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 - 50 (June 2009)

Information for and from the global soil science community

New IUSS Bulletin

IUSS Bulletin 114 is now available on the website - both in high resolution (13 Mb) and low resolution (5 Mb). The Bulletin contains a call for papers for the upcoming World Congress of Soil Science in Brisbane in 2010, information on the new Secretary General and the Deputy, 4 Divisional reports, an ICSU report, articles on soil and water and conservation and the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies, Five Questions to Gary Peterson and Winfried Blum, the Favourite Soil Science Books of Thorsten Behrens, Mike Vepraskas, Florence Carre and Murray Lark, Honors and Awards, Obituaries, Report of Meetings, a short list of Upcoming Meetings, New Publications. Happy reading!


Call for papers - 19th World Congress of Soil Science

The 19th World Congress of Soil Science will be held in Brisbane, Australia, from 1-6 August, 2010. Paper Submission for the 19th World Congress of Soil Science: papers must be submitted using the on-line process no later than 31 October 2009.  Submitting authors will be advised if their paper has been accepted by 15 December 2009.  Once accepted, authors have until 28 February 2010 to register for the 19th World Congress of Soil Science. A reminder will be sent in February to ensure authors register for the conference.  Authors whose papers have been accepted for the conference who do not register by 28 February 2010, will be removed from the conference program.



Knowledge about the condition and trend of African soils is highly fragmented and dated. There is an urgent need for accurate, up-to-date and spatially referenced soil information to support agriculture in Africa. This coincides with developments in technologies that allow for accurate collection and prediction of soil properties. The Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) will develop a practical, timely, cost-effective, soil health surveillance service to map soil conditions, set a baseline for monitoring changes, and provide options for improved soil and land management. The system will facilitate the identification of areas at risk of soil degradation and corresponding preventive and rehabilitative soil management interventions based on analysis of what works and what doesn't. This project will build on recent advances in digital soil mapping, infrared spectroscopy, remote sensing, statistics, and integrated soil fertility management. Dissemination and training will make the project's outcomes highly accessible to farm communities, public and private extension services, national agricultural research and soil survey organizations, the fertilizer sector, project and local planners, national and regional policymakers, and scientists. The efforts in Africa are part of a wider, global effort to digitally map the world's soil resources - www.globalsoilmap.net

Soils in Gudbrandsdalen - Norway

World Reference Base excursion, 13-20 September 2010, Norway. The main object of this international excursion is to Classify soils at different sites according to WRB, with special regard to Stagnosols, Albeluvisols and Gleysols. Two different methods of soil survey using an adjusted version of WRB will also be demonstrated. The official language in the excursion is English. The excursion will start in the south-eastern part of Norway and end up in the Trondheim area. Driving the main road (E6) north from Oslo through the valley of Gudbrandsdalen, crossing the mountain area of Dovre, we will make stops at relevant sites. The Norwegian Institute of Forest and Landscape is organising the excursion. Further information will be given later this autumn. Contact person is Siri Svendgard-Stokke siri.svendgard-stokke@skogoglandskap.no



Soils in Alberta - Canada

The Soil Monolith Collections and Displays have been recently upgraded to a museum standard at the University of Alberta, Canada. A colorful brochure entitled, "The Story of Soil Science in Alberta: A Guided Tour of Soil Resources at the University of Alberta" by Dr. Noorallah Juma and Dr. Jim Robertson, Professor Emeriti and Past Curators of Soil Monolith Collections, provides a complete list of items in the collections. Most of the collections are displayed in the hallways of the second, third and fourth floors of the Earth Sciences Building, University of Alberta North Campus. This is a great place to see 'Soil Body Worlds'! There is no fee to see these collections!



Frozen soil

Permafrost and seasonally frozen ground regions occupy approximately 24% and 60%, respectively, of the exposed land surface in the Northern Hemisphere. The actual area underlain by permafrost is approximately 12% to 18% of the exposed land area. Frozen ground data and information collected over past decades, and to be collected in the future, are critical for fundamental process understanding, environmental change detection, impact assessment, model validation, and engineering applications. However, much of this information remains widely dispersed and unavailable to the science and engineering communities, and some data are in danger of being lost permanently. The International Permafrost Association (IPA) has developed a strategy for data and information management to meet the requirements of cold regions science, engineering, and modeling communities. A central component of this strategy is the Global Geocryological Data (GGD) system, an internationally distributed system linking investigators and data centers around the world. The Frozen Ground Data Center has now published on this web site and continues to expand and improve access to frozen ground data. The maps are here

Soils for kids

There are many initiatives to popularise soils for school kids. Henry Ferguson, a soil scientist at the National Geospatial Development Center in the USA, has a website with ideas, interesting suggestions and a couple of simple experiments illustrating some soil processes. There is also lesson plan suitable for elementary or secondary educators which includes materials and preparation, background information, student procedure and a student worksheet.  Click here to visit his website.

This intelligent e+ sensor measures Moisture content, electrical Conductivity and Temperature in soils or comparable substrates. Measured data are stored internally and can be transferred optically to the user via the e-SENSE telemetry system or directly to an e+ CONTROL or laptop. The measuring principle of the sensor is based on the Frequency Domain Method (FD), described by Wageningen University & Research Centre, at a frequency of 20 MHz, from which the system derives:

  • permittivity
  • conductivity
  • temperature

The internal software can automatically compensate the conductivity for the measured temperature. Click here for more information.

Meetings and Conferences

Advances of Molecular Modelling of Biogeochemical Interfaces - Perspectives for Soil Research - 6-7 October 2009, Jena, Germany. The focus of the symposium is on a broad range of molecular modelling methods (from force-field based to ab initio quantum chemical) including Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics techniques and their potential to contribute to a better understanding of functionalities of biogeochemical interfaces in soils and help to interpret macroscopic observations in soils. Additionally, the planned symposium is open for the presentation of various experimental techniques combined with molecular modelling studies confirming the importance of such combination for soil research. For example, contribution in the field of microcalorimetry, Nano-SIMS, AFM, XANES and similar technologies are warmly welcome. The symposium is related to the priority program SPP 1315 - Biogeochemical Interfaces in Soil of the German Research Foundation. (www.spp1315.uni-jena.de/Symposium+2009.html)

42nd IUPAC Congress: Chemistry Solutions, 2-7 August 2009, Glasgow, UK. As an IUSS member the early bird registration deadline for the 42nd IUPAC Congress (IUPAC 2009) is this month. Visit www.iupac2009.org to register online. Remember to enter the promotional code 020_IUS exclusive to you as an IUSS member when registering, in order to benefit from the discounts available to you! Hosted by the RSC and co-sponsored by the IUSS, this is 2009's premier European chemical sciences conference. The Congress will include over 50 symposia. To participate by presenting a poster, visit www.iupac2009.org and submit your abstract. The poster abstract deadline is 5 June 2009. We look forward to welcoming you to Glasgow!

25th Annual Conference of the Soil Science Society of East Africa, 5-9 December 2009 Moshi, Tanzania. The event will draw scientists from Research Organizations, Universities, Non-Governmental Organizations, Community-based Organizations, Farmer Association  groups and International Soil-related Organizations operating in Eastern African. Papers will be presented in the conference according to the following disciplines: Fertilizer Use Efficiency and Food Security challenges, Climate change challenges to Small scale farming, Combating desertification  in Eastern Africa, Land resources data bases in Eastern Africa, Water resources Utilization & Food Security, Effective communication of Soil and Water Research findings, Socio-economics and gender aspects of land management, Organic agriculture. More information e-mail M. Kilasara, Chairman, SSSEA  mmkilasara@yahoo.com

Fifth Conference of the African Soil Science Society, 22-28 November 2009, Yaounde, Cameroon. The Africa Soil Science Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 following a meeting of African soil scientists who attended the World Soil congress in Hamburg (Germany). ASSS has successfully organized  four International Conferences : Kampala (Uganda, 1988), Cairo (Egypt, 1990), Ibadan (Nigeria, 1994) and most recently Accra (Ghana, 2007). With more than 150 participants from all over the world, the fourth conference of the ASSS was deemed a success. The 5th ASSS Conference will be held on 22-28 November 2009 in Yaounde, Cameroon. More information click here

Couple of New Publications

Understanding Vineyard Soils, by Robert White. Oxford University Press. Hardback, 240 pages, ISBN 13: 9780195311259.  Understanding Vineyard Soils explains to a wide audience how soils form and why they are so variable. Robert White describes essential chemical and physical processes involving nutrients, water, oxygen and carbon dioxide, moderated by the activities of soil organisms, and proposes remedies to alleviate adverse conditions such as soil acidity, compaction, poor drainage and salinity. The pros and cons of organic viticulture are discussed, as are the possible impacts of climate change. The author explains how sustainable wine production requires grape growers and winemakers to take care of the soil and minimize the impact of their activities on the environment. This book is a practical guide for viticulturists and for the lay reader who is seeking general information about soils, but who may also wish to pursue in more depth the influence of different soil types on vine performance and wine character. Understanding Vineyard Soils will discuss new developments, especially in precision viticulture and organic viticulture. The introduction will address new technologies (near and remote sensing, digital soil mapping) as well as traditional soil classification.

Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook.Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook, Third Edition, by the National Committee on Soil and Terrain. 2009. Australian. CSIRO Publishing. 264 pp. The Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook has been widely used throughout Australia, providing one reference set of definitions for the characterisation of landform, vegetation, land surface, soil and substrate. The book advocates that a comprehensive suite of land and soil attributes be recorded in a uniform manner. This approach is more useful than the allocation of land or soil to preconceived types or classes. The third edition includes revised chapters on location and vegetation as well as some new landform elements. These updates have been guided by the National Committee on Soil and Terrain, a steering committee comprising representatives from key federal, state and territory land resource assessment agencies.

The Soils of Tomorrow - Soils Changing in a Changing World, by C. Dazzi and E. Costantini. Catena Verlag, 2008. Hardcover, 728 pp. ISBN 3923381562. Man is considered the sixth factor of soil formation and his action can be so intense to completely modify the future evolution of the soils. The book reports selected papers from the 5th international congress of the European Society for Soil Conservation. The conference main goal was to promote exchange and discussion about the consequences of man pressure  on soil and landscape, and to stimulate the awareness in the civil society. The book is arranged under eighth interrelated chapters: Soil and society, Soil erosion, Soil organic matter, Soil degradation and desertification, Soil pollution and contamination, Soil conservation and soil quality, Policies for environmental conservation in a global society, and new approaches and technologies for soil assessment. A key note on the related state of the art opens each chapter. The book offers reflections, analysis, facts, new data, suggestions and recommendations, to questions linked to the unbalanced relationships between man and soil. An editorial and a resolution summarize the main outcomes of the conference.

Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) in a Sustainable Rice-Wheat Cropping System, by Mahajan, Anil, Gupta, R.D. Springer, 2009. 268 p., Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4020-9874-1 . India's rice and wheat crops are in crisis - a dangerous situation for a nation where 75 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for a living. Today's falling or static yields in these two key crops have been the result of the intensification of agriculture from the 1960s on. That so-called 'Green Revolution', which depended heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, saw crop production keep pace with population growth until the end of the last millennium. Today, however, the sector is suffering from depleted soils and reduced ground water levels. Past excesses have even left the current generation of farmers with health hazards. The authors of this volume, experts in agriculture and agronomy in the subcontinent, say a new approach is needed. India's population will rise from today's 1.18 billion people to as many as 1.5 billion by 2020, with 25 per cent more mouths to feed. Not only that, but agriculture's pre-eminent place in the country's economy, where it is 18 per cent of total GDP and the biggest single export sector, make any problem in the industry one of national importance.


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