Update: 24.05.2017

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 141 (March 2017)


IUSS News

The IUSS Jeju Award

The IUSS Jeju Award has been co-established by IUSS and the Korean Society of Soil Science and Fertilizer (KSSSF) in commemoration of the successful 20th World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) in Jeju, Korea in 2014. The Award is a strategic award given to a young and mid-career soil scientist who has innovative and outstanding accomplishments in education, research, or extension in soil sciences and has made a substantial contribution to IUSS missions.

Starting in 2018, the IUSS Jeju Award will be given to one awardee every four years at each World Congress of Soil Science. The Award consists of a plaque or equivalent, a certificate, a US$1,000 honorarium, and financial support for air fare and accommodation to attend the presentation at the WCSS. If there is no acceptable candidate, the award will not be given.

Read more: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=632

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New mobile application for classifying soils using WRB 2015

The first mobile application for soil classification using World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) was released at the World Soil Congress in Jeju (Republic of Korea) in 2014. The app worked under Android as the most widely used operation system for mobile phones. The application was well received by the soil science community, but also received some criticism and suggestions for improvement. Thanks to the support of the IUSS Stimulus Fund and Division 1 recently a new version of the application: this time it is adapted for Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile platforms thus covering all the mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets etc. The application leads the user through the key for allocating soils in the reference groups, and then inserting primary and secondary modifiers. At all stages the user can request help to consult the definitions of diagnostic horizons, materials and properties. Compared to the application released in 2014, the new version has several updates: it uses a significantly reworked text of WRB 2015; it allows returning, if a mistake occurred in the process of classification, and the results can be saved. The three versions of the application can be downloaded from the web site of the IUSS Commission 1.4 “Soil Classification” (version in English): https://sites.google.com/a/vt.edu/iuss1-4_soil_classification/home/mobile-phone-apps

Simultaneously, a Russian version of the application was released; this version is available at the Eurasian Soil Portal: http://eurasian-soil-portal.info/index.php/ru/resources-ru/software-ru

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Call for nominations of IUSS Division and Commission Officers 2018-2022 prolonged

We have started the election process for the 4 Division chairs and 44 Commission chairs and vice chairs. The First and Second Vice-Chairperson of each Division shall be appointed by and from the host country where the next World Congress of Soil Science will take place.

We are still seeking nominations for all positions, and a description of the Divisions is given here: http://www.iuss.org/index.php?article_id=40. The description of the specific duties and functions of Divisions and Commission officers is given here: http://iuss.boku.ac.at/files/duties_and_functions_of_division_and_commission_chairs_and_vice_chairs.pdf.
IUSS Full Members (national soil science societies who paid the membership fees) are encouraged to look for suitable candidates and propose them to the Divisional Nominating Committees. Nominees cannot be nominated for more than one position.

Please send in the application before 30 April 2017. The application should include the position, a 100 words biography and homepage URL, if available. It should be sent to:

Positions in Division 1: Prof. Erika Micheli at micheli.erika@mkk.szie.hu
Positions in Division 2: Prof. Kazuyuki Inubushi at inubushi@faculty.chiba-u.jp
Positions in Division 3: Prof. Bal Ram Singh at balram.singh@nmbu.no
Positions in Division 4: Prof. Christian Feller at christian.feller@ird.fr

The new timeline is as follows:
30 April 2017 – call for nominations ends
2 June 2017 – list of candidates and their biographies available
1 September 2017 – voting system will open
31 December 2017 – voting system will close
12 February 2018 – announcement of new IUSS officers

We look forward to receiving your application and candidacy.

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General News

Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) Projections for Europe

This dataset consists of a number of data layers that are associated to the peer-reviewed publication “Assessment of soil organic carbon stocks under future climate and land cover changes in Europe” in “Science of The Total Environment”. The layers cover the current SOC Stocks (2016) and the projected SOC Stocks by 2050, for various Climate Scenarios (CCSM4, HadGEM2-AO , IPSL-CM5A-LR MRI-CGCM3) and Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The model consists of two modules: The base module predicts current soil organic carbon stocks at European scale using regression-kriging and LUCAS topsoil data, and future module uses the regression coefficients (precipitation, bioclimatic datasets, Land Cover 2010, Soil physical attributes) and projects the estimated SOC stocks in 2050. Data based on various climate change scenarios are available in ESDAC.

Read more: http://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/soil-organic-carbon-soc-projections-europe

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Soils could release much more carbon than expected as climate warms

Soils could release much more CO2 than expected into the atmosphere as the climate warms, according to new research by scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Their findings are based on a field experiment that, for the first time, explored what happens to organic carbon trapped in soil when all soil layers are warmed, which in this case extend to a depth of 100 centimeters. The scientists discovered that warming both the surface and deeper soil layers at three experimental plots increased the plots’ annual release of CO2 by 34 to 37 percent over non-warmed soil. Much of the CO2 originated from deeper layers, indicating that deeper stores of carbon are more sensitive to warming than previously thought. They report their work online March 9 in the journal Science.

Read more: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2017/03/08/science.aal1319

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New applications of near-infrared spectroscopy in crop and soil analysis

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), an analytical technique used for plant, animal, and soil analysis, provides faster and cheaper results, reducing laboratory costs by as much as 80%. This method correlates light reflected from a sample with laboratory measurements of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, protein, fibre, or carbohydrate concentrations, among other tests. If the target parameter of a new sample falls within the set used for calibration, NIRS correlations can be applied to different spectrometers as well as samples collected from different regions, states, and countries.

Read more: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/csa/articles/62/2/10

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Selenium deficiency promoted by climate change

Selenium is an essential micronutrient obtained from dietary sources such as cereals. The selenium content of foodstuffs largely depends on concentrations in the soil: previous studies have shown that low selenium concentrations are associated with high pH and oxygen availability and low clay and soil organic carbon content. As a result of climate change, concentrations of the trace element selenium in soils are likely to decrease. Because the selenium content of crops may also be reduced, the risk of selenium deficiency could be increased in many regions of the world. This was shown by a recent study which used data-mining to model the global distribution of selenium.

Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170220190638.htm

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A crater formed in Siberia's permafrost is growing

Near the Yana river basin, in a vast area of permafrost, there is the Batagaika crater. The crater is also known as a “megaslump” and it is the largest of its kind: almost 0.6 miles (1km) long and 282ft (86m) deep. But these figures will soon change, because it is growing quickly.
Looking at the layers exposed by the slump can give indications of how our world once looked – of past climates. At the same time, the acceleration of the growth gives an immediate insight into the impact of climate change on the increasingly fragile permafrost.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170223-in-siberia-there-is-a-huge-crater-and-it-is-getting-bigger?ocid=fbert

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Soil mapping study shows great potential for Central Australian horticulture

Soil in arid parts of Central Australia has shown potential for horticultural development, a study has found. The Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources yesterday released a report mapping the soil west of Tennant Creek and further south in Ali Curung.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-02/central-australian-soil-mapped-with-promising-results/8234716

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Understanding the role of biodiversity in our soils

Soil Biodiversity encompasses a huge array of life on the planet. In some cases, 5 tonnes of animal life can live in one hectare of soil. The variety of soil biodiversity is also quite astounding ranging from bacteria, which are from 1-100 μm in size (i.e. completely invisible to the eye) through to the macrofauna which are on average 2 mm or larger in size and can be easily seen, such as earthworms, ants, woodlice, centipedes etc. The size of an organism is extremely important as this controls its life cycle and its impact on the soil functions. While an individual bacterium is tiny, it fits into minute spaces and there can be 3,000,000 to 500,000,000 bacteria present in 1 g of soil. The role of soil biota in the soil is essential for everyday functions and ecosystems services to take place such as water filtration, nutrient cycling, organic matter breakdown, development of soil structure, plant growth and pollination.

Read more: http://blog.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/article/2017/02/24/understanding-role-biodiversity-our-soils

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Risk assessment of plant protection products for in-soil organisms

Following a request from EFSA, the Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues developed an opinion on the science behind the risk assessment of plant protection products for in-soil organisms. The current risk assessment scheme is reviewed, taking into account new regulatory frameworks and scientific developments. Proposals are made for specific protection goals for in-soil organisms being key drivers for relevant ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes such as nutrient cycling, soil structure, pest control and biodiversity.

Read more: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4690

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Why nature restoration takes time

Soil organisms have an important role in aboveground community dynamics and ecosystem functioning. However, most studies have considered soil biota as a black box or focussed on specific groups, whereas little is known about entire soil networks. With a consortium of colleagues from Europe, in the EU-funded EcoFinders project, we show that during the course of nature restoration on abandoned arable land a compositional shift in soil biota, preceded by tightening of the belowground networks, corresponds with enhanced efficiency of carbon uptake.

Read more: http://blog.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/article/2017/02/10/why-nature-restoration-takes-time

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A Farmer and His Super Soil

Author Miriam Horn describes how a Kansas farmer works for his soil to keep it working for him.

Read more: https://sciencefriday.com/articles/a-farmer-and-his-super-soil/

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Conferences, Meetings and Workshops

Lunchtime Conference aiming at presenting “Healthy Soil for Healthy Food”, winner of the ELO Soil and Land Award 2017

DG ENV – Room BU-5 00/B, 29 March 2017, 12:30 – 14:00. Soil and Land award was launched in 2008 by the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO), under the auspices of the European Commission (DG Environment and the Joint Research Centre) and in association with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) of Vienna, Syngenta International AG, and the Centre for Soil and Environmental Sciences of the Ljubljana University. The objective is to recognize the great value of farmers’ work, by promoting the winning project as a good land and sol sustainable practice at the EU level and to enhance the visibility.
This year the prize winner is “Healthy Soil for Healthy Food”, aiming at improving soil health and the capture and storage of atmospheric carbon using conservation agriculture practices to build up soil organic matter. The partnership between 59 Austrian farmers, SPAR, which is one of the biggest food retailers in Austria, and WWF enhances future security for both, the farmers and SPAR. The farmers get guaranteed sales and receive a bonus per stored ton of CO2, improving their overall economic situation. For SPAR, the supply of healthy and sustainable food to customers is ensured and a contribution to climate change mitigation is made. Together, the three stakeholders have an enormous power to influence food-related patterns from production to consumption.

Meeting of the Interest Group in Agricultural Data – IGAD

University of Barcelona (Spain), 3-4 April 2017. The upcoming IGAD meeting contains 2 days: Day 1: Slots with 2 – 3 keynote presentations for each of the discussion groups and WGs; Day 2: Separate meetings of the IGAD discussion groups and WGs: for the Soil data WG, this will be the kick off meeting. IGAD is the Interest Group on Agriculture Data (IGAD, belongs to the Research Data Alliance RDA), which has established a soil data interoperability discussion group. Any member of IGAD, GODAN (Global Data in Agriculture and Nutrition network) or GSP can participate, but also any other interested party.
The Soil Data WG is currently searching for voluntary contributions (oral), to be held at day 2. This includes presentations about ongoing national efforts to the publication of web soil services, metadata, the development of national or institutional soil data infrastructures, and updates on ISO and OGC activities on web soil data exchange. The main topic, however, will be the discussion of the Terms or Reference for the Soil Data WG.

Read more: http://www.godan.info/news/soil-data-working-group-now-launched

European Soil Partnership Plenary meeting

Rome, Italy, 10-12 May 2017. The European Soil Partnership (ESP) was established a few years ago. The first ESP Plenary Meeting was organized by JRC in May 2014. After a few ups and downs, the ESP is now taking shape and is getting ready for further action. The ESP Steering Committee, in consultation with ESP partners, has drawn up an implementation plan, which will be discussed and hopefully approved, during the upcoming Fourth European Soil Partnership Plenary Meeting, organized at FAO Rome. The main objective of the meeting will be the approval of the ESP 2017-2020 Implementation Plan by the official ESP partners and to define concrete ways and means to ensure its successful implementation at national and regional levels. This meeting will be an excellent occasion to find out if you, your organization and/or other relevant organizations you know of can play a role in the endeavour of turning plans into action.

Read more: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/events/detail/en/c/472930/

Degradation and Revitalisation of Soil and Landscape

Olomouc, Czech Republic, 11-13 September 2017 (9 and 10 September pre-conference tours). Conference theme: Degradation causes and consequences, degradation monitoring and assessment, revitalisation measures. Deadline for abstract submission: May 10, 2017.

Read more: http://ekologie.upol.cz/v4conference

Second Global Soil Biodiversity Conference – new deadline for abstract submission

Nanjing, China, 15-20 October 2017. The China Soil Microbiome Initiative (CSMI) and Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) are pleased to announce the second Global Soil Biodiversity Conference (GSBC2). GSBC2 is centered on the theme “Integrating Soil Biodiversity with Global Sustainability”, and offers an exciting program ranging from topics involving soil biodiversity and global issues on sustainability. The abstract submission is welcome for oral or poster presentation within one of the topics. The deadline is April 1, 2017.

Read more: http://gsbiconference.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1

VII International Conference on Environmental, Industrial and Applied Microbiology – BioMicroWorld2017

Madrid (Spain), 18-20 October 2017. This three-day conference will offer an excellent opportunity for researchers from a broad range of academic disciplines to present, exchange and disseminate information and experiences in the fields of industrial microbiology, biotechnology, environmental sciences, food and medical microbiology and other related fields. Deadlines: 27 June: abstract submission for oral presentation and 20 July: abstract submission for poster and virtual presentation.

Read more: http://biomicroworld2017.org

Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future

Tampa (Florida, USA), 20-22 October 2017. The 2017 Annual Meeting offers a unique opportunity as the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America connect more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators, and students. Deadlines: May 9 – Early Abstract Deadline, May 23 – Final Abstract Deadline

Read more: https://www.acsmeetings.org/home

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New publications

Soil Salinity Management in Agriculture. Technological Advances and Applications

Edited by S. K. Gupta, Megh R. Goyal. March 2017 by Apple Academic Press, 412 pages | 21 Color Illus. | 46 B/W Illus.; ISBN 9781771884433, price hardback: £99.00

This important volume, Soil Salinity Management in Agriculture, addresses the crucial issue of soil salinity of potential farmland and provides a comprehensive picture of the saline environment and plant interactions, along with management and reclamation methods and policies. With contributions from researchers from the fields of agricultural chemistry, soil science, biotechnology, agronomy, environmental sciences, and plant breeding and genetics, the volume emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach.

Read more: https://www.routledge.com/Soil-Salinity-Management-in-Agriculture-Technological-Advances-and-Applications/Gupta-Goyal/p/book/9781771884433

Biochar – A Guide to Analytical Methods

Edited by Balwant Singh, Marta Camps-Arbestain and Johannes Lehmann. March 2017 by CSIRO Publishing, 320 pages, 260 × 200 mm, ISBN: 9781486305094, price paperback $ 99.95.

The first book to comprehensively describe analytical procedures and techniques for biochar analysis. Interest in biochar among soil and environment researchers has increased dramatically over the past decade. Biochar initially attracted attention for its potential to improve soil fertility and to uncouple the carbon cycle, by storing carbon from the atmosphere in a form that can remain stable for hundreds to thousands of years. Later it was found that biochar had applications in environmental and water science, mining, microbial ecology and other fields. Biochar is primarily intended for researchers, postgraduate students and practitioners who require knowledge of biochar properties.

Read more: http://www.publish.csiro.au/book/7478

Climate Change Impacts on Soil Processes and Ecosystem Properties, Volume 35

1st Edition; Series Volume Editors: William Horwath Yakov Kuzyakov. Published by Elsevier on 1st March 2017, 625 pages, ISBN: 9780444638656, price paperback € 165.00.

Climate Change Impacts on Soil Processes and Ecosystem Properties, Volume 35 presents current and emerging soil science research around the areas of soil processes and climate change, also evaluating future research needs. The book combines the five areas of soil science (microbiology, physics, fertility, pedology, and chemistry) to give a comprehensive assessment. This integration of topics is rarely done in a single publication due to the disciplinary nature of the soil science areas, so users will find it to be a comprehensive resource on the topic.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/climate-change-impacts-on-soil-processes-and-ecosystem-properties/unknown/978-0-444-63865-6

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Quantifying and Managing Soil Functions in Earth’s Critical Zone, Volume 142, 1st Edition, Combining Experimentation and Mathematical Modelling

Edited by Steven A. Banwart and Donald L. Sparks; February 2017 by Academic Press, 440 pages, ISBN: 9780128122228, price hardcover € 165.00.

Quantifying and Managing Soil Functions in Earth’s Critical Zone: Combining Experimentation and Mathematical Modelling, Volume 142, the latest in the Advances in Agronomy series continues its reputation as a leading reference and first-rate source for the latest research in agronomy. Each volume contains an eclectic group of reviews by leading scientists throughout the world. Five volumes are published yearly, ensuring that the authors’ contributions are disseminated to the readership in a timely manner. As always, the subjects covered are varied and exemplary of the myriad of subject matter dealt with by this long-running serial.
The topics covered by the book range from Soil Functions in Earth’s Critical Zone: Key Results and Conclusions, Soil Water Characteristics of European SoilTrEC Critical Zone Observatories; Reduced Subsurface Lateral Flow in Agroforestry System Is Balanced by Increased Water Retention Capacity: Rainfall Simulation and Model Validation to Soil Mineralogy Changes With Different Agricultural Practices During 8-Year Soil Development From the Parent Material of a Mollisol; Modeling Soil Aggregation at the Early Pedogenesis Stage From the Parent Material of a Mollisol Under Different Agricultural Practices; Factors Controlling Soil Structure Dynamics and Carbon Sequestration Across Different Climatic and Lithological Conditions, to name but a few.

Read more: https://www.elsevier.com/books/quantifying-and-managing-soil-functions-in-earths-critical-zone/banwart/978-0-12-812222-8

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Nanoscience and Plant–Soil Systems

M. Ghorbanpour, K. Manika, A. Varma (Eds.), Series: Soil Biology, Vol. 48; 1st ed. 2017 by Springer, 553 pages, ISBN 978-3-319-46835-8, price hardcover € 148.49 | £100.50 | $159.00. This book provides in-depth reviews of the effects of nanoparticles on the soil environment, their interactions with plants and also their potential applications as nanofertilizers and pesticides. It offers insights into the current trends and future prospects of nanotechnology, including the benefits and risks and the impact on agriculture and soil ecosystems. Individual chapters explore topics such as nanoparticle biosynthesis, engineered nanomaterials, the use of nanoclays for remediation of polluted sites, nanomaterials in water desalination, their effect on seed germination, plant growth, and nutrient transformations in soil, as well as the use of earthworms as bioremediating agents for nanoparticles. It is a valuable resource for researchers in academia and industry working in the field of agriculture, crop protection, plant sciences, applied microbiology, soil biology and environmental sciences.

Read more: http://www.springer.com/de/book/9783319468334

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The Soils of Wisconsin

By Bockheim, James G. and Hartemink, Alfred E. Published 2017 by Springer, World Soils Book Series; 393 pages, 189 illus., 144 illus. in colour, ISBN 978-3-319-52144-2; price hardcover 86,99 € | £64.99 | $99.00; This book provides an up-to-date and comprehensive report on the soils of Wisconsin, a state that offers a rich tapestry of soils. It discusses the relevant soil forming factors and soil processes in detail and subsequently reviews the main soil regions and dominant soil orders, including paleosols and endemic and endangered soils. The last chapters address soils in a changing climate and provide an evaluation of their monetary value and crop yield potential. Richly illustrated, the book offers both a valuable teaching resource and essential guide for policymakers, land users, and all those interested in the soils of Wisconsin.

Read more: http://www.springer.com/de/book/9783319521435?wt_mc=Alerts.NBA.SpringerAuthors-Mar-3

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Xenobiotics in the Soil Environment. Monitoring, Toxicity and Management

Hashmi, M. Z., Kumar, V., Varma, A. (Eds.). 1st ed. published 2017 by Springer, Soil Biology Series, Vol. 49, 400 pages, 36 illus., 24 illus. in colour, ISBN 978-3-319-47744-2, price hardcover 169,99 € | £126.50 | $199.00. This book describes the vast variety of xenobiotics, such as pesticides, antibiotics, antibiotic resistance genes, agrochemicals and other pollutants, their interactions with the soil environment, and the currently available strategies and techniques for soil decontamination and bioremediation. Topics covered include: transport mechanisms of pollutants along the Himalayas; use of earthworms in biomonitoring; metagenomics strategies for assessing contaminated sites; xenobiotics in the food chain; phyto-chemical remediation; biodegradation by fungi; and the use of enzymes and potential microbes in biotransformation. Accordingly, the book offers a valuable guide for scientists in the fields of environmental ecology, soil and food sciences, agriculture, and applied microbiology.

Read more: http://www.springer.com/de/book/9783319477435?wt_mc=Alerts.NBA.SpringerAuthors-Mar-3

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Les sols – Intégrer leur multifonctionnalité pour une gestion durable

A. Bispo, C. Guellier, E. Martin, J. Sapijanskas, H. Soubelet, C. Chenu (editors). Novembre 2016 par Éditions Quae, 384 pages, ISBN : 978-2-7592-2392-3, prix livre broche €45.00
De la mise en place d’indicateurs pour la planification urbaine à la mesure des stocks de carbone, en passant par les instruments juridiques et économiques pour la protection des sols, cet ouvrage, issu du programme Gessol, synthétise les dernières connaissances biotechniques et sociétales sur le sujet. Il souligne l’importance d’une gestion durable des sols dans les enjeux globaux et identifie les leviers d’actions possibles.

En savoir plus: http://www.quae.com/fr/r4747-les-sols.html?utm_content=243178&utm_source=Dolist&utm_medium=E-Mail&utm_campaign=REL+VDP+Les+sols+mars17-10285327

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