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Soil is one of the most complicated biological materials on our planet.

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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.


Presentation of the 35th Japan Prize to Rattan Lal

The prestigeous 35th Japan Prize in the category Biological Production, Ecology was presented to Rattan Lal, IUSS Past President 2019-2020on April 8 in the presence of the Emperor and the Empress of Japan.

The Japan Prize is awarded annually to scientists and engineers from around the world, who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology, thereby furthering the cause of peace and prosperity of mankind. Each year two fields of scientific endeavor are honored. The Japan Prize laureates receive a certificate of merit and a prize medal. A cash prize of 50 million yen is also awarded for each prize field.

A video of the Presentation Ceremony and Banquet is available here:

Photos of the Presentation Ceremony at the National Theatre of Japan and the Banquet in Tokyo as well as following celebration events at the Japan Academy, the Ito International Research Center, the University of Tokyo, the U.S. Embassy and the Foundation Office of the Japan Prize can be looked at here:

Information about the Laureates of the Japan Prize can be found here:

Read more about the Japan Prize Foundation here: https://www.japanprize.jp/en/index.html

@ The Japan Prize Foundation

Fellows from the Ohio State University and the Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition as well as IUSS officials, i.e. Rattan Lal, Kazuyuki Inubushi, Junata Yanai and Takashi Kosaki, Past President, past Chair of Division 2, current Vice-Chair of Commission 3.5 and President, respectively.

International Poster Contest ‘Soilutions’ to solve soil degradation problems

IUSS considers stopping soil degradation as one of its most important tasks, and invites you to propose in a poster your ‘Soilutions’ to address soil problems in order to preserve this unique resource and life. The ideas and proposals should represent the role of the soil as an essential natural resource to preserve the environment. IUSS will award 1,000 USD from the Stimulus Fund for the best ‘Soilutions’ poster and 500 USD each for the second and third best poster. The posters shall be submitted until June 15, 2019. The best 12 posters will be displayed on the IUSS website and a calendar shall be made using these posters.

Read more soilutions_poster_contest_2019.pdf

2019 Japan Prize Winner is Pioneer in No-Till Agriculture and Soil Carbon Sequestration

Prof. Yoshio Okamoto and Prof. Rattan Lal - © The Japan Prize FoundationThe Japan Prize is awarded annually to scientists and engineers from around the world who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology, thereby furthering the cause of peace and prosperity of mankind.

Rattan Lal, IUSS Past President and Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. is being honoured for his work in identifying technological options adapted to various ecosystems through his intensive basic and applied research on processes and factors of soil degradation caused by inappropriate biological production, as well as in evaluating  recommended agricultural practices which reduce risks of soil degradation and of anthropogenic climate change while improving the environmental quality and addressing the critical issues of feeding the earth's population, which is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050.

The Japan Prize recognizes original and outstanding achievements in science and technology and the winners receive cash award of 50 million Japanese yen (approximately $450,000 USD), a medal and certificate to recognize their achievements.

Read more: http://www.japanprize.jp/en/

Funding opportunities in the framework of COST Action SAGA

The Soil Science & Archaeo-Geophysics Alliance: going beyond prospection

This is a new international network project supported by COST Association that brings together archaeologists, geophysicists, soil scientists and other experts. SAGA will focus efforts to keep moving forward on developing field survey procedures, data interpretation and training opportunities. Please find more information about SAGA’s goals in the proposal that was published in RIO journal (doi: 10.3897/rio.4.e31648). Information about current SAGA participants and organisation can be found here.

  1. 1st Call for Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM): STSM facilitates researchers from COST Countries participating in COST Action SAGA to go to an institution, organisation or research centre in another participating COST Country to foster collaboration and to perform empirical research. Participation of “Early Career Investigators” (ECI) in STSM is particularly encouraged. An applicant can be considered as being an ECI when the time that has elapsed between the award date of the applicant’s PhD and the date of the applicant’s first involvement in COST Action SAGA does not exceed 8 years. PhD students are also eligible to partake in STSM. The deadline for applications is January 28, 2019. Click here to find out which countries are signatory of COST Action SAGA.
    Read more https://www.iuss.org/media/1_first_stsm_call_gp1_cost_action_saga.pdf
  2. 1st Call for Applications for ITC Conference Grants: these grants are to support PhD students and Early Career Investigators (ECI) with a primary affiliation in an institution located in Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC, see below) that want to attend a conference to present research related to SAGA’s topic. For this first call, the conference dates must take place before April 20, 2019. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2019. The following countries are considered ITC (in bold, ITC currently signatory of SAGA): Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey.
    Read more https://www.iuss.org/media/2_first_itc_conference_grant_gp1.pdf

Margaret Oliver Award for Early-Career Pedometricians Call for Nominations, 2019 award

The Pedometrics Commission of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) makes a biennial award, which is intended to recognize up-and-coming talent in pedometrics. The award is named for Margaret Oliver, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the promotion and encouragement of pedometricians in the early stages of their careers as well as her overall service to pedometrics. The award will be given at each biennial meeting of the Pedometrics Commission; the next award will be at Pedometrics 2019, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 2–6 June 2019

Requirements and eligibility for the award of the Margaret Oliver award:

Nominees must have:
(1) received a PhD degree or equivalent no more than six years before the nomination deadline of 1st-February-2019; that is, the degree must have been awarded after 01-February-2013
(2) made high-quality contributions to pedometrics, as evidenced by published work, conference presentations, workshops, field guides, etc.
(3) at the time of the award be active in pedometrics and with a prospect of so continuing “Pedometrics” is broadly defined as the application of mathematics or statistics in soil science.

Nominations procedure

1) Nominations for the Margaret Oliver Award should be made by a colleague or colleagues who know the person’s work well — these do not have to be IUSS members or active in pedometrics. The proposer(s) should submit the following on behalf of their nominee:
(a) a supporting letter signed by the proposer(s) explaining why this nominee should be awarded the Margaret Oliver Award, with respect to the conditions outlined in the section “requirements and eligibility” above. The date of award of the nominee’s degree of PhD or equivalent should be clearly stated.
(b) a curriculum vitae of no more than six pages that gives one or more the following, always showing clear relevance to pedometrics:
i. publications (journal, book, popular…)
ii. positions held
iii. research undertaken
iv. education of others
v. teaching courses developed
vi. leadership and management of research projects
vii. service (broadly defined) to the pedometrics community.
2) Nominations should be sent before 01-February-2019 to the Chairman of the Pedometrics award committee: RM Lark at murray.lark@nottingham.ac.uk with the subject line “Oliver Award 2019”
3) The nominations will be evaluated by the award committee:

Murray Lark, University of Nottingham, U.K.
Sabine Grunwald, University of Florida, U.S.A.
Gerard Heuvelink, ISRIC World Soil Information and Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Yang Lin, Nanjing Normal University, Peoples’ Republic of China
Alessandro Samuel-Rosa, Federal University of Technology, Paraná, Brazil.
Uta Stockmann, CSIRO, Australia.

Best Paper in Pedometrics, 2018.

Nominations are invited for the best paper in pedometrics, 2018. The Pedometrics Commission awards committee will assess all nominations, along with their own, and prepare a shortlist for a public vote in advance of the Pedometrics 2019 meeting next June.

Papers must be:
i. Concerned with pedometrics, the application of statistical and mathematical methods to the study of the soil.
ii . Published in a peer-reviewed international journal.
iii. Published in 2018. This is the date that appears on the issue of the journal in which the paper is published, not the date on which it might be made available online.

Please send nominations before 1st February 2019 to the committee chair, R.M. Lark murray.lark@nottingham.ac.uk

Outcome of 2018 IUSS Presidential Election

Laura Bertha Reyes Sánchez from Mexico, current Secretary General of the Latin American Soil Science Society, received a clear majority of the votes and was the successful candidate in this election. She will take up the position of President-Elect on 1st January, 2019. She will be the first female President in the history of IUSS. IUSS was very pleased to have two strong candidates running for the position. If you want to know more about the candidates, please click here https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=34

Maps of soil research institutions and universities offering soil science in Africa

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:
1. Install Google Earth Pro desktop on your PC form https://www.google.com/earth/

2. 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 two map files from the IUSS website here:

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.

Dear readers of the IUSS Alert,

Some of you may have noticed that you did not receive the IUSS Alert in June. The reason for this is that in line with the European General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 which came into force on May 25, 2018, the Alert could only be sent to people who had renewed their subscription.

Should you wish to continue receiving our monthly Alert, we invite you to subscribe now by clicking on this link: https://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=685

Alternatively, you can send an email to continue your subscription, confirming your name and email address, to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

We will never use your data for any other purpose than providing you with our monthly Alert. Nor will we give these data to third parties or countries.

Please note that you may revoke your consent at any time by sending an email to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

We would be very glad to keep counting you among our readers!


Please click this link to subscribe

IUSS Global Soil Icon Contest - results

Soil is the essence of all terrestrial life, and critical to the delivery of major ecosystem services for human wellbeing and nature conservancy. Thus, IUSS launched a contest looking for an iconic symbol that represents major ecosystem services of soil, while being simple and easy to be comprehended by the general public.

The deadline for submissions was 15 March 2018, and a total of 22 interesting soil icons were received. Here, the IUSS Secretariat would like to thank all contestants for their stimulating submissions. The selection committee, comprised of members of the IUSS Executive Committee, decided to award 2,500 USD of the IUSS Stimulus fund to the winning soil icon created by Monique Lima de Oliveira and Alessandro Samuel-Rosa (Brazil).

The winning icon will be used during the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), an initiative launched by the International Union of Soil Sciences to raise awareness of the key roles played by soils.

The best 12 icons out of all submitted icons will be displayed on the IUSS website (one per month).

Read more: "https://www.iuss.org/media/samuel-rosa_alessandro_soil-icon_description.pdf":https://www.iuss.org/media/samuel-rosa_alessandro_soil-icon_description.pdf

Richard Webster Medal 2018 — Call for nominations

You are encouraged — individually or as a group — to nominate candidates for the Richard Webster Medal of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), to be awarded at the 21st World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) in Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) in August 2018 (https://www.21wcss.org/). This medal recognizes the person who has most advanced pedometrics in the period between the IUSS WCSS of 2014 and 2018, while also considering achievements prior to that period.

According to the IUSS, “Pedometrics” is defined as “the application of mathematical and statistical methods for the study of the distribution and genesis of soils”; see however an extended discussion of “what is pedometrics?” at http://pedometrics.org/?page_id=26.

Nominations should be sent before June 12, 2018 to the Chairman of the Pedometrics award committee.

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/media/webstercall2018.pdf

Election of Officers for IUSS Divisions and Commissions – results

Every four years the officers for the IUSS Divisions and Commissions are newly elected. Voting by IUSS Members was conducted electronically on a one vote per individual in each National Member Society basis. In line with the IUSS Bye-laws (version Oct. 2014) the national Soil Science Societies shall have organized the national voting of officers for Divisions and Commissions. The voting system for society members was closed 31 December 2017. The Presidents of the National Member Society were requested to send the results of elections to IUSS not later than 28 January 2018. Voting results from 35 societies with 127,148 individual votes were received. Elections were decided by a simple majority of votes cast.

The officers elected are listed in the attached document.

The term for these officers will start with the 21st WCSS in Rio.

List of officers elected:

IUSS Presidential Elections 2018 – call for nominations

The election of the next President of the IUSS is due this year.
The appointment of the President represents a total of six years commitment to the Union by serving two years each as President-Elect (2019/20), President (2021/22) and Past-President (2023/24).

The Standing Committee on Presidential Elections has defined the respective procedure and the guidelines.
Nominations should be made by two accomplished, highly-respected senior soil scientists.

Full Nomination documentation should be submitted electronically to Roger Swift (Email: r.swift@uq.edu.au) by June 30, 2018.
A copy should also be sent to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

Procedure and guidelines

Invitation to contribute to IUSS book on Global Soil Proverbs

Every year on World Soil Day (5th Dec.) the IUSS publishes a book under the umbrella of the International Decade of Soils 2015 – 2024. So far three books have been published: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=667 . IUSS members may order the books at a reduced rate.
In 2018 IUSS intends to publish a book on Global Soil Proverbs. Therefore, the editors would like to invite you to contribute to this book. This would be a great opportunity to work together under the umbrella of the International Decade of Soils 2015 – 2024 and to reflect the variety of soil-related proverbs on the globe. It shall show that the term soil is very commonly used in everyday language and shall help to give this precious resource more visibility and attention.

The guideline for writing a contribution to this book can be downloaded here: http://www.iuss.org/media/global_soil_proverbs_book_chapter_writing_guideline_final.pdf

If you wish to contribute a chapter, please let us know by sending a Letter of Intent until March 31, 2018 to yangjay@kangwon.ac.kr and in Cc to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

IUSS Stimulus Fund - Global Soil Icon Contest

Soil is the essence of all terrestrial life, and critical to the delivery of major ecosystem services for human well-being and nature conservation. Yet, the term “soil” does not arouse the much deserved excitement or the “wow” moment among the general public, civil societies, policy makers, and others. Thus, there is a strong need for a global icon that symbolizes the importance of soil as the elixir of terrestrial life, provider of food, moderator of climate, filter and reservoir of renewable water, habitat for germplasm, inspiration for aesthetical and spiritual activities, source of pharmaceuticals and other materials, archive of planetary and human history, among others. As an example of an icon, the WWF has been extremely successful in using the panda as an iconic symbol for species conservation. What iconic symbol can represent major ecosystem services of soil, while being simple and easy to be comprehended by the general public? Identifying and promoting such a symbol would be a great leap forward.

Thus, IUSS will award 2,500 USD from its Stimulus Fund for the best Soil Icon. The award winner shall transfer all copyrights as well as usage and exploitation rights to the IUSS. IUSS would like to invite all soil lovers, be they school children, students, designers, soil scientists or experts of any other profession, to submit their ideas for a Soil Icon. The winning icon will be used during the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), an initiative launched by the International Union of Soil Sciences to raise awareness of the key roles played by soils in addressing the major resource, environmental, health and social problems humanity is currently facing.

Submissions should comprise a vector-based file with the icon and a short explanation of the idea and the author(s) behind (max. 2 pages). Please send your submissions to iuss@umweltbundesamt.at.

Deadline for submissions: 15 March 2018

The IUSS Stimulus Fund Committee shall evaluate all soil icon submissions and make recommendations to the Executive Committee. The final decision will be announced by the IUSS President or delegate within one month after the submission date given above. The results will be announced on the IUSS website. The winner will be informed in writing.

Please note: The best 12 icons out of all submitted icons will be displayed on the IUSS website (one per month).

2018 Guy Smith Medal Award – Call for Nominations

The call for the 2018 Guy Smith Medal Award is open now. The next award will be handed over during the 21st IUSS World Congress, to be held from 12-17 August, 2018 near Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
More info on the award: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=182
Download Call invitation

Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2018

CV’s of the nominees and a motivation letter should be sent to: seppe.deckers@kuleuven.be
With copy to Maria Gerasimova: maria.i.gerasimova@gmail.com
And to Lucia Anjos: lanjos@ufrrj.br

21st World Congress of Soil Science – reminder on abstract submission

The 21st World Congress of Soil Science will take place in Rio de Janeiro, August 12 – 17, 2018.
Dedicated to the theme “Soil Science: Beyond food and fuel”, it will review the key role of soil science in answering some of the topical key questions regarding future food and water security, environmental protection and climate change mitigation.
You are kindly invited to submit an abstract of your scientific work very soon.
Important dates:
Abstract submission until January 31, 2018
Abstract acceptance after March 15, 2018
Early registration ends March 31, 2018
Regular registration until May 12, 2018
Read more: https://www.21wcss.org/
Download the congress information: http://www.iuss.org/media/21wcss_-_meeting_information.pdf

New book of IUSS published

As third book of the IUSS book series of the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024) the new book “The Nexus of Soils, Plants, Animals and Human Health” was presented at the World Soil Day Conference on Dec. 5 in Brussels. It is edited by Bal Ram Singh, Michael J. McLaughlin and Eric Brevik on behalf of the IUSS; Published as GeoEcology essay by Schweizerbart in November 2017. The 21 contributions in this book describe the role soils play for plant, animal and human health. They show that soil- and human health are intricately connected, because healthy soils produce healthy crops, which in turn nourish humans and animals, allowing for their health and productivity. The book summarizes the current state of research of these important issues and provides a comprehensive treatise of the global importance of soils for humankind.

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=677

The 21 contributions in this book describe the role soils play for plant, animal and human health. They show that soil- and human health are intricately connected, because healthy soils produce healthy crops, which in turn nourish humans and animals, allowing for their health and productivity.

New WRB homepage

The World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) Working Group belongs to IUSS Division 1 (Soils in Space and Time), Commission 1.4. (Soil Classification). The WRB is an international soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. The task of the Working Group is to test and further develop the WRB.

The WRB Working Group has a strong relationship to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), where the WRB documents are published. The third edition, update 2015, is the currently valid WRB. At present, it is available in four languages (English, Spanish, Georgian and Polish) and can be downloaded from the new homepage. In addition, the new homepage has information about the WRB system, features a picture gallery and a history section.

Read more: http://www.soil-science.com/?id=wrb

Chernozem Russia

Website for IUSS World Congress 2018 now online

The website for the 21st World Congress of Soil Science has gone online. The congress, which is arguably the most acclaimed meeting in the area of soil science, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12-17, 2018.
Registration and call for abstracts is open.
Read more

Announcement for the 21st World Congress of Soil Science Rio 2018

21st World Congress of Soil Science Rio 2018