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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.

3rd SUITMA Conference, Egypt

After the first and second conferences (2000 and 2003) in Essen, Germany and Nancy, France, the third conference of the working group Soils of Urban, Industrial, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas-SUITMA/US of IUSS was held in Cairo, Egypt from November 19 – 21. The 3rd SUITMA conference was organized by Prof. Salah Tahoun, University of El-Zagazig, in the Cairo House, and stood under honorary auspices of H.E.Prof.Dr.Amr Ezzat Salama, Minister of Higher Education and State of Scientific Research, H.E. Eng. Maged geotge., Minister of State for Environmental Affairs and H.E. Prof. Dr. Maher El-Domaty, President of the University of El-Zagazig. There were 45 oral and 72 poster presentations at the conference. The 130 participants came from 27 countries. The conference did attract many participants from Arabian and Asian countries beside European ones.

The conference focused on 8 thematic themes: more traditional ones as such properties of unconventional soils, methodology and classification, pollution and transfer risks, cycling of city refuse and soil forming substrates, and of new fields such as desertification, urban expansion, and sectoral competition on land, soils and quality of life in the city, rehabilitation of consumed mining and deserted military sites, soils of historical sites. There was much progress compared to the 1st and 2nd SUITMA conferences. Many ideas which started with the establishment of SUITMA now get contours and show that they start to work. The conference cited priorities in ancient and recent land use effects on soils and the problem of city extension. The thematic of effects of military actions on soils got much interest after it was presented first time at the 2nd SUITMA conference in Nancy by Prof. Morel. Remediation methods of intelligent use of materials of Technosols and of vegetation for pollution management were a big advance. Also dust, the importance of higher plants and fungi, soil mineralogy, pavement soils and soil buffer for heat got particular attention. Methods concerned the peculiarities of organic matter in urban areas and soil evaluation. The conference showed that there should be much more attempt to adapt, improve and develop peculiar methods for soils and their problems of urban, industrial, traffic, mining and military areas.

The good facilities of Cairo House gave the conference the necessary frame for the great success of the conference. Of importance was also that in the city centre of Cairo good tourist hotels were made available which could be paid also by lower budgets. This did give many colleagues the chance to attend the conference.

The splendid gala dinner was on the Nile ship Alsaraya. Two 1 day tours to El-Fayoum area, and circle road of Great Cairo and eastern desert fringe of Cairo, and a 4 days tour to Siwa Oasis and Alexandria accomplished the SUITMA conference in Egypt.

Prof. Tahoun was strong supported by many colleagues of El-Zagazig University, Suez Canal University, University of Cairo, Desert Research Centre, National Research Centre and the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority. To all, many thanks for this successful 3rd SUITMA conference.

Visit of the bentonit mines near oasis El-Fayoum by the participants of the 3rd SUITMA conference

Visit of the bentonit mines near oasis El-Fayoum by the participants of the 3rd SUITMA conference

The website of suitma 2005 is still active at The proceedings of the conference are now being processed for publication in November 2006.

The next SUITMA conference will be 2007 in Nanjing, China, hosted by the Soil Science Institute of the Chinese Academy of Science, and will be organized by Prof. Gan-lin Zhang.

Wolfgang Burghardt

Chair of Div. 3 – Soil Use and Management,

and Chair of IUSS WG US/SUITMA.