Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 191 (May 2021)

IUSS Alert 191 (May 2021)



New design of IUSS website

Since the 97th anniversary of the IUSS on May 19, 2021, the IUSS website appears in a modern design. The new structure allows easier handling and finding interesting content. Some older content was transferred to an archive area. The website is now optimised for use on mobile devices and complies with the current technical standards. As the transfer of all contents from the previous version is not completed yet, we ask for your understanding if specific information is currently not available.

See more: https://www.iuss.org/


Best Paper in Pedometrics 2020 – Call for nominations

The Awards Committee of the Pedometrics Commission is calling for nominations for the Best Paper in Pedometrics Award, 2020.

Nominated papers will be considered by the committee, listed below, who will draw up a shortlist for a final public vote.

To be eligible, a paper must have substantive pedometrics content, advancing pedometrical methodology or demonstrating novel applications of statistical methods in soil science. It must be published in an international peer-reviewed journal. The official publication date of the paper must fall in 2020, papers available for early access or similar in 2020, but not published until 2021, are not eligible this time around.

Please send full bibliographical details of the paper that you wish to nominate, ideally with a full doi link, to murray.lark@nottingham.ac.uk. Your email must come from a traceable address, and your identity must be clear. We do not encourage nomination of papers by authors, but such nominations will not be ruled out provided they are not by the lead (first-named) author.

Nominations must be received at the above email address by 31 July 2021.

The Pedometrics awards committee

Murray Lark, University of Nottingham, UK (Chair)
Sabine Grunwald, University of Florida, USA
Gerard Heuvelink, ISRIC World Soil Information and Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Yang Lin, Nanjing Normal University, Peoples’ Republic of China
Alessandro Samuel-Rosa, Federal University of Technology, Paraná, Brazil
Uta Stockmann, CSIRO, Australia


IUSS SUITMA WG second Newsletter

The second newsletter of IUSS Working Group SUITMA (Soils of Urban, Industrial, Traffic and Mining Areas) is now available, documenting WG activities during the year of the pandemic. Among other news, the newsletter announces the move of SUITMA 12 to the year 2023 and presents the German Working Group “Urban Soil” (AGUB).

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/newsletters/soils-of-urban-industrial-traffic-mining-and-military-areas-suitma-newsletters/


News from the IUSS President and national Soil Science Societies

International Paleopedology Meeting 2021

INQUA, INCUA, UNAM, ENAH, Russian Academy of Sciences, invites you to attend the online International Paleopedology Meeting 2021, 7 – 9 June.

Read more: https://cutt.ly/FvIe9cu https://www.facebook.com/PSuelox

William’s Soil-Agronomic Museum from Moscow

The Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in Moscow and the GSP invited the IUSS President as speaker during the Launch ceremony of the modernized William’s Soil-Agronomic Museum” on May 20, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. The Museum’s collection started in 1888 by V.R. Williams and his students. Inaugurated in 1954 at the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in Moscow, the Museum now exhibits over 2 500 monoliths from a great variety of soils. Its role was crucial to soil science and agricultural progress.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1397779/

Soil Science Society of Italy

The Soil Science Society of Italy invites the soil science community to participate in its International workshop: “Soil Conservation and environmental protection” to be held in Imola, Italy, from 6 to 8 September 2021.

Read more: https://scienzadelsuolo.org/congressi.php

Soil Science Society of Spain

Tribute from the Department of Environment and Sciences of the University of Lleida to Professor Jaume Porta Casanellas

On May 5, 2021, an act of recognition took place from the Department of Environment and Soil Sciences (DMACS) of the University of Lleida to Professor Jaume Porta Casanellas. The act had two parts. In the first, Professor Jaume Porta gave the master class “Professional perspectives in Soil Sciences” within the framework of the Interuniversity Master’s Degree in Soil and Water Management. The second part of the event was a tribute and recognition of the work carried out by Professor Jaume Porta in the Department of Environment and Sciences of the University of Lleida.

News from the Latin American Soil Science Society (SLCS)

Argentine Association of Soil Science

Within the framework of the 2021 National Soil Conservation Day, to be held in virtual format during the month of July, the Organizing Committee invites you to present exhibitions on topics of physical, chemical and / or biological degradation of soils, in video format.

Soil Science Society of Chile

On April 28, the Research Colloquium in Agricultural and Food Sciences of the Austral University of Chile was held.

Soil Science Society of Colombia

On May 27 – 28 the update Seminar on fertilization with an emphasis on nitrogen and crop nutrition was held.

Soil Science Society of Spain

On May 21, the “Biofertilizers and Biostimulants” seminar was held, which was organized by the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain.


General News

Interactive soil biodiversity area: The State of Knowledge of Soil Biodiversity

Enter a hidden world

Our well-being is highly dependent on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides. Yet the loss of soil biodiversity is considered one of the main global threats to soils in many regions of the world.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/home/digital-reports/soil-biodiversity/en/


Pesticides and Soil Invertebrates: A Hazard Assessment

Agricultural pesticide use and its associated environmental harms is widespread throughout much of the world. Efforts to mitigate this harm have largely been focused on reducing pesticide contamination of the water and air, as runoff and pesticide drift are the most significant sources of offsite pesticide movement. Yet pesticide contamination of the soil can also result in environmental harm. Pesticides are often applied directly to soil as drenches and granules and increasingly in the form of seed coatings, making it important to understand how pesticides impact soil ecosystems. Soils contain an abundance of biologically diverse organisms that perform many important functions such as nutrient cycling, soil structure maintenance, carbon transformation, and the regulation of pests and diseases.

Read more: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2021.643847/full


Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey

The International Science Council is requesting experts to join a growing community of leading scientists working on global risks by participating in the 2021 Future Earth – ISC Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey. All scientists with expertise in environmental, societal, geopolitical, technological, or economic risks are invited to be self-nominated by 30 May 2021 via the online form available at https://council.science/global-risks-scientists-perceptions-survey-2021/. All nominees will receive the Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey in June 2021.

[From: ISC Newsletter, 11 May 2021]


International Year of Caves and Karst

On the occasion of the International Year of Caves and Karst (2021 – 2022) – dedicated to “exploring, understanding and protecting” this fascinating world within our world – ISC Members, the International Union of Speleology (UIS), invites all ISC Members to discover how caves and karst affect our lives, to participate in the numerous activities or to get involved as a partner. “Everyone around the world is affected by caves and karst, but few know it. Many streams important to communities and agriculture flow from karst springs. Each day we make new advances in cave and karst science to benefit our daily lives, and better understand how we already benefit from caves and karst. But few people understand the value of caves and karst, which is why the International Year of Caves and Karst is so important.” – Dr. George Veni, UIS President.

Read more: https://council.science/current/news/year-caves-karst-2021-22/.

[From: ISC Newsletter, 11 May 2021]


Protecting scientific freedom and responsibility

At a time when scientific research is of paramount importance to human and environmental well-being, the ISC is gravely concerned by reports from various countries which suggest that threats to scientific freedom are on the increase. For science to progress efficiently and for its benefits to be shared equitably, scientists must have the right to scientific freedom. Read the full statement by the Council’s Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science, and find out more about how the Council works to protect scientists’ rights.

Read more: https://council.science/current/news/statement-on-concerns-for-scientific-freedom-around-the-world/

[From: ISC Newsletter, 28 May 2021]


Working scientists podcast combatting racism in science systems

In the past year the issue of systemic racism has been thrown into sharp focus in societies across the world. The institutions and practices of the science community are not immune to this kind of discrimination. In this final episode of the podcast series, we explore what can be done to combat racism in science.

Read more: https://council.science/current/blog/working-scientist-podcast-combatting-racism-in-science-systems/

[From: ISC Newsletter, 28 May 2021]


Do soil health tests match farmer experience?

Soil health testing offers a new paradigm for managing soils to support key ecosystem functions that can increase environmental sustainability. These tests have been tailored to detect differences in soil management practices, often based on data from controlled experimental trials, which do not reflect the large field variability seen on working farms. New research in the Soil Science Society of America Journal assesses whether soil health test scores align with farmers’ experiences of their self-identified “best” and “worst” fields across three distinct cropping regions in Michigan. To translate soil health testing into on-farm management decisions, the results should reflect soil differences across farmer’s fields.

Read more: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/csan.20463

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 26 May 2021]


“GSBI SPEAKS” Webinar Series continues

Soil Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration

June 9, 2021 7-8:30am MST, 3-4:30pm CEST, 2-3:30pm UK

Read more: https://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/webinars-1

[From GSBI Newsletter – May 2021]


Soil biodiversity science – policy meeting

The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) partnered with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), and others to host the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity held virtually from Rome, Italy April 19-22. Over 4800 attendees were present for the opening plenary, and over 100 talks were given by scientists, growers, and policy-makers over the four-day event.

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

[From GSBI Newsletter – May 2021]


Uncompact This: LandPKS loosens up valuable soil information

Soil scientists, farmers, citizen scientists, rangeland managers, and educators who work in soil monitoring programs around the world have a common problem: how does one find out exactly what type of soil one is standing on? Soil maps are imprecise, and lab measurements of soils, such as of soil pH and organic matter, are inaccessible to most.

The Land Potential Knowledge System, or LandPKS, was conceived as a tool to empower scientists and land managers of all kinds to characterize soil type efficiently and accurately to better inform their management decisions.

Read more: https://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/blog-beneath-our-feet/2021/5/2/decompacting-soil-data-landpks-loosens-up-valuable-soil-information

[From GSBI Newsletter – May 2021]


Next Episode of “Life in the Soil” Podcast Available

Methods – How to Explore the Microscopic World of Soil

If you dig out a handful of soil, or a whole bucket full, what do you see? Really, not that much? Well, yes, that’s one reason the study of soil is such a challenge.

Listen to the podcast: https://soundcloud.com/mrillig/life-in-the-soil-ep4-methods

[From GSBI Newsletter – May 2021]


SOILBOOK – The special book of soils

SOILBOOK is a digital, free and continuously growing “book of soils” that allows registered users to record soil profiles anywhere and at any moment. For this purpose, a variety of tools are available enabling users to swiftly upload soil images, embed geographical data and describe recorded features and details. In addition, it is possible to browse through already existing entries, create own thematic collections and add favourites. The objective of SOILBOOK is to raise awareness for the diversity and the increasing vulnerability of soils, as well as to promote exchange among users worldwide. SOILBOOK is a platform designed to give global insights into the fascinating landscape beneath our feet.

Read more: www.soilbook.info


A Digital Success: Soil Biodiversity Symposium

The Symposium was held on 19-22 April 2021 in a virtual format. Around 5000 participants from over 161 countries attended the event, focusing on catalyzing efforts to reduce soil biodiversity loss, one of the most significant threat to our planet’s soils. Building off the State of Knowledge of Soil Biodiversity, and thanks to extensive discussions held over 150 scientific presentations, participants agreed to execute the Implementation Plan of the “International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity” and to establish the Technical Network on Soil Biodiversity (NETSOB), and its Global Soil Biodiversity Observatory. Both the Outcome document and its Proceedings are under finalization. The press coverage reached 402 million readers while on social media, dedicated content reached 37 million accounts.

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

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No.32, May 2021]


INSAS – 1st meeting

Did you know that #SoilSalinization takes up to 1.5 million ha of farmland per year out of production?

The 1st meeting of the International Network on Salt-affected Soils was held on 14-15 April 2021.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/insas/insas-first-meeting/en/

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No.32, May 2021]


NASOLANs database

NASOLANs’ recently launched database provides information at country level regarding the status of the National Soil Laboratory Networks, the registered laboratories, the analyses they perform and their challenges.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1391119/

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No.32, May 2021]


GSOCseq map

The GSOCseq has entered the data collection phase! Through their national GSOCseq layers and reports, member countries are unravelling the potential of soils to sequester Soil Organic Carbon.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1398770/

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No.32, May 2021]


Soil Organic Matter (SOM) fractions

Soil carbon sequestration is seen as an effective means to draw down atmospheric CO2, but at the same time warming may accelerate the loss of extant soil carbon. By separating soil carbon into particulate and mineral-associated organic matter (POM and MAOM, respectively) aids in the understanding of its vulnerability to climate change and identification of carbon sequestration strategies. Arable and coniferous forest soils contain the largest and most vulnerable carbon stocks when cumulated at the European scale. In a recent publication in Nature Geoscience, we show a lower carbon loss from mineral topsoils with climate change (2.5 ± 1.2 PgC by 2080) than -previous estimates. Therefore, we urge the implementation of coniferous forest management practices that increase plant inputs to soils to offset POM losses and the adoption of best management practices to avert the loss in arable soils. Data are available in ESDAC.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/soil-organic-matter-som-fractions

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 131 (Jun 2021)]


Update of PERSAM tool (new version v3.0.6)

There is a new version v3.0.6 of the PERSAM tool that contains a small bug fix: there were problems with starting the calculation for projects imported using the ‘Import project(s)’ functionality. This is solved and the issue does not occur anymore. The User Manual remains unchanged, so the one for version v3.0.5 applies. Check it out on the PERSAM page. PERSAM is used by regulatory offices and industry for predicting environmental concentrations of pesticides in top-soil. In support of the EFSA Guidance Document for predicting environmental concentrations of active substances of plant protection products in soil (EFSA, 2017)

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/european-food-safety-authority-efsa-data-persam-software-tool

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 131 (Jun 2021)]


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.


Launch of Global Assessment of Soil Pollution report

4 June 2021, 13:30-15:30 CEST, online

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1398176/

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No.32, May 2021]


Webinar Technical and financial tools for valuing the productive and environmental potential of soils in Latin America and the Caribbean

4, 8 and 9 June 2021, 09:30 AM, GMT-4, online

Register: https://fao.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN___bd3QV1SWGEGMtskUWRUA

[From: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter No.32, May 2021]


Webinar: Soil Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration

9 June 2021, 7am MDT, online

Learn more and register here.

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 12 May 2021]


2nd Pedometrics webinar – WGs Digital Soil Mapping and Global Soil Map

16 and 17 June 2021, online with Zoom

Abstract submission will close: June 4th (no extension)

Decision on abstract: June 9th

Program online: June 14th (latest)

Abstract submission and registration: https://forms.gle/mDSkw4KKtgfV1NaC6

Read more: http://pedometrics.org/


Webinar: Crop Condition and Soil Moisture Analytics (Crop-CASMA)

24 June 2021, 11am EDT, online

Learn more and register here.

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 12 May 2021]


SoilCare Final conference

24 June 2021, 10:30-15:00 (CET), online

The SoilCare project will be holding its final conference with the aim of disseminating the findings of this EU-funded project and inciting discussion surrounding with results and policy recommendations.

Registration: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/soilcare

[From ESDAC Newsletter No131 (Jun 2021)]


First IUSS Conference on Sodic Soil Reclamation

30 July and 1 Aug. 2021; Changchun, China

Meeting in person and online

Deadline for abstract submission: June 1, 2021

Deadline for full text of paper: July 1, 2021

New: Registration fee is waived for foreign online participants!

Website: http://ssr.csp.escience.cn



23-27 August 2021, virtual congress

The objective of Eurosoil 2021 is to bring together, in a safe online space, leading research scientists working on soil related topics and stakeholders dealing with issues of public concern, such as soil degradation and consequences of climatic changes. The important bridging role of soil practitioners to translate scientific knowledge into practice will be emphasised during the virtual edition of Eurosoil 2021.

Early bird registration deadline: 26 May 2021

Read more: https://eurosoil-congress.com/

[From ESDAC Newsletter No131 (Jun 2021)]


International Conference for Women in Science Without Borders

3-5 November 2021, Nairobi, Kenya

The University of Embu will host the 6th International Conference for Women in Science Without Borders from November 3rd to 5th 2021 in Nairobi. Women in Science Without Borders (WISWB) is a gender-inclusive initiative and network of scientists from over 60 countries worldwide. This is a conference series held annually under the World Forum for Women in Science (WFWS). The conference will be an opportunity to highlight the role of science in building a sustainable future for all through science, technology, and innovation.

Early registration deadline, June 30.

Read more: https://awardfellowships.org/news/the-sixth-international-conference-for-women-in-science-without-borders/

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 26 May 2021]



XXV Dokuchaev Conference for Young Scientists – Soil is life

1–3 March 2022, St. Petersburg, Russia

The conference form will be face-to-face reports with live stream on Zoom and on-line. Languages of the conference will be Russian and English. Issues of the providing by soils of plants’, animals’ and people’s life and health, the importance of living organisms for soil formation, interactions of mineral, organic substances and living organisms in the soil, the composition and properties of soils, the soil diversity and the geographical distribution of soils, functional relationships in nature, ecosystem functions of soils, the soil-saving crop cultivation, the soil destruction both as a result of natural processes and under the influence of irrational human actions, the protection of soil from its destruction, the fight against fertility decline, soil restoration, the spread and the application of soil knowledge will be considered.

An information letter will be posted on the website on June 30.

Read more: http://www.dokuchaevskie.ru/


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


New publications

Bioremediation Science: From Theory to Practice

Edited by Amitava Rakshit, Manoj Parihar, Binoy Sarkar, Harikesh B. Singh, Leonardo Fernandes Fraceto. 1st edition published May 21, 2021 by CRC Press, 360 Pages, 8 Color & 40 B/W Illustrations, ISBN 9780367343965, price hardback GBP 15.00, VitalSource eBook GBP 31.49, 6 month rental GBP22.50, 12 month rental GBP 27.00.

This book provides state of the art description of various approaches, techniques and some basic fundamentals of bioremediation to manage a variety of organic and inorganic wastes and pollutants present in our environment. A comprehensive overview of recent advances and new development in the field of bioremediation research are provided within relevant theoretical framework to improve our understanding for the cleaning up of polluted water and contaminated land. The book is easy to read and language can be readily comprehended by aspiring newcomer, students, researchers and anyone else interested in this field. Renowned scientists around the world working on the above topics have contributed chapters. In this edited book, we have addressed the scope of the inexpensive and energy neutral bioremediation technologies. The scope of the book extends to environmental/agricultural scientists, students, consultants, site owners, industrial stakeholders, regulators and policy makers.

Read more: https://www.routledge.com/Bioremediation-Science-From-Theory-to-Practice/Rakshit-Parihar-Sarkar-Fraceto-Singh/p/book/9780367343965


Nature, biodiversity and health: an overview of interconnections

Published by WHO/Europe, 2021. 31 pages, ISBN 978 92 890 5558 1; available online.

In recognition of the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May, WHO/Europe has published today its first report on nature, biodiversity and health together with the WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health at the University of Exeter (UK). It includes a chapter on soil, agriculture, nutrition and food security.

Urbanization, land use, global trade and industrialization have led to profound and negative impacts on nature, biodiversity and ecosystems across the world. The ongoing depletion of natural resources not only affects environmental conditions but also has an enormous impact on the well-being and security of societies. This report provides an overview of the impacts of the natural environment on human health. It presents the ways nature and ecosystems can support and protect health and well-being, and describes how nature degradation and loss of biodiversity can threaten human health. It is targeted at readers who do not have extensive experience with the links between nature and health. While the overview report aims primarily to inform professionals and decision-makers in the health and environment sectors, it will also be of relevance for other sectors involved with the protection, management and use of nature and biodiversity.

Download: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/341376/9789289055581-eng.pdf

Read more: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-health/publications/2021/nature,-biodiversity-and-health-an-overview-of-interconnections-2021


WSD 2020 campaign report

World Soil Day (WSD) 2020 ‘Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity’ was celebrated in 105 countries with over 780 events. Media coverage reached 891 million also thanks to BBC, Al Jazeera, and the New York Times. On Twitter #WorldSoilDay reached 308 million users. A thousand thanks to all participants!

Read more: http://www.fao.org/3/cb3455en/cb3455en.pdf


Job offers

If you are interested in working in soil sciences and related fields of expertise, please see current job offers at: https://www.iuss.org/jobs/



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