Update: 20.04.2018

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 51 (July 2009)

Information for and from the global soil science community

Conferences

GeoENV 2010 - the 8th International Conference on Geostatistics for Environmental Applications 13-15 September 2010, Ghent, Belgium. On this biennally held conference, scientists across a broad range of disciplines share their experiences on the application of geostatistics to environmental problems. The focus of the conference is on a wide range of topics involving new evolutions on geostatistical methodology, spatial statistics, multiple point geostatistics, spatio-temporal statistics, ecology, natural resources, hydrology, ground water modelling, soil inventory and mapping, health, epidemiology, ecotoxicology, environmental pollution and risk assessment, forestry and agriculture, remote & proximal sensing www.geoenv.ugent.be

Micro Soil: Integrating Biological, Physical and Chemical techniques for the study of soil micro-habitats. Dundee UK, 16-17 September 2009. There is increasing evidence that knowledge of the micro-environment of soils holds the key to a more precise prediction of soil ecosystem functioning. Current advances in techniques in physical (e.g. X-ray CT), chemical (e.g. micro-focus XRF or NANO-SIMS) and microbiological (e.g. FISH) sciences have significantly enhanced our ability to quantify the soils at increasingly smaller scales. The development of these modern techniques has evolved however within separate disciplines. This hampers a holistic approach to the soil system which requires a full integration of physical, biological and chemical methodologies. Perhaps more important, opportunities to apply these techniques simultaneously or combine them with the help of mathematical modelling and statistical techniques are being overlooked. The aim of this workshop is to bring together current leaders in the field of modern physical, microbiological and chemical techniques that can quantify the soil micro-environment, together with modellers and statisticians to:  (i) present the current state of quantitative techniques and sampling strategies for the soil microenvironment, (ii) identify the opportunities and innovations required to ensure a better integration of these techniques. For further information, please contact Dr. Wilfred Otten ( w.otten@abertay.ac.uk).

Couple of New Publications

Guidelines of the soil survey and data informatization methods (Linee guida dei metodi di rilevamento e informatizzazione dei dati pedologici) In Italian, with extended English abstract, Edoardo A. C. Costantini editor. CRA-ABP.  Paperback, 280 p., CD-Rom,  ISBN 9788890352102. Soil knowledge is an essential  element for the environment protection and for agricultural and soil use planning. The guidelines of the methods for soil investigation and data informatization is the reference text for Italy, supported and created under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies. It collects the experiences of  several national and regional research and academic Institutes on soil survey at different scales and makes reference to the European and International standards. The book is freely distributed on request to: CRA-ABP Piazza D'Azeglio30 Firenze 50121 Italy (adding 3.95 euros in stamps).

Hormones and Pharmaceuticals Generated by Concentrated Animal Feeding OperationsHormones and Pharmaceuticals Generated by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Transport in Water and Soil. By Shore, Laurence S.; Pruden, Amy (Eds.) Springer, 2009, X, 138 p. 23 illus., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-0-387-92833-3. This book examines how hormones, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals generated from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) of cattle, poultry, swine and aquaculture are transported in water and soil. Little is known of the environmental fate of the tons of physiologically active steroid hormones released each year. In the last 20 years considerable attention has been given to a wide variety of natural and anthropomorphic agents known as endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs). While some advances in the understanding of the fate of these compounds in water has been made, little is known about the processes that govern their transport in soil or how they eventually reach groundwater. It is somewhat of a mystery how steroids, with their lipophilic nature, strong binding to humic acids and extensive metabolism by soil bacteria, can be transported through even a few centimeters of soil, let alone 20 to 40 meters to the groundwater. With respect to antibiotics, the emphasis is on their fate and transport in the environment and on the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Impacts on soil ecology, including the impact of antibiotics on the metabolism of other active agents, is also discussed. Similarly, the acaricides and insecticides used in animal husbandry are widely used and their environmental pathways have been studied and have significant impacts on soil and dung ecology. Active compounds with potential environmental impacts, such as growth promoters generated from CAFOs, are described.

Soil Science. Edited By A.E. Hartemink, A.B. McBratney and R.E. White. Earthscan Reference Collections 2009.  1800 pages. ISBN 9781844076468.  This four-volume set, edited by leading experts in soil science, brings together in one collection a series of papers that have been fundamental to the development of soil science as a defined discipline. Some of the papers were first published many years ago, but they remain classics in their fields and retain their relevance to the understanding of current issues. The papers have been selected with the assistance of an eminent international editorial board. The set includes a general introduction and each volume is introduced by a new overview essay, placing the selected papers in context. The range of subject matter is considerable, including traditional subjects such as soil genesis, physics and mineralogy, applied disciplines such as soils and hydrology, land degradation and plant nutrition, as well as more contemporary topics such as soil pollution, land use and environmental change. Overall, the set provides students and teachers, confronted with thousands of journal articles, book chapters and grey literature stretching back over nearly a century, with a ready-made selection of and commentary on the most important key writings in soil science. It will be an essential reference for libraries concerned with earth sciences, environmental studies, agriculture and forestry.

Soil and Culture. By Landa, Edward R.; Feller, Christian (Eds.). Springer, 2009, Approx. 500 p., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-90-481-2959-1. Soil has been called the final frontier of environmental research. The critical role of soil in biogeochemical processes is tied to its properties and place porous, structured, and spatially variable, it serves as a conduit, buffer, and transformer of water, solutes and gases. Yet what is complex, life-giving, and sacred to some, is ordinary, even ugly, to others. This is the enigma that is soil. Soil and Culture explores the perception of soil in ancient, traditional, and modern societies. It looks at the visual arts (painting, textiles, sculpture, architecture, film, comics and stamps), prose & poetry, religion, philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, wine production, health & diet, and disease & warfare. Soil and Culture explores high culture and popular culture from the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch to the films of Steve McQueen. It looks at ancient societies and contemporary artists. Contributors from a variety of disciplines delve into the mind of Carl Jung and the bellies of soil eaters, and explore Chinese paintings, African mud cloths, Mayan rituals, Japanese films, French comic strips, and Russian poetry. This is a non traditional volume which will serve the soil science community well while also reaching a broader earth science community such as geologists and geographers, as well as in the arts and social science communities.

Soils, Society & Global Change. EU JRC, 2009. This book highlights how our ability to manage soils plays an important role in global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity reduction, food and water security, and economic and social progress. It explores policy and legal challenges, knowledge management issues, and the crucial role of soil in the successful implementation of the global environmental conventions. The book concludes with the Programme for Action which includes a number of proactive recommendations on how global policies can be improved to protect soil as a resource.

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