Update: 27.05.2018

A handful of soil can contain billions of soil microorganisms.

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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 117 (March 2015)


New IUSS-working group on modelling of soil and landscape evolution

Recent decades have seen a strong development of both landscape and soil development models. Therefore, the IUSS working group on modelling of soil and landscape evolution was created to bring together both groups to progress modelling of soilscape development. The WG plans to review papers on the state of progress in the discipline of soilscape modelling, produce an overview of the capabilities of existing soil and/or landscape models and identify what’s missing today in models and knowledge on soilscape evolution.

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Dr. Otto Spaargaren (1944 – 2015)

The IUSS Secretariat was sad to learn that our distinguished colleague Dr. Otto Spaargaren passed away on the 13th of March 2015. He was 70 years old. From 2006 to 2010 he was the Chair of the IUSS Working Group WRB and from its foundation till 2006 he served as Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Working Group. In 2014 he was awarded the Guy Smith Medal of the IUSS Commission Soil Classification. For a long time he was the heart and the leading scientist of the WRB. His death is a tremendous loss for the soil classification community and for soil science in general.

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IUSS Bulletin 126

As already announce in the last Alert, IUSS plans to publish its next Bulletin in April 2015. We would like to thank all those who have already submitted their contributions and kindly remind those who still plan to make contributions including activity and meeting reports as well as book reviews to do so latest by the end of March 2015 to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at

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IUSS Stimulus Fund

As reported in the last Alert, IUSS has established an annual Stimulus Fund principally to support activities within the Commission and Working Groups, but where appropriate will support activities to assist the development of Soil Science in regions of the world where activities are limited through lack of resource. A number of proposals for funding have been received, which are being evaluated by the Executive Committee. We would like to remind potential applicants that all requests for funding must contain the overall budget, an itimized budget breakdown and details like own resources, contributions from participants to the possibly funded events, selection criteria for these participants etc. The next submission date for applications is 15 June. Applications should be sent to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at – For further questions you may consult our secretary.

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SOER 2015 — The European environment — state and outlook 2015

The ability of soil to deliver ecosystem services — in terms of food production, as biodiversity pools and as a regulator of gasses, water and nutrients — is under increasing pressure. Observed rates of soil sealing, erosion, contamination and decline in organic matter all reduce soil capability. Organic carbon stocks in agricultural soil may have been overestimated by 25%. A coherent soil policy at EU level would provide the framework to coordinate efforts to survey soil status adequately. For more details see http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer-2015/europe/soil

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Next-generation soil information system of Africa at 250 m resolution published

In Africa, significant amounts of soil nutrients are lost every year due to inappropriate or unsustainable soil management practices. The Montpellier Panel has estimated that the economic loss in Africa due to poverty, climate change, population pressures and inadequate farming techniques is about 68 billion USD per year. This is considered to partially be the result of insufficient use of soil management knowledge. To help bridge the soil information gap on the African continent, ISRIC – World Soil Information, in collaboration with the Earth Institute, Columbia University, World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), has produced predictions of various soil properties for the whole African continent at 250 m spatial resolution at multiple standard soil depths. This product is referred to as the “AfSoilGrids250m” data set and is one of the main deliverables of the Africa Soil Information Services project (AfSIS) in 2015.
Read more: http://isric.org/content/next-generation-soil-information-system-africa-250-m-resolution-published

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Humans cause erosion one hundred times faster than normal

Experts have long linked deforestation and intensive farming to worsening erosion rates around the world. Although studied extensively, increasing erosion rates due to human-induced activities have rarely been quantified by scientists. However, new research conducted by geologists finds that erosion rates in the southeastern United States increased one hundred times after the arrival of European colonists in the 1700s due to tree clearing and unsustainable agricultural practices.
Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0306-montoro-humans-cause-erosion.html#ixzz3U4873dug

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Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

Global Soil Week 2015: Soil. The Substance of Transformation, Berlin, Germany, April 19-23, 2015.

Sustainable soil management and responsible land governance are fundamental to achieving a range of proposed goals and targets. As soils play a crucial role in poverty and hunger eradication, in creating sustainable cities, mitigating climate change and maintaining water security . Therefore, the Global Soil Week 2015 will be set in the light of the new Sustainable Development Agenda and home in on the following questions: How can soil and land contribute to achieving the proposed goals? And how can the diverse soil- and land-related constituencies ensure that we meet this global challenge successfully? Please refer to the online programme for detailed information on all sessions: http://globalsoilweek.org/global-soil-week/gsw-2015/gsw-2015-timetable

EUREGEO (8th European Congress on Regional Geoscientific Cartography and Information Systems), Barcelona, from June 15-17, 2015

Deadline for abstract submissions extended until March 24. For any inquiry regarding the abstract submission, please contact euregeo2015@icgc.cat . For any inquiry regarding the registration procedure, please contact the Technical Secretariat: euregeo2015@mondial-congress.com . Deadline for registration at reduced fee: 29th May, 2015; Deadline for field trips registration: 29th May, 2015.

DesertLand II – Conference on Desertification and Land Degradation, Ghent, Belgium, June 16-17, 2015

Final call for abstracts; special session on European soil policy, bringing together a number of EU policy makers in a discussion meeting to put ‘Soil’ and/or ‘Soil Protection’ as an important issue on the EU agenda and this in the course of 2015: the UN International Year of Soils. Go to http://desertland.eu/ for more information!

Pedometrics and Soil-Landscape Modelling Conference University of Cordoba (Spain), September, 14-18 , 2015.

The conference features a workshop with the IUSS working group on Soil-Landscape Modelling. Submission deadline for abstracts: April 30, 2015. All aspects of Pedometrics will be covered, including soil-landscape modelling: mechanistic & empirical approaches, soil morphometrics, soil sampling and monitoring, field experimental design, digital soil mapping and proximal soil sensing, Bayesian statistics and hierarchical modelling in soils, uncertainties and fuzzy cognitive mapping , soil spatial and temporal scaling, soil ecosystem services. For further info see https://sites.google.com/site/pedometrics2015/registration-and-abstract-submission

28th Bi-annual Conference of the Soil Science Society of East Africa (SSSEA) & African Celebration Meeting of the International Year of Soil, Morogoro, Tanzania, November 23-27, 2015.

Theme: Soils and Land Use for Climate Smart Agriculture. Deadline for abstract submission: 30 July, 2015; full papers in electronic version to be submitted by 30th October 2015. For further information contact the Organizing Committee SSSEA at amurnyambilila@yahoo.com

8th International Acid Sulfate Soil Conference, College Park, Maryland, USA, July 17 to 23, 2016.

This conference will provide a forum for the exchange ideas regarding the origins, properties, management, classification and reclamation of acid sulfate soils. It will also include components for the education of those less familiar with acid sulfate soil issues and problems. Three days will be designated for oral and poster presentations (July 18,19 and 21). Additionally, 2-3 field tours are planned throughout the week. Further information on this conference can be found at http://www.midatlanticsoilscientists.org/acid-sulfate-soils-conference

15th International Peat Congress 2016 (IPC 2016), 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. For further information, please visit http://www.ipc2016.com

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New publications

Phosphate in Soils: Interaction with Micronutrients, Radionuclides and Heavy Metals

By H. Magdi Selim. CRC Press, February 24, 2015, 381 pages, 77 B/W illustrations, ISBN 9781482236798. Price (hardcover) £89. This book utilizes the latest research to emphasize the role that phosphate plays in enhancing or reducing the mobility of heavy metals in soil, and the soil-water-plant environment. It provides an in-depth understanding of each heavy metal species, and expands on phosphate interactions in geological material. The author includes analytical and numerical solutions along with hands-on applications, and addresses other topics that include the transport and sorption modeling of heavy metals in the presence of phosphate at different scales in the vadose zone.

Managing Nitrogen in Crop Production

By Peter Scharf. Published by American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., and Soil Science Society of America, Inc., March 10, 2015. 80 pages, ISBN: 978-0-89118-623-6 (print). Price (softcover) $30. Among crop nutrients, nitrogen has the most complex chemistry and behavior in soil, gives the largest yield responses, and is the most difficult to manage. Managing Nitrogen in Crop Production condenses the latest research and thinking from leading experts in nitrogen. The result will increase the understanding of nitrogen and your odds of managing it successfully.

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