Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 182 (August 2020)

IUSS Alert 182 (August 2020)


IUSS – FAO-GSP Children’s book contest on Soil Biodiversity

IUSS and FAO-GSP launch together a scientific children’s book contest on Soil Biodiversity in the framework of WSD 2020. The motto is “Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity”. FAO, IUSS and GSP invite all those interested in soil and biodiversity – soil scientists, researchers, professors, teachers, classrooms, individual students, soil practitioners, designers, photographers or experts from any professional background – to submit their freestyle book proposal by 10 November 2020. In the submission email, author(s) must fill out and submit the mandatory Registration form.

The winner will receive a cash prize of 1 000 USD, second and third prize will receive a cash prize of 500 USD and 250 USD respectively from IUSS and FAO’s GSP. The winners will be announced on World Soil Day, 5 December 2020.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/international-decade-of-soils/

Flyer: https://www.iuss.org/media/gsp_iuss_booklet_contest.jpg


News from the Latin-American Soil Science Society: SLCS

National Science and Technology Award of the Republic of Chile for a Soil Science scientist

On August 21, Dr. Edmundo Acevedo Hinojosa, who is an Agronomist from the University of Chile, M.S. Soil Science, and Ph.D. Soil Science, was awarded the National Prize for Applied and Technological Sciences by the Ministry of Education of Chile.

This award honours his great trajectory, and the international recognition of his work in areas such as the capture of carbon in soils to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to mitigate the effects of climate change, as well as on the adaptation of plants to drought, and about the crop’s physiology for the genetic improvement of cereals.

Since 2019, Dr. Acevedo has been Emeritus Professor of the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences of the University of Chile. He received numerous awards including the Award for teaching activity at the University of Chile (1977, 1983 and 1996), Award of the Agronomic Society of Chile (1984), Agronomic Merit Award from the Agronomic Society of Chile (1994), Award from the Chilean Agronomic Society (2002), Carlos Porter Award from the Chilean College of Agricultural Engineers (2006), Rector Ruy Barbosa Academic Merit Medal at the University of Chile (2010), and “Espiga de Oro” Award from the College of Agricultural Engineers (2016).

The Latin-American Soil Science Society congratulates Dr. Edmundo Acevedo Hinojosa on this award that puts soil sciences on the national and Latin-American agendas.

Soil Science Society of Brazil

The Soil Science Society of Brazil is organizing the XIII Soil science meeting of southern Brazil on line to be held November 26 and 27, 2020

Registration: www.rsbcs2020.sbcs-nrs.org.br

On August 10, 2020, lectures on “Agriculture, sustainable systems and healthy food” were held via YouTube organized by the UFRRJ.

Link to lectures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBgtdLRrCLc&feature=youtu.be

Spanish Soil Science Society

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic the Spanish Soil Science Society has postponed the 9th National Symposium on Control of Soil Degradation and Recovery until further notice.

Read more: https://condegres.es/

Mexican Soil Science Society

The Mexican Soil Science Society invites all interested people to participate in the “International Symposium on the Efficient Use of Nitrogen in Agriculture” to be held online on October 21, 2020

Registration: http://www.smcsmx.org/simposio-nitrogeno-2020


Invitation to Biochar survey

Biochar has been discussed as a greenhouse gas removal option and could hold benefits and risks in soil use. In order to investigate barriers to biochar’s implementation and potential impacts on soil and the environment in the UK, we invite you to anonymously complete the survey.

While this survey does have a UK focus and was originally circulated through the BSSS membership, we would like to extend the survey to the wider IUSS community to gain greater insights into biochar. Expertise of UK soils and/or policy is not necessary: all levels of participant familiarity will be helpful our research. Participants who complete the survey can choose to be entered in a drawing to win a £50 voucher.

Link to survey: https://edinburgh.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5hajm9exW21U9Eh


IUSS Bulletin 136

Due to unforeseen circumstances editing of IUSS Bulletin 136 has been further delayed and we intend to publish it in early September. The IUSS Secretariat apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.


General News

Morris Schnitzer (1922-2020)

Morris Schnitzer, born in Bochum, Germany, passed away peacefully on 9th June 2020. Morris obtained his B.Sc. honors in 1951, M.Sc in 1952, and Ph.D. in 1955 in soil chemistry, all from McGill University, Canada. In 1956 he joined the Research Branch of Agriculture Canada. His first research dealt with the formation of complexes between metals and fulvic acid in Spodosols soils. From 1961 to 1962, Morris did post-doctorate studies in the Organic Chemistry Department of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, England, under the guidance of Sir Derek Barton, Nobel Laureate in Organic Chemistry. After his return to Canada, Morris started a long-term investigation on the oxidative degradation of humic acids, fulvic acids and humins.

A more comprehensive account of Morris’ life-time research has been published in Advances in Agronomy 68: 1-58, 2000. Morris retired in January 1991 and was appointed Emeritus Distinguished Research Scientist by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He continued his research until 2012. Over the years, Morris attracted about 30 visiting scientists from 15 different countries in addition to numerous Canadian scientists to work in his laboratory in Ottawa, Canada. Morris authored and co-authored more than 400 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals, 3 books including the first book ever published on humic substances in the environment and numerous book chapters on humic materials and soil organic matter.

Morris was awarded Fellowships by the Canadian Society of Soil Science (1971), Soil Science Society of America (1977), American Society of Agronomy (1977), Honorary Member, International Humic Substances Society (1982,1986), and Royal Society of Canada (1991 ). He received the Soil Science Award of the Soil Science Society of America in 1984, the Soil Science Distinguished Service Award of the Soil Science Society of America in 1995 and was awarded in Israel the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 1996. He was chairman of Commission II (Soil Chemistry) of the International Society of Soil Science (1978 – 1982), and served on the editorial boards of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science, Soil Science and Geoderma.

Morris will be greatly missed by his friends, colleagues, co-workers and scientists all over the world involved in humic research. He is survived by his daughter Eve Schnitzer and her family.

[from the Obituary provided by the Soil Science Society of Canada]


Donald R. Nielsen (1931-2020)

Donald Rodney Nielsen was born on October 10, 1931, in Phoenix, Arizona. He gained an early appreciation for soils and agriculture through his father’s farming of vegetables in Arizona. Don received a BS degree in agricultural chemistry and soils in 1953 and an MS degree in soil microbiology in 1954 from the University of Arizona. In 1958 he received his PhD in soil physics at Iowa State University under the supervision of Don Kirkham, after which he took a position at UC Davis.

Don Nielsen spent his entire career at UC Davis, where he contributed enormously to all levels of the university through his teaching, research, and service. He shepherded the UC approval of M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Earth Sciences and Resources, as well as in Hydrologic Science. He was internationally renowned for his innovative achievements in the areas of chemical transport in soils, in spatial variability of field soils, determining nitrogen pollution levels from agricultural operations, quantifying the hydrological properties of soils, and studying how soil management affects microbial transformations.

He authored more than 300 publications and was an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences. Don has been the advisor for many outstanding graduate students and has been the host to more than 90 international scientists from nearly 40 different countries. Through his teaching, research and administrative efforts, as well as his service on countless national and international organizations, he has had a tremendous impact not only in the soil and hydrological sciences, but also on agricultural and environmental sciences in general. He was President of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) and the American Agronomy Society (ASA), as well as President of the Hydrology Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He also served on the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Agriculture and chaired the U.S. National Committee of Soil Science, thereby representing the National Academy of Science (NAS) and U.S. soil scientists to the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS). Don held many contributing positions at the IUSS, being President of the Soil Physics Commission from 1978-82, member of its Budget and Finance Committee, and organizing or chairing several of its symposia.

Because of his unique accomplishments in research, student education and professional service, Don Nielsen was honored with numerous awards. He became a Fellow of ASA, SSSA and AGU. He received the M. King Hubbert Award of the National Ground Water Association, was made a Honorary member of IUSS and the European Geophysical Society. He further received the very prestigious Horton Medal of AGU’s Hydrology section “for his fundamental and pioneering work in hydrology, combined with his uncanny love for the profession”. In 2008 he was awarded the Don and Betty Kirkham International Soil Physics Medal, which is awarded once every 8 years.

May he rest in peace.

[From an obituary by Jan W. Hopmans, Martinus Th. van Genuchten and Ole Wendroth, provided by Ester Sztein]


Jérôme Balesdent (1957 – 2020)

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Jérôme Balesdent passed away in July 2020 after a courageous battle against cancer. He was born in 1957. He received his Ph.D. degree from the “Centre de Pédologie Biologique », Nancy, France in 1982, and pursued his career at the French National Institute for Agronomy (INRA, now INRAe) in Versailles, Cadarache and Aix-en-Provence.

Jerome Balesdent was a very creative researcher, notably recognized as a pioneer in the use of stable C isotopes (13C) to study SOM dynamics in C3/C4 transitions. He was among the most renowned French soil scientists of his generation for his work on soil organic matter.

We have lost an outstanding and inspiring scientist, but also a very humble, generous and friendly colleague.

[By Isabelle Basile-Doelsch, CEREGE and Delphine Derrien, INRAE]


World Soil Day, December 5th – Add an event

Planning to have an event on soils? Etching your student, giving a lecture? Put your event on our map and help us build soils awareness!

Read more: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/worldwide-events/add-events/en/?fbclid=IwAR3IQ4yRxojK57en5f59HdPKNMGS5urJIfPjtSHVrcLISZT3fnQnCOUc4Wc


FAO Webinar: Sustainable Soil and Land Management for Climate Smart Agriculture: Preventing and mitigating land degradation

This international technical webinar, which took place 20 June 2020, is part of the series organized by the FAO eLearning Academy, Agreenium (l’Institut agronomique, vétérinaire et forestier de France) and UN-ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific).

Link to the webinar: https://vimeo.com/432460070


Net erosion data and sediment transport at 25m (WaTEM / SEDEM)

This dataset includes a model estimation of the potential spatial displacement and transport of soil sediments due to water erosion at European scale. Long-term averages of annual soil loss and deposition rates were computed by means of the extensively tested spatially distributed WaTEM/ SEDEM mode. Due to large number of requests to provide the 25m data resolution, we make them available in ESDAC.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/themes/sediment-transport-using-watemsedem

[From: ESDAC Newsletter No 121 (March– April 2020)]


Indicators on soil erosion

For non-GIS users, policy makers, advisors, students and other group of people, ESDAC provides the aggregated data on soil erosion: Agro-environmental Indicator – SDG Indicators, CAP Context Indicator, Wind erosion estimates, Global soil erosion estimates. Recently we estimated the soil erosion indicator (year: 2016) to support the performance of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our objective is to develop a kind of scoreboard for all the relevant datasets (Soil organic carbon, biodiversity, nutrients, soil properties, etc).

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/themes/indicators-soil-erosion

[From: ESDAC Newsletter No 121 (March– April 2020)]


Microbiome Centers Consortium and COVID-19 Efforts

An invitation to join forces

The Microbiome Centers Consortium (MCC) is a new collaborative network of US-based academic microbiome centers. This message addresses colleagues working on microbiome-related research and COVID-19. This includes environmental soil samples. You do not have to be from the USA to participate, and you can be an individual working on this effort.

We are currently working to leverage the strengths of microbiome centers around the country to help with the COVID-19 response. The effort aims to coordinate and assist ongoing research as many microbiome centers are struggling with similar challenges.

Fill out the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeNCKFKgTH6Gd4rVGY5T_wZAIbRW9GW7Q_jQWdLaUNgiN9w9g/viewform

[From Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative newsletter, 4 August 2020]


The FRST national soil fertility database

The Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool (FRST) is a database and online tool in development to bring together soil fertility information on a national scale. A core team conducted the first nationwide soil fertility and philosophy survey since 1998 to develop minimum requirements for data inclusion in the database. The tool will not only help all those involved in making soil fertility recommendations but will conserve historical soil test data.

Read more: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/csan.20218

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 5 August 2020]


Could a Detroit experiment unleash the power of urban soil?

Over the past few months, the COVID-19 crisis has hit Detroit hard, resulting in more 12,000 cases and more than 1,500 deaths. It’s also produced an unemployment rate perhaps as high as 29 percent and a surging demand at area food banks. These problems have brought renewed focus to the importance of food sovereignty in Detroit and elsewhere, and on a changing climate, which could make pandemics worse. Urban farming and gardening sit at the intersection of these issues—and offer a possible way forward, allowing communities to access healthy food close to home and possibly mitigate climate change by capturing carbon in soil.

Read more: https://civileats.com/2020/07/16/could-a-detroit-experiment-unleash-the-power-of-urban-soil/

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 5 August 2020]


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.


Zoom into Soil’: Erosion

2 September 2020, Online

The British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) is pleased to host the second edition of its lunchtime ‘Zoom into Soil’ series.

Read more: https://www.soils.org.uk/news/6-aug-2020/zoom-soil-erosion

The BSSS YouTube page, which includes the first Zoom into Soil event, Nutrient Efficiency, is available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHHciYt47RFZLqcQ6QGkjxg



8th World Sustainability Forum (WSF2020)

15- 17 September 2020, Virtual meeting

You may register at any time. In the interest of inclusive global participation and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, MDPI has generously agreed to drop the registration fees for all virtual academics, members of partnering societies, co-operations and United Nations Initiatives for the 8th World Sustainability Forum. However, registration to the event is mandatory.

Website: https://wsf-8.sciforum.net/


IUBS Centenary Webinar on Forgetting How to Tend the Soil

2 Oct 2020, Online

Read more: http://www.iubs.org/events/conferences-supported/iubs-centenary-webinar-series.html

Download the flyer: https://www.iuss.org/media/iubs_centenary_webinar_series_lecture_1.jpg


International Symposium “Efficient Use of Nitrogen in Agriculture”

Wednesday October 21, 2020, Online

The efficiency of nitrogen use in cereals worldwide has been estimated at 33%; likewise, in Mexico, several research studies on cereals in intensive irrigation areas report similarly low efficiency values. Nitrogen that is not absorbed by the crop is volatilized, leached, percolated, and lost to the environment causing important water and air pollution problems. On the other hand, fertilization tends to be the main production cost with cereals. Here is an opportunity where you have the most expensive input and that is handled in an inefficient way. By increasing the efficiency of nitrogen use, production costs can be reduced and thus increase the profitability of the crop to reduce environmental impact and thus generate a win-win situation, where the farmer and also society in general wins. In Mexico, 71% of nitrogen fertilizer is applied to corn, wheat and sugar cane crops, which is why the symposium will aim to determine scientific advances at the national and international level on the use of nitrogen fertilizers (translated from Spanish).

Deadline for abstracts and extensive papers:  September 10, 2020

Read more: http://www.smcsmx.org/simposio-nitrogeno-2020


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

3-6 November 2020, Virtual meeting

Abstract (flash talk and poster) submission deadline: August 31, 2020

Standard registration deadline: August 31, 2020

Symposium website: http://www.iscraes2020.org/

Download: https://www.iuss.org/media/iscraes_flyer_updated.jpg


XIII Soil science meeting of southern Brazil

Knowledge applied to the field and the city”

November 26 and 27, 2020, Online

The theme is based on the premise that soil management is an essential practice for the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the rural and urban environments, since the soil is an integrating agent of these environments. In this sense, the theme highlights the importance of conserving and managing the soil in an appropriate manner, a natural, finite and essential resource for life on the planet. Often, this importance is remembered more frequently in rural areas due to high soil losses (on site), especially in conditions of extreme rain events due to the erosion process. However, it is known that such a process will also impact water bodies (off site), which suffer from sediment input, compromising the quantity and quality of water available to all living beings. This includes all people in society, whether from the countryside or the city (translated from Portuguese)

Deadline for submission of papers: September 7, 2020

Read more: www.rsbcs2020.sbcs-nrs.org.br



Changes to previously announced conferences, meetings and workshops

9th National Symposium on Control of Soil Degradation and Recovery

May 24-26, 2021, “Ciutat d’Elx” Congress Center, Elche, Spain

Soil is a key element for sustainability, mitigation of the effects of climate change and food production. In addition, it is the support of human activities, both cultural and productive. The symposium focuses on aspects associated with soil degradation, with an emphasis on Mediterranean environments, and proposes solutions to reverse these situations.

Read more: https://condegres.es/

2020 Soil Biology Lab Skills Course

Monday, 31 August 2020 to Friday, 4 September 2020, Wageningen University, Netherlands

!Postponed to 2021!

Website: www.wur.eu/lab-skills-course

2021 SSSA Kirkham Conference

29 August 2021 to 3 September 2021, Kruger National Park, South Africa

!Postponed from Sept. 2020!

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

Website: https://cwrr.ukzn.ac.za/conferences/kirkham-conference-2020/

First IUSS Conference on Sodic Soil Reclamation

10- 12 May 2021, Changchun, China

!Postponed from Sept. 2020!

Deadline for abstract submission: March 1, 2021

Deadline for full text of paper: April 1, 2021

Contact: wangzhichun@iga.ac.cn

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

RAMIRAN 2021 – Managing Organic Resources in a Changing Environment

20-23 September 2021

University of Cambridge in Eastern England, UK

!Postponed from Sept. 2020!

Read more: https://www.compostnetwork.info/news/event/ramiran-2020/

GSS 2020 – 4th Global Soil Security 2020 Conference – “Global Soil Security: Beyond the Soil to Human Health”

12- 15 October 2020, Seoul, Korea


Website: http://www.globalsoilsecurity2020.org/

International Conference Contaminated Sites 2020

26-28 October 2020, Trnava, Slovak Republic

!Postponed to spring or early summer, 2021!

Full paper submission deadline is August 31, 2020

Conference website: http://contaminated-sites2020.sazp.sk/

Global Soil Conference 2020 – Caring Soils Beyond Food Security

9-13 December 2020, New Delhi, India

!Postponed to 2021!

Download: https://www.iuss.org/media/globalsoilconference2020.pdf

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


New publications

Particulate Plastics in Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments

By Nanthi S. Bolan, M.B. Kirkham, Claudia Halsband, Dayanthi Nugegoda, Yong Sik Ok. 1st editon published July 16, 2020 by CRC Press, 466 pages, paperback ISBN 9780367511401, price GBP 41.99, hardcover ISBN 9781138543928, price GBP 155.00.

The manufacture of plastic as well as its indiscriminate disposal and destruction by incineration pollutes atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems. Synthetic plastics do not break down; they accumulate in the environment as macro-, micro-, and nanoplastics. These particulate plastics are a major source of pollutants in soil and marine ecosystems. Particulate Plastics in Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments provides a fundamental understanding of the sources of these plastics and the threats they pose to the environment. The book demonstrates the ecotoxicity of particulate plastics using case studies and offers management practices to mitigate particulate plastic contamination in the environment.

Read more: https://www.routledge.com/Particulate-Plastics-in-Terrestrial-and-Aquatic-Environments/Bolan-Kirkham-Halsband-Nugegoda-Ok/p/book/9780367511401


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