Update: 19.01.2018

It can take more than 1000 years to form a centimeter of topsoil.

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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 66 (October 2010)

Information for and from the global soil science community

Soils in Italy

On www.soilmaps.it you can find the kml files of the Italian soil regions, soil systems and pedosites (soils of national cultural heritage). Just click on the related item of the news box in the home page of soilmaps, Google will allow you to see or download the geography and the attributes of the maps. The information comes from a collaborative project  involving all soil regional services of Italy, named 'Badasuoli' (soil database of Italy). Badasuoli stores more than 44,000 pedons, classified both according to Soil taxonomy (2003) and World Reference Base (1998).


Land Quality and Land Use Information in the European Union, 26-27 May 2011. Keszthely, Hungary. Following recent scientific and policy developments - also reflected in international environmental agreements - land quality is now regarded as an integrated measure of different aspects of land ecosystem services. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences together with the European Commission (Eurostat, DG Environment, JRC) and the University of Pannonia and in association with the Hungarian EU presidency is organizing a conference on the issue. The conference is planned to facilitate the exchange of information and views among stakeholders involved in different aspects of land quality management; be it research, policy planning, soil management or conservation.  Among the goals of the conference is to enhance the understanding of the role of land quality in rural systems and to progress the development of land information, land use planning and related services based on land quality on different levels; from farm to continental scales.  List of the addressed topics and many more information is available on the conference website: http://landq2011.uni-pannon.hu/ (Registration is now open; deadline for paper submission is 30 November 2010.)

Ottawa 2011 GAC-MAC-SEG-SGA, 25-27 May 2011. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Earth climate; Circumpolar geoscience; Water, waste and nuclear repositories; Arctic landscape evolution; Rare elements: mobility and concentration processes; Environmental geomicrobiology. These are just a few of the many symposia and special themes that will be addressed at Ottawa 2011. This is a joint annual meeting of the Geological Association of Canada, the Mineralogical Association of Canada, the Society of Economic Geologists and the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits. Under the general conference theme of "Navigating Past and Future Change" we invite you to attend this event in Canada's capital, where you will experience a unique blend of culture, history and natural beauty all in the heart of the city. It lies at the junction between the rocky edge of the Canadian Shield and the Cambrian and Ordovician deposits of an ancient sea, and is ideally situated for its two universities, the Geological Survey of Canada and all the departments of the Government of Canada including Environment Canada, Agriculture Canada and Natural Resources Canada. Keynote lectures, challenging debates, informative workshops and spectacular field trips will complement the oral and poster presentations. For further information: www.gacmacottawa2011.ca/welcome.html  

New Publications

European Atlas of Soil Biodiversity. Catalogue Number: LB-NA-24375-EN-C. ISBN: 978-92-79-15806-3, ISSN: 1018-5593. Price: Euro 25.00 The European Atlas of Soil Biodiversity provides a comprehensive source of information for researchers, policy makers and teachers, and a contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity. It selects and ranks potential threats to soil biodiversity, including land use change, habitat disruption, intensive human exploitation, invasive species, soil compaction, erosion and pollution. The map provides an evaluation of the potential risk of soil biodiversity decline with respect to the current situation, showing that the risk of decline in soil biodiversity due to human-induced pressures tends to be highest in areas of high population density and/or intense agricultural activity. The 128-page atlas is the result of collaboration between the European Commission, partners from academia and industry, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Interpretation of Micromorphological Features of Soils and Regoliths. Edited by: Georges Stoops, Vera Marcelino, and Florias Mees. Academic Press, 2010. 800 pp. ISBN: 9780444531568. Covers the microscopic study of undisturbed soil and regolith samples, making use especially of thin sections and petrographic techniques. Incorporates more than 2,600 different references. Features contributions from 46 experts in the field. Micromorphology is a discipline used in several fields, such as pedology, quaternary geology, sedimentology, and archaeology. This book provides these researchers the state of the art in the field of genetic interpretation of micromorphological features, with coverage extending to processes of soil material formation, weathering, regoliths, as well as the results of human activities. The books is for: Postgraduate students and researchers in the fields of pedogenesis, soil classification, quaternary geology, sedimentology and archaeology.

World Soil Erosion and Conservation. Series: Cambridge Studies in Applied Ecology and Resource Management. Edited by David Pimentel. Cambridge University Press, 2009 Paperback. ISBN-13: 9780521104715. Land degradation from soil erosion has been considered by many to be a problem of significant proportion, affecting some 30-50% of the earth's land surface. At the time of the first publication of this book in 1993, estimates indicated that 10-15 million hectares of land were being lost each year through erosion and salinisation from irrigation and that at such a rate of loss, topsoil reserves on most sloping lands would be depleted within two hundred years. Since humankind's dependency on the land for food is almost total, soil erosion represents a real threat to the security of our food supply. The need for the immediate conservation of the world's soil resources is therefore clear. As part of the response to this need, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Commission on Ecology convened a special working group to consider the problem of world soil erosion and to propose practical solutions for soil conservation. This important book presents the outcome of their work.

Regolith Science. Edited by Scott, Keith; Pain, Colin. Springer, jointly published with CSIRO, Australia. 2009, 462 pp. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-1-4020-8859-9. This comprehensive reference on the fundamentals of regolith science describes how regolith is developed from parental rocks and emphasises the importance of chemical, physical, water and biological processes in regolith formation. It provides details for mapping regolith landforms, as well as objective information on applications in mineral exploration and natural resource management. Regolith Science also provides a concise history of weathering through time in Australia. It includes previously unpublished information on elemental abundances in regolith materials along with detailed information on soil degradation processes such as in acid sulfate soils. Written by experts in the field, Regolith Science summarises research carried out over a 13 year period within the Cooperative Research Council for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration. This book will be a valuable resource for scientists and graduate/postgraduate students in geology, geography and soil science, and for professionals in the exploration industry and natural resources management.


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