Taking care of soils since 1924
IUSS Alert 192 (June 2021)

IUSS Alert 192 (June 2021)



Call for nominations of IUSS Division and Commission Officers 2022-2026

Nominations were sought for all Division and Commission positions (2022-2026), except Division vice-chairs. IUSS Full Members (national soil science societies who paid the membership fees) were encouraged to participate in this call to seek and nominate candidates to the Divisional Nominating Committees. More than 112 nominations were received from 26 countries and discussed in the Divisional Nominating Committees. The Electoral Committee ensured a broad geographical representation of candidates and is finalizing the ballots and collection of biographies. Mid of July the ballots and guidelines for the voting procedure will be sent to the IUSS Full members who are requested to carry out national elections from September until December 2021.


Last Call for Nominations: Dokuchaev, Von Liebig, and IUSS Jeju Awards

At each World Congress of Soil Science IUSS presents three awards to recognize outstanding contributions in basic and applied research and to an early-career scientist:

IUSS Dokuchaev Award for basic research in soil science

IUSS Von Liebig Award for applied research in soil science

IUSS Jeju Award for an early-career scientist’s contributions to the IUSS mission

Eligible nominees and nominators must be members of the IUSS. Each award consists of a medal, plaque or equivalent, a certificate, a US$ 1000 honorarium, and financial support to attend the award presentation ceremony at the World Congress of Soil Science. Nomination procedures are on the IUSS Website. Go to https://www.iuss.org/about-the-iuss/awards-prizes/awards/ and then click on “Read more” next to each award description for additional details. On each award page click on “Criteria & Guidelines” to learn about eligibility requirements and nomination procedures for that award. Award nominations are due one year before the beginning of the next WCSS. The next WCSS is scheduled to begin in Glasgow, Scotland, on 31 July 2022. Therefore, nominations are due 31 July 2021. Nominators who have submitted previous nominations are encouraged to submit the nomination again. For further information, please contact Tom Sauer (), Chair of the IUSS Committee on Awards and Prizes.


Call for applications for the Dan H. Yaalon Young Scientist Medal

An award by the IUSS Division 1: Soils in Space and Time and Commission 4.5: History, Philosophy and Sociology of Soil Science.

Nomination The Dan H. Yaalon Young Scientist Medal is awarded once every four years at the World Congress of Soil Science. Next time will be at the 22nd World Congress at Glasgow in 2022

Applications Please send applications to the nomination committee c/o Karl Stahr or mail to: Prof. Dr. Karl Stahr Universität Hohenheim (310a) D 70593 Stuttgart Germany.

Criteria for the selection of nominees for the Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal A nominee should have the following qualifications:

  • be a researcher in her/his early scientific career, i.e., PhD student or postdoc researcher within the first 5 years after PhD graduation and,
  • be an active member of a national soil science society and/or the International Union of Soil Science and,
  • have published in at least one of the following fields: Soil morphology, Soil micromorphology, Soil geography, Soil genesis, Soil classification, Pedometrics, Palaeopedology, History of soil science, Philosophy of soil science, Sociology of soil science, and
  • either have made a significant contribution that advanced any field of soil science as presented above, or compiled a body of work that has advanced the science, success, methodology, or use of the above fields. The medal is not awarded posthumously. Current officers of IUSS Divisions, Commissions and Working Groups cannot be nominated.

Nomination procedure The nominees may be proposed by institutions, societies, commissions and working groups of the IUSS, and by individuals. Self-nomination is not encouraged. The proposal for nomination should include a short justification, including the main steps of the scientific career of the nominee, his/her main scientific publications and the major contribution(s) to the development of one or more of the following fields: Soil morphology, Soil micromorphology, Soil geography, Soil genesis, Soil classification, Pedometrics, Palaeopedology, History of soil science, Philosophy of soil science, Sociology of soil science. The deadline for nominations is November 1, 2021. The nominees will be notified on February 1, 2022. The medalist name will be announced in the following IUSS alert. The presentation of this medal will be take place at the 22nd World Congress in Glasgow, Scotland on August 1, 2022.

For further information please visit: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=631

[By the Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal Award Committee]


News from the Latin American Soil Science Society (SLCS)

Mexican Soil Science Society and “THE IUSS GOES TO THE SCHOOL

The educational project “Thus are the Soils of my Nation”, as a participant in “THE IUSS GOES TO THE SCHOOL”, invites children and young people to participate in the online XV Symposium on Educational Innovations in Teaching Soil Science, to be held on October 6 and 7, in the framework of the 45th Mexican Congress of Soil Science.

Read more: www.iuss-goes-to-school.org.mx and www.slcs.org.mx


Adrien Herbillon (1934-2021)

The IUSS Secretariat was sad to learn that our distinguished colleague Prof. Dr. Adrien Herbillon passed away on the 19th of June 2021. He was 87 years old. He was a leading scientist in soil processes and colloidal mineralogy at the European Union and world level. He had been the President of the Belgian Soil Science Society and the General Secretary of the Association Internationale pour l’Étude des Argiles (AIPEA). He was Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and the Université Henri Poincaré – Nancy I (France) while directing the CNRS Centre de Pédologie Biologique funded earlier by Philippe Duchaufour in Nancy. Author and co-author of a number of scientific articles, text books and book chapters, Adrien Herbillon was a scientist of great culture who will remain a reference: he was a real lively library and an exceptional source of inspiration for many students and soil scientists. Acting from field to lab, he was an outstanding soil scientist and one of the pillars of numerous scientific networks on soil processes. Beyond his undeniable scientific skills, he was deeply human, a very social person. His kindness, availability and great modesty have always made us admiring him. We all lose a competent colleague and a friend. His death is a tremendous loss for the soil science community and for soil science in general.

Messages to his family can be addressed to:

Mrs. Brigitte Herbillon and family
rue des Ourdons, 7
1457 Tourinnes-Saint-Lambert

[By Bruno Delvaux, Emeritus Professor UCLouvain, Belgium]


Joseph Alfred Zinck (1938-2021)

It is with great regret that we inform you that last Saturday, June 19, 2021, Dr. Joseph Alfred Zinck passed away in the Netherlands. His last post was Professor Emeritus at the University of Twente, Faculty of Earth Observation and Geoinformation Sciences (ITC), Enschede, the Netherlands. Born near Strasbourg (France), he was trained at the Tricart school, so his landscape-soil approach does not come as a surprise. His expertise was formed within Geopedology, Geomorphology, Ethnopedology, Land Degradation and Soil Surveys. He started his family in Venezuela, a country for which he held great affection, as well as the rest of Latin America. He wanted to publish the first edition of Geopedology in Spanish, to honour this affection. He taught countless researchers around the world. A brilliant scientist, he had a serene temperament, and although demanding of his disciples, he was a human and sensitive teacher. Today the scientific community has lost one of the greats. But his legacy will endure, not only in his numerous publications, but also in each of those who had the opportunity to meet him and train alongside him.


General News

Soil without life discovered for the first time on Earth

A pair of mountains in Antarctica might literally be the loneliest place in the world. Not even bacteria or fungi live at the top of these freezing peaks, National Geographic reports. Researchers found no signs of life in soil from the mountains, which they analyzed by testing for the presence of DNA in the samples they collected. The sites are the first places on Earth’s surface that host no microbial life, the team reported last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. What’s more, experts say the conditions resemble the surface of Mars, and so could help future explorers learn more about conducting missions on the Red Planet.

Read more: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/06/soil-without-life-discovered-first-time-earth

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 23 June 2021]


World’s soils ‘under great pressure’, says UN pollution report

The world’s soils, which provide 95% of humanity’s food, are “under great pressure”, according to a UN report on soil pollution. Soils are also the largest active store of carbon, after the oceans, and therefore crucial in fighting the climate crisis. But the report said industrial pollution, mining, farming and poor waste management are poisoning soils, with the “polluter pays” principle absent in many countries. Pollutants include metals, cyanides, DDT and other pesticides, and long-lasting organic chemicals such as PCBs, the report said, making food and water unsafe, cutting the productivity of fields and harming wildlife. However, it said most releases of pollutants that end up in soils are not easily quantified and therefore the true damage remains highly uncertain.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/04/soils-great-pressure-un-pollution-report-food-farming-mining

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 9 June 2021]


How farmers are using NASA technology to reduce carbon emissions

Farmland offers a benefit beyond food: carbon sequestration. Emerging regenerative agriculture practices have been experimenting with new ways to draw carbon from the air, store it in soil, and help farmers sell this benefit as carbon credits. But until last year, it was impossible to verify how much carbon is being sequestered without collecting soil samples and sending them to a lab, which is expensive, difficult to scale, and doesn’t show how carbon levels vary across a field. Three-year-old Cloud Agronomics, based in Boulder, Colorado, can assess an entire field using hyperspectral imaging, invented by NASA. Specially equipped aircraft fly over a field twice a year—before planting and after harvest—to measure soil organic carbon.

Read more: https://www.fastcompany.com/90630072/how-farmers-are-using-nasa-technology-to-reduce-carbon-emissions

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 9 June 2021]


A few common bacteria account for majority of carbon use in soil

Just a few bacterial taxa found in ecosystems across the planet are responsible for more than half of carbon cycling in soils. These new findings, made by researchers at Northern Arizona University and published in Nature Communications this week, suggest that despite the diversity of microbial taxa found in wild soils gathered from four different ecosystems, only three to six groups of bacteria common among these ecosystems were responsible for most of the carbon use that occurred.

Read more: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-06/nau-afc060421.php

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 9 June 2021]


Why does soil inoculation work if soil microbes are such great dispersers?

This has been something Dr. Jasper Wubs, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, has been wondering for a while. In the following article he explores the conundrums of microbial presence, colonization, and establishment.

Read more: https://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/blog-beneath-our-feet/2021/5/30/why-does-soil-inoculation-work-if-soil-microbes-are-such-great-dispersers

[From GSBI Newsletter – June 2021]


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

Due to the Corona pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions most of the events planned for 2020 had to be cancelled or postponed. This continued to some extent in 2021. For a current list of upcoming events, please consult the IUSS website: https://www.iuss.org/meetings-events/


Managing soils as the foundation for sustainable agriculture –

What we need from the UN Food System Summit and COP 26

Tuesday 29 June 2021

14:00-15:30 BST (UTC+1) | 9:00-10:30 EDT (UTC-4) | 18:30-20:00 IST (UTC+5.30)

Presented by 2020 World Food Prize Winner, Professor Rattan Lal

We need a better approach to managing soils that is environmentally sustainable and regenerative – an approach which can provide healthy food for our growing human population. This requires us to align the economic needs of farmers and consumers, promote biodiversity below and above the soil, and optimise soil carbon sequestration. With 2021 seeing both the UN Food System Summit and the COP26 Climate Conference, this year represents a crucial opportunity to effect change by bringing the best of scientific knowledge into global agricultural policies and practices. Professor Lal will discuss the major global challenges of the 21st Century: climate change, food insecurity and environmental degradation. He will lead reflection and discussions on those solutions and support mechanisms that will empower farmers to change their management practices and provide incentives for nature-positive agricultural systems.

Registration: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIkdu2orjwvHtaJCBoegM2U2169Sl98zmgn


International workshop “Soil Conservation and environmental protection”

6-8 September 2021


Deadline for early bird registration: May 31, 2021

Deadline for abstract submission: July 10, 2021

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

Download the second circular: media/soil_conservation_seconda_circolare_2021.pdf


XV Symposium on Educational Innovations on Teaching Soil Science

6-7 October, 2021


Poster: cartel_simposio_m_xico_iuss.pdf

Call: convocatoria_simposio_innovaciones_educativas_m_xico_2021.pdf

Read more: www.iuss-goes-to-school.org.mx and www.slcs.org.mx


Sustainable Management of Cultural Landscapes in the context of the European Green Deal

10-14 November 2021; Santo Stefano di Camastra, Italy

The European Society for Soil Conservation (ESSC) & the European Ecocycles Society (EES) are delighted to invite you at their 1st International Joint Congress on “Sustainable Management of Cultural Landscapes in the context of the European Green Deal

Two grants are available for young ESSC members to attend the congress.

Important dates

  1. Early bird registration: June 30, 2021
  2. Deadline for grants application: June 30, 2021
  3. Deadline for submission of abstracts: July 31, 2021

All information on: https://www.ecocycles.net/ESSC-EURECYS-Congress/


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


New publications

Biofertilizers Volume 1: Advances in Bio-inoculants

Edited by Amitava Rakshit, Vijay Meena, Manoj Parihar, H.B. Singh, A.K. Singh. 1st Edition published by Woodhead Publishing on 24 March 2021, 440 pages, eBook ISBN: 9780128230305, Paperback ISBN: 9780128216675, price eBook EUR 187.43 (incl. VAT) or USD  204.00 (excl. VAT), print paperback EUR 187.43 (incl. VAT) or USD  204.00 (excl. VAT), bundle: EUR 231.00 (incl. VAT) or USD 240.00 (excl. VAT).

This book provides state-of-the-art descriptions of various approaches, techniques and basic fundamentals of BI used in crop fertilization practices. The book presents research within a relevant theoretical framework to improve our understanding of core issues as applied to natural resource management. Authored by renowned scientists actively working on bio-inoculant, biofertilizer and bio-stimulant sciences, the book addresses the scope of inexpensive and energy neutral bio-inoculant technologies and the impact regulation has on biofertilizer utilization. This book is a valuable reference for agricultural/environmental scientists in academic and corporate environments, graduate and post-graduate students, regulators and policymakers.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/biofertilizers/rakshit/978-0-12-821667-5


Sustainable Soil and Land Management and Climate Change

Edited By Shah Fahad, Osman Sonmez, Shah Saud, Depeng Wang, Chao Wu, Muhammad Adnan, Veysel Turan, Published June 16, 2021 by CRC Press, 194 pages, ISBN 9780367623180, price hardback GBP £125, VitalSource eBook GBP £40.49.

The third volume of Sustainable Soil and Land Management and Climate Change presents a complete overview of plant soil interactions in a climate affected by greenhouse gas emissions and organic carbon. It presents approaches and managements strategies for the stabilization of soil organic matter. The latest in the respected Footprints of Climate Variability on Plant Diversity series, this book enhances the reader’s knowledge of the preservation of organic matter through microbial approaches as well as through soil and plant interactions. Written by teams of specialist scientists, it presents research outcomes, practical applications and future challenges for this important field. This book is written for students of agronomy, soil science and the environmental sciences as well as researchers interested in management technologies to improve soil fertility.

Read more: https://www.routledge.com/Sustainable-Soil-and-Land-Management-and-Climate-Change/Fahad-Sonmez-Saud-Wang-Wu-Adnan-Turan/p/book/9780367623180


Advances in measuring soil health

Edited by: Professor Wilfred Otten, Cranfield University, UK. 1st edition published 22nd June 2021 by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, 382 pages, ISBN 9781786764263, price hardback GBP £180, VitalSource eBook GBP £180.

This new book reviews the development of better analytical techniques to measure the biological, physical and chemical properties of soils and discusses their implications for better management of farm soils. The collection also surveys developments in measuring soil physical properties through advances in visual, imaging and geophysical techniques, as well as the methods used to measure chemical properties such as soil organic carbon.


Benefit from 20% off the purchase of the book if purchased via the Burleigh Dodds website. Enter code IUSS20 at checkout to receive this saving. Valid until 31st July 2021.

Read more: https://shop.bdspublishing.com/store/bds/detail/workgroup/3-190-89124


Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management – A Way to Sustainable Agriculture

By A.S. Jadeja, D.V. Hirpara, L.C. Vekaria, H.L. Sakarvadia. Published June 24, 2021 by CRC Press, 268 pages, ISBN 9781032060057, price hardback GBP £120, VitalSource eBook GBP £108.

The book entitled Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management is a compilation work and most of the information was farmed very critically covering all the main topics of plant nutrition. The book will be serve as useful reference to students, teachers, researchers scientists, policy makers and other interested in soil science, agronomy, crop science, environmental sciences and agriculture.

Read more: https://www.routledge.com/Soil-Fertility-and-Nutrient-Management-A-Way-to-Sustainable-Agriculture/Jadeja-Hirpara-Vekaria-Sakarvadia/p/book/9781032060057


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/



financially supported

ALL NEW WET150 Sensor
Digital SDI-12 Multi-Parameter Soil Sensor


  • Soil moisture, electrical conductivity, and temperature
  • True research-grade performance at a new price point
  • Digital SDI-12 for easy system integration
  • Robust, buriable and low power
  • Available in kit form with readout meter for portable use
  • 5 year warranty

Delta-T Devices’ new WET150 Sensor measures soil moisture, temperature and EC, and is the product of over 40 years’ development expertise. Through a series of recent in-house design innovations it delivers a research-grade level of quality at a price point not previously possible. These technical breakthroughs mean that researchers can now integrate an accurate and rugged sensor into their measurement and control systems at lower cost.

The WET150 offers an SDI-I2 enabled solution for real-time monitoring of soil and substrate conditions. SDI-12 is an interface for connecting digital sensors to an SDI-12 master device such as a logger or irrigation controller. A key strength of SDI-12 is that it supports the connection of up to 62 sensors to a single input on a compatible device.

A notable benefit of the WET150 is its ability to reliably calculate pore water conductivity (ECp), which is the ion content of the water available to plants.

More information on the new WET150


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