Update: 08.12.2017

Soil stores 10% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.

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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.

The 6th Esafs Soil Conference

TAIWAN, 24-29, 2003

The East and Southeast Asian Federation of Soil Science Societies (ESAFS) links Soil Science Societies in the Asian region. It was formed during the 14th World Congress of Soil Science of the International Soil Science Society at Kyoto in 1990 and has had a meeting once every two years. Societies belonging to monsoon Asia whose agriculture is or was rice-based are welcome to participate and with each Conference, the number of countries is increasing. At the Taiwan meeting, the 199 participants were from Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, with South Korea having more than 60 participants. Observers are also invited and the United States has always participated. The Secretariat of the Federation is at the country of the host country.

The theme of the 6th Conference is Soil management technology on low-productivity and degraded soils. Two days of technical sessions were held in Taipei and this was followed by four days of field trips. After the opening ceremony on the first day the Keynote Speech with a title, Soil degradation on the coastal lowlands in Southeast Asia, was given by Dr. Kazutake Kyuma, Emeritus Professor at Kyoto University. This was followed by nine technical presentations ranging from landscape conditions to microbiology. Time was also provided for poster presentations. The second day commenced with a Keynote speech from Dr. Hari Eswaran (USDA-NRCS, World Soil Resources) entitled, Soil Science in Asia: Confronting New Realities of the 21st Century. Another 12 technical papers and 51 posters concluded the day. A business meeting was held to discuss issues of the Federation and determine the venue of the next Conference. The proceeding of the Conference is already published and available from Dr. Zueng-Sang Chen ( soilchen@ccms.ntu.edu.tw).

The field trip spanned the entire length of the island from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Confining to the theme of the Conference, the participants had the opportunity to see and discuss management aspects of different crops including tea, wax-apple and bamboo, land degradation in different landscape settings and under different kinds of land use, and mitigation technology to address some of these land degradation conditions. Erosion and soil conversation is a major problem on this island and finding cost-effective technologies is a continuing challenge. Hidden degradation problems include the example of land subsidence induced by excessive extraction of ground-water for fish pond management. A visit to a living museum near Taichung demonstrated the devastation that can be caused by earthquakes as happened here on September 21, 1999. The photo-gallery on the website of the Korean Soil Science Society (http://www.ksssf.or.kr/) captures the spirit of the Conference.

(Some participants at a house that was abandoned due to land subsidence. Left to right, Hari Eswaran-USA, Kazutake Kyuma-Japan, Zueng Sang Chen-Taiwan, Horng Yuh Guo-Taiwan, Dar Yan Lee-Taiwan, G. Narayananswamy-India, and Young-Tae Jeon-South Korea).

(Some participants at a house that was abandoned due to land subsidence. Left to right, Hari Eswaran-USA, Kazutake Kyuma-Japan, Zueng Sang Chen-Taiwan, Horng Yuh Guo-Taiwan, Dar Yan Lee-Taiwan, G. Narayananswamy-India, and Young-Tae Jeon-South Korea).

Appreciating the socioeconomic conditions of the region, specifically the burgeoning population, the Conference concluded that there was an urgent need to enhance the investments in research and technology development for land management. It also recognized that there was a serious lack of information on the condition of the land resources and this should be addressed through more organized monitoring activities. Though a few countries have monitoring programs, the discussions showed that these should evolve to a coordinated program to evaluate land resource conditions and state of degradation.

The 7th ESAFS Conference will be held in Philippines in 2005. Details of the meeting will be announced in 2004 or can be obtained from Dr. Clarita Aganon of Central Luzon State University ( cpaganon@yahoo.com) Fax: 63-044-4560-704).

Hari Eswaran
Washington D.C.