Update: 27.05.2018

It can take more than 1000 years to form a centimeter of topsoil.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

IUSS Alert 81 (March 2012)

Classical ISSS Publications 1909 - 1952

The first International Conference of Agrogeology was organized in Budapest in 1909. It was followed by several meetings and eventually resulted in the establishment of the International Society of Soil Science (ISSS) in 1924. All the proceedings of these early meetings as well as the ISSS newsletters (Internationalen Mitteilungen fur Bodenkunde 1911-1924; Soil Research 1928-1944) have been scanned and are available as PDF on the IUSS website, click here to browse through these books and proceedings. Some PDFs are rather large; use <Control F> to search through these PDFs – lots of classical papers and soil science information!

Conferences, Symposia, Meetings

XVII Conference of the International Soil Conservation Organization (ISCO) “Environmental Sustainability through Soil Conservation”, 08 - 12 July 2013, Medellin, Colombia . ISCO (International Soil Conservation Organization) is an organization whose main aim is to promote the sustainable, productive and efficient use of soil and water resources around the world. With this objective, ISCO periodically organizes conferences every 2 to 3 years to analyze and exchange the latest information and research, addressed to find solutions to the increasing degradation problems of the basic resources soil and water, on which the very sustainability of life on earth is based. To date, sixteen ISCO conferences have been held, covering regions and continents around the world, with different bio-physical, cultural, social and economic conditions. Deadlines: Reception of short abstract: 31 December 2012; Reception of extended abstract: 31 March 2013 (More details in further announcements). More information: Luz Marina Otalora < scsuelo@cable.net.co>; Ildefonso Pla Sentis < ipla@macs.udl.cat>; Samir El-Swaify elswaify@hawaii.edu. More information and web page soon.

XIX Latin American Congress and XXIII Argentine Congress of Soil Science, 16-20 April 2012, Mar del Plata, Argentina. The Soil Science Latin American Society and the Soil Science Argentine Society announce this scientific meeting under the slogan of “Latinoamérica unida protegiendo sus suelos” (Latin America united protecting their soils). You are all invited. www.congresodesuelos.org.ar

Sports meets science meets arts

During a bike trip from Austria to Thailand Wolfgang Burtscher, the Innsbruck sportsman and artist is sampling dirt ‘tripmarks’ on laid paper, producing 365 daily pieces of art. These tripmarks raised the interest of Heribert Insam, University of Innsbruck soil microbiologist. Everything is everywhere? Does the microbiota collected in the tread of a bicycle tire change while biking around the globe, or works the bicycle tire as a vector of microorganisms? At the Institute of Microbiology the enthusiastic biker Johanna Mayerhofer is devoting her Master’s Thesis to this project with an uncommon sampling strategy. To embark together on this journey have a look at the route and contact Wolfgang or Heribert www.tripmarks.at or www.microbiology.uibk.ac.at

New Publications

Mechanical Behaviour of Soils Under Environmentallly-Induced Cyclic Loads. Series: CISM International Centre for Mechanical Sciences, Vol. 534. di Prisco, Claudio Giulio and Muir Wood, David. 2012, 2012, X. SpringerWien New York. ISBN: 978-3-7091-1067-6. Hardcover, 574 pages. Price $249.00. The book gives a comprehensive description of the mechanical response of soils (granular and cohesive materials) under cyclic loading. It provides the geotechnical engineer with the theoretical and analytical tools necessary for the evaluation of settlements developing with time under cyclic, environmentally induced loads (such as wave motion, wind actions, water table level variation) and their consequences for the serviceability and durability of structures such as the shallow or deep foundations used in offshore engineering, caisson beakwaters, ballast and airport pavements and also to interpret monitoring data, obtained from both natural and artificial slopes and earth embankments, for the purposes of risk assessment and mitigation.

Soil Enzymology in the Recycling of Organic Wastes and Environmental Restoration. Series: Environmental Science and Engineering. Subseries: Environmental Science. Trasar-Cepeda, C.; Hernández, T.; García, C.; Rad, C.; González-Carcedo, S. (Eds.). 2012, 2012, XX. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-642-21161-4. Hardcover, 350 pages. Price $179.00. Soil enzymes play a fundamental role in many soil processes such as the mineralization of organic matter, the synthesis of humic substances, the degradation of xenobiotics or the mechanisms involved in the biocontrol of plant pathogens. Their direct link with soil microorganisms gives them a key role as biomonitors of the evolution of soil quality or in the monitoring of the application of organic amendments to degraded soils. As a consequence of the importance of soil enzymes on soil processes, there is an increasing interest in their study, as well as in the application of molecular techniques as diagnostic tools.

Explorations into a Dynamic Process-Oriented Soil Science. By Douglas Frink, Worcester State University, MA, USA. June, 2011. Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-12-387821-2.  Hardcover, 126 pages. Price $140.00. The paradigm and models of traditional soil science lack the ability to adequately address issues of soil dynamics, environmental integration, and change. Unexplainable research results obtained from traditional soil studies applied to non-traditional soil phenomena in physical geography, archaeology and ecology speak to the current need for soil science to move beyond description and classification and into a dynamic process-oriented soil science capable of providing explanations. Soils do not behave as static inert geologic detritus affected by climate, organisms, relief, and parent material through time, but instead soils behave as self-organizing systems dynamically interrelating with their environment. Recognition of this dynamic behaviour required a re-examination of how scientists in general think and in how modern soil science specifically evolved its basic paradigms and models. This book examines the dynamics of soil organic carbon and demonstrates the self-organizing nature of soil through time as soil responds to a wide range of environmental and human perturbations.

Formation and Properties of Clay-Polymer Complexes. By B.K.G. Theng, Landcare Research, Palmerston North, New Zealand. April, 2012. Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-444-53354-8. Hardcover, 440 pages. Price $170.00. This book provides a comprehensive account of the reactions between clay minerals and organic polymers. The book opens with a discussion of the structures of common clay minerals, clays colloid chemistry, and the behaviour of organic polymers at clay surfaces. This is followed by a systematic treatment of complex formation between clay minerals and various classes of synthetic and naturally occurring polymers, a description of the properties of the resulting complexes and, wherever appropriate, their practical applications. The book will have a new separate chapter on clay-polymer nanocomposites. Each chapter is written as a self-contained review paper, giving a list of reference to the original literature.