IUSS Alert 89 (November 2012)


The 11th International Conference of the East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies (ESAFS) will be held in IPB International Conference Center (IPB-ICC), Bogor - West Java, Indonesia on 21 - 24th October 2013. The conference theme is: Land for Sustaining Food and Energy Security. Session themes include: Land Productivity and Food Production, Land Degradation and Remediation, Plant Nutrition, Biological Cycling and Soil Quality, Sustainable Lowland and Peatland Management, Hydrology and Water Management, Land Use and Climate Change, Soil Database and Digital Soil Mapping. The meeting is also a joint meeting of IAARD and the IUSS Commission 3.5 Land degradation and remediation. For more information see the website www.esafs11ina.org

The 13th  International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis will be held in Queenstown, New Zealand 8-12 April 2013. The Symposium theme is: New Opportunities for Soil and Plant Testing. Soil and Plant analysts are confronted with new, exciting challenges. Feeding a rapidly expanding world population requires greater efficiency of production.  The environmental impact of such intensification is also a growing concern in many countries.  Soil and plant analyses are key tools to address both of these challenges. New analytical technologies are being applied to routine soil and plant testing (e.g. Infra-red spectroscopy, LIBS, XRF, NMR, chemometrics), providing further insight into the health and status of soils and plants.  Soil and plant analysts must continue to develop faster and more informative technologies to meet these global challenges. The emphasis of the 13th International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis will be on new methodologies and emerging techniques that will enable soil and plant analysts to make an even greater contribution to finding solutions to these challenges. Further information click here


The 22nd edition of the international symposium Soil Forming Factors and Processes from the Temperate Zone, 20-22 September, 2013, Iaşi, Romania. The theme of this year’s edition is Terroirs, vineyards and wines, and the symposium will include a two days field application related to the relations between soils, vineyards and the specificity of wines, in the eastern part of Romania and the Republic of Moldova (passport needed). All the information concerning accommodation and costs will be made available in the second circular, and on the site of our journal: www.soilscience.ro More Information: Ionut VASILINIUC, e-mail:


International Conference Four Decades of Progress in Monitoring and Modeling of Processes in the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere  System: Applications and Challenges to be held in Napoli (Italy) on 19-20 June 2013. The main purpose of this event is to bring together researchers from different backgrounds to discuss the important achievements obtained thus far over the last decades, but also and perhaps especially to outline potential future directions for research being of benefit and interest to the younger generation. For registration and additional information, we invite you to visit the conference webpage at: www.spa-conference-naples2013.org



The Australian Prime Minister talks about soil….

On October 23rd Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia gave a speech to the Australian National Farmers Federation (click here for the full speech). Here are the key points: “Australia should be a supplier of choice for agricultural solutions like technologies to increase yields, reduce water use and lessen environmental degradation; soil management systems; and improving feed sustainability for marine aquaculture. In the Asian Century, our production and exports will expand, but our soil and water resources remain finite. As Prime Minister, I recognise you as frontline caretakers of our greatest assets – our soils, our water, and our biodiversity. Soil is the very basis of our survival. Clean air and water; food and fibre; and our unique biodiversity all rely on protecting our soil. This valuable asset is threatened by climate change, land degradation and competing land uses. So I seek a deeper partnership in trying to increase our soil health, our water quality, our biodiversity and vegetative cover. Through innovation, research and improving on-farm practices, we can reduce our impact and increase our output. Late last year we established a Working Group on Water, Soil and Food in recognition that the condition of our soils must be a national priority.

We have been recognised, let us take up the challenge with renewed vigour.

New Publications

Historical Agriculture and Soil Erosion in the Upper Mississippi Valley Hill Country. By Stanley W. Trimble. 2012. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1-46-655574-7. Hardcover, 290 pages. Price $89.95.This thought-provoking book demonstrates how processes of landscape transformation, usually illustrated only in simplified or idealized form, play out over time in real, complex landscapes. Trimble illustrates how a simple landscape disturbance, generated in this case by agriculture, can spread an astonishing variety of altered hydrologic and sedimentation processes throughout a drainage basin. The changes have spatial and temporal patterns forced on them by the distinctive topographic structure of drainage basins. Through painstaking field surveys, comparative photographic records, careful dating, a skillful eye for subtle landscape features, and a geographer’s interdisciplinary understanding of landscape processes, the author leads the reader through the arc of an instructive and encouraging story. Farmers—whose unfamiliarity with new environmental conditions led initially to landscape destruction, impoverishment, and instability—eventually adapted their land use and settlement practices and, supported by government institutions, recovered and enriched the same working landscape.


Ecorestoration of the coalmine degraded lands. By Maiti, Subodh Kumar. 2013, Springer. ISBN: 978-81-322-0850-1. Hardcover, 457 pages. Price $179.00. The book adopts an application-oriented approach for ecorestoration of coalmine degraded. The theoretical aspects of ecorestoration, and steps involved in ecorestoration process and experimental aspects of thorough analytical procedures have been discussed in detail. It emphasizes on the types of mining, land degradation, and biodiversity conservation while giving details of technical and biological steps, topsoil management, selection of plant species, seeding, nursery practices; adoption of innovative approaches like mulching, biofertlizer application, hydroseeding, superabsorbent; use of grass-legume mix; monitoring and aftercare of reclaimed sites; the indicators of sustainable ecorestoration; and Rules and Acts implemented and followed across the world.


Developments in Soil Classification, Land Use Planning and Policy Implications. Innovative Thinking of Soil Inventory for Land Use Planning and Management of Land Resources. Shahid, Shabbir A.; Taha, Faisal K.; Abdelfattah, Mahmoud A. (Eds.). 2013, Springer, ISBN: 978-94-007-5331-0. Hardcover, 766 pages. Price $229.00. This important addition to the technical literature of ecology is a storehouse of information on soil that includes inventories, material on databases, and details of policy developments. Soil may be just brown dirt to most people, but its sustained health is vital to the world’s ecosystems, and it is under threat as never before from contamination, degradation and salinization, among other issues. Yet soil is a precious resource: it is the essence of life, the location of innumerable chemical reactions, a filtration and nutritive system for water itself, and a versatile, if vulnerable, growing medium. Care is needed in looking after soil, since it renews itself only slowly. As the world’s population continues to expand, maintaining and indeed increasing agricultural productivity is more important than ever, though it is also more difficult than ever in the face of changing weather patterns that in some cases are leading to aridity and desertification. The absence of scientific soil inventories, especially in arid areas, leads to mistaken decisions about soil use that, in the end, reduce a region’s capacity to feed its population, or to guarantee a clean water supply. Greater efficiency in soil use is possible when these resources are properly classified using international standards. Focusing on arid regions, this volume details soil classification from many countries. It is only once this information is properly assimilated by policymakers it becomes a foundation for informed decisions in land use planning for rational and sustainable uses.


Functions of Natural Organic Matter in Changing Environment. Xu, Jianming; Wu, Jianjun; He, Yan (Eds.). 2013, Springer. Jointly published with Zhejiang University Press. ISBN: 978-94-007-5633-5. Hardcover, 853 pages. Price $399.00. Functions of Natural Organic Matter in Changing Environment presents contributions from the 16th Meeting of the International Humic Substances Society (IHSS 16) held in Hangzhou, China on September 9-14, 2012. It provides a comprehensive and updated research advance in the field of characterization, function, application of humic substances (HS) and natural organic matter (NOM) in environment, agriculture, and industry. A broad range of topics are covered: i) formation, structure and characteristics of HS and NOM; ii) HS/NOM and carbon sequestration; iii) HS/NOM and biogeochemical cycling of nutrients; iv) HS/NOM and the environmental processes of toxic elements and anthropogenic organics; v) HS/NOM, naturally occurring and engineered nanoparticles; vi) HS/NOM, biodiversity and ecosystem health; vii) HS/NOM in water and water treatment; viii) characterization and function of biochar in the environment; and ix) industrial products and application of HS. The book will be an invaluable reference for chemists, biologists, environmental scientists, ecologists, soil scientists, water scientists, agronomists, global change researchers and policy makers.

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