Update: 19.01.2018

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 65 (September 2010)

Information for and from the global soil science community

All papers now online

The conference proceedings from the 19th World Congress of Soil Science held in August in Brisbane are now online available at www.iuss.org.The papers can be browsed by Symposia or searched by First Author or the Title of the Paper. Each paper is available as PDF and the Information for Readers includes recommendations how the papers should be cited. Also the Congress Handbook is available as PDF. The papers were edited by R.J. Gilkes and N. Prakongkep.

Next IUSS Bulletin - deadline end of September

Contributions for IUSS Bulletin 117 should be send in before the end of September! Any contribution is welcome: short articles (max. 1000 words), book reviews, reports from meetings and conferences, announcements, obituaries et cetera. Reports and impressions from the recent World Congress of Soil Science are particularly welcomed! Please send your contributions and click here.

Directory of Geoscience Organizations of the World

The Geological Survey Planning and Coordinating Office of the Geological Survey of Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has produced a Directory of Geoscience Organizations of the World. Although much information can be obtained instantly through the internet today, this directory includes major government/quasi-government organizations throughout the world and is a  handy reference. The Geological Survey of Japan, AIST compiles and publishes both paper-based and digitized version of the directory for convenience of those who are concerned with earth sciences. The directory is available as html and PDF www.gsj.jp/Intl/index-e.htm

Quoting the soil

The soil itself must be the object of observation and experiment and the facts obtained must be soil facts before they can be incorporated into soil science. The science of zoology was developed through the study of animals, that of botany through the study of plants, and soil science must be developed through the study of the soil. by C. F. Marbut (1920).  Ancient poetry and mythology suggest, at least, that husbandry was once a sacred art; but it is pursued with irreverent haste and heedlessness by us, our object being to have large farms and large crops merely. We have no festival, nor procession, nor ceremony, not excepting our cattle-shows and so-called Thanksgivings, by which the farmer expresses a sense of the sacredness of his calling, or is reminded of its sacred origin. It is the premium and the feast which tempt him. He sacrifices not to Ceres and the Terrestrial Jove, but to the infernal Plutus rather. By avarice and selfishness, and a grovelling habit, from which none of us is free, of regarding the soil as property, or the means of acquiring property chiefly, the landscape is deformed, husbandry is degraded with us, and the farmer leads the meanest of lives. He knows Nature but as a robber From Walden (1854) by Henry David Thoreau. And many more soil quotes at wikiquote here


Soil Science in a Changing World, 18-22 September. Wageningen, The Netherlands. Climate change. Food security. Water resources. Biodiversity, Governance and Policy. These evocative titles are not issues that, in the eye of the Public and Politicians, are easily linked to soils scientists. They are challenges seen to be dealt with by scientists in multidisciplinary think-tanks linking into Parliamentary commissions and the front page of newspapers. Soils are of crucial importance in all these issues. In this conference we will discuss the importance of soils and soil science for combating the problems we are facing around the globe. On behalf of the Soil Science Centre of Wageningen University, we would like to invite you to the First Wageningen Conference on Applied Soil Science. The first edition of the Wageningen Soil Meetings will address the importance of soil scientific knowledge for the major global issues. The topics will be addressed in a dynamic way, by top key-note speeches, challenging debates, inspiring workshops and master classes as well as oral and poster presentations. For further information: www.wageningensoilmeeting.wur.nl

New Publications

Amazon Forest and Savanna Lands.  -A guide to the climates, vegetation, landscapes and soils of central Tropical South America.  By Thomas T. Cochrane and Thomas A. Cochrane.  ISBN 1452866376. 190 pp. This book provides an overview of the land resources of the Amazon in terms of the complex of climates, landscapes, vegetation and soils found throughout this vast, often misunderstood region.  Section 1 is an updated sequel to the pioneering digital Land Systems study of the region carried by the senior author between 1976 and 1980.  The authors have re-digitized that study as a Personal Computer Version with Database available free from their Web site.  Section 2 summarizes 3 larger-scale Land Resource Studies of critical areas of Amazonia, "The Geo-economic Region of Brasilia", "The Northern Amazon Region of Bolivia", and "The Western Amazon State of Rondonia, Brazil". Section 3 summarizes a series of findings from the land resource studies in the Amazon, including discussions of climate, deforestation, the "Paradox of Savannas in Amazonia" and "Leaching losses and the improvement of Amazon Forest and Savanna soils". The main text is complemented with an extensive Appendix which, amongst other subjects summarizes the authors' statistical procedure to enhance soil survey studies to help predict fertilizer needs, some novel analytical procedures, and other technologies.

Geostatistical Applications for Precision Agriculture. By Oliver, M.A. (Ed.). Springer, 2010, V, 295 p., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-90-481-9132-1. This book brings together in one place two dynamic subjects, precision agriculture and geostatistics, that have spatial variation at their core. Geostatistics is applied in precision agriculture (PA) to sampling, prediction, mapping, decision-making, economics, designed experiments, variable-rate applications and so on. Contributions from experts in both fields illustrate how geostatistics can and has been used to advantage with PA data such as yield, soil, crop, pests, aerial photograph, remote and proximal imagery. Geostatistical techniques include variography, ordinary-, disjunctive-, factorial-, indicator-, regression-, simple-, space-time- and co-kriging, and geostatistical simulation. The link between geostatistics and PA will increase as more intensive information on the soil and crops becomes available from sensors and on-the-go technology. This is not a recipe book, but is intended to guide readers in the use of appropriate techniques for the types of data and needs of the farmer in managing the land.

Out of the Scientist's Garden. A Story of Water and Food. By Richard Stirzaker. CSIRO Land and Water, 2010. 208 pages. Paperback - ISBN: 9780643096585 - AU $ 29.95. Gives an in-depth understanding on how plants and soil work using stories more than the language of science. It is not a 'how to' book, but a framework over which to lay your own experience, to learn and reflect. Information for gardeners on the challenge of growing food and feeding a family in the city. Covers plants, soil and rivers and the journey from hunter-gatherer to modern agriculture. Reflects on the way scientists conduct their craft. A book for anyone interested in food, how it is grown and how the world feeds itself.  Out of the Scientist's Garden is written for anyone who wants to understand food and water a little better - for those growing vegetables in a garden, food in a subsistence plot or crops on vast irrigated plains. It is also for anyone who has never grown anything before but has wondered how we will feed a growing population in a world of shrinking resources. Although a practising scientist in the field of water and agriculture, the author has written, in story form accessible to a wide audience, about the drama of how the world feeds itself. The book starts in his own fruit and vegetable garden, exploring the 'how and why' questions about the way things grow, before moving on to stories about soil, rivers, aquifers and irrigation. The book closes with a brief history of agriculture, how the world feeds itself today and how to think through some of the big conundrums of modern food production.

Soils of South Africa. By Martin Fey. Cambridge University Press, Cape Town, 2010. 287 pp. ISBN 9781107000506. Soils of South Africa is the first book in seventy years that provides a comprehensive account of South African soils. The book arranges more than seventy soil forms into fourteen groups and then provides, for each group: maps showing their distribution and abundance throughout South Africa; descriptions of morphological, chemical and physical properties; a detailed account of classification and its correlation with international systems; a discussion of soil genesis which includes a review of relevant research papers; appraisal of soil quality from a land use perspective as well as for its ecological significance; illustrative examples of soil profiles with analytical data and accompanying interpretations. There is also a fascinating account of the special relationship that exists between South African animals and soil environments. Soils of South Africa should interest students and researchers in the earth, environmental and biological sciences, as well as environmental practitioners, farmers, foresters and civil engineers.


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