Update: 21.03.2018

A handful of soil can contain billions of soil microorganisms.

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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.


IUSS Alert 152 (February 2018)

IUSS Global Soil Icon Contest

Soil is the essence of all terrestrial life, and critical to the delivery of major ecosystem services for human wellbeing and nature conservancy. So far the iconic symbol that represents major ecosystem services of soil, while being simple and easy to be comprehended by the general public, has not been created. But hopefully you can do it!

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 you to submit your 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.

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 final decision will be announced within one month after the submission date given above.
Note: The best 12 icons out of all submitted icons will be displayed on the IUSS website (one per month).


Request for contributions 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://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 found on the IUSS website: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/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 .


21st World Congress of Soil Science – detailed descriptions of technical tours available

The 21st World Congress of Soil Science (21WCSS) 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.

Please take note that detailed descriptions of the technical tours are available on the congress website. The organization team prepared one pre-congress tour, two congress tours and seven post-congress tours to different locations in Brazil.

Reminder on important dates:
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://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/21wcss_-_meeting_information.pdf


Inakwu Odeh (1956 – 2018)

Associate Professor Inakwu Odeh passed away on the 4th of February 2018. Odeh, as he was known to many, was the Sesquicentennial Associate Professor in Rural Spatial Information Systems (2004-2018) in the School of Life & Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. As a researcher some of Odeh’s best known work began with his PhD, which he undertook while based at the University of Adelaide. He was one of the first to apply the fuzzy sets theory to mapping the soil continuum as a continuous land surface body which has been widely used and cited by many researchers in the field. During his time at the University, he produced the baseline soil data sets and maps for cotton growing regions and also laid out a suite of spatial prediction methods which now are regularly used for Digital Soil Mapping.

Odeh was one of the early pioneers of Pedometrics and GIS teaching at the University of Sydney. He was an enthusiastic member of Soil Science Australia, including being President of the NSW branch in 2010. He was also an Associate Editor to some of the top-ranking soil science journals including European Journal of Soil Science and Geoderma. He is survived by his devoted wife and four daughters. His friendliness, kindness, energy and joy will be sadly missed.

[By Damien Field et al.]


General News

Call for experts to serve on the ITPS

The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) invites its Partners to nominate experts from their regions as candidates for appointment to the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS).

The main function of the ITPS is to provide scientific and technical advice and guidance to the GSP on global soil issues in the first instance and in relation to specific requests submitted by global or regional institutions.

Nominations should be sent by GSP Partners to GSP-Secretariat@fao.org on or before 30 March 2018. They should include the name of the candidate, contact address, the candidate’s CV with a list of peer-reviewed publications and other relevant publications, and a letter of recommendation from the nominating partner.

Read more: http://fao.msgfocus.com/q/1maaTHJOxs09pj9f05tF/wv


Plants increase flower production within a day of soil nutrient application

The molecular mechanisms enabling plants to quickly adapt their rate of flower production in response to changing nutrient levels in soil have been revealed by researchers at the Sainsbury Laboratory. A team of plant scientists examined the processes through which plants are able to pass on information about the external environment from the roots to the new shoots. The results showed that increased soil nutrients leads to a response in stem cells in the shoots in less than 24 hours.

Read more: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-production-day-soil-nutrient-application.html


Root discovery may lead to crops that need less fertilizer

Bean plants that suppress secondary root growth in favor of boosting primary root growth forage greater soil volume to acquire phosphorus, according to researchers, who say their recent findings have implications for plant breeders and improving crop productivity in nutrient-poor soils.

Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180118142650.htm


Pedotransfer functions bring new life to Earth system modeling

A recent paper in Reviews of Geophysics describes how currently available soil information furthers our understanding of soil processes and their integration in Earth system modeling.

Read more: https://eos.org/editors-vox/pedotransfer-functions-bring-new-life-to-earth-system-modeling


Scientists peek inside the ‘Black Box’ of soil microbes to learn their secrets

Microbes create fertile soils, help plants grow, consume and release carbon dioxide, oxygen and other vital elements. But they do it all anonymously. Scientists haven’t identified most of these species and don’t know much else about them, either, such as “what they’re doing in soil, how they’re surviving, what they look like”.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/18/578924748/scientists-peek-inside-the-black-box-of-soil-microbes-to-learn-their-secrets


More research needed for responsible peatland management in Indonesia

Indonesian peatland researchers recently gathered in Bogor, Indonesia, to examine the effectiveness of the latest government regulation on peatlands. We found some shortcomings, one being that the regulation isn’t well supported by scientific evidence. The Indonesian government declared that the area of peatlands burnt in 2017 declined significantly compared to previous years. After a disastrous fire two years ago, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry urged plantations to block canals and to build water retention basins and wells in peatlands.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/more-research-needed-for-responsible-peatland-management-in-indonesia-90023


‘Three Sisters in Soil’ wins global soil painting competition

Soil, it turns out, can be a work of art — and a team of Cornell artists and scientists proved just that. A painting they created with soil captured first prize in the university division of the global soil painting competition sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Read more: http://blogs.cornell.edu/hort/2018/01/12/three-sisters-in-soil-wins-global-soil-painting-competition/


Conferences, Meetings and Workshops


European Soil Partnership Plenary Meeting 2018

20-21 March 2018, FAO, Rome, Italy.

Website: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1100023/
Registration: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/registration/en/?event_id=1100023


Conference Soil-Waste-Water 2018

26-28 March, 2018, Landau, Germany. The aim of this workshop will be to present, discuss and conclude about current developments in the use of wastewater and solid residues in agriculture for crop irrigation and fertilization and their effects on the environment.

Read more: http://www.soil-waste-water.de/


GSOP18 – Global Symposium on Soil Pollution

2 – 4 May 2018. FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy.

Deadline for abstract submission was prolonged to February 28, 2018
Read more: http://fao.msgfocus.com/q/1m5FOwn5rICaX043ZqWo/wv


International Symposium on Soil Health and Sustainable Development

24-26 May 2018, Beijing, China

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlights/detail/en/c/1100241/


Spring school on mapping and assessment of soils

May 28 – June 1, 2018, Wageningen Campus, the Netherlands. ISRIC – World Soil Information will organise a Spring School on digital soil mapping, classification and assessment for soil and environmental scientists, students, soil experts and professionals in natural resources management. The spring school will consist of two five-day courses that are run in parallel.
Registration deadline: 12 March 2018.

Read more: http://isric.org/springschool


ESSC International Conference: ‘Soil and Water Security: challenges for the next 30 years!’

6 – 8 June 2018, Imola, Italy. The objective of the conference is to stimulate reflections on the importance of environmental resources for humankind, paying special attention to the new challenges and opportunities concerning Soil and Water Security and Conservation for the next 30 years. The Conference is open to soil scientists, educators and policy-makers. It will consist of invited lectures, scientific sessions with oral and poster presentations, and will be subdivided into four main topics.

Download the first circular: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/1st_circular_letter_essc_2018_int._conference.pdf


6th GSP Plenary Assembly

11 – 13 June 2018, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/1069377/


Conference “Soils genesis and evolution in landscape”

6-7 September 2018, Warsaw, Poland. Abstract submissions until 30 May 2018

Read more: https://sites.google.com/site/sgesggw/home


21th ISTRO Conference 2018

September 24-27, 2018, Paris, France. The International Soil Tillage Research Organization (ISTRO) is an international association whose objective is to stimulate research on tillage and no till, compaction and, more broadly, to contribute to soil protection and to improve soil quality. The scientific topics during the conference will focus on advances in soil structure characterization, soil compaction, biogeochemical processes and carbon sequestration, with a special interest on soil ecology and ecosystem services. Equipment strategies will also be discussed with soil tillage strategies, smart farming, tires and tillage equipment design. Abstract submission extended until 31 March 2018.

Read more: http://istro2018.webistem.com


“90 Years Forest Research Institute – for the Society and Nature”- Reminder

24-26 October, 2018, Sofia, Bulgaria. Reminder: Abstracts are due by midnight April 30, 2018 (Monday). Online registration and submission of your abstract is now open.

Read more: http://fri.bas.bg/en/international-scientific-conference-90-years-forest-research-institute-for-the-society-and-nature/


Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference

4-6 December 2018, University of Sydney, Australia. Soil security is an essential foundation for planetary health because the vast majority of terrestrial biodiversity is found within soil or is reliant on soils and 97% of the world’s food comes from agricultural soils. The aims for the conference are to review, develop and synthesise the concepts of soil security and planetary health, focusing on the role of soil in overall planetary health through multidisciplinary discourse; to key examples of threats to soil security and measures to improve soil security from across the planet and to provide clearer measurement systems and policy frameworks for stewardship and sustainable use of the Earth’s soil. Registration and Call for papers will open at the end of March 2018.

Read more: https://sydney.edu.au/agriculture/outreach-engagement/soil-security-and-planetary-health-conference.html


New publications

The Soils of Turkey

By Kapur, Selim, Akça, Erhan, Günal, Hikmet (Eds.). Published 2018 by Springer, World Soils Book Series, 369 pages, 245 color & 49 B/W illustrations, ISBN 978-3-319-64392-2, price hardcover 164.99 Euro.

This book compiles all available and relevant information concerning the soils of Turkey, including the soil survey studies conducted by universities and governmental institutes from the early 1950s until today. Recent findings and advances include the description and analyses of new profiles from some parts of the country by the chapter authors; reflecting the latest version of the World Reference Base (WRB) soil system, they produce a refined soil map.

The book offers valuable guidance on soil management for planners of agricultural strategies, land management experts concerned with terrestrial carbon management (soil-sequestered and biomass carbon) and climate change mitigation, and educators concerned with raising awareness for the long-neglected significance of Turkey’s soils.


Pictorial Atlas of Soilborne Fungal Plant Pathogens and Diseases

By Tsuneo Watanabe. Published February 8, 2018 by CRC Press, 276 pages, 100 color & 26 B/W illustrations, ISBN 9781138294592, price hardback GBP 115.00.

This tome describes the soilborne fungal diseases caused by Oomycetes, Zygomycetes, Ascomycetes, Basidiomycetes, and Deuteromycetous (Anamorphic) fungi. Soilborne fungal diseases are significant as both environmental and agricultural problems, yet it is difficult to understand the ecology of pathogenic fungi and its effective control. This book provides very detailed information on many of the commonly and not so commonly encountered groups of soilborne fungi diseases. It will be a useful reference for those teaching and conducting research in mycology, plant pathology, soilborne plant diseases, and the ecology of fungal communities.

Read more: https://www.crcpress.com/Pictorial-Atlas-of-Soilborne-Fungal-Plant-Pathogens-and-Diseases/Watanabe/p/book/9781138294592


Applied Soils and Micromorphology in Archaeology

By Richard I. Macphail and Paul Goldberg. Published in January 2018 as Part of Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology, 630 pages, 139 b/w illustrations, 12 maps, 49 tables, ISBN: 9781107648685, price paperback GBP 34.99.

This book provides the most up-to-date information on soil science and its applications in archaeology. Based on more than three decades of investigations and experiments, the volume demonstrates how description protocols and complimentary methods (SEM/EDS, microprobe, micro-FTIR, bulk soil chemistry, micro- and macrofossils) are used in interpretations. It also focuses on key topics, such as palaeosols, cultivation, and occupation surfaces, and introduces a range of current issues, such as site inundation, climate change, settlement morphology, herding, trackways, industrial processes, funerary features, and site transformation.

Read more: http://www.cambridge.org/at/academic/subjects/archaeology/archaeological-science/applied-soils-and-micromorphology-archaeology#bEJm18c3bTwZXFfx.99



financially supported

AT Delta-T Devices

SM150T – Research grade soil moisture and temperature sensor

  • Research grade build and performance at a great price
  • Soil moisture ± 3% accuracy
  • Built-in temperature sensor
  • Robust and buriable – IP68

The SM150T is a highly dependable sensor with exceptional salinity and temperature stability. It achieves moisture accuracy of ±3% (after soil specific calibration) and the built-in temperature sensor achieves 0.5°C accuracy. It is built to withstand long term burial – the sensor, connectors and cable are all environmentally protected to IP68.

The SM150T is a dual purpose probe – it can be used portably (with readout unit) for instant moisture readings, or left installed in the soil for continuous logging – to provide long-term moisture and temperature data. The SM150T can be logged by any Delta-T Devices data logger and by many loggers from other manufacturers (simple 0-1 V output).
The SM150T is provided with general calibrations for mineral and organic soils. A two-point soil specific calibration can be performed for greater accuracy if required.

More information on the SM150T


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