Update: 19.01.2018

There are over 100,000 different types of soil in the world.

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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 68 (December 2010)

Information for and from the global soil science community

Hi Nicole

NICOLE is a leading forum on contaminated land management in Europe, promoting co-operation between industry, academia and service providers on the development and application of sustainable technologies. NICOLE's objectives are to:

Provide a European forum for the dissemination and exchange of knowledge and ideas about contaminated land arising from industrial and commercial activities;

Identify research needs and promote collaborative research that will enable European industry to identify, assess and manage contaminated sites more efficiently and cost-effectively; and

Collaborate with other international networks inside and outside Europe and encompass the views of a wide a range of interest groups and stakeholders (for example, land developers, local/regional regulators and the insurance/financial investment community). More: www.nicole.org

Anthropogenic Soils in Soil Taxonomy

ICOMANTH (International Committee for Anthropogenic Soils) has drafted a 7th Circular Letter to introduce classes to recognize human-altered or transported soils. If you have interest, your constructive feedback is welcome. We have posted this Circular at http://clic.cses.vt.edu/soils/~ICOMANTH  The main proposals concern how to recognize and classify deposits of human-transported material 50 cm or more thick. These changes are referenced to pages in the 11th Ed. of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy found online. Please response to john.galbraith@vt.edu  

Universal Soil Classification

At the recent World Congress, the International Union of Soil Sciences leadership unanimously supported the formation of a Working Group to research the potential of developing a Universal Soil Classification System.  The Working Group is chaired by Jon Hempel, USDA-NRCS Jon.hempel@lin.usda.gov  in Lincoln, NE and vice chaired by Erika Micheli, Head Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Szent Istvan University Godollo, Hungary Micheli.Erika@mkk.szie.hu   It is the vision for the Working Group to consist of any and all Pedologists that have an interest in this important topic.  A small core group of Pedologists geographically representing the International Soil Science Community has been assembled and is scheduled to meet in the spring of 2011 to begin the discussion. The following link provides  background information relating to the Universal Soil Classification and the  Working Group: ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/NSSC/Universal_Soil_Classification_Background/

Your own geophysical lab? Eijkelkamp makes it possible

Since soil compaction has become such a hot item again, Eijkelkamp Agrisearch Equipment has developed, in close cooperation with the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel (Germany), a serie of instruments for measuring various parameters which are of direct importance for soil tillage in relation to soil campaction. The series consists of:  Air permeameter (08.65), Surface shear test apparatus (08.66), Shear test apparatus (08.68), Compression test apparatus (08.67), Hauben water permeameter (09.03). For more information please download our brochure at http://www.eijkelkamp.com or send an e-mail to balie@eijkelkamp.com or call +31 313 88 02 00.

Meetings and Conferences

EGU2011: Soil water repellency: origin, assessment and geomorphological consequences. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011, Vienna, Austria, 03-08 April 2011. The objective of this session is to put in common recent research and facilitate international scientific exchange for a better knowledge of water-repellent soils and addressing key research gaps. Contributors are invited to discuss the origin and evaluation of soil water repellency, its impact on the physical and hydrological soil properties, soil erosion, and the effect of wildfires as well as amelioration techniques and strategies for restoration of arable soils or natural areas. Conveners: Antonio Jordan, Lorena M. Zavala, Stefan H. Doerr, Lee MacDonald, Gary Sheridan, Jorge Mataix-Solera. URL: http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2011/session/7784

Soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics at different spatial scales. Convener: Bas van Wesemael. Co-Conveners: Kristof Van Oost, Jens Leifeld. Soils are one of the largest carbon pools and a small change in SOC content could therefore substantially intensify, or mitigate, current atmospheric CO2 increase. The discrepancies in CO2 fluxes from studies using different techniques also emerge. A crucial problem is therefore the linkage between the scale at which we understand processes and develop models (profile scale, short term) and larger scale observations at longer time scales: the spatial aggregation of current approaches induces averaging out of soil conditions and therefore does not allow to incorporate effects of past land management, lateral fluxes of water and/or carbon within the spatial units for which the models are run or the SOC values are averaged. Such landscape processes will need to be reflected in both regional SOC inventories and modeling. For more details http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2011/session/7745

Organic Matter Management & Compost Use in Horticulture. 4 - 7 April 2011. University of Adelaide. Deadline for Abstracts: December 3rd 2010 http://www.compost-for-horticulture.com/ The International Symposium on Organic Matter Management & Compost Use in Horticulture will present, discuss and explore options of using compost and other organic soil amendments for managing & improving horticultural soils and production systems. This Symposium will address and represent all horticultural sectors, including: vegetables, fruit & berry growing, amenity horticulture, landscaping & land rehabilitation, turf production & maintenance, blended soils, protected cropping, potting & container media, viticulture, flower production and tree cropping.  All submitted full papers and posters will be reviewed, and if acceptable in content and style, be published without page charges by ISHS in an issue of Acta Horticulturae after the Symposium.

Rhizosphere 3 International Conference, 25 - 30 September 2011. Burswood Convention Centre, Perth, WA. http://rhizosphere3.com/ RHIZOSPHERE 3 will provide a multidisciplinary forum for exchanging innovative ideas and methods for studying the rhizosphere, understanding its complexity and further up-scaling its functioning to better evaluate its ultimate role in ecosystem processes. It follows on from the highly successful RHIZOSPHERE 2 Conference held in Montpellier (25-31 August 2007) which gathered over 570 participants from 48 countries worldwide. The conference will provide a stage for young and established researchers to present their work in front of a welcoming international audience in the beautiful setting of Perth in Western Australia in September 2011, during the fabulous wildflower season.

INQUA Congress, Bern, Switzerland, July 20-27, 2011 http://www.inqua2011.ch Session 67: Indicators of climatic changes in saprolite, paleosols, polygenetic soils, and soil sediments (Conveners: Daniela Sauer, Mohammed Rafi Sayyed, Birgit Terhorst) http://www.inqua2011.ch/?a=programme&subnavi=sessions&id=67. Session 69: Reconstructing environmental impacts of climate changes from MIS 5 to present, based on terrestrial and lacustrine archives (Conveners: Stefano Carnicelli, Valerie Andrieu-Ponel) http://www.inqua2011.ch/?a=programme&subnavi=sessions&id=69. Deadline for abstract submission: November 30, 2010 (option for poster submission will be re-opened after finalization of oral session programme until May 31, 2011)

Joint Meeting of the Commissions on Palaeopedology and Soil Geography. July 28 to August 1 at Hohenheim University, Stuttgart (Germany). Main topics: carbonates in soils and paleosols; features that are indicative for particular (palaeo-)climatic conditions; soil patterns resulting from lateral water and element flows in landscapes etc. Programme: July 28 Arrival, barbecue; July 29+30 Oral and poster symposia; July 31 Field trip Swabian Alb (relics of Tertiary subtropical-tropical weathering and soils); August 1 Field trip Black Forest (Loess-paleosol sequence, Triassic Gleysol, sequence of soils reflecting lateral transport of iron in the landscape) Abstract submission Dec 1, 2010 - Jan 15, 2011; Registration Dec 1, 2010 - May 31, 2011 https://ppsg2011.uni-hohenheim.de

New Publications

Trace Elements in Soils and Plants, Fourth Edition, by Alina Kabata-Pendias, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Pulawy, Poland. CRC Press. ISBN:  9781420093681. This highly anticipated fourth edition of the bestselling Trace Elements in Soils and Plants reflects the explosion of research during the past decade regarding the presence and actions of trace elements in the soil-plant environment. The book provides information on the biogeochemistry of these elements and explores how they affect food quality. Incorporating data from over 1500 new resources, this edition includes the most up-to-date information on the relationship of trace elements to topics such as: Soil natural/background contents, Sorption/desorption processes, Anthropogenic impact and soil phytoremediation, Phytoavailability and functions in plants, Contents of food plants. The book discusses the assessment of the natural/background content of trace elements in soil, bioindication of the chemical status of environmental compartments, soil remediation, and hyperaccumulation and phytoextraction of trace metals from the soil. The table of contents reflects the IUPAC's recommendation for numbering element groups, giving the new edition an updated organizational flow.
Growth and Mineral Nutrition of Field Crops, Third Edition, by Nand Kumar Fageria, EMBRAPA, San Antonio de Goias, GO, Brazil; Virupax, Baligar, USDA/ARS SPCL, Beltsville, MD, USA; Charles Allan Jones, Texas A&M University, Dallas, USA. CRC Press. ISBN:  9781439816950. By the year 2050, the world's population is expected to reach nine billion. To feed and sustain this projected population, world food production must increase by at least 50 percent on much of the same land that we farm today. To meet this staggering challenge, scientists must develop the technology required to achieve an "evergreen" revolution, one that increases crop productivity without degrading natural resources. With 30 percent new material, the updated and revised third edition of Growth and Mineral Nutrition of Field Crops covers all aspects of crop growth and mineral nutrition that contribute to sustainable, high-yield agriculture. Bringing together international scientific knowledge of crop production and the impacts of agriculture on the environment, this book: Includes two new chapters on remediation of heavy-metal contaminated soils and cover crops; Covers theoretical and practical aspects of mineral nutrition of field crops; Provides recommendations for judicious use of fertilizers, which will reduce cost of crop production and enhance high crop yields without risking environmental pollution; Provides growth patterns for annual crops and forages; Includes a handful of color pictures of nutrient deficiencies for easy diagnostic purposes. To make the book as practical as possible, each chapter is supported by experimental results and extensive references. A large number of figures and tables are also included to save readers time when researching. The overall emphasis of this reference is on the soil's ability to sustain high crop yields and a healthy human population.

Facts About Global Warming. Rational or Emotional Issue? By Kut?lek, Miroslav and Nielsen, Donald R., 2010, 227 pp. Essays in GeoEcology, Catena Verlag GMBH, Reiskirchen, Germany. ISBN 978-3-923381-58-6, US ISBN 1-59326-242-0. Price 45.00  + mailing costs. The book is an essay about a politically abused problem which is not only a subject of climatologists but of utmost interest for researchers in the fields of Soil Science, Hydrology and Environmental Science dealing with the principles of sustaining life on our planet. In an easily understandable presentation the authors discuss comprehensive reports and peer-reviewed scientific publications on global warming, and how temperature of earlier time is estimated when thermometers did not exist. The underestimation of temperature of the Medieval Warm Period in many climatologic studies is critically reported. Stating that greenhouse effect is not the dominant cause of the recent climate change, the authors explain the role of eight factors acting upon the climate in the geological history of planet Earth. They show that climate change was important in man's evolution and in the development and crisis of civilizations. They do not consider the recent magnitude and speed of warming as a signal of an approaching catastrophe. Their analyses of analogical warming oscillations in the Holocene are found not to be dangerous for life, but quite the opposite. The catastrophic scenarios of approaching disasters caused by global warming are rationally rejected at the end. To order the book contact Catena Verlag, Armelgasse 11, D-35447 Reiskirchen, Germany, catenaverl@aol.com, or see www.catena-verlag.de

Soil Enzymology. Series: Soil Biology, Vol. 22. Shukla, Girish; Varma, Ajit (Eds.) 1st Edition., 2011, XVI, 385 p., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-3-642-14224-6. Soil enzymes are one of the vital key mediators involved in nutrient recycling and the decomposition of organic matter and thereby in maintaining soil quality and fertility. This Soil Biology volume covers the various facets of soil enzymes, such as their functions, biochemical and microbiological properties and the factors affecting their activities. Enzymes in the rhizosphere, in forest soils, and in volcanic ash-derived soils are described. Soil enzymes covered include phosphohydrolases, lignocellulose-degrading enzymes, phenol oxidases, fungal oxidoreductases, keratinases, pectinases, xylanases, lipases and pectinases. Several chapters treat the soil enzymatic activities in the bioremediation of soils contaminated with pesticides and pollutants such as oil, chlorinated compounds, synthetic dyes and aromatic hydrocarbons. The role of soil enzymes as bioindicators is a further important topic addressed.


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