Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 176 (February 2020)

IUSS Alert 176 (February 2020)


Reminder on IUSS Stimulus Fund – first call for submissions 2020

IUSS has established an annual Stimulus Fund to support suitable activities within its Commissions and Working Groups. Where appropriate, the Fund will also support other activities to assist the development of soil science generally but particularly in regions of the world where lack of resources limit opportunities. Applications should be sent to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at. The initial application process requires a short written proposal of no more than 500 words plus a budget indicating how the funds awarded are to be spent in relation to the total budget of the activity. The normal maximum award will be USD 2,500.

Submission Deadline: March 15, 2020

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=594


IUSS Presidential Elections 2020 – call for nominations

The election of the next President of the IUSS is due this year. The appointment of the President represents a total of six years commitment to the Union by serving two years each as President-Elect (2021/22), President (2023/24) and Past-President (2025/26). The Standing Committee on Presidential Elections has defined the respective procedure and the guidelines. Nominations should be made by two accomplished, highly-respected senior soil scientists.

Full nomination documentation should be submitted electronically to Prof. Dr. Rainer Horn (Email: rhorn@soils.uni-kiel.de) by June 1, 2020. A copy should also be sent to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

Procedure and guidelines: http://www.iuss.org/media/president_election_full_info_2020.pdf


Call for Nominations – SSSA Awards, Scholarships

Nominate deserving colleagues for Soil Science Society of America Awards and Fellow in soil science research, education, industry, consulting, and extension. Initiate nominations by March 12 with reference letters and final submission by March 19. Students: Apply for SSSA scholarships, including Golden Opportunity Scholars, by March 19 with reference letters and final submission by March 26.

Read more: http://www.soils.org/awards


STOP SOIL DEGRADATION and the IUSS’s Educative Project to achieve it

Within the framework of its activities during the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024) “The IUSS GOES TO THE SCHOOL” is another educative project – you may remember “Thus are the soils of my Nation”. The project is expected to be fully launched in 2021.

Exhibition of instruments and methods of erosion measurement

Organized by the Section of Soil Teaching and Public Safety of the Spanish Society of Soil Science, and the support of the IUSS GOES TO THE SCHOOL educative project, the “Exhibition of instruments and methods of erosion measurement” was held on February 13, 2020, at the Higher Technical School Agronomic Engineering of the Valencia University, Spain.

Have a look: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1wE3XiX6cKF2W1Dn3rLtXnLoF3mxUINSi Intellectual property of all photos: Dr. Cristina Lull Noguera

Erosion Kids WSD 2019_SECS

The Section of Soil Teaching and Public Safety of the Spanish Society of Soil Science, as part of the IUSS GOES TO THE SCHOOL educative project, invites you to get to know the book “Stop soil erosion, save our future!” written by Cristina Lull Noguera and Ma. Desamparados Soriano Soto.

English: http://edafoeduca.es/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Erosi%C3%B3n-Escolares-WSD-2019_SECS.pdf

Spanish: http://edafoeduca.es/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Erosi%C3%B3n-Escolares-WSD-2019_SECS.pdf


News from the Latin American Soil Science Society (SLCS)

2nd Symposium on Chilean Law of Soil

During the visit of the IUSS Presidents to Chile in order to deliver the IUSS Distinguished Service Medal 2019 to Mrs. Carolina Schmidt Zaldivar, Minister of Environment of the Government of Chile and Mr. Antonio Walker Prieto, Minister of Agriculture of the Government of Chile, the Chilean Soil Science Society organizes the “II Symposium on Chilean Law of Soil”, jointly with the IUSS, sponsored by the Chilean Senate, and in the framework of both “The International Decade of Soils” and the GSP-FAO Pillar 2.

This symposium will be held at the Honor auditorium of the Chilean Congress, in downtown Santiago, Morande Street 441, Santiago de Chile, on May 15th, 2020.

The keynote speakers before the Senate of the Republic of Chile and in support of the Chilean Law will be the three presidents of the IUSS.

9th National Symposium on Control of Soil Degradation and Recovery

On behalf of the Spanish Soil Science Society, we are inviting you to participate in the IX National Symposium on Control of Soil Degradation and Recovery (IX Simposio Nacional sobre Control de la Degradación y Recuperación de Suelos), in Elche, Spain, May 27-29, 2020.

Read more: https://condegres.es

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

The Latin-American Soil Science Society invites the whole soil science community to participate in its XXIII Latin-American Congress of Soil Sciences to be held from August 22 to 27, 2021, in Florianópolis, Brasil.

Read more: www.slcs.org.mx; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/clacs.cbcs2021 and Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/clacs.cbcs2021

Info about ISC

IUSS is a member of ISC (International Science Council). If you would like to subscribe to the ISC newsletter where ISC advertises opportunities to engage in ISC’s work and in international processes (including call for nominations from IPCC and IPBES), see here: https://science.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=2e9b648776114e2888e7ea8c5&id=6e20810dfd

ISC has published an action plan recently which you can access here: https://council.science/actionplan/

Radu Lăcătușu (1943 – 2020)

Radu Lăcătușu belongs to the first Romanian generation of geochemists. He was a professor of soil chemistry and agro-chemistry at the prestigious University ”Al. I. Cuza” from Iassy. He was born in Târnauca (now Ukraine) on June 1, 1943, from where he came as a refugee with his parents to Romania. He was a reputed scientist devoting his entire life to research in the soil sciences, as Head of Department or Laboratory at the National Research and Development for Soil Science, Agrochemistry and Environment – ICPA Bucharest. Author of over 300 scientific articles and 21 books and book chapters published in Romania and abroad. During 1996-2000 he was the President of the Romanian National Society for Soil Science. Appointed member of the “Gheorghe Ionescu-Şişeşti” Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Science and Corresponding member of the German Soil Science Society. He passed away on January 12, 2020 in Bucharest.

By Members of the Romanian National Society for Soil Science


General News

Cover crops increase microbial biomass and soil carbon

Agricultural soils are largely degraded or under threat of degradation. Agricultural practices are now seeking to improve soils while also maintaining productivity. Cover crops are one such practice gaining popularity. However, relatively little is known regarding how cover cropping will affect soil microbial community composition and function. In an article recently published in Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment, researchers report on the effect cover cropping has on soil microbes. This research spanned multiple actively managed farms across Virginia. The team found that cover cropping increased active microbial biomass by 64% and bioavailable soil carbon by 37% in one season.

Read more: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/csan.20019

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 19 February 2020]


Soil carbon is a valuable resource, but all soil carbon is not created equal

Human society is literally built on soil. It feeds the world and produces vital fuel and fiber. But most people rarely give soil a second thought. Recently, though, soil has been getting some well-deserved attention from environmental organizations, policymakers and industry leaders. It has been covered in news articles, argued over in policy debates and has even received an international day of recognition. However, current efforts to promote carbon storage in soil miss a key point: Not all soil carbon is the same. As scientists focusing on soil ecology and sustainability, we believe that managing soil carbon effectively requires taking its differences into account.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/soil-carbon-is-a-valuable-resource-but-all-soil-carbon-is-not-created-equal-129175

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 19 February 2020]


FBI Forensic Geology Training Video, Kentucky, USA

IUGS-IFG endorsed and supported the production of a professionally produced training video on the forensic collection of soil samples, initiated by the FBI (Jodi Webb). This is aimed at raising skills levels and the standardization of soil collection at crime scenes. The video was filmed at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Food and Environment, in association with Dr Brad Lee, Suzette Walling (Extension Associate) and Brian Volland (Videographer).

Watch the video:

[From: IUGS E-Bulletin#162, January 2020]


UN Secretary-General’s 2020 resolution for nature and people

As we embark on a crucial Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, biodiversity offers solutions for many global challenges.”

The United Nations is committed to making 2020 a super year for #nature and people!

Watch #UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ special message on why biodiversity is critical to achieving the #SustainableDevelopmentGoals.

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=121578709231903


Consider taking this survey for global biodiversity experts

Dr. Forest Isbell, the Associate Director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve at the University of Minnesota, is surveying global biodiversity researchers in an attempt to estimate global biodiversity loss and its consequences for ecosystem function and nature’s contributions to people. This survey extends previous related research by including more experts and by being more quantitative, in terms of estimates and their uncertainty. More than 2,700 biodiversity experts working in over 188 countries worldwide have already completed the survey. If you have already received an invitation to complete the survey, please do not repeat the survey. Survey completion is estimated to take 20 minutes, and all responses will be anonymous.

Survey link: https://umn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_d3TDbJP12k9rdLn

For questions about the survey, please contact Dr. Isbell: 

[From: GSBI Newsletter – February 2020]


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


Workshop on Lysimeter – Sap Flow – IoT

18 – 20 March 2020, Munich/Freising, Germany

Download flyer: https://ugtonlineblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/lysimeter-sapflow_ws-18-20march2020_program.pdf


Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity (GSOBI20)

Postponed to 1-3 June 2020, FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy

This Symposium, will be jointly organized by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity will bring together international experts with the aim of reviewing the status of knowledge on soil biodiversity and ecosystem services, the sustainable use and conservation of soil biodiversity, and the contributions of soil organisms to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1263718/


GSS 2020 – 4th Global Soil Security 2020 Conference

Global Soil Security: Beyond the Soil to Human Health.’

June 1-4, 2020, Seoul, Korea

Soil security has become the central dogma of the sustainable soil management. Among the global initiatives on the soil management, the soil security is a leading one to integrate the roles of soil functions with the aspects of soil health, ecosystem services and human health.

Abstract submission deadline: March 31, 2020

Read more: http://www.globalsoilsecurity2020.org/


International Conference Contaminated Sites 2020

10 – 12 June 2020, Trnava, Slovak Republic

The conference is organized by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic and the Slovak Environment Agency. Contaminated sites have become one of the most serious environmental issues facing the European Union and involving enormous financial and social implications. The conference aims to provide a wide space for discussion, knowledge exchange among experts from government and non-government organizations, public and private sector, praxis, science and academic sector.

Participation is free of charge.

Abstract submission before March 20, 2020

Read more: http://contaminated-sites2020.sazp.sk/


2020 Soil Biology Lab Skills Course

15 – 19 June 2020, Wageningen University, Netherlands

This course will provide the participants with an overview of a range of methods related to the five soil functions and will provide detailed practical training in a subset of measures. The training will be a combination of lectures, laboratory and field sessions.

Deadline for registration: 27 February 2020

Read more: www.wur.eu/lab-skills-course


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

8 – 10 July 2020, Paris, France

Registration is now open until the 30th of April

Please send back the completed registration form to quentinborderie@yahoo.fr

Contact: quentinborderie@yahoo.fr

2nd Circular: media/wasm-paris2020_-_2nd_circular-1.0.pdf

Registration form: media/wasm-paris2020_-_registrform-1.1.doc


16th International Conference on Soil Micromorphology

August 30th to September 3rd, 2020, Kraków, Poland

Early registration and abstract submission deadline was extended until March 29, 2020.

Please, register using our form: http://www.icosm2020.sggw.pl/registration/

Abstracts should be prepared according to the rules available at http://www.icosm2020.sggw.pl/abstracts/

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


7th International Scientific Conference «Reflection of bio-, geo-, antropospheric interactions in soils and soil cover»

September 14-19, 2020, Tomsk, Russia

Conference topics: Modern methods and approaches to the study of soil genesis and their classification; Spatial and functional relationships of soils with geospheres; Soils and paleoecological reconstructions of the Holocene and Pleistocene. The role of man in the formation of the modern appearance of the pedosphere; Land resources: problems of assessment, use and protection.

Deadline of registration and abstract submission: April 30, 2020

Contact: soiltsu90@mail.ru

Download first circular: https://www.iuss.org/media/first_circular_tomsk_russia_2020.pdf

Read more: http://www.bio.tsu.ru/


3rd ISMC Conference – Advances in Soil Systems Modeling

24-27 September 2020, Tianjin, China

The conference programme addresses recent research in the soil-vegetation-atmosphere continuum centered around soils over all spatial scales, time scales, and elements – from processes to prediction.

Abstract Submission will open on 15th February 2020

Decision on the abstracts can be expected until 30th April 2020

Read more: https://soil-modeling.org/ismc-conference/ismc-conference


1st International Joint Congress on “Sustainable Management of Cultural Landscapes in the context of the European Green Deal”

7-10 October 2020, Santo Stefano di Camastra, Italy

The objective of the congress is to shed new light on critical issues concerning the exploitation of ecosystem services, conservation of cultural heritage and to assess new perspectives to the future development of the cultural landscapes in the context of the European Green Deal.

The Congress is open to scientists, students, educators, managers, policy and decision-makers. It will consist of invited lectures, scientific sessions with oral and poster presentations, and a scientific and cultural excursion.

Deadline of abstract submission: 31 May 2020

Contact: Prof. Carmelo Dazzi, carmelo.dazzi@unipa.it

Website (soon available): https://www.ecocycles.net/essc2020

Download 2nd circular:  https://www.iuss.org/media/2nd_circular_essc-eurecys_2020.pdf

Read more: https://soil-modeling.org/ismc-conference/ismc-conference


International Symposium on Forest Soils (ISFS2020)

Forest Soils under Global Change: Processes, Biodiversity and Ecological Services

18-21 Oct 2020, Hangzhou, China

Deadline for abstract and poster will be postponed to May 30th 2020 due to the epidemic situation of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Download the first circular: https://www.iuss.org/media/isfs2020-1stcircular.pdf

Read more: http://isfs2020.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1


Australia and NZ Joint Soil Science 2020 Conference

Sunday 29 November to Friday 4 December 2020, Cairns, Australia

In the current environmental, social and political climate, soils are coming to the fore as our greatest global asset. There has never been a better time to invest in our future, but how do we do that?

The registration portal and online abstract submission will open in March 2020

Read more: https://www.soilscienceaustralia.org.au/2020-joint-conference/


2nd joint workshop on digital soil mapping and GlobalSoilMap WGs

14-18 December 2020, Goa, India

Key topics regarding GlobalSoilMap, Advances in Digital Soil Mapping as well as DSM and digital soil assessment are in the focus of this workshop.

Abstract submission is open until June 1, 2020

Read more: https://sites.google.com/view/soilmapping2020



The 3rd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference

1-3 November 2021, Dublin, Ireland

The 3rd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference will expand on previous GSBI conferences and convene the world’s leading experts in this interdisciplinary field of soil biodiversity science to present and discuss recent advances addressing the urgency of meeting global challenges which link to human, animal and plant health and a more sustainable world.

Session and workshop proposal submissions for GSB 2021 are closing on Monday 2nd March 2020.

Read more: https://gsb2021.ie/call-for-sessions/

For the complete list of upcoming events, please see the event calendar on the IUSS website: https://www.iuss.org/meetings-events/


New publications

The Soil Loss Atlas of Malawi

By Christian Thine Omuto, Ronald Vargas; edited by Fiona Bottigliero, Isabelle Verbeke, Zineb Bazza. Published in 2019 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Malawi. 440 pages, Rome, FAO; ISBN 978-92-5-131323-7 (FAO), © FAO, UNEP and UNDP, 2019.

With over three-quarters of the country’s soils at risk, soil loss in Malawi represents a major threat to food security and nutrition, agricultural growth, the provision of ecosystem services and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since the Malawian economy is highly dependent on agriculture, soil loss is a significant hindrance to the overall economic development of the country. The Soil Loss Atlas of Malawi is part of an effort of the Government of Malawi (GoM) and its development partners to determine the major contributing factors to soil loss in Malawi and the most effective approaches to control it.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/3/ca3624en/CA3624EN.pdf


Field Measurement Methods in Soil Science (2020)

Edited by Wessel-Bothe/Weihermüller. Published by E. Schweizerbart Science Publishers in 2020, 210 pages, 76 figures, 18 tables, 17x24cm, 650 g, ISBN 978-3-443-01109-3, price hardcopy: 59.90 €.

Rising interest in soils causes mounting demand for soil information. These data must frequently be generated by field measurements and are necessary to describe and model water and solute transport processes, detect soil degeneration or to optimize crop production.

The nine chapters of this book cover available methods for measuring soil redox potential, soil pH, soil water content, matric potential, taking in-situ soil water samples, measuring infiltration rate/conductivity, soil erosion, and the penetration resistance of soils.

The book is not only useful for soil-science “beginners” looking for an introductory review of available techniques, but also for more experienced colleagues by providing “best practice” guidelines for consistent, reproducible installation and operation of field instruments to collect reliable and meaningful data which can be gainfully interpreted.

Read more: http://www.borntraeger-cramer.de/9783443011093


Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Soil and Water Management

By Zied Haj-Amor, Salem Bouri, 1st Edition, CRC Press, published February 12, 2020,184 pages, 75 b/w illustrations, ISBN 9780367405533, price hardback 92 GBP.

Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Soil and Water Management discusses the latest approaches for monitoring soil and water degradation in coastal regions under current climate conditions as well as potential further changes in the future. It presents an overview of climate change impacts on soil and water resources and summarizes the adaptation of practical options and strategies to minimize the potential risks, such as land degradation, seawater intrusion, droughts, ocean acidification, etc. The book aims to promote the adoption of best practices, which can be selected and implemented according to the respective local conditions. In addition, the recommendations for specific soil and water use planning strategies to address climate change can also be incorporated into national and international development plans.

Read more: https://www.crcpress.com/Climate-Change-Impacts-on-Coastal-Soil-and-Water-Management/Haj-Amor-Bouri/p/book/9780367405533


Experimental and Theoretical Study of Strength and Stability of Soil

By A.Z. Khasanov, Z.A. Khasanov, 1st Edition, CRC Press, Published February 12, 2020, 142 pages, ISBN 9780367368883, price hardback 50 GBP.

This work presents the experimental results of the strength of sands and clay soils in the following conditions: plane shear, triaxial stress state, with passive and active loading. The obtained experimental results are compared with existing theories of strength and the reasons for their non-conformity are identified. Experimental data on the determination of the position of shear surfaces with active and passive resistance of soils is analysed. A new concept of the theory of soil strength is considered, which allows to take into account the fundamental parameters of the strength of soils: the angle of internal friction, specific adhesion, and lateral pressure ratio. Given analytical expressions allow one to determine the stress state at the sites rejected with respect to the main stresses. The definition of the physical essence of the concept of lateral pressure coefficient for soils is given. The book is intended for professionals working in the fields of soil mechanics and geotechnics, as well as for students and academics in engineering, earth and soil sciences and construction.

Read more: https://www.crcpress.com/Experimental-and-Theoretical-Study-of-Strength-and-Stability-of-Soil/Khasanov-Khasanov/p/book/9780367368883


Soil Physics with Python – Transport in the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere System

By Marco Bittelli, Gaylon S. Campbell, and Fausto Tomei, published 14 February 2020, 464 pages, 57 figures and/or tables, ISBN: 9780198854791, price paperback 35 GBP.

This innovative study presents concepts and problems in soil physics, and provides solutions using original computer programs. It provides a close examination of physical environments of soil, including an analysis of the movement of heat, water and gases. The authors employ the programming language Python, which is now widely used for numerical problem solving in the sciences. In contrast to the majority of the literature on soil physics, this text focuses on solving, not deriving, differential equations for transport. Using numerical procedures to solve differential equations allows the solution of quite difficult problems with fairly simple mathematical tools. Numerical methods convert differential into algebraic equations, which can be solved using conventional methods of linear algebra. Each chapter introduces a soil physics concept, and proceeds to develop computer programs to solve the equations and illustrate the points made in the discussion.

Read more: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/soil-physics-with-python-9780198854791?q=Soil&lang=en&cc=at



financially supported

SM150T – Research grade soil moisture and temperature sensor __________________________________________________

  • Research grade build and performance at a great price
  • Soil moisture ± 3% accuracy
  • Built-in temperature sensor
  • Robust and buriable – IP68

The SM150T is a highly dependable sensor with exceptional salinity and temperature stability. It achieves moisture accuracy of ±3% (after soil specific calibration) and the built-in temperature sensor achieves 0.5°C accuracy. It is built to withstand long term burial – the sensor, connectors and cable are all environmentally protected to IP68.

The SM150T is a dual purpose probe – it can be used portably (with readout unit) for instant moisture readings, or left installed in the soil for continuous logging – to provide long-term moisture and temperature data. The SM150T can be logged by any Delta-T Devices data logger and by many loggers from other manufacturers (simple 0-1 V output).

The SM150T is provided with general calibrations for mineral and organic soils. A two-point soil specific calibration can be performed for greater accuracy if required.

More information on the SM150T


IUSS Alerts are e-mailed to more than 2,500 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