding the global importance of soil carbon for sustaining Earth’s life support system for humanity. Covering the science and policy background for this important natural resource, it describes land management options that improve soil carbon status and therefore increase the benefits that humans derive from the environment. Written by renowned global experts, it is the principal output from a SCOPE rapid assessment process project.

Read more: https://www.cabi.org/bookshop/book/9781786395504/


The Soils of Georgia

Edited by Matchavariani, Lia. 1st Edition published in the World Soils Book Series in October 2019 by Springer, 179 pages, 153 illustrations, 145 illustrations in color. Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-18508-4, prices hardcover: 129.99 € | £109.99 | $159.99; eBook ISBN 978-3-030-18509-1, prices eBook: 107,09 € | £87.50 | $119.00.

This book provides an extensive overview of the diversity of soils in Georgia. It highlights the soil-forming environment (climate, geology, geomorphology), the characterization of the physical, chemical and morphological (macro-, micro-) properties of soils, the history of soil research in Georgia, and the geographic distribution of different soil types. In addition to describing the soil cover, the book also zones and classifies the soils. Past and current land use issues, ecological properties and implications of soils, and many other aspects are elaborated on; special attention is paid to anthropogenic soil degradation due to the contamination and erosion of soils in Georgia. This comprehensive and richly illustrated book, which includes a wealth of pictures and soil maps, offers an essential field guide for soil scientists, geographers and researchers in related areas.

Read more: https://www.springer.com/de/book/9783030185084


The Soils of Argentina

Edited by Rubio, Gerardo, Lavado, Raul S., Pereyra and Fernando X. 1st Edition published in the World Soils Book Series in October 2019 by Springer, 268 pages. Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-76851-9, prices hardcover 139,99 € | £119.99 | $169.99; Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-08309-0, prices softcover: 139,99 € | £119.99 | $169.99; eBook ISBN 978-3-319-76853-3, prices eBook: 118,99 € | £95.50 | $129.00.

This is the first comprehensive book on Argentinian pedology. It discusses the main soil types of Argentina, their geographical distribution, classification, functions, agricultural use, ecological aspects, and the threats to which they have been subjected during centuries of intensive and extensive management. The description of the soils is accompanied by a complete set of data, pictures and maps, including benchmark profiles and an overview of the country’s agricultural production. It also deals with future scenarios of the relationships between soil science and other disciplines and the main challenges that soil science will face in the future. Further, the book explores aspects of the main soil forming factors, such as climate, vegetation, geology and geomorphology, making use of new, unpublished data and elaborations, and presents a history of pedological research in Argentina.

Read more: https://www.springer.com/de/book/9783319768519


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