IUSS Alert 124 (October 2015)
Celebration of International Year of Soils 2015 - Achievements and Future Challenges
IAEA/Vienna International Centre, Austria, December 7, 2015. The IUSS together with the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is organizing this conference in Vienna to celebrate the International Year of Soils (IYS) together with the World Soil Day (WSD). Speakers from regional soil science societies (Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America), the IUSS Council, the chairs and vice-chairs of the IUSS Divisions, Commissions and Working Groups as well as several high level representatives from FAO, IAEA and partners (e.g. European Commission, European Environment Agency, European Geosciences Union, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies) have been invited to discuss the achievements of the IYS and the future challenges in soil science as well as opportunities for international cooperation. Further soil experts are welcome to join the event. Please note that the registration deadline is 15 November 2015.
If you want to register for this event, please send your name and the name of your institution to .
- iys_2015_celebration_-_draft_programme_20151207_v16.pdf (407 kB)
IYS 2015 Celebration - Draft Programme_20151207_v16
Request for Contributions to the next IUSS Bulletin
The IUSS Secretariat kindly invites all IUSS members to submit their contributions to the next IUSS Bulletin (to be published in December) at their earliest convenience, but no later than 20 November 2015. In particular, the Secretariat would welcome conference/meeting reports including IYS celebrations, answers to the “Five Questions to a Soil Scientist” (for ideas and the list of questions click here), your three favourite soil science books (for inspiration click here) and any other information you would like to share with the international soil science community. Please make sure to send high-resolution photos only.
Request for contributions to the IYS section on the IUSS website
The IUSS Secretariat kindly invites all national soil science societies to provide information on final IYS activities for the IUSS website.
Contributions so far can be seen here
Honorary Doctorate at Dresden University, Germany, for IUSS President Elect Rattan Lal
At an emotional ceremony on September 23, 2015, Prof. Rattan Lal (Ohio State University) was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree at Technische Universität Dresden (TUD, Dresden University of Technology) by the Rector, Professor Hans Müller-Steinhagen, and the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Professor Karl-Heinz Feger.
Honorary Doctorate to be bestowed on IUSS President Prof. Rainer Horn
IUSS President, Prof. Rainer Horn, will receive a Honorary Doctorate from the Faculty of Agriculture of the Banat University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in conjunction with the Romanian National Society of Soil Science on 23-24 November 2015.
Call for Nominations: Kirkham Medal
The Kirkham Medal Selection Committee is seeking nominations for the Don & Betty Kirkham Medal, to be presented at the 2016 Kirkham Conference in Israel. The Medal is awarded every eight years to a retired soil scientist who has made unique, inspirational teaching, research and professional contributions in soil physics. For nominations, send a short nomination letter (single page) with CV of the nominee to the Kirkham Medal Committee Chair Jan Hopmans at , before November 1, 2015.
Data expert from LAC region wanted for WDS-SC (World Data System Scientific Committee)
The ICSU Executive Board (EB) renewed the membership of the World Data System Scientific Committee in June 2015 and appointed new members for a 3-year term. In the event, the EB also decided to leave a vacant seat to be populated by an expert from the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. We would like to solicit the help of ICSU Union Members to identify suitable data experts from this region. The expert should have a good knowledge of the research data landscape including data centres, data service providers, and other organizations involved in data activities in the LAC region. WDS is hoping to recruit new members from organizations from the LAC region and the appointed expert is expected to play an important role in this context. Members of the WDS-SC are expected to attend two face to face meetings (travel expenses will be covered by WDS-IPO and ICSU) and monthly teleconferences, but also to contribute to some operational tasks supported by the IPO in between meetings. Such tasks include reviewing a couple of WDS membership applications per year, conducting expedited reviews of WDS Members reports, and attending occasional meetings to represent WDS. It is expected that these duties build on synergies with the current position of the nominee.
The nomination form can be downloaded from the IUSS Website.
Dr. Marcel Jamagne (1931 – 2015)
The IUSS Secretariat was sad to learn that our distinguished colleague Dr. Marcel Jamagne passed away on the 30th of September 2015. He was 83 years old. He was the father of soil mapping in France and a leading scientist for harmonized soil databases at the European Union and world level. He had been the president of the French Soil Science Society which organized the World Congress of Soil Science in Montpellier, France, in 1998. He was a member of the French Academy for Agriculture from which he received a gold medal. In 2006, he was awarded honorary member of the IUSS. Marcel Jamagne was a very social person, an excellent soil scientist and indeed one of the pillars of numerous scientific networks on soil. His death is a tremendous loss for the soil pedogenesis and soil mapping community and for soil science in general.
Messages to his family can be addressed to
Do soils and geology always protect groundwater from pathogens?
Countless ways exist for water-borne bacteria to die or get stuck in soil and geologic sediments. This is why scientists tend to assume that a thick layer of these materials will keep pathogens in surface-applied manures from seeping down into groundwater. University of Guelph geologist Emmanuelle Arnaud and her colleagues thought so, too—until they conducted the work that appears in the September-October issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality. To their surprise, they detected E. coli bacteria in groundwater one week after an application of liquid swine manure on a farm field, even though 12 meters of soil and glacial sediments lay in between.
Source: ASA (American Society of Agronomy) – CSSA (Crop Science Society of America) – SSSA (Soil Science Society of America) Science Policy Report, September 2015
The hunt for antibiotics in soil
Slava Epstein feels a reverence for soil. In January, the Northeastern University microbiologist and his colleagues at NovoBiotics unveiled teixobactin—one of the most promising antibiotics of the last decade. But for Epstein, the key is how they found it, in a soil sample from a Maine field. If he’s right, teixobactin may mark a new era in antibiotic discovery. Epstein’s work ranges from identifying the microbes that live on human teeth to deciphering the microbial ecology of a lake in Greenland. He’s also deeply intrigued by the mystery of why so few microbes can be grown in the lab.
Source: ASA (American Society of Agronomy) – CSSA (Crop Science Society of America) – SSSA (Soil Science Society of America) Science Policy Report, September 2015
Soil microbe plays a role in Nobel Prize in physiology in medicine
Diseases caused by parasites have plagued humankind for millennia and constitute a major global health problem. In particular, parasitic diseases affect the world’s poorest populations and represent a huge barrier to improving human health and wellbeing. This year’s Nobel Laureates have developed therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases. One of the recipients is Satoshi Ōmura, a Japanese microbiologist and expert in isolating natural products, isolated new strains of Streptomyces from soil samples and successfully cultured them in the laboratory. One of these cultures later turned out to be Streptomyces avermitilis, the source of Avermectin, derivatives of which have radically lowered the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, as well as showing efficacy against an expanding number of other parasitic diseases.
Source: ASA (American Society of Agronomy) – CSSA (Crop Science Society of America) – SSSA (Soil Science Society of America) Science Policy Report, October 2015.
Erosion of organic carbon in the Arctic as a geological carbon dioxide sink
By Robert G. Hilton, Valier Galy, Jérôme Gaillardet, Mathieu Dellinger, Charlotte Bryant, Matt O’Regan, Darren R. Gröcke, Helen Coxall, Julien Bouchez & Damien Calmels. Soils of the northern high latitudes store carbon over millennial timescales (thousands of years) and contain approximately double the carbon stock of the atmosphere. Warming and associated permafrost thaw can expose soil organic carbon and result in mineralization and carbon dioxide (CO2) release. However, some of this soil organic carbon may be eroded and transferred to rivers. If it escapes degradation during river transport and is buried in marine sediments, then it can contribute to a longer-term (more than ten thousand years), geological CO2 sink. Samples from the Mackenzie River reveal that the eroded biospheric POC has resided in the basin for millennia, with a mean radiocarbon age of 5,800 ± 800 years, much older than the POC in large tropical rivers.
Source: Nature 524, 6 August 2015
The International Year of Global Understanding
The International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH) announced that 2016 will be the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU). The aim of IYGU is to promote better understanding of how the local impacts the global in order to foster smart policies to tackle critical global challenges such as climate change, food security and migration.
IYGU Press Release
“We want to build bridges between global thinking and local action,” said Benno Werlen, Professor of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. “Only when we truly understand the effects of our personal choices – for example in eating, drinking and producing – on the planet, can we make appropriate and effective changes,” said Werlen, who initiated this project of the International Geographical Union (IGU). IUGG and other ICSU GeoUnions (http://www.icsu-geounions.org) enthusiastically supported the IYGU, both scientifically and financially. In 2016, the IYGU program will be coordinated by Regional Action Centers. The IYGU Secretariat in Jena, Germany, coordinates all IYGU activities.
Source: IUGG Electronic Journal Volume 15 Number 10 (1 October 2015)
Conferences, Meetings and Workshops
40th Annual Conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria 2016
University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, March 14-18, 2016
The urgent need for Nigeria to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and food security for the country’s 178.5 million people in the face of climate change, environmental degradation and declining soil fertility is a challenge that the Soil Scientists in the country are committed to solving. Conference theme: “Promoting use of Nigeria’s Soil Resources for Sustainable Ecosystem Services, Climate-Smart Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security”. Conference registration fee: $75 USD.
International Conference on Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Land Use 2016
Budapest, Hungary, at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, May 31 – June 2, 2016; organized by the Geographical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Aims of the conference will be to share knowledge of conservation agriculture internationally, also across different scientific fields.
For details visit the event’s Website.
ESSC 2016 – European Society for Soil Conservation International Conference Soil – Our Common Future
Cluj-Napoca, Romania, June 15-18, 2016.
19th Nitrogen Workshop 2016
Skara, Sweden, June 27-29, 2016.
Deadline for abstract submission is 20 January 2016.
15th International Peat Congress 2016 (IPC 2016)
2nd announcement. Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, August 15-19, 2016.
The theme of the congress is ‘Peatlands in Harmony– Agriculture, Industry & Nature’. Presentations will relate to an integrated global perspective for the responsible use of peatlands and the preservation of their unique dynamics and natural biodiversity. The Congress will also provide for researchers, academics and practitioners, an ideal platform to congregate, share information and discuss their scientific results and experiences, with particular reference to peat and peatlands in tropics. Abstract submission deadline: 30 November 2015.
For further information and to download the Second Circular, please visit the Website.
1st World Conference on Soil and Water Conservation under Global Change – CONSOWA 2017
Lleida, Spain, June 12-16, 2017
The first announcement can be downloaded from the IUSS Website.
Land-Use Change Impacts on Soil Processes – Tropical and Savannah Ecosystems
edited by F Brearley, Manchester Metropolitan University, A Thomas, Aberystwyth University, UK. September 2015, 200 pages, ISBN 9781780642109. Price Hardback € 90,00.
This book examines the effects that land-use changes (notably agricultural intensification, logging, soil erosion, urbanisation and mining) have on soil characteristics and processes in tropical and savannah environments. It covers a range of geographical regions and environments as impacts of land use change are often site specific. The effects of land use change on various aspects of the soil ecosystem from both a chemical and biological perspective will be examined.
Soil Change Matters
Soil Research Special Issue, Volume 53, Number 6 edited by Richard MacEwan. October 2015 by CSIRO Publishing, 140 pages; ISBN: SR53/06 – AU $ 75.00.
In March 2014, an international workshop ‘Soil Change Matters’ was convened to explore current scientific knowledge of soil change as well as the policy contexts to support soil information, soil monitoring and soil management. This special issue addresses important aspects of soil change, ranging from the use of soil chronosequences to study long term changes, through long term field trials to shorter duration surveys and environmental reporting. Soil carbon is featured strongly in the workshop presentations given the current focus on climate issues and C retention in soils. A salutary discussion of the sources of uncertainty in measurement and models provides an important counterpoint to the generalities used in reporting and predicting soil change.
Integrated Management of Salt Affected Soils in Agriculture – Incorporation of Soil Salinity Control Methods
1st Edition by Nesreen Ahmen Abou-Baker and Ebtisam El-Dardiry. Release Date: 05 Oct 2015. Academic Press, 78 pages, ISBN : 9780128041659. Price Print Book 24,61 €.
Integrated Management of Salt Affected Soils in Agriculture is a concise guide to evaluating and addressing soil issues related to saline content. Methods focused, the book combines agricultural and soil-based insights to efficiently remediate salt-affected soil.
Environmental stress conditions such as salinity have a devastating impact on plant growth and yield, causing considerable loss to agricultural production worldwide. Soil salinity control prevents soil degradation by salinization and reclaim already saline soils. This book will help develop the proper management procedures, to solve problems of crop production on salt-affected soils.
Unsaturated Soil Mechanics – from Theory to Practice: Proceedings of the 6th Asia Pacific Conference on Unsaturated Soils (Guilin, China, 23-26 October 2015)
by Zhenghan Chen, Changfu Wei, De´an Sun, Xongfu Xu. October 14, 2015 by CRC Press, Reference – 906 Pages, ISBN 9781138029217. Price Hardback 156,40 £.
Unsaturated Soil Mechanics – from Theory to Practice collects more than 140 technical papers, and 10 invited and keynote lectures presented at the sixth Asia-Pacific Conference on Unsaturated Soils (Guilin, China, 23-26 October 2015). The first Asia-Pacific distinguished lecture, launched at the conference, is also included. The contributions address the fundamental behavior of unsaturated soils, and present theoretical and numerical modeling and engineering applications. The topics of concern span the full spectrum from theory to practice, with strong relevance to the problems in the region and beyond such as collapse/swelling, freezing/thawing, desiccation shrinkage, rainfall-induced slope failure, contaminant transport, shale gas extraction and so on, largely representing the latest developments in unsaturated soil mechanics.
Agricultural and Environmental Applications of Biochar: Advances and Barriers
SSSA Special Publication 63, 2015, published by Soil Science Society of America, Inc. (in press).
Discover the mechanisms and processes of biochar amendment for achieving stunning agricultural and environmental benefits. Composition and characteristics of biochar, its interactions with contaminants and soil constituents, and its transformation in the environment are illustrated. With chapters by 57 accomplished international researchers, the book presents a whole picture of biochar in improving soil physical, chemical, and biological quality and animal health, reducing soil greenhouse gas emissions, and decontaminating stormwater and mine sites. Readers will appreciate the comprehensive review on the up-to-date biochar research and application and gain critical guidance in best biochar generation and utilization. This book is being published according to the “Just Published” model, with more chapters to be published online as they are completed.
Table of Contents
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