Update: 13.07.2018

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 64 (August 2010)

Information for and from the global soil science community

New WRB homepage at FAO

The World Reference Base for Soil Resources / WRB (the soil correlation system of the IUSS) has a new homepage at the FAO site:  www.fao.org/nr/land/soils/soil/en/ It informs about all publications based on the second edition of WRB (2006). Especially important are: 1. the latest revised version (first update 2007), 2. the translations (up till now: Arabic, Spanish, German, Polish, Russian), 3. the newsletters, 4. the 'Guidelines for constructing small-scale map legends using the WRB'. Originally designed for classifying pedons, with these Guidelines WRB can also be used for map legends (at least for scales 1 : 250 000 and smaller).

Call for Papers: SSSAJ 75th Anniversary

Next year will mark SSSA's 75th anniversary and Volume 75 of the Soil Science Society of America Journal (SSSAJ). In 2011, we plan to publish special papers, including historical perspectives, reviews of current topics, or forward-looking opinions on the future of soil science. Send topic suggestions or volunteer a paper for consideration to SSSAJ Editor David Myrold, david.myrold@oregonstate.edu

Hot in climate research?

The 2009 United Nations Summit on Climate Change, which attracted more than 100 world leaders, is only one recent manifestation of the growing international concern over human impact on climate. The political and economic implications of the topic, of course, are vast. Science Watch confines itself to assessing the body of research. To examine highly cited research on climate change over the last decade, Science Watch turned to a special extraction of Thomson Reuters-indexed literature, based on such keywords as "global warming," "climate change," "human impact," and other pertinent terms, in journal articles published and cited between 1999 and the spring of 2009. This search produced upwards of 28,000 papers. From this set, Science Watch identified the most-cited institutions, authors, and journals. Read the full article and analysis here

New Publications

Land Degradation and Desertification: Assessment, Mitigation and Remediation. Pandi Zdruli, Marcello Pagliai, Selim Kapur, and Angel Faz Cano (Eds.). Springer, 2010. 490 pp. ISBN: 978-90-481-8656-3. Price: $179.00. This book reports research results in sustainable land management and land degradation status and mitigation in 36 countries around the world. It includes background papers with continental and international perspectives dealing with land degradation and desertification studies. It assembles various topics of interest for a large audience. They include carbon sequestration and stocks, modern techniques to trace the trends of land degradation, traditional and modern approaches of resource-base conservation, soil fertility management, reforestation, rangeland rehabilitation, land use planning, GIS techniques in desertification risk cartography, participatory ecosystem management, policy analyses and possible plans for action. Various climatic domains in Africa, Asia, Europe and The Americas are covered. The book will be of interest to a variety of environmental scientists, agronomists, national and international policy makers and a number of organizations dealing with sustainable management of natural resources. More on http://springer.com/978-90-481-8656-3

 Nitrogen Assimilation in Plants. Takuji Ohyama and Kuni Sueyoshi (Editors). ISBN: 978-81-308-0406-4. Hardcover, 378 pages. Research Signpost, July 2010 US$ 165.  In 20th century, the increase in crop production  supported the world population mainly by the use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers. However, the production of nitrogen fertilizer requires a large amount of fossil fuels, and the excess or inappropriate use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers caused environmental problems such as nitrate accumulation in ground  water, eutrophication of lakes, rivers, and oceans, as well as  emissions of global warming gases. This book includes "Chapter 1: Nitrogen Nutrition in Plants and its Availability from Soil", "Chapter 2: Nitrogen Absorption in Plants", "Chapter 3: Nitrate Reduction", "Chapter 4: Nitrogen Fixation", and Chapter 5: Nitrogen Metabolism and Assimilation in Plants". This book will provide many aspects of nitrogen assimilation in plants, including biochemistry, metabolism, transport, and crop phsiology.

Proximal Soil Sensing. Progress in Soil Science, Vol. 1. Edited by: Viscarra Rossel, Raphael A.; McBratney, Alex B.; Minasny, Budiman. Springer, 2010, 468 p. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-90-481-8858-1. This book reports on developments in Proximal Soil Sensing (PSS) and high resolution digital soil mapping. PSS has become a multidisciplinary area of study that aims to develop field-based techniques for collecting information on the soil from close by, or within, the soil. Amongst others, PSS involves the use of optical, geophysical, electrochemical, mathematical and statistical methods. This volume, suitable for undergraduate course material and postgraduate research, brings together ideas and examples from those developing and using proximal sensors and high resolution digital soil maps for applications such as precision agriculture, soil contamination, archaeology, peri-urban design and high land-value applications, where there is a particular need for high spatial resolution information. The book in particular covers soil sensor sampling, proximal soil sensor development and use, sensor calibrations, prediction methods for large data sets, applications of proximal soil sensing, and high-resolution digital soil mapping.

Digital Soil Mapping - Bridging Research, Environmental Application, and Operation. Progress in Soil Science, Vol. 2. Edited by: Boettinger, J.L.; Howell, D.W.; Moore, A.C.; Hartemink, A.E.; Kienast-Brown, S. Springer, 2010, 473 p. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-90-481-8862-8. Digital Soil Mapping is the creation and the population of a geographically referenced soil database. It is generated at a given resolution by using field and laboratory observation methods coupled with environmental data through quantitative relationships. Digital soil mapping is advancing on different fronts at different rates all across the world. This book presents the state-of-the art and explores strategies for bridging research, production, and environmental application of digital soil mapping.It includes examples from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The chapters address the following topics: - exploring new environmental covariates and sampling schemes - using integrated sensors to infer soil properties or status - innovative inference systems predicting soil classes, properties, and estimating their uncertainties - using digital soil mapping and techniques for soil assessment and environmental application - evaluating and using legacy soil data - protocol and capacity building for making digital soil mapping operational around the globe.

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