Five tonnes of animal life can live in one hectare of soil.

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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.

10th International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis, June, Hungary

The International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis (ISSPA) is the premier gathering and showcase event in soil and plant analysis. It is sponsored by the Soil and Plant Analysis Council, Inc. (SPAC), an international society of scientists and organizations interested in advancing nutrient analysis of soil, plant, and water. About 130 scientists from 28 countries participated in the 10th ISSPA held in Budapest, Hungary, June 11-15, 2007. It was hosted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Budapest. It continued a successful series of symposia held since 1989. The purpose of the biennial Symposium was to bring together agricultural and natural resource scientists from around the globe to share information on soil, plant, and water analyses for the purpose of efficient resource management and environmental protection. The venue of the Symposium was Hotel Mercure Buda. The hotel is located in the business district of Buda, across the street from a large park and faces the city’s Castle District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 192-page Program and Abstracts book (edited by Tamos Nemeth and Sandor Koas) was given to all the delegates at the time of registration. The symposium was officially opened by Donald Horneck, SPAC President. Szilveszter E. Vizi (President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) and Sandor Magda (Rector of Koroly Robert College and Member of the Hungarian Parliament) welcomed the participants to Budapest. Tamos Nemeth, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, welcomed the delegates to the Symposium.

The theme of the symposium was “Role of soil, plant, and water analysis in multifunctional agriculture and sustainability. A number of highly regarded keynote speakers presented papers in the following seven plenary sessions: Present status and future trends in crop production; Organic matter and soil fertility; Degradation processes influencing soil fertility; Soil mapping and sampling; Modeling soil chemical phenomena; Modeling nutrient management; and Fertilization status in the Eastern European countries. Poster papers were an integral component of the Symposium. The voluntary papers were presented in the following seven poster sessions: Chemical methods for soil-plant relations; Heavy metals and remediation processes; Greenhouse and field methods in soil fertility and plant nutrition; New products for improving the soil fertility; Basic tools for environmental friendly plant nutrient application; Nutrient cycles in the soil-plant system, and Precision farming, present and future. Each poster session was coordinated by a scientist who gave, to whet the appetite, an overall picture of posters being presented in that session. I am grateful to the Organizing Committee for giving me the opportunity to coordinate Poster Session 3 (Greenhouse and field methods in soil fertility and plant nutrition) on June 12. A new feature of this Symposium was the oral component of the poster sessions. In the time slots scheduled for posters, presenters gave a five-minute overview of their posters. The oral and poster papers will be published, after scientific reviews, in the Proceedings as a special issue of the Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis (Guest editor: Arri van Vuuren).

The Welcome Reception on June 11 was a unique opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones. The Symposium Dinner on June 14 on the Ship Millennium I, while cruising the magnificent Danube river, was a unique experience. The Budapest panorama at sunset and during the night was spectacular. Following the dinner, Donald Horneck presented the prestigious J. Benton Jones, Jr. Award to John Ryan, a world renowned soil scientist from the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Aleppo, Syria, for his significant contributions to the development and advancement of soil and plant analysis. The recipients of the J. Benton Jones, Jr. Award at the previous nine symposia were J. Benton Jones, Jr., USA (1989), Victor J.G. Houba, the Netherlands (1991), Yash P. Kalra, Canada (1993), Nat Dellavalle, USA (1995), Wayne Sabbe, USA (1997), Umesh C. Gupta, Canada (1999), Theodore R. Peck, USA (2001), George E. Rayment, Australia (2003), and Malcolm Sumner, USA (2005).

I was one of the 10 people who took the Pre-Symposium Tour on June 8-10. The tour stared at 9:00 a.m. on June 8 from Hotel Mercure Buda. We traveled to Debrecen where we had lunch at the Hotel Villa Debrecen. Junos Antal was our tour guide for local sightseeing. Debrecen (nickname the Calvinist Rome) is the second most populous city in Hungary. We visited the beautiful campus of the University of Debrecen. The stay at the Thermal Hotel Victoria was excellent. Relaxation in thermal baths (inside and outside the hotel) was an invigorating experience. Next day we visited the National Park Hortobogy within the Hungarian Puszta (Great Hungarian Plain), steppe, famous for its wildlife and traditional agriculture (a vast area of plains and wetlands in eastern Hungary; the largest continuous natural grassland in Europe). Hortobogy was designated as a national park in 1973 (the first national park in Hungary). We saw the Meta Stud Farm, Horse Breeding Centre. We took a tour on the horse-drawn carriage into the puszta visiting famous Hungarian rare breeds, e.g., grey cattle, Nonius horses, water buffaloes, Racka sheep and the Mangalica pigs. Then we were off to Tojak. Tokaj-Hegyalia is renowned for its vineyards and wine cellars throughout the world. We tasted the world-famous Tokaji asza titled “The King of Wines, Wine of Kings”. The view from the top of the 514 m Tojak Mountain (Kopasz/bald Mountain) was spectacular. After dinner at the Hotel Magita, we visited the famous Vivamus winery (3.5 km underground cellar; 200,000 (0.75-liter) bottles plus 24,000 (136-liter) barrels of wine. On the third day of the tour, after sightseeing in Lillafored (a popular tourist resort), we took a short excursion to Garadna by forestry railway (760 mm narrow gauge). After lunch, we came back to Lillafred and then to Budapest.

The Mid-Symposium Tour on June 13 was an excursion around the northern lakeside of the Lake Balaton, the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe. The itinerary included Budapest-Velence-Tihany-Balatonfred-Tihany-Szontod-Budapest. We saw fields of canola, corn, wheat, and sunflowers. I was impressed by the Analytical Laboratory at the Plant Protection and Soil Conservation Directorate of the Agricultural Office of County Fejor, Velence.

This is the first time that ISSPA was held in Hungary, the gateway to Eastern Europe. Budapest, Hungary’s Capital, “The Pearl of the Danube”, is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The River Danube divides the metropolis of some two million people into two, the hilly Buda and the flat Pest. I found Budapest one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world.

The Symposium Organizing Committee included Tamos Nemeth, Sandor Koas, Katalin Sardi, Peter Csatha, Zolton Gyori, Janos Nagy, Morton Jolankai, Lajos Szaba, and Zoltan Izsaki (Hungary), George E. Rayment (Australia), Georges Hofman (Belgium), Yash P. Kalra (Canada), Jorge Etchevers (Mexico), Roger Hill (New Zealand), Andries Claassensa and Arri van Vuuren (South Africa), John Ryan (Syria), and Donald Horneck, Mark Flock, Byron Vaughan, Neil Christiensen, Bob Beck, and Bob Deustch (USA). I congratulate Tamos Nemeth and his committee on the excellent arrangements. The legendary Hungarian hospitality was remarkable.

The previous nine symposia were held in Fresno, California, USA (1989), Orlando, Florida, USA (1991), Olympia, Washington, USA (1993), Wageningen, the Netherlands (1995), Bloomington, Minnesota, USA (1997), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (1999), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (2001), Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa (2003), and Cancun, Mexico (2005). I have the privilege and distinction of being the only scientist in the world to have participated in all the 10 symposia.

The symposium is now held alternately in North America and overseas. The 11th ISSPA will be held in Santa Rosa, California, USA in 2009. Further information will be posted on our web site ( ). If there is one international meeting that you can go to in 2009, this is the one.

Yash P. Kalra

Canadian Forest Service

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada