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IUSS Alert 183 (September 2020)

IUSS Alert 183 (September 2020)


IUSS Bulletin 136

Bulletin 136 is now online and the Secretariat invites you to browse through the 130 pages. With content ranging from an update on the preparations for the 22nd World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS22), to news from National Soil Science Societies, the reports of IUSS’s four Divisions and its Commissions and Working Groups, and activities under the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024) it makes for interesting reading. Conference and meeting reports, articles from IUSS Alerts, new publications and an article celebrating the 100th birthday anniversary of Vladimir Fridland and his contribution to the theory of pedogenesis, soil geography, cartography and classification round off the content.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/


Commission 1.1 Newsletter online

Commission 1.1. Soil Morphology & Micromorphology’s Newsletter No. 26 August 2020 is available online. Among many interesting articles, the “pills of wisdom” section contains an invited contribution from Prof. Ahmet Mermut, a prominent soil scientist and micromorphologist, former Chair of Division 1 and Honorary Member of the IUSS. This contribution is important because it both provides (i) a call to further integrate soil morphology within Commission 1.1, and (ii) an engaging perspective about the value of soil micromorphology.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/newsletters/soil-morphology-and-micromorphology-newsletters-commission-11/


Awards in Soil Micromorphology

Young Micromorphology Publication Awards (YMPA) 2021

Commission 1.1 – Soil Morphology and Micromorphology will award the Young Micromorphologist’s Publication Award every 2 years: at each International Working Meeting on Soil Micromorphology, and at each World Congress of Soil Science. Considering that the planned IWMSM2020 meeting in Krakow has been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID19 emergency, the award has also been postponed accordingly. It is planned to have two close YMPA awards (IWMSM-2021 and WCSS-2022).

The purpose of this award is to encourage and promote the use of soil micromorphology by young scientists. The award will be given to one, or more, young scientist who has published research in the preceding 4 years, that is an outstanding contribution to the principles, methodology, or application of micromorphology. The author must be less than 35 years old at the time of acceptance of the publication, and he/she must be the first author. The paper must be published in an international journal with wide distribution, but not necessarily a scientific journal. The award is not restricted to papers published in the English language only.

The Award Committee is composed of Fabio Scarciglia, Irina Kovda, Peter Kühn and Chair (Fabio Terribile) and Vice-chair (Richard Heck) of Commission 1.1.

Applicants should submit the following: (1) a pdf file of the paper(s) to be considered for the award, (2) proof of age for eligibility (ex: photocopy of ID or other document with birthdate), and (3) a cover letter explaining why they should be considered for this award. Letters of support from senior micromorphologists, outlining the qualities of the publication(s) are also welcome.

Applications are due December 31, 2020. Send by email to: Prof. Fabio Terribile fabio.terribile@unina.it

Kubiëna Medal 2022

The Kubiëna Medal award is conferred by the IUSS Soil Morphology and Micromorphology Commission (originally Subcommission B – ISSS) to commemorate Walter L Kubiëna for his distinguished contribution to soil micromorphology. This IUSS medal is awarded for outstanding and sustained contribution in the discipline of soil micromorphology.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/about-the-iuss/awards-prizes/medals/kubiena-medal/

How to apply

The nominees may be proposed by institutions, societies, commissions and working groups of the IUSS, and individuals. Members of the Award committee are not eligible to make nominations or second nominations.

The proposal for nomination must be submitted to the Award committee chair, and should include:

1. Statement of key achievements and career highlights of the nominee (1 page)
2. Curriculum vitae detailing career history and publication record of the nominee
3. Name of proposer and seconder for the nominee
4. Any other relevant information in support of the nominee
5. Full address and contact details of the nominee

Applications are due March 31, 2021. Send by email applications to: Prof. Fabio Terribile fabio.terribile@unina.it


Invitation to take part in soil repository/archive survey

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board of Agriculture and National Resources, in collaboration with the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Soil Sciences, is organizing a workshop entitled Exploring a Dynamic Soil Information System to be held in March 2021 (https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/exploring-a-dynamic-soil-information-system-a-workshop).

As part of this work, we are constructing a list of physical soils repositories/soil archives in the world. Please contribute to this effort by completing this quick survey for each of the soil repositories/archives with which you are familiar at https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5786076/Soil-Repository-Survey. The list of physical sample repositories/archives will be made openly accessible on the workshop’s website when complete and published in the workshop’s proceedings.


General News

Urgent – Photos Needed ASAP

GSBI has an urgent request from Dr. Ronald Vargas, FAO (UN Food and Agricultural Organization), for assistance in acquiring photos for the report “The State of Knowledge of Soil Biodiversity”. Specifically, they need photos of ants, isopods (sowbugs, roly-polys) and moles.

These photos need to be YOURS, previously unpublished, and of high resolution (300 dpi) for print work. If used, your images will be attributed to you/your team in the report. Images are needed ASAP to complete this important report!

If you have photos to contribute, please send them directly to Ronald.Vargas@fao.org and FAO soil biologists Rosa Cuevas Corona Rosa.CuevasCorona@fao.org and Vinisa Saynes viniss@yahoo.com. They will respond to questions regarding images and other information needed.


Storing carbon in the prairie grass

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by mid-century to avert catastrophic effects from global warming. Carbon dioxide is the most prevalent greenhouse gas; the amount in the atmosphere has been rising as humans burn fossil fuels. Not only must the world stop releasing more carbon, some CO2 already in the air also must be removed, experts say. That’s where the prairie comes in.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2020/08/19/climate-change-prairie/?arc404=true&utm_campaign=wp_the_optimist&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_optimist

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: September 8-10, 2020]


Carbon mitigation potential and radiative agricultural land management

To reach the Paris climate targets, the mitigation capacity needs to be maximized across all components of the Earth system, especially land. Mitigation actions through land management, such as cover crops in agricultural soils, are often evaluated in terms of their carbon sequestration potential, while radiative forcing related to surface albedo changes is often ignored. The aim of this study was to assess the mitigation potential of cover crops, both as changes in biogenic greenhouse gas fluxes (CO2 and N2O) and albedo-driven radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere. To achieve this, we have integrated a biogeochemistry model framework running on approximately 8,000 locations across the European Union with detailed soil data, supplemented with time series of albedo measurements derived from satellite remote sensing.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/carbon-mitigation-potential-and-radiative-agricultural-land-management

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 123, July-August 2020]


Projections of Global soil erosion by water (2015-2070)

We use the latest projections of climate and land use change to assess potential global soil erosion rates by water to address policy questions. Three alternative (2.6, 4.5, and 8.5) RCP scenarios were used and resulted in a potential increase of global soil erosion rate by 30-66% by 2070. The Global South is estimated to bear the brunt of the erosion. Rich countries with high fertiliser use and moderate climates can expect erosion at a lower rate. Current conservation agriculture practices will only reduce the projected soil erosion rate by 5%. The study has published recently in PNAS. Data are available in ESDAC.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/global-soil-erosion-water-2070

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 123, July-August 2020]


Global phosphorus losses due to soil erosion

The world’s food production depends directly on phosphorus. We combine spatially distributed global soil erosion estimates (only considering sheet and rill erosion by water) with spatially distributed global P content for cropland soils to assess global soil P loss. The world’s soils are currently being depleted in P in spite of high chemical fertilizer input. Africa, South America and Eastern Europe have the highest P depletion rates. Agricultural soils worldwide will be depleted by between 4–19 kg ha−1 yr−1, with average losses of P due to erosion by water contributing over 50% of total P losses. The study has published in Nature Communications and the data are available in ESDAC.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/global-phosphorus-losses-due-soil-erosion

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 123, July-August 2020]


Sustainable soil management within the European Green Deal

The new European Green Deal has the ambition to make the European Union the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The European Commission presented an ambitious package of measures within the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the Farm to Fork and the European Climate Law including actions to protect our soils. The Farm to Fork strategy addresses soil pollution with 50% reduction in use of chemical pesticides by 2030 and aims 20% reduction in fertilizer use plus a decrease of nutrient losses by at least 50%. The Biodiversity Strategy has the ambition to set a minimum of 30% of the EU’s land area as protected areas, limit urban sprawl, reduce the pesticides risk, bring back at least 10% of agricultural area under high-diversity landscape features, put forward the 25% of the EU’s agricultural land as organically farmed, progress in the remediation of contaminated sites, reduce land degradation and plant more than three billion new trees. The maintenance of wetlands and the enhancement of soil organic carbon are also addressed in the European Climate Law.

Read more: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837720304257

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 123, July-August 2020]


Pushing soil animals to the extreme

Ecologists can answer a lot of the scientific questions that they grapple with about organisms from ‘extreme’ environments where plants, animals, or microbes barely cling on to life. A team of scientists from France, Hungary and Ireland recently had an opportunity to study a group of worms called Enchytraeidae, or potworms, in soils of a unique long-term experiment that has created extreme chemical soil conditions. Located in the world-famous ‘Palace of Versailles’ outside Paris, this experiment consists of small plots of land that have been receiving different fertilizers each year since 1928 but have no plants or crops whatsoever.

In this study scientists found 13 different species of enchytraeid worms, which is remarkable given the fact that no plants grow on these plots, and thus the soils do not receive any carbon or nutrient inputs (through roots or as litter) from plants.

Read more: https://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/blog-beneath-our-feet/2020/8/28/pushing-soil-animals-to-the-extreme

[From GSBI Newsletter – September 2020]


Release of the GSOC MRV Protocol

FAO/GSP and its Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) are pleased to announce the release of the document “GSOC MRV Protocol: A protocol for measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of soil organic carbon in agricultural landscapes”.

This Protocol represents a significant advance for soils around the world and for users who can now measure, monitor, report and verify Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) gains and changes at the farm level.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1308261/

[From The Global Soil Partnership Special announcement No. 28, 17 September 2020]


Call for inputs to shape a priority action agenda for science

There are still some days left to submit your expert views on priorities for science that can deliver game-changing action regarding Science for Sustainability Transformations, and Transformations of Science Systems by completing this survey: https://council.science/science-funding/global-call/.

Deadline for contributions: 2 October 2020

Please feel free to share this call for inputs with your members and wider networks.


Prize question – What can science achieve during pandemics?

The Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) shall award a cash prize for each of the three best answers to the above question.

1st prize € 12,000

2nd prize € 8,000

3rd prize € 4,000

The competition is open to individuals and groups. Entries are requested in writing in the form of an essay and they are not subject to a restriction of characters. The competition is open for essays in German, English, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish.

Submissions can be sent by email to or by post to the Actuarial Office of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna, by 31 December 2020. The date of the postmark will apply. The judging and prize ceremony shall be carried out by an interdisciplinary prize commission. The winners will be notified by May 2021.

Read more (please scroll down to the English version): https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/preisfrage/

[From ISC Newsletter, August 2020]


The Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Geoscience (EDIG) Project – SURVEY

The Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Geoscience (EDIG) project was started by a group of geoscientists who are working together to better understand the impact of prejudice, inequity, sexism, bias, exclusion, and discrimination within the larger geoscience community.   The EDIG team is asking for your help to understand these issues by completing an anonymous survey about your experiences/lack of experiences related to these topics. Even if you do not feel these readily apply to you, they would still like to hear from you. The survey will run from 14 – 28 September, 2020.  The survey is open to anyone who is over the age of 18 years old and is currently or has previously worked or studied in the field of geoscience. By taking part to the survey you agree to accept these terms. Participation should take no longer than 8 minutes. Anonymized results and quotes may be used in later activities, including the EDIG online conference, to discuss equality, diversity, and inclusion in the larger geoscience community.

Read more: https://www.icrag-centre.org/edig/

To participate in our survey, please follow this link.


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.


Join Ban Ki-moon and Mary Robinson in webinar: Transformations within reach

Tuesday, 29 September 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 CEST

The International Science Council (ISC), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Permanent Missions of Norway and South Africa to the United Nations cordially invite you to join an interactive discussion as part of the 75th United Nations General Assembly side events. The event will present a summary of identified game-changing transformations, following the response to COVID-19, that would enable the world to practically take a leap towards sustainability, including key insights and recommendations that have emerged from extensive consultations with a multi-stakeholder community and will suggest a way to operationalize a sustainable and equitable new normal.

Speakers include: H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations; H.E. Mary Robinson, ISC Patron; Heide Hackmann, ISC CEO

Read more: https://council.science/events/transformations-within-reach/

Register: https://iiasa.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JXu87xj5SpKbVJ9-yjRVlg?mc_cid=9c93007ebf&mc_eid=%5bUNIQID%5d



Webinar: “Launch of the Global Soil Doctors Programme”

Monday, 5 October 2020 from 14:00 to 15:15 CEST.

FAO’s Global Soil Partnership is pleased to invite you to the “Launch of the Global Soil Doctors Programme”. The webinar will officially launch the programme as a direct contribution to Sustainable Soil Management at the farm level. This event will kick off the implementation of the Global Soil Doctors programme as, following its launch, Soil Doctors kits will be distributed for field implementation in several regions of the world.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1307159/


Zoom into Soil: Zero Tillage

Wednesday 7 October from 12:00 – 1:00pm

Following the continued success of Zoom into Soil, the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) is pleased to host the third in its lunchtime webinar series.

Zoom into Soil: Zero Tillage’ will feature Hannah Cooper and Russell McKenzie who will discuss the current academic literature related to zero-tillage, the extent to which it reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to more common conventional tillage methods and how these methods compare in practice.

Read more: press release


PFAS – Dealing with Contaminants of Emerging Concern

30th November – 1st December 2020

Berlin, Germany, hybrid conference

Registration: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/pfas-workshop

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/media/2020_pfas_conference_flyer.pdf


Changes to previously announced conferences, meetings and workshops


2nd joint workshop on digital soil mapping and GlobalSoilMap WGs

14-18 December 2020, Goa, India

! Due to COVID 19 travel limitations postponed to 2022 !

Abstract submission is open until September 1, 2020

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/soilmapping2020




LuWQ2021 — 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference on LAND USE AND WATER QUALITY: Agriculture and the Environment

September 13-16, 2021, Maastricht, The Netherlands. A conference on the cutting edge of science, management and policy to minimise effects of agriculture and land use changes on the quality of groundwater and surface waters. Target groups (professionals, fields of expertise, audience) are scientists, managers and policy makers involved in the policy cycle for water quality improvement.

Read more: https://www.luwq2021.nl/


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


New publications

Soil and Root Damage in Forestry

Reducing the Impact of Forest Mechanization

By Iwan Wasterlund. 1st edition published 20 August 2020 by Elsevier, 200 pages, ISBN: 9780128220702, eBook ISBN: 9780128220733, price paperback USD 153.00, eBook USD 153.00, print & ebook bundle USD 180.00

Agroforestry has significantly impacted our forests, but an often-overlooked issue is the effect of harvesting on soils and root systems. Soil and Root Damage in Forestry explains how soil and roots might be damaged through logging activities or silvicultural activities, how resulting root diseases impact the root and soil systems, and the impacts of chemical applications on the soil and root system. This book goes beyond the ‘why’ to also provide methods to reduce the impacts of machines on soils and offers solutions to minimize the impacts of machines on soils. Soil and Root Damage in Forestry serves as a valuable resource not only for those already working in soil science and forest ecology, but also provides insights for advanced students seeking an entrance to the “hidden half” of the planet.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/soil-and-root-damage-in-forestry/wasterlund/978-0-12-822070-2


Microbiomes and Plant Health

Panoply and Their Applications

Edited by Manoj Solanki, Prem Kashyap, Rizwan Ansari, Baby Kumari. 1st edition published 29th August 2020 by Academic Press, 518 pages, Paperback ISBN: 9780128197158, eBook ISBN: 9780128226018, price paperback USD 170.00, eBook USD 170.00, print & ebook bundle USD 200.00.

This tome includes the most recent advances in phytobiome research. The book emphasizes the use of modern molecular tools such as smart delivery systems for microbiol inoculation, next-generation sequencing, and genome mapping. Chapters discuss a variety of applications and examples, including the sugarcane microbiome, rhizoengineering, nutrient recycling, sustainable agricultural practices and bio-potential of herbal medicinal plants. Written by a range of experts with real-world practical insights, this title is sure to be an essential read for plant and soil microbiologists, phytopathologists, agronomists, and researchers interested in sustainable forestry and agriculture practices.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/microbiomes-and-plant-health/solanki/978-0-12-819715-8


Climate Impacts on Agricultural and Natural Resource Sustainability in Africa

Edited by B.R. Singh, A. Safalaoh, N.A. Amuri, L.O. Eik, B.K. Sitaula, R. Lal. 1st edition published 2020 by Springer, XVIII, 637 pages, 123 illus., 98 illus. in color, hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-37536-2, eBook ISBN 978-3-030-37537-9. Price hardcover 139,99 € | £119.99 | $169.99, eBook 117,69 € | £95.50 | $129.00, printed eBook € | $ 24.99.

This book discusses knowledge-based sustainable agro-ecological and natural resource management systems and best practices for sustained agricultural productivity and ecosystem resilience for better livelihoods under a changing climate. With a focus on agriculture in Africa, the book assesses innovative technologies for use on smallholder farms, and addresses some of the key Sustainable Development Goals to guide innovative responses and enhanced adaptation methods for coping with climate change.

Read more: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030375362


Soil testing methods manual

Doctors Global Programme – A farmer-to-farmer training programme

By FAO/GSP, published in 2020 in Rome, Italy. 105 pages, ISBN: 978-92-5-131195-0

The Soil Doctors programme is developed under the umbrella of the Global Soil Partnership and promotes the establishment of a farmer-to-farmer training system. The Soil Doctors Global Programme aims to build the capacity of smallholder farmers on the practice of sustainable soil management and, by doing so, support governmental agencies and organizations working on agricultural extension at the field level (promoting broader impact and a reduction of costs). Trainings will also rely on the establishment of demonstration farms and experimental fields by the Soil Doctors, which might attract the interest of research institutes and universities involved in the programme.

The programme also aims to educate farmers on soil science principles for practices of sustainable soil management and aims to achieve this by providing them with a set of tools composed of some educational materials and a soil testing methods (STM) manual for preliminary soil analysis. The STM is a collection of locally relevant, and easy to use, soil analyses procedures that would be selected by each area where the program is implemented.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca2796en



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