Update: 08.12.2017

In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

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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.

International conference Soil Classification 2004

International conference Soil Classification 2004 was held in Petrozavodsk, Russia, 3-8 of August, 2004 under auspices of IUSS and Dokuchaev’s (Russian) Society of Soil Sciences. The event continued the discussion started at the international soil classification conferences in Alma-Ata (1988) and Velence, Hungary (2001). The conference collected 93 participants from 28 countries (Russia, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, China, India, Taiwan, Bhutan, Australia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Iran, Canada, the United States, Cuba and Mexico).

The IUSS was represented by the Chairman of the Division I Soils in time and space Prof. Ahmet Mermut, the Chairman of the commission Soil Genesis Prof. Viktor Targulian and Vice-chairman of the same commission Prof. Zhang Ganlin, Vice-chairman of the commission Soil Classification Prof. Josef Deckers. The most active nucleus of the conference was represented by the WRB Working group (Prof. Erika Micheli Chairperson, Dr. Peter Schad Vice-chair, Dr. Otto Spaargaren – Secretary). FAO was represented by Dr. Freddy Nachtergaele (also one of the most active members of the WRB standing committee). The honorary guests of the meeting were Profs. Rudi Dudal, Winfred Blum, Hans-Peter Blume, Richard Arnold, and Arnt Brongher.

The conference had 5 main sessions: Development of WRB, Development of national soil classifications, Anthropogenic soils classifications, Numerical and computer-based classifications, and Indigenous soil classifications. The program included both plenary lectures, oral presentations, and poster sessions, as well as other activities, such as joint business meeting of the Commissions Soil Genesis, Soil Classification, and WRB working groups. The conference also included a field workshop aimed to the discussion of some problematic soils groups (shallow Podzols, weakly developed soils with an increase of clay content in B horizon, urban soils, Albeluvisols, and soils developed on carbon-containing shales). Though the discussion was interesting and productive, the participants noted poor organization of the field workshop: the field guide was lacking morphological descriptions of the pits, some analytical data were absent, and some were considered to be incorrect.

Generally, the conference showed an increased interest of the soil science community to classification problems. It was noted an urgent need for the development of national soil classifications and soil surveys, and of global WRB-based correlation system.

Prof . Winfried Blum


E-mail: herma.exner@boku.ac.at