IUSS Alert - 16 (August 2006)

Information for and from the global soil science community

New IUSS Division chairs

These are now the four IUSS Division chairs:

Division 1. - Soil in Space and Time

   Ahmet Mermut from Canada  

Division 2. - Soil Properties and Processes

   Ruben Kretzschmar from Switzerland 

Division 3. - Soil Use and Management

   Wolfgang Burghardt from Germany  

Division 4. - The Role of Soils in Sustaining Society and the Environment

    Oene Oenema from the Netherlands  

The division chairs lead the 4 main soil science themes of the IUSS. Each division has 4 to 6 commissions. All officers are listed on the IUSS website (if not: send us your address details). If you plan a soil science activity fitting one or more of these themes please contact the division or commission officers for further cooperation.

FAO Publications free from www.fao.org

The new edition of the 'World reference base for soil resources 2006 A framework for international classification, correlation and communication' can be freely downloaded from the FAO website: PDF

The PDF from the 4th edition of the 'Guidelines for Soil Description' can also be freely downloaded. These guidelines were prepared to assist in the understanding of the nature, properties, dynamics and functions of the soil as part of the landscape and ecosystem. They contain precise instructions how to describe the site and the morphology of a soil in the field. A section is added on the link between soil descriptions and soil classification.

Smithsonian Soils exhibit

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. will open its doors to the story of soil in 2008 with a 450 square metres exhibit. 'SOILS: Worlds Underfoot' is a joint project of the museum and the Soil Science Society of America. This special exhibit will be seen by more than six million visitors a year and occupy a hall of the most visited natural history museum in the world. The exhibit will feature hands-on interactives, media components, and 53 soil profiles. You can view a DVD on the project, find out more, and make a gift at www.soils.org/smithsonian or contact Paul Kamps More than $1 million of the $2.5 million goal has been raised, with the remainder needed by December 2006.

Some upcoming soil science meetings

African Soil Science Society - 4th International conference

7-13 January 2007, Accra, Ghana. This 4th International Conference aims to gather specialists interested in land use and sustainable land management in Africa, in the context of serious emerging issues such as climate change, global trade and biotechnologies including GMO uses. Emphasis will be on strategies and policies for better preparedness to global issues, advise on norms and standards, risks assessment in the domain of land use and sustainable land management for better livelihoods and food security in Africa. More information e-mail Dr R.D. Asiamah at and

Enzymes in the Environment

15-19 July 2007, Viterbo, Italy. The conference will cover a wide range of topics that go beyond the narrow discipline of enzymology, which will include molecular biology and enzyme expression, research and applications in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental remediation, microbial ecology, and other topics.  The conference site is just north of Rome next to Tuscany - a great place to visit before or after the meetings! For more information visit the Website


25-29 August 2008, Vienna, Austria in co-operation between the soil science societies of Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. EUROSOIL 2008 will comprise about 30 Symposia, 4 Workshops and numerous 1 to 3 day excursions in Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Europe. More information can be obtained from the website of the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies (ECSSS) or from . The first circular and call for papers will be sent out in January 2007.

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