Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 180 (June 2020)

IUSS Alert 180 (June 2020)

IUSS Alert 180 (June 2020)


IUSS Presidential Elections 2020 – status

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 had to be submitted electronically to Prof. Dr. Rainer Horn (Email: rhorn@soils.uni-kiel.de) by June 1, 2020, copying iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

Nominations for two candidates were received, who fulfill the nomination criteria. The candidates are:

Edoardo Costantini, Italy

Victor Chude, Nigeria

The projected timetable for the Presidential Election process is as follows:

* Nomination documents will be made available on the IUSS website in July 2020.
* Candidates voted on by Council (1 vote per National Member in good financial standing in IUSS) by end of September, 2020.
* Result of Election presented to President and Executive Committee following the conclusion of the vote and subsequently announced to members by email and on the IUSS website.
* Report on the process and any issues arising will be presented to Council and Executive Committee before the end of 2020.

The schedule outlined above may be amended if unforeseen circumstances arise.

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


IUSS Past President Rattan Lal will receive the 2020 World Food Prize

The IUSS is very proud that its current Past President Prof. Dr. Rattan Lal will receive the 2020 World Food Prize for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that restores and conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change. This prize is not only a global recognition for an extraordinary soil scientist, but also an important acknowledgement of the critical role that soil science plays in global food security.

Over his career spanning more than five decades and four continents, Prof. Dr. Lal has promoted innovative soil-saving techniques benefiting the livelihoods of more than 500 million smallholder farmers, improving the food and nutritional security of more than two billion people and saving hundreds of millions of hectares of natural tropical ecosystems. He serves as Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and founding Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University (OSU).

Read more: https://www.worldfoodprize.org/en/laureates/2020_lal/¸and https://phys.org/news/2020-06-ohio-state-university-soil-professor.html?fbclid=IwAR298RgD1cB_EObxORjEsGMrH4G5JiONi5jdNWQs80grtu6ILQWROr7G0CM


IUSS represented at FAO GSP Eighth General Assembly

On June 3-5, 2020 the Eighth Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly was held online with the participation of the IUSS President elect Dr. Laura Bertha Reyes Sánchez as its official representative.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/about/plenary-assembly/eight-session-2020/en/


IUSS Past President Rattan Lal speaker at FAO Webinar ‘RECSOIL: recarbonization of global soils’

To discuss the feasibility of moving the SOC agenda into action and how RECSOIL – Recarbonization of global soils – can contribute to soil sustainability, this webinar was held on June 17 with the participation of the IUSS Past President Dr. Rattan Lal as the first speaker. The Webinar presentations and recording are available.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1277609/


STOP SOIL DEGRADATION and the IUSS’s educative project to achieve it

Mexican Soil Science Society

As part of its national educative project “Thus are the Soils of my Nation®” and with the HashTag “#TheSoilIsLife”, the Mexican Soil Science Society (SMCS) launched its National Network for Soil Science Education and Teaching, and its LOGO.

Through this action, the Mexican Soil Science Society links its project “Thus are the soils of my Nation®” with the educational project “THE IUSS GOES TO THE SCHOOL®” to work on joint actions.

Integral Plan for sustainability from UNAM

Within the framework of the “International Decade of Soils 2015-2024” of the IUSS and the FAO GSP, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) called on all national actors to form the National Alliance for the soil in 2015.

Now, as part of this National Alliance, with the participation of UNAM’s soil scientists, the “INTEGRAL PLAN FOR SUSTAINABILITY FROM UNAM” is promoted in response to the IDS, GSP and SDG´s.

Argentine Association of Soil Science

As part of its national educative project: “Thus are the Soils of my Nation®”, the Scientific Commission on Soil Education of the Argentine Association of Soil Science join into “THE IUSS GOES TO THE SCHOOL®” activities to produce didactical educative material for children and young people through its Argentine Network for Soil Science Education and Teaching.

Within the framework of the National Day of Soil Conservation 2020 the Argentine Association of Soil Science (AACS) invites girls and boys to participate with artistic works. The objective of the event is to commemorate July 7, National and International Day of Soil Conservation and promote among children the importance of care and good use of soils.

Contact: conservaciondesuelosyagua.aacs@gmail


News from the Latin-American Soil Science Society: SLCS

Seventh Assembly of the Latin American and Caribbean FAO Regional Soil Alliance

On May 27, the Seventh Assembly of the Latin-American and Caribbean Soil Alliance was held online with the participation of all countries belonging to the Latin-American Soil Science Societies.

XXIII Latin-American Congress of Soil Sciences (XXIII CLACS) will be held on August 22 to 27, 2021, in Florianópolis, Brasil.

Argentine Association of Soil Science

Organize a cycle of conferences: the agricultural sector against climate change. Every Tuesday and Thursday in June and July at 11 a.m. in Buenos Aires (-3 GMT).

Read more: www.youtube.com/user/webinta

Celebrating July 7 as the National and International Day of Soil Conservation and to promote practices for its care and good use, the Argentine Association of Soil Science invites to the “National Day of Soil conservation” by joining the live conferences that will take place on July 7, 14 and 21, 2020.

Prior registration: https://bit.ly/3dd4psU

Spanish Soil Science Society

The 9th National Symposium on Control of Soil Degradation and Recovery organized by the Spanish Soil Science Society will be held at the University Miguel Hernández in Elche, Spain, September 30 to October 2, 2020.

Read more: https://condegres.es/

Soil Science Society of Chile

The International Network for the Study of the Physical Quality of Volcanic Soils”, organizes the Virtual Seminar: “Advances in the study of soils derived from volcanic ash in Latin America”, to be held every fortnight from June 11 to December 17, 2020 and from January 7 to 21, 2021 cisvo.uach@gmail.comjosedorner@uach.cl


ASA, CSSA, SSSA Town Hall Webinar on Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion – Join Us!

ASA, CSSA, and SSSA have taken action to improve diversity and inclusion across our Societies. We know these actions are not enough and we do not have all the answers. Join us for our Town Hall Webinar on Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, hosted by our Diversity in Agronomy, Crops, Soils, and Environmental Sciences Committee and SSSA Representation & Recognition Task Force to collect your input on tangible actions we can take immediately to strengthen our community and improve diversity, equality, and inclusion. Tuesday, June 30 at Noon (Central).

Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/290622221291667211

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 24 June 2020]


School of soil biodiversity and bioindication

The Italian Society of Soil Science organized the online School of soil biodiversity and bioindication from 16 to 18 June, 2020.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/media/1st_announc_remote_last.pdf

Contact: eren.taskin@unicatt.it and segretario@scienzadelsuolo.org


General News

Contribute to the Special Issue on “Global Gridded Soil Information Based on Machine Learning”

A Special Issue on “Global Gridded Soil Information Based on Machine Learning” is open for contributions in Remote Sensing (IF: 4.118, ISSN 2072-4292). The deadline for manuscript submission is 31 December 2021.

Read more: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/remotesensing/special_issues/Gridded_Soil_Information_Machine_Learning


Call for nomination of the best deserving researchers – Philippe Duchaufour Medal and the Soil System Sciences Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award 2021

The Philippe Duchaufour medal is awarded every year for distinguished contributions to soil science. Detailed information on the selection process and how to propose a candidate is available on the Awards & Medals section of the EGU website. Nominations for all the medals and awards must be submitted via an online nomination form (https://www.egu.eu/awards-medals/nominations/).

The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2020.

Read more: https://www.egu.eu/awards-medals/proposal-and-selection-of-candidates/


Report, recording & presentations | Webinar on ‘Soil Biodiversity, a nature-based solution?’

The webinar on soil biodiversity is a great preparation for the World Soil Day celebration on 5th December 2020 and the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity (GSOBI20) to be held in February 2021. The key objective of the symposium is to fill some critical knowledge gaps and promote discussion to find a solution to live in harmony with nature, and ultimately, achieve the SDGs through the conservation and sustainable use of soil biodiversity.

The Webinar PresentationsRecording, and Report are now available.  

Presentations:  http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1275159/

Listen to the recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb6C69FG-xk&feature=youtu.be

Download the report: http://www.fao.org/3/ca9533en/ca9533en.pdf

Finally, in the framework of the GSOBI20, the photo & video contest is launched, get involved now, the submission date is 30 June 2020.  

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


ISC statement on combating systemic racism and other forms of discrimination in science

In the wake of the death of George Floyd and the global response it has ignited, we recognize the need for critical reflection and concerted, impactful action to eradicate racism and other forms of injustice in our own scientific communities and the systems that support them.

The International Science Council has published a statement on combating systemic racism and other forms of discrimination and we will continue to reflect on concrete steps aimed at correcting systemic discrimination in science during the coming weeks. We kindly encourage you to read the statement and to consider sharing and disseminating it among your networks.

Read more: https://council.science/current/news/statement-on-combating-systemic-racism-and-other-forms-of-discrimination/


Recent ISC and CFRS Statements

In addition to the above mentioned ISC statement on combating systemic racism and other forms of discrimination, the ISC Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science (CFRS), which aims to promote and address freedom and responsibility of science issues at the global level, released a statement this week on ethical responsibilities of scientists at a time of global threat: https://council.science/current/press/cfrs-statement-15-june-2020/. We kindly encourage you to read the statements and to consider sharing and disseminating them.


Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year 2020 

Falling Walls – an international platform for leaders from the worlds of science, business, politics, the arts and society – is calling for nominations for the most recent breakthroughs in ten categories, from life sciences to science management, to highlight breakthrough thinking from all over the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Falling Walls has shifted from a series of meetings and one conference with a limited number of speakers and topics to a global showcase that gathers, celebrates and discusses a much broader set of breakthroughs in science and society. With this new format, they seek to contribute to the post-COVID-19 agenda through dedicated sessions by sharing thrilling research for a few minutes per day over several weeks, with a global digital meeting on 9 November 2020.

Deadline for nominations: 1 September 2020

Read more: https://falling-walls.com/breakthroughyear/nominate/


Low biomass production limits cover crop effects on soils

Cover crop impacts on soil properties depends on cover crop productivity. Planting cover crops early and in a diverse mix of species could be an option to boost biomass production and enhance benefits to soils. However, the impacts of early planting and species mixes on soil properties are not well understood. A new article in Agronomy Journal investigates how broadcasting cover crops pre‐harvest or drilling post‐harvest affected biomass production and soil properties after four years. Cover crops were cereal rye, a mix of rye, legumes, and brassicas, and a no‐cover‐crop control.

Read more: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/csan.20106

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 24 June 2020]


Climate-friendly almond farmers coax life from drying Spanish soil

Almond farmers in Southern Spain are increasingly utilizing regenerative practices in the hopes of restoring soil health while also increasing profits. While global markets have suffered in recent months, an almond marketing company from the region Almendrehesa hopes consumers will become more receptive to ideas like regenerative agriculture due to the current disruptions to the global food chain.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-farming-spain/climate-friendly-almond-farmers-coax-life-from-drying-spanish-soil-idUSKBN2331JR

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 10 June 2020]


No-till agriculture increases crop yields, environmental gains over long haul

A study in Global Change Biology clearly demonstrates significant benefit to the environment and to crop yield for farmers practicing no-till versus tilled agriculture consistently over many years. The Michigan State University scientists’ work demonstrates the importance of long-term research for obtaining meaningful results, especially on the outcomes of management changes that can be slow to develop and to detect, such as the attributes of cropping systems on soil structure and organic matter. Using data from the National Science Foundation Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research site to study how land use intensity affects agriculture and environment, researchers explored the long-term agricultural and environmental effects of converting agriculture management practices from tilled to no-till.

Read more: https://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=300631&org=NSF&from=news

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 27 May 2020]


Modeling gas diffusion in aggregated soils

Agricultural soils contribute to 16% of total greenhouse gas emissions, particularly nitrous oxide (N2O). Migration of gases in the agricultural subsurface and emission across the soil–atmosphere interface is primarily controlled by diffusion and explained by soil gas diffusivity. Since experimental determination of soil gas diffusivity can be expensive and time consuming, predictive models are commonly used to estimate diffusivity from easy-to-measure soil properties like soil total porosity and soil air content. New research in the Soil Science Society of America Journal introduces a descriptive soil gas diffusivity model.

Read more: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/csan.20102


What the f*** is biodiversity? – Episode 1: Soil biodiversity with Dr Valerie Behan-Pelletier

In this episode of What the f*** is biodiversity, Ann and Val talk about the incredibly biodiverse world of soil and how it connects to the ground above that we as humans inhabit. We rely so much on the work of many different arthropods, like soil mites, since these teeny-tiny creatures are an integral part of the soil food web. Wherever there is food or vegetation, there are soil mites. And without the vital work they do, the quality of our food would seriously decline.



Researchers make greenhouse gas emissions from tropical peat soils with higher accuracy

Tropical peatlands store lots of carbon and have an important role in the global carbon cycles. Tropical peatlands account for about 5 to 10% of global soil carbon.

Peatland C stocks have been significantly depleted due to climate change and human disturbances. Clearing of forests and draining of peatlands have accelerated the emission of CO2 from peats. This has been the major talking point at numerous international forums aiming to combat climate change. Recently, FAO published a report on peatland mapping and monitoring in which one of the recommendations is to update the IPCC emission factors of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for peatlands.



Global soil science research collaboration in the 21st century: Time to end helicopter research

Global soil science research collaboration is essential to understand soil and its role in global ecosystem functioning. In particular, collaboration between developed and less-developed countries can generate new knowledge and provide capacity building. However, this collaboration is not always equal. ‘Helicopter research’ in soil science describes the situation where scientists from wealthier nations collect soil samples from less-developed countries, take the samples back to their country for analysis and publish the results with little involvement of local researchers. This article briefly reviews colonial science and helicopter research from different fields including soil science, and highlights the negative effects. The argument that local scientists do not fulfil the criteria of being an author is often used as an excuse for not establishing true collaboration. Finally, this paper offers suggestions to achieve equal research partnerships and ground helicopter research. Soil science can provide leadership in this issue which is less-discussed in cognate fields.



Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

The outbreak of the Corona virus is clearly a rapidly evolving situation. The organizers of the meetings listed below are constantly reviewing the situation in the light of global and country-specific advice to inform decisions to minimize the additional risks to attendees, their communities and those living in the meeting’s host country.

The IUSS will also continue to monitor the situation, and advise that prior to attending meetings our members review up to date information from their country’s government, the WHO and from the host country to ensure that everyone’s health and wellbeing remains a priority.


InterPore2020 – 12th Annual Meeting

August 31 – September 4, 2020, online.

Abstract submission until June 29

Flyer: https://www.iuss.org/media/flyer_interpore2020_virtual_conference.pdf

Conference website: www.interpore.org/2020

Contact: iconference2020@interpore.org



International Conference on Soil Micromorphology

THE CONFERENCE – August 29 – September 2, 2021:

August 29 (Sunday) – registration (in the afternoon) and ice-breaking party, Faculty of Forestry, University of Agriculture in Kraków; visit of the Museum of Soils

August 30 (Monday) – registration, opening session, plenary sessions, poster session 1, afternoon: visit of the Kraków city center with a guide (undergrounds beneath the Main Market Square, a walk around the city center, dinner in a restaurant)

August 31 (Tuesday) – Plenary sessions, poster session 2, IUSS Business Meeting, Banquet

September 1 (Wednesday) – Mid-conference trip (Kraków and its close vicinity)

September 2 (Thursday) – Plenary sessions, summary and closing ceremony  

POST-CONFERENCE TRIP – September 3–5 (from Friday to Sunday):

Polish Upland tour with emphasis to: contemporary soils (e.g. Chernozems, soils developed on gypsum and carbonate rocks), sequences of paleosols in loess, fossil Lower Jurassic podzols, influence of metal mining on soil environment.

MICROMORPHOLOGICAL COURSE – September 6–11 (from Monday to Saturday)

Registration for the conference will start in autumn 2020. Previous registrations will be cancelled, thus please register again once the registration starts in a proper time.

Web page: http://www.icosm2020.sggw.pl/


VI International Soil Classification Congress in 2020 in Mexico – new dates

15-22 October 2021, Mexico

!Postponed from Oct. 2020!

FIELD WORKSHOP- Cuatro Ciénegas-Querétaro: October 15-19, 2021

CONGRESS- Campus UNAM-Juriquilla, Querétaro: October 20-22, 2021

XII INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP OF SOIL CLASSIFICATION Campus UNAM-Juriquilla, Querétaro: October 25-30, 2021


Congress website: http://iscc2020.org/


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


New publications

Sustainable Agriculture. Advances in Technological Interventions

By Ajoy Kumar Singh, Vishwa Bandhu Patel. 1st published May 20, 2020 by Apple Academic Press, 560 Pages – 9 Color & 72 B/W Illustrations, ISBN 9780429325830, price hardback GBP 147.00, Vital Source eBook Purchase GBP 132.30, 6 month rental GBP 73.50, 2 month rental GBP 88.20.

This new volume looks at the evolution and challenges of sustainable agriculture, a field that is growing in use and popularity, discussing some of the important ideas, practices, and policies that are essential to an effective sustainable agriculture strategy. The book features 25 chapters written by experts in crop improvement, natural resource management, crop protection, social sciences, and product development. The volume provides a good understanding of the use of sustainable agriculture and the sustainable management of agri-horticultural crops, focusing on eco-friendly approaches, such as the utilization of waste materials. Topics include ecofriendly plant protection measures, climate change and natural resource management, tools to mitigate the effect of extreme weather events, agrochemical research and regulation, soil carbon sequestration, water and nutrient management in agricultural systems, and more.

Read more: https://www.routledge.com/Sustainable-Agriculture-Advances-in-Technological-Interventions/Singh-Patel/p/book/9780429325830


The Soils of Sri Lanka

Edited by Ranjith B. Mapa. 1st edition published in World Soils Book Series in 2020 by Springer, 128 pages, 92 illus., 59 illus. in color, ISBN 978-3-030-44144-9, price hardcover 129,99 € | £109.99 | $159.99; price eBook 106,99 € | £87.50 | $119.00.

This book presents a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the soils of Sri Lanka. Including sections on the soil research history, climate, geology, geomorphology, major soil types, soil maps, soil properties, soil classification, soil fertility, land use and vegetation, soil management, soils and humans, soils and industry, and future soil issues, the book summarizes the current state of knowledge in a concise and highly reader-friendly way.

Read more: https://www.springer.com/de/book/9783030441425


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