IUSS Alert - 42 (October 2008)
Information for and from the global soil science community
Global land cover
The Global Land Cover Facility (GLCF) provides earth science data and products to help everyone to better understand global environmental systems. In particular, the GLCF develops and distributes remotely sensed satellite data and products that explain land cover from the local to global scales. Primary data and products available at the GLCF are free to anyone via FTP. Online datasets may be accessed electronically through the Earth Science Data Interface. The majority of users accessing GLCF datasets (certainly not all) come from many communities. GLCF research focuses on determining land cover and land cover change around the world. Land cover is the discernible vegetation, geologic, hydrologic or anthropogenic features on the planet's land surface. These features, such as forests, urban area, croplands and sand dunes, can be measured and categorized using satellite imagery. Land cover change can be assessed by comparing one area with two images taken at different dates. Determining where, when, how much and why change occurs with land cover is a crucial scientific concern. It is imperative that appropriate tools be made available to better manage and adapt to change. More information click here.
Couple of new books
Nyle C. Brady and Ray R. Weil. 2008. The Nature and Properties of Soils. 14 ed. Pearson-Prentice Hall. 990 pp. ISBN: 13-978-0-13-227938-3. The 14th edition is thoroughly updated and expanded to include all the important advances in soil science. The book is accompanied by a companion website available at no extra charge. This website includes practice quizzes with feedback for every chapter, color version of the photographs in the book and annotated hot links to hundreds of relevant soils websites. New features in the 14th edition: In addition to more than 350 two color illustrations, the number of color plates has been increase to 111 high quality full color images that illustrate pedological phenomena, nutrient deficiencies, soil landscapes and soil management practices. More information click here.
The soil Science Society of America has produced a colourful children book on soils, entitled 'Soil - Get the inside scoop'. From this book: 'Go underground into the living world of soil. Explore how soil is part of our life' the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the houses we live in, and how it even helps to control our climate and protect our rivers and streams. Find out how a soil becomes a soil, why some soils are good for growing things and others are not, why you can pour sand but not clay. Then, take an around-the-world trip and dig into dry soils, wet soils, deep soils, and even frozen soils. Along the way, meet the scientists who work with soil every day. And find out why they think soil is so much fun. Click here for a PDF with the table of contents, more details see www.soils.org
Do you like blogging and do you like to know more about climate change? Climate Feedback is a blog hosted by Nature Reports: Climate Change to facilitate lively and informative discussion on the science and wider implications of global warming. The blog aims to be an informal forum for debate and commentary on climate science in the Nature journals and others, in the news, and in the world at large. More info click here.
Evaluators of geologically based World Heritage sitesKeoladeo National Park (India)
Each year, as an Advisory Body to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for natural heritage, IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) is required to evaluate new nominations for the UNESCO World Heritage List. IUCN's year-long evaluation process involves seeking comments from international experts on the global importance and integrity of the nominated sites, whether they are nominated for their geological, biological or scenic values. In the evaluation of geological sites, IUCN works closely with the International Union of Geological Sciences in order to identify expert reviewers that are interested in providing a technical, desk top review of one of the new proposals nominated for geological values. Occasionally reviewers are asked to participate in actual on-site evaluations. Your volunteer input as an reviewer into IUCN's evaluation process will contribute to the conservation of globally outstanding geological heritage as well as to IUCN's efforts to maintain the credibility of the World Heritage Convention by providing high quality technical advice to the World Heritage Committee. If you would like to be added to the IUGS database of evaluators please contact the IUGS Secretary General ( firstname.lastname@example.org) with full details regarding your contact coordinates (email, mailing address, telephone, etc.) and a clear indication of your particular area of geo-specialization.
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