IUSS Alert 14 (June 2006)

Information for and from the global soil science community

New soil science books!

Footprints in the Soil - People and Ideas in Soil History

Edited by: Benno P. Warkentin, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA

The vital functions that soils perform in our shared environment are increasingly appreciated by students of the earth and biological sciences, and by a public concerned with soil degradation and sustainable use of natural resources. For these readers, Footprints in the Soil tells the stories of the footprints left by soil users and soil scientists in the last two millennia.  It uniquely illustrates the significance of soils knowledge to our society, to improving the human condition. The chapters are written by an international group of authors, each with special interests, bound together by the central theme of how we came to our present understanding of soils.

Publication Date: April 2006; ISBN: 0444521771, Hardback, 564 pp. Price: $75.00

Website: here;



Soils and Societies: Perspectives from Environmental History

'Soils and Societies: Perspectives from Environmental History' is a multi-authored volume edited by J.R. McNeill (Georgetown University) and Verena Winiwarter (Vienna and Klagenfurt). It examines the complex interrelations between societies in different parts of the world and the soils they relied on from the perspectives of geomorphology, archaeology, pedology and history. The geographical spread includes Mesoamerica, Africa, Europe, Australia, India and Easter Island.

Few things are more important to human survival than the fertility of the soils from which so much of our food comes. Yet few aspects of the relationship between human society and the environment get so little attention. This book explores some of the enormous variety in the ways that people have worked with, thought about, damaged and restored soils. It also shows some of the ways in which soils, their properties and their histories have influenced human affairs. Soils are the substrate of all human society: from the palaeolithic to the present, their history is our history. The book is illustrated with haftones, maps, graphs and tables. ISBN: 1874267529; Price: UK $50/ US $95 Website: here

Land Degradation & Development

Land Degradation & Development is an international journal that seeks to promote rational study of the recognition, monitoring, control and rehabilitation of degradation in terrestrial environments. The journal has a new Regional Editor for the Americas:

Professor R. Lal, Professor of Soil Science, SENR, Director, Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, OARDC/FAES, Columbus, OH, USA

Managing Editor:  Dr Chris Barrow, University of Wales, UK

Some recent papers: Land degradation control and its global environmental benefits (Vol. 16, No. 2)  G. Gisladottir, M. Stocking

Soil erosion and runoff response to plant-cover strips on semiarid slopes (SE Spain) (Vol. 17, No. 1) A. Martinez Raya, V. H. Duran Zuazo, J. R. Francia Martinez

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Encyclopedia of Earth - call for contributions

Call for contributions to the Encyclopedia of Earth - here The world's experts on the environment of Earth, and the interaction between society and the natural spheres of the Earth, are forming to produce a single comprehensive and definitive electronic encyclopedia about the Earth. The Encyclopedia of Earth (EoE) will be free to the public and free of advertising. We seek all qualified editors and authors to collaboratively develop A to Z coverage of topics describing the environment of Earth that span the natural, physical, and social sciences, the arts and humanities, and the professional disciplines. The Encyclopedia is published by the Environmental Information Coalition (EIC), National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). NCSE is a non-profit organization with a reputation for objectivity, responsibility, and achievement in its promotion of a scientific basis for environmental decision making. If you are interested and want more information, please send an email to

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