IUSS Alert - 48 (April 2009)

Information for and from the global soil science community

32,000 pages of soil science unearthed

All proceedings of 18 World Congresses (1927-2006) have been scanned and are available as PDF on the IUSS website (under World Soil Congresses). So that means that you now have full access to all articles published in these proceedings. Each volume is one PDF - some are rather large (500 Mb) and may take some time download but it gives you access to hundreds of articles. You can search through a PDF with the <CTRL F> command and type your keyword or author name or any combination. Ideally, each paper is added to the large international literature databases and we welcome all suggestions how that should be materialized and financed.


New Pedometron

A new issue of Pedometron has been published in March. The newsletter contains information on the Richard Webster Medal, GlobalSoilMap.net, a report from the national scale soil monitoring workshop, and a couple of articles that make you think (Why indicator kriging should be abandoned; Preparing developing-country students for pedometrics; Alex's most preferred pedometrics paper; Spatial coverage sampling on various spatial scales; Mapping research hot-spots using citation rate and Google geocoding service; Pedomathemagica) and there is the pedometrician (Dick Brus) and non-pedometrician (Johannes Lehmann) profile. The Newsletter can be downloaded here www.iuss.org and on www.pedometrics.org

New IUSS Bulletin - deadline 24th April

The next IUSS Bulletin will appear in May 2009 - please send your contributions before 24th April. As always, we welcome short articles (up to 1,000 words) on new research, announcements for meetings and awards, polemics, book reviews, reports of meetings, and send all brilliant and unusual ideas to the .

All Landsat data in the USGS archive now free

Landsat sensors record reflected and emitted energy from Earth in various wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Landsats 5 and 7 "see" and record blue, green, and red light in the visible spectrum as well as near-infrared, mid-infrared, and thermal-infrared light that human eyes cannot perceive. Landsat records this information digitally and it is downlinked to ground stations, processed, and stored in a data archive. It is this digital information that makes remotely sensed data invaluable. Landsat data have been used to monitor water quality, glacier recession, sea ice movement, invasive species encroachment, coral reef health, land use change, deforestation rates and population growth. Landsat has also helped to assess damage from natural disasters such as fires, floods, and tsunamis, and subsequently, plan disaster relief and flood control programs. The Landsat data in the USGS can now be freely downloaded, click here 


Pedometrics 2009, Beijing 26--28 August 2009

The biennial meeting of the Pedometrics commission is now a regular fixture, drawing together soil scientists with quantitative interests to discuss problems such as sampling, monitoring, the evaluation and use of models and spatial prediction. Pedometrics 2009 will be the first of these meetings to take place in Asia.  It is organized by Professor Yuanfang Huang and colleagues at the China Agriculture University, Beijing.  The conference will tackle the usual wide range of topics, including sampling, geostatistics, pedodynamic modelling, space-time modelling, soil-landscape modelling and scaling issues.  Prior to the conference Dick Brus and Martin Knotters from Wageningen will be teaching a course on Sampling for Survey and Monitoring of Natural Resources".  The deadline for Abstracts is 30th April.  For submission and more information, see  www.pedometrics.org/2009/

A global site

The Earth Portal is a comprehensive resource for timely, objective, science-based information about the environment. It is a means for the global scientific community to come together to produce the first free, expert-driven, massively scaleable information resource on the environment, and to engage civil society in a public dialogue on the role of environmental issues in human affairs. It contains no commercial advertising and reaches a large global audience. The Earth Portal has three components: (i) The Encyclopedia of Earth with over 3,500 articles, is produced and reviewed by 1,000 scholars from 60 countries; (ii) The Earth Forum provides commentary from scholars and discussions with the general public, (iii) The Earth News offers news stories on environmental issues drawn from many sources. 

Couple of New Publications

A new report Review of existing information on the interrelations between soil and climate change, made public by the European Commission, underlines the crucial role that soils can play in mitigating climate change. Europe's soils are an enormous carbon reservoir, containing around 75 billion tonnes, and poor management can have serious consequences: a failure to protect Europe's remaining peat bogs, for example, would release the same amount of carbon as an additional 40 million cars on Europe's roads. The report is a synthesis of the best available information on the links between soil and climate change and underlines the need to sequester carbon in soils. The technique is cost competitive and immediately available, requires no new or unproven technologies, and has a mitigation potential comparable to that of any other sector of the economy. The report and key messages can be freely downloaded here.

Biochar for Environmental Management, Edited by J. Lehmann and S. Joseph. Earthscan, 2009. ISBN 9781844076581. Biochar is the carbon-rich product when biomass (such as wood, manure or crop residues) is heated in a closed container with little or no available air. It can be used to improve agriculture and the environment in several ways, and its stability in soil and superior nutrient-retention properties make it an ideal soil amendment to increase crop yields. In addition to this, biochar sequestration, in combination with sustainable biomass production, can be carbon-negative and therefore used to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with major implications for mitigation of climate change. Biochar production can also be combined with bioenergy production through the use of the gases that are given off in the pyrolysis process. This book is the first to synthesize the expanding research literature on this topic. The book's interdisciplinary approach, which covers engineering, environmental sciences, agricultural sciences, economics and policy, is a vital tool at this stage of biochar technology development. This comprehensive overview of current knowledge will be of interest to advanced students, researchers and professionals in a wide range of disciplines.

Soil Carbon Sequestration and the Greenhouse Effect, 2nd edition, edited by Rattan Lal and Ronald F. Follett. Soil Science Society of America, 2009. ISBN: 978-089118-850-6. The concept of the Greenhouse Effect is more than a century old, but today the observed and predicted climate changes attributed to anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2 more urgently beg the question, what can be done? The second edition of Soil Carbon Sequestration and the Greenhouse Effect is essential reading for understanding the processes, properties, and practices affecting the soil carbon pool and its dynamics. New themes addressed are urban soils, minesoils, biochemically recalcitrant compounds, carbonaceous materials, belowground carbon storage by woody plants, and peat soils. The geographic focus of the book is North America, with important chapters from Canada and Mexico. Thematically, the second edition encompasses data from modeling, lab analyses, plot studies, landscape assessment, and regional evaluation of soil carbon pools and fluxes.


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