IUSS Alert - 8 (December 2005)

Information for and from the global soil science community

World Soil Day 5th December

In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) made a resolution to propose the 5th of December as the World Soil Day to honour His Majesty the King of Thailand for his promotion of soil science and soil resources conservation. The 5th of December is the birthday of His Majesty. Since then the IUSS has initiated various activities to proclaim the 5th December as the World Soil Day. The World Soil Day will be used to advocate the use and need of soils for human survival and its sustainable management. We aim to draw more attention for the natural resource on which all life depends: the soil!

International Year of Planet Earth

The Draft Resolution on the Year was adopted by UNESCO's General Conference in October. Another resolution co-signed by 82 nations, was discussed and adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly on 11 November. This gives the green light for adoption by the full General Assembly by mid December 2006! Political support to the Year has now been expressed by 97 nations representing 85% of the world population. Significant progress was made on the science themes. After printing the Ocean and Soil brochures in September, two new brochures (on Groundwater and Megacities) are ready for print. In November, the Management Team produced a draft structure for a professional implementing body for the Year and a fundraising strategy to take off upon UN proclamation.  

Networking in Africa

 ICSU (The International Council of Science) has recently established a regional office for Africa under the leadership of Sospeter Muhongo   The office is seeking to coordinate the work of African scientists and those from other parts of the globe actively involved in research and capacity building in the Africa region. Four priority areas have been identified: 1. Health and Human Well-being, 2. Sustainable Energy, 3. Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters and 4. Global Change. The first task is to establish a database of African scientists who are working in these and related fields and of others with strong ties to the region. Colleagues interested in being included in the database should contact and

IUSS Elections 

National Members (primarily National Societies) should be currently organising elections amongst their memberships for the Division and Commission Officers who will take up their positions after the next World Congress of Soil Science in Philadelphia , July 2006. This is the first time the elections have sought the views of the wider electorate, rather than restrict the voting to those who attend the World Congress. Please use your vote to ensure that the Officers of the Union are those who have the support of the majority of members. For questions on the procedures please contact Stephen Nortcliff at

Digital Soil Mapping

The second Global Digital Soil Mapping workshop will be held In Rio de Janeiro in July 2006. The workshop will focus on countries with sparse spatial data infrastructures but a range of topics related to soil mapping will be presented and discussed. The Digital Soil Mapping working group is a new working group of the IUSS. For further information on this IUSS working group and the Rio Workshop see their website:  www.digitalsoilmapping.org

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