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IUSS Alert 196 (October 2021)

IUSS Alert 196 (October 2021)


Download the IUSS Soilutions Calender (59MB)


Invitation to support the WASWAC-IUSS Position Paper on the Interlinkages of Soil and Climate Change in relation to the COP26

Soils in good health are an essential part of our life support system, along with the health and quality of our biodiversity, and the interface to the atmosphere and groundwater. Soil is an engine of the economy, but also a source of many ecosystem services, including mitigation of climate change.

The loss of soil not only implies the loss of areas for sufficient food production, filter and buffer capacities for clean water, but also of vegetation that photosynthetically captures carbon dioxide and soil organisms responsible for its storage and recycling. Therefore, loss of soil implies losing two of the largest compartments with a natural capacity to capture CO2 and mitigate climate change.

Considering that the FAO’s report on the state of the world’s soil resources estimates that 33% of our soils are degraded due to rapid population growth, imminent rising demand for food, and ongoing competition for land uses (FAO, 2015), the International Union of Soil Sciences, following the Call of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) ‘Uniting the world to tackle climate change’, invites the soil science community and scientists of all branches to support the WASWAC-IUSS Position Paper on the Interlinkages of Soil and Climate Change: Protecting the Soil is Protecting the Climate.

Download the position paper: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?rex_media_type=download&rex_media_file=waswac-iuss_position_paper.pdf

The IUSS kindly invites you to co-sign our Position Paper no later than October 31, 2021 at: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/iuss-waswac/

Soil Science Societies and Institutions are invited to support this Position Paper. If your institution is willing to join with its logo, please send it to the IUSS Secretariat at iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.


Call for contributions for IUSS Bulletin 139 – last reminder

The IUSS Secretariat (iuss@umweltbundesamt.at) kindly invites all IUSS members to submit their contributions for our next IUSS Bulletin 139 (to be published in December 2021) no later than 15 November 2021. In particular, the Secretariat would welcome conference/meeting reports and reports on activities dedicated to the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), and any other information you would like to share with the international soil science community. National soil science societies are encouraged to present their recent activities. Please make sure to send high-resolution photos only together with the copyright information (owner of the photos).


Call for Abstracts for the World Congress of Soil Science 2022 extended

Due to the high rate of abstract submission, the World Congress of Soil Science has agreed to extend the submission deadline to Tuesday 30 November at 5:00pm GMT.

As there is positive engagement between the soil science community and COP26, the deadline extension will also provide additional time after COP26 for abstracts to be submitted.

For further information on submitting an abstract to the World Congress of Soil Science, which will take place in Glasgow, UK from 31 July – 5 August 2022, please visit: https://22wcss.org/conference/abstracts/


Call for contributions to IUSS Facebook page

The IUSS Secretariat (iuss@umweltbundesamt.at) kindly invites all IUSS members to submit contributions to the IUSS Facebook page with 14,000 followers. In particular, we are looking for very short announcements of soil events, new findings in soil science, articles about soil in newspapers and journals, astonishing photos about soil and anything else, which might interest the soil science community. Please make sure to provide a link and an image with copyright information.



World Soil Day 2021 – poster and children’s booklet contest on salt-affected soils

In the framework of World Soil Day (WSD) 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) launched a scientific children’s booklet contest and a poster contest on salt-affected soils with the motto ‘Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity’.

Children’s Booklet Contest:

We are inviting anyone who is interested in soil to submit a children’s booklet on the impacts of salinization, its consequences on the livelihood and welfare of the affected populations and ecosystems by affecting food production. 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, 5th December 2021. Deadline for submission: 07 November 2021

Read more: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/booklet-contest/en/

Poster contest by kids for kids:

We are inviting children and teens, from ages 5 to 14, living in areas affected by soil salinization, to use their imagination and create a poster for kids that illustrates how soil salinization affects their daily lives. The two winning posters (one per each category) will be selected and announced on the FAO WSD and IUSS websites on the 5th December 2021, World Soil Day. Deadline for submission: 15 November 2021

Read more: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/poster-contest/en/

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/international-decade-of-soils/the-iuss-goes-to-the-school/


International Science Council Award 2021 for IUSS Honorary member

The International Union of Soil Sciences proudly announces that Prof. Winfried E.H. Blum has obtained the International Science Council “Science for Policy” Award 2021 and applauds its Honorary member and former General Secretary for receiving this well-deserved honour of this globally recognized award.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/


Distinguished service medal for Dr. Fischler & Symposium Soils for our future

We have the privilege and honour to inform that the International Union of Soil Sciences bestowed the 2020 Distinguished Service Medal to Dr. Franz Fischler (Austria) in recognition of his outstanding cooperation and continuous support that helped the IUSS become what it is today, dedicating at the same time all his professional life both to supporting agriculture and soil science and to promoting the policies necessary for its preservation. The ceremony took place during the Symposium ‘Soils for our future’ held on Oct. 15, 2021, at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/newsroom/

More information about the Soils for our future programme: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?rex_media_type=download&rex_media_file=soils_for_our_future_programme_20211015.pdf


News from the Soil Science Society of Poland

4th international conference of young scientists: Soil in the environment

Under the patronage of the IUSS President: IUSS invites you to participate in 4th international conference of young scientists: Soil in the environment to be held on 29 May to 01 June 2022, in Torun, Poland

Read more: https://sites.google.com/view/site-torun-2020


News from the Spanish Soil Science Society

FACING FIRE: A Service-Learning approach to improve training and awareness on soil conservation after wildfires

Forest fires are a complex problem that affects many areas of the planet, seriously impacting the environment, rural development and economy. Although there have been substantial research and technical advances in recent years, the area that burns each year is still very important and in many cases restoration or soil conservation practices are not adopted. The FacingFire project proposes the reinforcement of training capacities on wildfire management (from secondary school to university) by improving the practical experience of the students and encouraging the involvement of the different affected actors. The project introduces the Service-Learning (S-L) approach, an educational methodology in which the students learn from solving real needs of their environment. In the case of forest fires, multidisciplinary teams of students participate in prevention, restoration and awareness-raising projects in areas affected by fires.

FacingFire has its origin in 2016, as an initiative of the University of Santiago de Compostela, located in the region of Europe with the highest incidence of forest fires. Currently, within the framework of the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Erasmus program, different regions from Spain (https://www.plantandocaraalfuego.org/) and some European countries (https://facingfire.eu/) are adopting this methodology. One of the main outputs will be the FOREST FIRE TRAINING NETWORK, hosted at FUEGORED (http://fuegored.weebly.com/). Since the beginning of the project, more than 100 students from different studies (forest sciences, education, biology, journalism) and more than 20 agents (secondary schools, forest administration, forest communities, NGOs) have participated in more than 15 projects.


General News

2022 GFFA Science Slam – Soil and land in focus – Apply now!

From 24 to 28 January 2022, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) will host the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) for the 14th time. The GFFA is the world’s leading international conference on key issues regarding the future of the global agri-food industry. The 14th GFFA will focus on the topic “Sustainable Land Use: Food Security Starts with the Soil”.

The “Think Aloud! GFFA Science Slam” is a competition during which presenters (“slammers”) introduce their scientific research topics, which should match the GFFA topic, in an entertaining way.

Students, doctoral researchers and scientists are invited to submit their applications by 5 November.

Read more about the content: https://www.gffa-berlin.de/en/

Registration: https://www.gffa-berlin.de/forms/index.php/756615?lang=en


America’s Geoheritage II: Identifying, Developing, and Preserving America’s Natural Legacy – proceedings published

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have released the proceedings of the workshop America’s Geoheritage II: Identifying, Developing, and Preserving America’s Natural Legacy

America is endowed with places that embody a rich geoheritage, from sites where indigenous people subsisted for millennia, to mines that furnished the raw materials that built U.S. industry, to mountain ranges and river gorges with unparalleled recreational opportunities, to field sites where students can truly understand a geological process, to places of aesthetic or spiritual value, and many more across all states and territories. In order to assess the status of geoheritage and the activities of its practitioners in the United States in light of social, political, and environmental changes over the past ten years, the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine convened a series of virtual webinars and a workshop.

This publication, released on September 22, summarizes the presentations and discussion of the webinars and workshop and is now freely available on the National Academies Press website (https://nap.edu/26316). Additionally, it is linked on the workshop webpage, https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/americas-geoheritage-ii-a-workshop.

[From GSBI Newsletter – September 2021]


Amazon deforestation boosts the presence of bacteria with antibiotic resistance genes in soil

Dr. Lucas William Mendes, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, discusses his new paper in Soil Biology and Biogeochemistry. The Amazon rainforest is the largest reservoir of macro and micro biodiversity on Earth. However, in the last years, it has been disappearing due to deforestation for agriculture and cattle pastures. Many researchers sought to understand the effects of deforestation on the climate, animal and plants species, as well as on the microbiome.

In previous studies, it was shown that the conversion of native forest to areas of agriculture and pasture affects the structure, composition, and diversity of the microbial communities, with negative impacts on ecosystem functions. Thus, to give a step forward to disentangle the effects of deforestation on the soil microbial communities, the authors focused on the soil resistome.

Read more: https://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/blog-beneath-our-feet/2021/8/31/amazon-deforestation-boosts-the-presence-of-bacteria-with-antibiotic-resistance-genes-in-soil

[From GSBI Newsletter – October 2021]


Opportunity to review IPBES framework and methodological guidance

The GSBI encourages researchers with expertise in soil biodiversity to participate in the external review of the draft nature futures framework and methodological guidance document, which is open for review until 31 October 2021. This is an opportunity for soil biodiversity experts to encourage wording and concepts to keep soil biodiversity science at the forefront of environmental policy and decision making.

Register as user: https://ipbes.net/user/register before registering as reviewer: https://ipbes.net/registration/nature-futures-framework

Read more: https://ipbes.net/

[From GSBI Newsletter – October 2021]


Measured soil moisture improves grassland yield models

While soil moisture is a fundamental driver of plant growth, key roadblocks limit the use of measured soil moisture data in grassland yield models. Novel methods of using soil moisture for this purpose have not been developed. Plus, existing mechanistic models that rely on precipitation-based water balance estimates of soil moisture were not designed to assimilate measured soil moisture data. In Agronomy Journal, researchers report quantified statistical relationships between in situ soil moisture data and grassland-biomass yield in Oklahoma.

Read more: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/csan.20544


New observatory to probe the mysteries of Earth’s ‘forgotten’ subsoil

Just a meter or two down, below the topsoil that nurtures crops, is a little known part of the ecosystem that may be critical to the planet’s climate future. But this deep soil is surprisingly hard to study. Last month, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced funding for a new $19 million research facility, called the Deep Soil Ecotron, that aims to make studying this frontier easier. Ultimately, researchers hope to use the ecotron facility to study a wide range of questions, including how the deep soil might release carbon and accelerate climate change, how soil microbes and plants interact, and how torrential summer rains and hard winter freezes influence the birth and growth of soil.

Read more: https://www.science.org/content/article/new-observatory-probe-mysteries-earth-s-forgotten-subsoil

[From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report: 13 October 2021]


Soil microbial biomass and respiration

Using the LUCAS soil biodiversity samples in EU, we developed datasets predicting potential soil basal respiration at 20°C, soil microbial biomass as estimated by substrate-induced respiration, and soil microbial respiratory quotient (the ratio between potential basal respiration and microbial biomass) across Europe. Predictions were performed with structural equation models fit using the following predictive variables (published in the paper): mean annual temperature, annual precipitation, mean temperature, annual precipitation, soil sand content, soil water content, pH, soil organic carbon content, elevation, and latitude. We make available the datasets (for year 2018) of potential soil microbial basal respiration (bas), microbial biomass (Cmic), and respiratory quotient (qO2) predicted across Europe. Monthly maps for bas and Cmic are also available.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/soil-microbial-biomass-and-respiration

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 135 (October 2021)]


Manure and Soil biodiversity

In the European Union (EU-27) and UK, animal farming generated annually more than 1.4 billion tonnes of manure during the period 2016–2019. Of this, more than 90% is directly reapplied to soils as organic fertiliser. We reviewed the impact of manure from farmed animals on soil biodiversity by considering factors that determine the effects of manure and vice versa. In this review paper we explored the impact of manure from farmed animals on soil biodiversity and vice versa. This review considered 407 published papers and relevant legislative provisions. In addition, we evaluated whether benefits and risks on soil biodiversity are considered in manure management. This dataset includes the spatial distribution of manure in EU and UK (per country, animal type) plus the database of the literature used.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/manure-and-soil-biodiversity

[From ESDAC Newsletter No 135 (October 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/


Getting a grip on lead in Soil – Problems and Solutions

25 November 2021

Online, 14.00 – 17.30 CET

Common Forum – SOILveR – EEA/EIONET Webinar

Register for this webinar

Programme: https://www.iuss.org/media/getting_a_grip_on_lead_in_soil_program.pdf


International Seminar on the Multilingual Dictionary of Soil Science

December 9, 2021 15:00 – 17:30 CET


Under the patronage of the IUSS President, we invite you to participate in the International Online Seminar on the Multilingual Dictionary of Soil Science, organized jointly with the Spanish Society of Soil Science, FAO-GSP and IUSS.

Registration: https://fao.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_f11IGh7mTTSQ7dFM_jmXwA

Programme: https://www.iuss.org/media/agenda_diccmcs.pdf



8th Intensive Training Course on Soil Micromorphology

17–28th January 2022

Tremp, Spain

Read more: 1st Circular https://www.iuss.org/media/8th_intensive_training_course_on_soil_micromorphology-first_circular.pdf


4th International Conference of Young Scientists – Soil in the Environment (SITE 2020)

29 May – 1 June 2022

Toruń, Poland

Conference website: https://sites.google.com/view/site-torun-2020


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


New publications

A Guide to Forensic Geology

Edited by L.J. Donnelly, D. Pirrie, M. Harrison, A. Ruffell and L.A. Dawson. Published by the Geological Society of London, 26 August 2021, 218 pages, hardcover ISBN: 978-1-786204882, price GBP 80.00.

Forensic geology is the application of geology to aid the investigation of crime. This book was written by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), Initiative on Forensic Geology (IFG), which was established to promote and develop forensic geology around the world. This book presents the first practical guide for forensic geologists in search and geological trace evidence analysis. Guidance is provided on using geological methods during search operations. This developed following international case work experiences and research over the last 25 years for homicide graves, burials associated with serious and organised crime and counter terrorism. With expertise gained in over 300 serious crime investigations, the guidance also considers geological trace evidence, including the examination of crime scenes, geological evidence recovery and analysis from exhibits and the reporting of results. The book also considers the judicial system, reporting and requirements for presenting evidence in court. Included are emerging applications of geology to police and law enforcement: illegal and illicit mining, conflict minerals, substitution, adulteration, fraud and fakery.

Read more: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/MPGFG

[From: IUGS E-Bulletin#178, September 2021]


Soil Science from the Heart

By Michiel C. Laker, published in October 2021 by SOLOVIVO (Pty) Ltd. ISBN number: 978-0-620-94754-1, costs: R400 SA Rand, excluding postage.

The book can be ordered from SOLOVIVO (Pty) Ltd, Tel: +27 83 501 8680, Email: gerhard@solovivo.co.za

According to the author, the main aim of this book is to try to fill some of the vacuums in regard to accessible soil knowledge, information and practical insights at least partially by means of rendering existing inaccessible knowledge, information and insights accessible. It is intended for users of soil information, both soil scientists and non-soil scientists. It is not intended to be a formal soil science handbook for use at any level. On the other hand it is also not intended to be a popular style book that can be understood by non-scientists. The intention was to write an easy to read and easy to understand book in semi-popular scientific style, while retaining scientific integrity and factual correctness.

This book is much needed and overdue for Southern African soil scientists, farmers, natural scientists, environmentalists and everyone interested in soil science. It reads like a story book, with much information specifically for farmers, and for the academically oriented more than 500 references. The book has 17 chapters, covering all fields of soil science, as well as land suitability evaluation, land use planning, agricultural development and land reform.


The Soils of Nepal

Edited by Roshan Babu Ojha, Dinesh Panday. Published in October 2021 by Springer, ISBN: 978-3-030-80999-7, price e-book EUR 117.69, price hardcover 153.99

Serves as a comprehensive book consolidating all relevant information on soils of Nepal. Includes real field-based color photos of soil profile; useful for all professionals (researcher, academia, and developmental organization) working on soils

Read more: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030809980


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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