Update: 09.12.2018

Soil carbon is the largest terrestrial pool of carbon.

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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.

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IUSS Alert 159 (September 2018)


IUSS Viewpoints also available on Youtube

IUSS president, Rattan Lal, continues to publish monthly viewpoints on soil-related issues including topics such as The Glamour of Soil Science (April 2018), Soil Degradation: The Case of Human Parasitism (May 2018), The Urbanization Challenge (June 2018), Drylands (July 2018), Did the Stone Age End Because the World Ran Out of Stones? (August 2018), Beyond Food and Fuel: The Power of Soil to Address Global Issues (Special Viewpoint 21stWCSS 2018), Subject: Drought and Ancient Civilizations (September 2018). All viewpoints can be downloaded from the IUSS Website and are also available on Youtube.

Read more: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=636
IUSS YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX3cdAuO5QrPx0EtDPahQcg

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Maps of soil research institutions and universities offering soil science in Africa – request for input

Dr. Andrei Rozanov, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, provided maps of soil research institutions and universities offering soil science in Africa to IUSS. We are glad to share them with the soil science community.
There are two options to view the map files:
#Install Google Earth Pro desktop on your PC form https://www.google.com/earth/
#Use https://www.google.com/earth/ directly in Google Chrome browser. To read the KML file from Chrome: https://support.google.com/earth/answer/7365595?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

You can download the map files from the IUSS website here:
UniversitiesAfrica1.kmz
ResearchAfrica.kmz

This map was compiled from the information available on-line. If you find that some of the information is incorrect (e.g. the exact location of the soil science department is incorrect, the department does not exist, the department exists, but does not appear on the map, the department is a research unit and does not offer a soil science degree programme, the link to the department website requires an update) please contact Dr. Andrei Rozanov, Stellenbosch University, South Africa by email: dar@sun.ac.za to make the necessary corrections.

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General News

NEW! The World Soil Day Award

The World Soil Day Award (WSDA) consists of a medal and a USD 15,000 check. It will be awarded for the first time in Bangkok, Thailand on 5 December 2018 to prize the best World Soil Day event held in the framework of the 2017 communication campaign ‘Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground’. It honors individuals, communities, organizations and countries that organized remarkable and engaging World Soil Day activities or campaigns in the previous year.

Deadline is approaching fast: 30 September 2018

Read more: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/world-soil-day-award/en/

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Land and Soil Management Award 2018/19 call: For good agriculture and environmental conditions

The prize rewards land use and soil management practices mitigating soil threats i.e. soil degradation, erosion, reduction of organic matter content, diffuse contamination, and compaction as well as the reduction of soil biodiversity, salinization, sealing, flooding and landslides. In doing so, the award sheds light on outstanding achievements, encouraging new concepts of land and soil protection and their implementation in land management, as well as enhancing awareness about the importance of land and soil functions.

The call for application is open to farmers, landowners, land managers, groups of farmers, on their own or in collaboration with research institutes, universities and/or private companies.

Deadline for application: December 31, 2018.

Read more: http://www.europeanlandowners.org/awards/soil-land-award

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Invitation for Bids – 3rd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference

The GSBI is calling for bids to host the 3rd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference (GSB3), to be held in Fall of 2021. GSB1 was held in Dijon, France in 2014 with over 700 international participants and GSB2 was in Nanjing, China in 2017 with more than 1,000 participants. If you are interested in hosting this conference please submit an informal statement of intent by close of business (Mountain Time, USA) on 15 October 2018.

Read more: http://globalsoilbiodiversity.org/content/gsb3-conference

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Glinka World Soil Prize – Call for nomination OPEN until 30 September

Are you a Soil Champion? The GSP is currently accepting submissions to the 3rd edition of the Glinka World Soil Prize (WSP). This annual award recognizes individuals or organizations committed to solving acute soil degradation problems. Winners will be awarded with a USD 15 000 check, the Glinka medal and gain recognition around the world.

Read more: http://newsletters.fao.org/q/1mbXXH8z2cZLpmwtLt47/wv

(Source: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter #20)

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Call for Experts on Soil Pollution

From assessment to remediation. Expression of interest by 1st October to Natalia.RodriguezEugenio@fao.org. Two working groups will develop feasible and regionally contextualized guidelines for measuring, mapping, monitoring and reporting on soil pollution and develop a database on the best available techniques for soil management and remediation of polluted soils. The call is open to anyone interested.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1151938/

(Source: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter #20)

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Be the Solution to Soil Pollution!

Heading up to World Soil Day, 5 December 2018. Join the movement and be part of the solution to soil pollution. FAO and its Global Soil Partnership is calling on citizens, businesses and civil society groups to join the campaign by planning innovative and interesting events to celebrate soils.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/en/

(Source: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter #20)

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G20 Declaration and 21st WCSS

GSP helps soils standing high on the agenda. The G20 Declaration from the Meeting of Agriculture Ministers on 28 July 2018 spotted soils high on the agenda with a dedicated section on how healthy soils support the role of agriculture in sustainable human development. The successful GSP participation to the 21th World Congress on Soil Science (12 – 17 August 2018) in Rio de Janeiro with the slogan ‘Sustainable Soil Management for All’ was also crucial to promote responsible and sustainable management of soils at global level.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1149427/

(Source: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter #20)

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International Symposium on Black Soils and 1st meeting of the INBS

The 1st International Symposium on Black Soils (ISBS18) and 1st meeting of the International Network of Black Soils (INBS), organized by FAO-GSP and the Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, was held from 10 to 12 September 2018 in Harbin, China to take stock of the status of black soils in the different countries and to plan future steps to preserve our black treasure. Black soils play a key role in global food production and in the fight against climate change, as highlighted by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/director-general/newsroom/news/detail/en/c/1152010/

(Source: Global Soil Partnership Newsletter #20)

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Stakeholders’ views on the impact of EU policies for sustainable soil management

This survey is part of the RECARE project work on impact assessment of EU policies for soil protection. With this survey, we would like to collect views from stakeholders, both policy makers and other practitioners, working with soil management on what they think the impact of EU policies has been in their country or region. The survey asks for views on up to two soil threats with which the respondent is familiar. The survey includes five questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. It is open till October 8, 2018.

Read more: https://polls.ecologic.eu/index.php/484191?lang=en

Source: European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.113 (August – September 2018)

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USDA releases standard indicators and laboratory procedures to assess soil health

USDA is releasing a set of standard indicators and associated laboratory procedures to assess soil health. These measures – recommended through a multi-organizational collaboration among soil health experts in the federal, university, public and private sectors – are being developed to improve conservation planning and implementation across the United States. The USDA’s NRCS has posted a draft Technical Note detailing these soil health indicators and associated laboratory methods in the Federal Register for public review and comment. NRCS is accepting comments through December 13, 2018. You may download the draft Technical Note at https://go.usa.gov/xUFJE in the box called Highlights.

(From: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Science Policy Report, 19 September 2018)

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Tan Kim Hong (1926 –2018)

Dr. Tan Kim Hong, also known as Kim Howard Tan passed away on April 28, 2018. Dr. Tan was a Professor Emeritus at the Department of Crops and Soil Science, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia USA, where he taught soil science for more than 25 years. He was a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy. Dr. Tan is widely known for his research on soil formation from volcanic ash and is considered one of the experts on Andosols and soil humic materials. He was the author and co-author of more than 200 articles, abstracts, proceedings, and book chapters. He edited and authored 13 books. His widely known Fundamentals of Soil Chemistry textbook, first published in 1982 and now in its 4th edition, was used as the textbook in many universities around the world and has been translated to Bahasa Indonesia. In 2008 he published “Soils in the Humid Tropics and Monsoon Region of Indonesia”, one of the few reference books on soils of Indonesia. He was an excellent lecturer and scientist; and is well missed by his students.

(By Dian Fiantis, University of Andalas, Padang, Indonesia)

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China Focus: China adopts new law on soil pollution prevention

China’s top legislature passed a law on soil pollution prevention and control, as the country has escalated its fight against pollution. The law was adopted after the third reading at a session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

The new law filled the legal void on soil protection and will go into effect on January 1, 2019. National standards for soil pollution risk control will be set by the environmental authority of the State Council based on soil contamination status, public health risks and ecological risks, among others, according to the law. The law also states that a nationwide soil condition census should be conducted at least once every 10 years. A network of monitoring stations should be established nationwide, with data and other information collected shared among authorities in environmental, agricultural, natural resources, housing, water resources, health and forestry and grassland sectors, it said. Environmental and health authorities of the State Council are required to conduct screening and evaluation of toxic and harmful substances in the soil and make public a list of them. According to the law, the central and provincial-level governments should establish funds to prevent and control soil pollution.

Read more: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-09/01/c_137434559.htm

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How Trees Secretly Talk to Each Other in the Forest

What do trees talk about? In the Douglas fir forests of Canada, see how trees “talk” to each other by forming underground symbiotic relationships—called mycorrhizae—with fungi to relay stress signals and share resources with one another.

Watch the video: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/decoder/how-trees-secretly-talk-to-each-other-in-the-forest

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Ancient Mayan Clearcutting Still Impacts Carbon in Soil Today

Even 1,000 years after a forest regrows, the soil beneath still won’t hold as much carbon as it once could, a new study suggests. Today, much of the land cleared by the Maya has been reclaimed by the rainforest, and one would think the area has completely recovered from the exploitation. But in a new study in the journal Nature Geosciences, geochemist Peter Douglas of McGill University and his colleagues examined soils from the area.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/ancient-mayan-clearcutting-still-impacts-soil-carbon-today-180970089/

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Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

INSII – Towards a Global Soil Information System

November 6-8, 2018, FAO HQ, Rome. The 4th working session of the International Network of Soil Information Institutions (INSII) will focus on the progress of GloSIS development and implementation. The network will also discuss the forthcoming GSP global data products including Global Soil Salinity Map, Global Assessment of Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration Potential, Global Soil Erosion Map, Global Assessment of Pollution.

Registration open until 25 October 2018.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1072566/

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International workshop on Emerging policy challenges on New SOil contaminants (ENSOr)

19-20 November 2018, Brussels, Belgium. During this two-day workshop the focus will be on Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in soil and groundwater and how to mitigate their presence in these media.

Read more: https://www.2mpact.be/ensor

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2nd meeting of the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN)

November 28-30, 2018 at FAO HQ. The Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) will meet for the second time to discuss its progress, the soil laboratory data and information policy, the execution of global and regional ring tests as well as the development of fitting “Standard Operational Procedures”. Laboratory performances are crucial to the harmonization of soil data sets towards the development of global standards.

Registration open until 20 November 2018.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1151550/

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2019

Intersoil 2019 – International Conference on Soil, Sediments and Water

Polluted soil and brownfields: Risks and opportunities for a new economy
March 26-28, 2019, Lille, France.
Call for papers open until October 18, 2018

Read more: https://www.intersol.fr/

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Biennial Meeting of the Soil Ecology Society

May 28-31, 2019, Toledo, Ohio, USA. Session topics will include rhizospheres, soil organic matter, soil biodiversity, new genomic methods, faunal ecology, soil ecosystem resilience, and more.

Read more: http://www.soilecologysociety.com/

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ISMOM 2019 – 8th International Symposium on Interactions of Soil Minerals with Organic Components and Microorganisms

“Understanding Soil Interfacial Reactions for Sustainable Soil Management and Climatic Change Mitigation”

23-28 June, 2019, Seville, Spain. It is a pleasure to invite you to participate in the 8th ISMOM (International Symposium on Interactions of Soil Minerals with Organic Components and Microorganisms). This symposium is part of a series of international symposia organized by Commission 2.5 (Soil chemical, physical and biological interfacial reactions) of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and aims to provide a platform for fruitful discussions between scientists and students from soil sciences, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics, ecology or environmental sciences.
The ISMOM 2019, “Understanding Soil Interfacial Reactions for Sustainable Soil Management and Climatic Change Mitigation” follows successful 4-yearly meetings in Canada, France, Italy, China and Chile. There will not be parallel sessions, and generous periods will be allotted to poster presentations, discussions and social events.

Deadline for abstract submission: 1st February 2019

Read more or download the latest flyer: https://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/flyer_final-7-2018.pdf

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9th PEDOFRACT Conference

Second week of July 2019, Barco de Ávila (Spain). General topic “Advances in soil scaling: theories, techniques and applications”

The keynote lectures will be given by: John Crawford (Rothamsted Research, United Kingdom), Patricia Garnier (INRA-AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, France), Kirill Gerke (Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation), Saskia Keesstra (Soil, Water and Land Use, Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands), Alexandra Kravchenko (Dept. of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, USA), Hans-Jörg Vogel (Department Soil System Science, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Germany).

Similar to previous PEDOFRACTS the collection of papers will be published in a special issue of a broadminded journal. More information will be made available shortly.

Please let the organizers know via pedofract2019.etsiaab@upm.es, if you will be interested in the participation in the workshop.

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New publications

Soil: how much do we value this critical resource?

By Jones A, Ballabio C, Fernandez Ugalde O, Hervas J, Lugato E, Montanarella L, Orgiazzi A, Panagos P, Paya Perez A, and Van Liedekerke M, by JRC, European Commission, 2018. Ebook JRC1111081. Soil condition underpins food security, green growth, bioeconomies and aboveground biodiversi­ty; it regulates climate, the hydrological and nutrient cycles, while mitigating climate change. Soils provide resilience against floods and droughts, buffer the effects of pollutants and preserve cultural heritage. Healthy, functional soils underpin several targets of the Sustainable Develop­ment Goals. Pressures on this finite, non-renewable resource, due to competition for land or in­appropriate land management choices, severely impact soil functions. Highlights from recent JRC research are given in this publication.

Read more: https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/public_path/shared_folder/doc_pub/JRC_Soil_Highlights_eBook_0.pdf

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Opportunities for soil sustainability in Europe

By EASAC (the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council), EASAC policy report 36, September 2018, 48 pages, ISBN: 978-3-8047-3898-0, © German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina 2018.
Soils provide numerous essential services in terrestrial ecosystems, ranging from the support of plant growth in agriculture and forestry to moderation of flood risks, water purification, large-scale carbon storage, and support of biodiversity. However, despite soils’ essential roles, they are threatened by sealing, compaction, reductions in quality and organic-carbon content, and erosion, and insufficiently included in sustainability planning in the EU. A multidisciplinary group of European experts has examined the implications of recent scientific research for integrated policy solutions towards ensuring the sustainability of Europe’s soils, and identified many opportunities for policy-makers to safeguard this valuable resource for the benefit of the EU’s citizens

Read more: https://easac.eu/publications/details/opportunities-for-soil-sustainability-in-europe/

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Soil and water resources protection in the changing environment

Edited by Zlatić/Kostadinov. Published in the series Advances in Geoecology, Volume 45, by Schweizerbart in September 2018. 334 pages, 131 figures, 92 tables, US-ISBN: 1-59326-267-1, ISBN 978-3-510-65418-5, price hardcopy: 119.00 €.

This book contains a selection of peer-reviewed contributions to the 3rd Conference of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC), held in Belgrade in Serbia, August 22-26, 2016. The keynote paper documents the current status of soil erosion in Europe in view of a changing climate (Chapter I). Nine papers are devoted to “Mechanisms and Processes of Land degradation” (Chapter II), covering models, measurement and rates in various parts of the world. Chapter III contains five papers highlighting “Soil and water conservation strategies to adapt to and to mitigate the effects of climate change” addressing, among other things changing land use and effects of changing climate on soils and vegetation. Three papers in Chapter IV assess the observed benefits of soil and water conservation measures, such as their effect on topsoil thickness. The papers in Chapter V – “Sustainable watershed management” – discuss erosion intensity, measures to control erosion and assessing the risk of erosion in watersheds. Chapter VI (six papers) “Social and economic aspects and policies related to soil and water conservation” embarks on a discussion the relationship of human activity on soil and water conservation efforts, the role compliance with supranational legislation, compensation of damage done by natural disasters and other societal concerns relevant to soil and water preservation and management.

Read more: http://www.schweizerbart.com/9783510654185

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The Soils of Egypt

Edited by El-Ramady, H., Alshaal, T., Bakr, N., Elbana, T., Mohamed, E. and Belal, A.-A. 1st ed. 2019 by Springer, 227 pages, 126 illustrations, 121 illustrations in color, ISBN 978-3-319-95515-5; Prices hardcover: 149.79 € (D) | 153.99 € (A) | CHF 154.00; prices ebook: 118.99 € (D) | 118.99 € (A) | CHF 123.00.

This book reviews the distribution of soils across Egypt, their history, genesis, pollution and management. The conservation of Egyptian soils, soils and their connections to human activities, as well as some future soil issues are also highlighted. It is well known that soil is the main source for food, feed, fuel and fiber production. Accordingly, the study of soils is not only a crucial issue but also an urgent task for all nations worldwide. Due to their important roles in agroecosystems as well as many aspects of our lives, soils have direct and indirect functions in the agricultural, industrial and medicinal sectors. Therefore, understanding the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils, as well as soil security, have now become emerging issues. Climate change has a very dangerous dimension in Egypt concerning the rising sea level. Many coastal zones are already threatened by this sea level rise, and may ultimately disappear. At the same time, water shortages and soil pollution represent the main challenges for the Egyptian nation.

Read more: https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319955155

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Status of Local Soil Contamination in Europe

By Paya Perez A. and Rodriguez Eugenio N. (JRC). Published in September 2018 by the Publications Office of the European Union, ISBN: 978-92-79-80073-3 (print), 978-92-79-80072-6 (pdf). In this report the findings of the questionnaire commissioned by the European Commission Joint Research Centre for the revision of the Indicator “Progress in the management of contaminated site in Europe” in 2016 are presented. It has been produced with the contribution of data provided by the National Reference Centres (NRCs) in member states and cooperating countries within EIONET and funded by the country to work with the EEA and relevant European Topic Centres (ETCs) in specific thematic areas related to the EEA work programme. This report from the JRC finds that over 5,000 new sites are under remediation or risk-reduction measures since 2011.

Read more: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/status-local-soil-contamination-europe-revision-indicator-progress-management-contaminated-sites

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