IUSS Alert - 38 (June 2008)

Information for and from the global soil science community

New Newsletter

A new issue of Pedometron - The Newsletter of the Pedometrics Commission of the IUSS has been published. This newsletter contains: an editorial from the Chair, Murray Lark, Call for Best paper 2007, Report from HRDSSM Sydney, Report from EGU Vienna, Another Journey on the Road to Pedometrics, Soil Bibliometrics, Headbanging, Statistical Distribution of Humus, Upcoming Events, Alex's Preferred Pedometrics Paper, Book Review, Profiles, and Pedomathemagica. See www.pedometrics.org and all Pedometron are also on www.iuss.org

UN issues 2 reports on the World Food Crises

U.N. economists released two reports recently which point toward disturbing long-term trends in Third World agricultural productivity and rural development that are playing a role in the current global food crisis. The two studies found that agriculture spending is four times more beneficial to economic growth than money spent in other sectors. They also show public expenditures and foreign aid directed at farming in the developing world has lagged for decades. The downturn was most acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where agricultural productivity has hardly increased since the 1960s despite rapid population growth.  The U.N. experts hope to use the two reports, "Trends in Sustainable Development" (click here) and "Trends in Sustainable Development - Africa" (click here) to push governments into action and policy changes to help alleviate food price spikes. Report highlights include: Public spending on agriculture, relative to gross domestic product (GDP), has fallen everywhere in the developing world accept Asia; the proportion of foreign aid spending directed at agriculture is now at its lowest level ever. Food exports from Latin America have boomed, especially from Brazil. But most nations in the world are now net food importers. East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have both switched from being net exporters to being importers; Growth in production yields has slowed in much of the developing world, and food subsidies and import tariffs in the United States, Europe, Japan and other developed nations are still impediments to productivity growth in the poorest countries, particularly in Africa. Funding to the consultative group has stagnated since 1990.  Only 42 pages and a quite a bit on soils in this report!

Field Estimation of Soil Water Content

A Practical Guide to Methods, Instrumentation and Sensor Technology

This publication is part of IAEA's Training Course Series produced by the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Sub-Programme. This Guideline is the product of an international study conducted by IAEA comparing the advantages and disadvantages inherent in the various soil water measuring techniques. These techniques include electromagnetic (EM), soil moisture neutron probe (SMNP), electrical resistance and gravimetric methods.

The manual (131 pp) can be freely downloaded here.


Eijkelkamp soil classification set

The build up of a soil and strata is determined with the use of augers. The hand auger is generally used for not too deep boreholes and is extremely useful for soil research. The soil sampling and soil classification set from Eijkelkamp Agrisearch Equipment has been assembled to allow for in situ investigation as much as possible. The standard set is suitable for investigations down to a depth of 2 metres.  The kit contains essential tools for pedologists, and is ideal kit for reconnaissance mapping purposes. Please contact Eijkelkamp for more information: / +31 313 880 200, or surf to: www.eijkelkamp.com


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