IUSS Alert 114 (December 2014)

5th December - World Soil Day

The IUSS has initiated 5th December as the World Soil Day in 2002. Many national soil science societies and other groups organise festivities and activities on the IUSS World Soil Day.  Since 2013, the 5th of December has been officially declared World Soil Day by the UN General Assembly. It is celebrated by the global community of 60 000 soil scientists charged with responsibility of generating and communicating soil knowledge for the common good. Many events focus on increasing the public awareness of soil and its contribution to humanity and the environment. Happy World Soil Day to all soil scientists and friends of the soil!

New IUSS Bulletin

The new IUSS Bulletin starts with a farewell by the IUSS Secretary General and Deputy, followed by extensive reports and minutes of the World Congress of Soil Science in Jeju, Korea. There are reports on the ICSU General Assembly, the WRB Working Group, and five questions to soil scientists, favourite soils science books, awards, and much more. The IUSS Bulletin can be read and downloaded from the IUSS website.

International Year of Soils – 2015

2015 is the International Year of Soils and the IUSS with it many cooperating organizations will celebrate the year in a big way. Meetings and conferences have been planned and a tentative list is given here  Please send all you planned activities and meetings to


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

8th International Conference of the Working Group on Soils in Urban, Industrial, Traffic and Mining Areas (SUITMA 8). Mexico City, September 20 -25, 2015. After successful meetings in Germany, France, Egypt, China, United States, Morocco and Poland, the working group invites now to Mexico City to witness one of the largest mega-cities in the world and discuss the implied soil management challenges. The main campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico will host the congress. One day excursions to sites within the city, as well as pre- and post-conference tours to the surroundings will be offered. Working sessions will focus on: Urban soils as archives of settlement history, water management in urban areas, pedological hazards in urban and peri-urban areas, urban soils and biodiversity, urban soils and human health, planning and management of urban soils, food production in urban and peri-urban areas, restoration and reclamation of environmental liabilities (mining and industrial), education strategies to promote awareness on urban soil ecological functioning. See our webpage for further information:  http://www.geologia.unam.mx/~cisu/suitma8/. Abstract submission is open from November 2014 till May, 2015.

Inaugural Global Workshop on Digital Soil Morphometrics. 1-4 June 2015. University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Digital soil morphometrics is defined as the application of tools and techniques for measuring and quantifying soil profile attributes and deriving continuous depth functions. This is the first workshop of the IUSS Working Group on digital soil morphometrics. The workshop format will be symposia with keynotes followed by 5-10 minutes presentations and ample time for discussions. The four conference topics include: Soil profile attributes; Soil profile imaging; Soil depth functions; and Use and applications. A 250 word Abstract is needed by 14 March 2015 and all accepted Abstracts will be oral presentations. Registration fee is $350 (including book of abstracts, morning coffee, lunches and afternoon drinks). Attending the fieldtrip costs $75 and the conference dinner is also $75. For more information, abstract submission and registration click here

Soil Physical Processes in the Lab. International Workshop. 13-14 January 2015, Freising/Weihenstephan, Germany. The workshop will combine scientific topics and practical demonstrations of experimental soil physics. It will bring together a broad spectrum of developers and users at the soil physics lab. Topics: Soil physical processes at the lab: sampling, measurement, evaluation, interpretation. Retrieval of minimally disturbed soil monoliths for laboratory experiments: technology, experiences and results. Water in soil: measurement and modelling, transport processes. Extension of the measurement range for water tension. Soil mechanics: swelling and shrinkage, shear processes. The root zone: insights on the interaction of plant and soil, influence on water household. Location Umwelt-Geräte-Technik GmbH Niederlassung Süd Lise - Meitner - Str. 30 D-85354 Freising.


New Publications

Preferential Flow – Stokes Approach to Infiltration and Drainage. By P. F. Germann. November 15, 2014. Geographica Bernensia. ISBN 978-3-905835-34-2 (Softcover) 216 pages. Price 50.00 €. Place order at There are two ways of irrigating a potted plant: Water is either added to the plate at the pot’s bottom from where the soil sucks it up gradually or it is sprinkled on the surface from where it infiltrates and drains rapidly. Preferential flow deals with the second type of flow. This book offers a concept based on first principles of hydrodynamics, leading to viscous flow in permeable media. Viscous flow is considered an independent addition to capillary flow according to Richards (1931). The issues are easy to understand, requiring but skills in mathematics and physics offered to BSc-students attending university science courses. Part I develops a track of concepts from Newton (1729) to Stokes (1845, 1851) and then Lamb (1932), supplemented with the mathematical tool of the kinematic wave theory of Lighthill and Witham (1955). Part II applies these principles to data recorded in systems of various complexity. It also explores the theory’s limitations in space and time. In addition, it provides information detailed enough that the readers can calculate the examples for themselves as personal exercises.

Soil Management of Smallholder Agriculture. Edited by Rattan Lal, B.A. Stewart. CRC Press. 2014. 420 pages. Advances in Soil Science. Nearly two billion people depend on hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers for food security. Yet, these farmers’ lives also hang in the balance due to their extreme vulnerability to the risks of soil degradation and depletion, soil exhaustion, climate change, and numerous biotic and abiotic stresses. Soil Management of Smallholder Agriculture explores the potential smallholder agriculture hold for advancing global food security and outlines the challenges to achieving this goal. The book addresses the challenges and opportunities that resource-poor and small landholders face and provides recommended management practices to alleviate soil-related constraints, and increase and sustain crop yield and production. It discusses the cultural, economic, social, and technological aspects of sustainable soil management for smallholder farmers. It then examines soil-related and institutional constraints, principles of sustainable agriculture, soil quality improvement, nutrient and soil fertility management, soil carbon sequestration, soil security, efficient use of resources, and agronomic production.

The Soils of Antarctica. Edited by James Bockheim. World Soils Book Series. 2014.  290 p. 201 illus., 144 illus. in color. Includes first comprehensive description of key soil taxa, along with color photographs of Antarctic soils, first maps of Antarctic soils. It updates last book on Antarctic soils published in 1987. This book divides Antarctica into eight ice-free regions and provides information on the soils of each region. Soils have been studied in Antarctica for nearly 100 years. Although only 0.35% (45,000 km2) of Antarctica is ice-free, its weathered, unconsolidated material qualify as “soils.”  Soils of Antarctica  is richly illustrated with nearly 150 images and provisional maps are provided for several key ice-free areas.

Phosphate in Soils. Interaction with Micronutrients, Radionuclides and Heavy Metals. Edited by H. Magdi Selim. CRC Press. 2015 – 376 pages. Phosphorus-induced (im)mobilization of heavy metal(loid)s in soil-plant system. Influence of phosphates on copper and zinc retention processes in acid soils. Adsorption-Desorption Kinetics of Zn in Soils: Influence of Phosphate. Phosphorus Fertilizer Effects on Cadmium Availability in Crops and Soils. Phosphorus Fertilizer Effects on Cadmium Availability in Crops and Soils. Multi-component modeling of phosphate and arsenic reactions and transport in soils and geological media. Simultaneous Transport of Vanadium, Cadium and Phosphate in Soils. Long Term Soil Application of A Sewage Sludge Rich In P on Heavy Metals Bioavailability to Plants. Effect of phosphate addition on mobility and phytoavailability of heavy metals in soils. Bioavailability of trace elements in soils amended with high-phosphate materials. Influence of phosphates application on soil metal speciation, mobility and bioavailability.

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