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UK Soil Observatory launched

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Bang Goes the Theory

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Soils on Radio 4!

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Scottish Soils Website Launch

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Welcome to the BSSS

Welcome to the British Society of Soil Science  website

The British Society of Soil Science, together with its professional body the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists (IPSS), aims to promote the study and profession of soil science. 

Coming up...

European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2014

April 27 — May 2

The General Assembly 2014 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is held at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) in Vienna, Austria, from 27 April – 02 May 2014. The assembly is open to the scientists of all nations.

Further information: http://www.egu2014.eu/ 

 


SWESDiG Coming In From The Cold: Soils at the ends of the Earth

May 15 — May 15

The next SWESDiG event will be held on 15th May 2014 at Rothamstead Research, North Wyke, Okehampton Devon.

Confirmed speakers for the event are : Prof Phil Wookey, Dr Kevin Newsham, Prof David Hopkins, Dr Iain Hartley and Dr Claire Horrocks.

 

The meeting is free to BSSS members and £10 to non-members

 


SEESOIL "Deep drilling gas exploration : Can the soil take it"

May 19 — May 19

SEESOIL are pleased to announce their 2014 Spring Meeting "Deep drilling gas exploration: can the soil take it?"

The meeting has been postponed from Monday 19th May and will be rescheduled for June 2014. The meeting will explore the fate of mining spoils which originate from hydraulic fracking operations. It will outline the technology of drilling fluids where do environmentally friendly options exist.

The meeting will also explore the possibility of spreading mining spoils on nearby fields to minimise traffic and local impact of drilling operations.

It will take place in a location in Lepe near Southampton, where fluids and spoils have been satisfactorily and safely added to a field under the supervision of the Environment Agency.

We will highlight the expertise BSSS can bring in to assess the risks to soils and crop production.

The meeting is FREE for BSSS members, non-members may attend for a £30 charge.


20th World Congress of Soil Science

June 8 — June 13

Come to beautiful Jeju Island, South Korea in 2014 for the 20th World Congress of Soil Science hosted by the Korean Society of Soil Science and Fertilizer Rural Development Administration(RDA),International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)

Important  Dates:

Abstract Submission Open : May, 2013
On-line Registration Open : June, 2013
Deadline for Abstract Submission : October 31, 2013
Notification of Abstract Acceptance : January 15, 2014
Deadline for Early Registration : March 20, 2014
Deadline for Regular Registration : May 8, 2014
 
For further information see http://www.20wcss.org


Society Annual Meeting 2014: Delving into the dark - emerging techniques, approaches and tools for soils research

September 3 — September 4

Research into soils has the continual challenge of working with a complex substance “in the dark” where we can rarely see how soils are functioning and responding to change but rather have to try and visualise what is happening below-ground.

It is timely to take a look at what new techniques, approaches and tools are available for researchers to tackle the new challenges in soils research.

We are interested in presentations about the development and application of entirely new approaches as well as the novel application of existing techniques.  You may be investigating soil biological, chemical or physical properties,  soil processes or soil functioning in its broadest sense.

We would like to hear how these techniques, approaches and tools could improve our understanding of soils and how we can use these to tackle the global challenges of more food, water and energy alongside habitat conservation and mounting soil degradation.

Abstracts can now be submitted for consideration for this year's programme. Please complete the Abstract Template and email to the Event Coordinator by no later than Monday 19th May 2014.

Keynote speakers for this year are;

Dr Jennifer Pett-Ridge‘Mapping Soil Carbon from Cradle to Grave: C Transformations from Plant Roots to Microbes to Mineral Surfaces’

Professor John Crawford - 'Towards a Theory of Soil'

Conference Sponsorship is now available to any Organisation wishing to support the event. A full page colour advertisement in this years delegate handbook costs just £80 plus VAT. Other packages are available. Details can be downloaded here

 Registration details to follow shortly!


Latest news

UK Soil Observatory launched

UK Soil Observatory (UKSO) online web portal will be formally launched today (April 10th 2014). The portal represents a collobaration of a number of institutions including; the James Hutton Institute (JHI); the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI); the British Geological Survey (BGS); Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH); Cranfield University and Rothamsted Research to produce an online national and regional soil cartographic mapping, monitoring and data  resource. It is hoped that over time other institutions will also place examples of their own soils information into the portal.

View the site here: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/nercsoilportal/home.html


Bang Goes the Theory

Make sure you watch "Bang Goes the Theory" on BBC1 Monday 14th April - where the impact of soils on flooding will be discussed. Society Members 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lwxj1


Soils on Radio 4!

Get up early and catch our Member Professor John Quinton from Lancaster University talking about soils and flooding. Thursday 16th Jan 2014 starting at 5.45am.  You can listen live or after the broadcast via BBC iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qj8q


Scottish Soils Website Launch

A website, which brings together information on one of Scotland’s most valuable natural assets, has now gone live.

The Scotland’s Soils website will provide land managers, public bodies, the scientific community and members of the public with online access to decades of data relating to our soils for the first time.


Global Soil Partnership Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils

The Global Soil Partnership Plennary meeting have today confirmed the Members of the newly constituted Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils.  We are pleased to announce that Society Past President Dr Helaina Black of the James Hutton Institute has been elected to the panel.


BSSS Launch You Tube Channel


BSSS Council Induction


WRAP’s Good Practice Guide

First published in 2011, WRAP’s Good Practice Guide: Using PAS 100 compost in Landscape and Regeneration Projects has been revised and is available at www.wrap.org.uk/landscapegpg.


House of Lords report on HE STEM subjects published

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology has published its report on HE STEM subjects


Soil Sealing: effects on urban flooding and temperatures explored in new report

A report exploring the effects of covering the land with artificial surfaces has just been published online by Science for Environment Policy.


The Death of British Farmland?

Yesterday’s meeting of the Cross Party House of Common’s Agroecology Group discussed the potential for soil management practices to influence the future of farming in the UK. The session was chaired by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer and co hosted by the Food Ethics Council.

 Professor Mark Kibblewhite, Chair of Soil Science at Cranfield University, kicked off the session by scene setting the romantic attachment we have with soils - the smell of light rain on dry earth on a warm summers evening...


Soils fundamental to the future of mankind

The British Society of Soil Science today co-hosted Earth Under Pressure: Maximising the value of soils at The Planet Under Pressure conference with the James Hutton Institute, Rothamsted Research and UNEP. Society President, Dr Helaina Black, introduced the session saying "there is an obvious but neglected opportunity to tackle many of the world's pressing environmental issues by improving soil quality globally".

Highlights

  • Poverty is the biggest cause of soil degradation in the Himalayan region of India. This is driven by small-holdings, less technical know-how and poor take up of new approaches. (Dr Vikas Sharma).
  • Most soil data is over 20 years old and not joined up. Dr Neil McKenzie, CSIRO Land and Water said "Scratching around at our current evidence base (on soils) is frankly embarrassing." Soil data is needed to address food and water security, carbon storage and other challenges faces mankind. There is a need to regularly monitor global soil conditions and the indications from most regions show that the warning signs are serious. This requires regular assessments: mapping, monitoring and forecasting. We need to rebuild the technical capability for surveying soil so that we can make regular reviews of soil quality, just as the IPCC does with the greenhouse gas inventory.
  • Prof Diana Wall, Colorado State University "What matters is food webs, not just biodiversity." The function of organisms is much more important than just assessing numbers. Plant roots offer considerable untapped potential to harness more soil to address yield gaps. Prof Peter Gregory said "This is an exciting time to be a soil scientist" as they now have new opportunities in genetics and analytical sciences to understand how plants function and interact with their environment.

Science Council answers call to develop the technician workforce in the UK

A report published today by the Technician Council indicates an alarming skills gap between the current number of technicians in the UK and the 450,000 that will be needed by 2020 to underpin a growing innovation economy and the report calls on government, public sector employers, industry leaders and professional bodies.
 
The Science Council has answered the call by establishing a new professional register for science technicians, finally embracing technicians within the professional science community.  Workforce research published in September showed that 20% of the UK workforce - some 5.8million people - are now employed in science based roles in the UK economy and that this is expected to increase to 7.1m in 2030: of this work force, about one-third are non-graduates working with science skills in a variety of ways and many of these will be highly skilled technicians.


Planet Under Pressure 2012

The British Society of Soil Science will co-host the soils session at The Planet Under Pressure conference on Tuesday 27th March, where world renowned scientists will debate the opportunities to maximise the benefits from soils for society now and in 100 years. The Society's President, Helaina Black, says "there is an obvious but neglected opportunity to tackle many of the world's pressing environmental issues by improving soil quality globally. We hope that the RIO20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will grasp this opportunity".


State of Soil Europe

This report published by the JRC and the European Environment Agency provides a comprehensive overview of soil resources and degradation processes.


New survey finds public want farmers to be custodians of the landscape for future generations

A new survey commisioned by the CPRE finds well over four out of five British adults (84 per cent) believe that farmers have a responsibility to look after the landscape and wildlife for future generations.


Eurosoil grant funding is now closed

Student grant funding towards attendance at the Eurosoil 2012 Conference is now closed.  We will be in touch with all applicants as soon as possible.

 


Defra Natural Capital Committee - Opportunity for Chair & 5 Board Members

Defra Natural Capital Committee - Opportunity for Chair & 5 Board Members

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are seeking a Chair and five committee members for the new Natural Capital Committee. To join the Committee, you will need to be an acknowledged expert with a global reputation in your field - be it economics, economic policy, public policy, natural science, biodiversity or sustainable development.

The closing date for the Chair competition is noon, 9 December 2011.
The closing date for Members will be, noon, 13 January 2012.

For further details please see http://publicappts.defra.gov.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83&Itemid=13


Members discuss the role of soil in UK food production

Prof. Jane Rickson, Cranfield Uviversity, discusses the role of soil in UK food production on Radio 4s Farming Today.

Listen again at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017vbbh#synopsis


HGCA Call for expressions of interest Soil Management

Further Information:

http://www.hgca.com/content.output/737/737/Funding%20and%20Awards/Funding%20and%20Awards/Calls%20for%20expressions%20of%20interest.mspx


EJSS Landmark paper series

 

After more than 60 years of publishing, we thought that it is timely to re-visit some of the more influential papers published in The European Journal of Soil Science and its former alter ego the Journal of Soil Science. These LANDMARK papers will be those which we consider have challenged our understanding of soils.

The first of these (Tisdall, J.M. & Oades, J.M. 1982. Organic-matter and water-stable aggregates in soils: Journal of Soil Science, 33, 141-163), continues to influence the way in which we appreciate soil function and is, very importantly, of huge relevance to many of today's issues relating to soil science. As well as the paper itself, we will also include some reflections from the two authors as well as a commentary by three of the Journal's current Associate Editors who are much involved with, and have much expertise in, this particular topic. We will also publish a virtual issue of the Journal online on Wiley Online Library, containing papers that have, in some way, used the concepts and thoughts expounded by Tisdall and Oades. Both the LANDMARK paper and the virtual issue should appear early in 2012: we will repeat this exercise from time to time with other influential papers in other areas of soil science published in the Journal.

 


Science Council launches new professional technician award

David Willets, Minister for Universities and Science will launch the Science Council's new register for professional technicians in a lecture today at the Royal Society of Medicine, a launch event for the first London Science Festival.



Britain and Poland call for radical CAP reform

Britain and Poland have called for radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), ahead of the European Commission’s publication of proposals for change. The two countries share ambitious plans for reform, centred on a more competitive agriculture sector and better incentives to improve the environment.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/09/20/britainpolandcapreform/

Publication of the CAP reform legislative proposals from the EU Commission is expected on 12 October.


Inspirational Nobel peace prize winner,Wangari Maathai, dies

Professor Maathai became the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She fought to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa. Her holistic approach to sustainable development embraced democracy, human rights and women's rights. In 1976 she introduced the idea of community-based tree planting which later developed into the Green Belt Movement, an organisation whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation. Wangari Maathai was a person who thought globally and acted locally, her movement is credited with the planting of 30 million trees in Africa. The Green Belt Movement said in a statement:
"Professor Maathai's departure is untimely and a very great loss to all who knew her - as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine; or who admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier, and better place."


New Midlands regional group to form!

A new Midlands Soil Discussion Group of the Society is set to be lunched at the new Gateway Building for Environmental Sciences at Nottingham on Nov 23rd. There is no soil related theme for the first meeting, the aim is a 'getting to to know each other session'. Further information and webpages will follow shortly.

 


FAO Global Soil Partnership launched

Representatives of the British Society of Soil Science attended the launch of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) at the FAO headquarters, Rome on 7 - 9th September 2011. 

Dr Helaina Black, President of the British Society of Soil Science offered support to the GSP in engaging with our national soil science researchers, practioners and policy-makers who work in areas relevant to the GSP pillars of action.


EJSS Photographic Competition

This year's EJSS Photographic competition 1st prize was split equally between Dr O Knox and Dr Mataix-Solera for their collections entitled "Vertisols of the slopes and plains" and "The colours of the age" respectivly.  2nd prize went to Dr Louhelainen for his collection archeological inspired pictures.Thank you to all who entered this years competition - don't forget to get snapping for next years entries!  

 


Radio 4 Interview

Dr Bruce Lascelles, IPSS Chairman, was interviewed this morning on Radio 4's Farming today program about the need to increase interest and career paths in soil science following the launch of "Working with Soil" (www.soilscientist.org/workingwithsoil).  To listen to the interview please go to the Radio 4 website http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qj8q  


IPSS Launch Working with Soils

Defra Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr Miles Parker, helped launch Working with Soil. Devised by the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists (IPSS), this new professional competency scheme identifies minimum qualifications, skills and knowledge for practising soils scientists carrying out a range of key tasks.   Miles stated that 'Defra welcomes initiatives, such as the IPSS Working with Soils Competency Statements, that aim to improve the quality of professional soils advice'.


Annual Meeting 2011

Thank you to all of you that attended our 2011 meeting this week in London and made it such a success.  More pictures will follow shortly on the Society Facebook pages.


Eurosoil 2012 Call for abstracts

The 4th International congress of the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies (ECSSS), 2-6 July 2012 Bari, Italy. Call for Abstracts


Features:

Soils fundamental to the future of mankind

The British Society of Soil Science today co-hosted Earth Under Pressure: Maximising the value of soils at The Planet Under Pressure conference with the James Hutton Institute, Rothamsted Research and UNEP. Society President, Dr Helaina Black, introduced the session saying "there is an obvious but neglected opportunity to tackle many of the world's pressing environmental issues by improving soil quality globally".

Highlights

  • Poverty is the biggest cause of soil degradation in the Himalayan region of India. This is driven by small-holdings, less technical know-how and poor take up of new approaches. (Dr Vikas Sharma).
  • Most soil data is over 20 years old and not joined up. Dr Neil McKenzie, CSIRO Land and Water said "Scratching around at our current evidence base (on soils) is frankly embarrassing." Soil data is needed to address food and water security, carbon storage and other challenges faces mankind. There is a need to regularly monitor global soil conditions and the indications from most regions show that the warning signs are serious. This requires regular assessments: mapping, monitoring and forecasting. We need to rebuild the technical capability for surveying soil so that we can make regular reviews of soil quality, just as the IPCC does with the greenhouse gas inventory.
  • Prof Diana Wall, Colorado State University "What matters is food webs, not just biodiversity." The function of organisms is much more important than just assessing numbers. Plant roots offer considerable untapped potential to harness more soil to address yield gaps. Prof Peter Gregory said "This is an exciting time to be a soil scientist" as they now have new opportunities in genetics and analytical sciences to understand how plants function and interact with their environment.

Planet Under Pressure 2012

The British Society of Soil Science will co-host the soils session at The Planet Under Pressure conference on Tuesday 27th March, where world renowned scientists will debate the opportunities to maximise the benefits from soils for society now and in 100 years. The Society's President, Helaina Black, says "there is an obvious but neglected opportunity to tackle many of the world's pressing environmental issues by improving soil quality globally. We hope that the RIO20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will grasp this opportunity".

EJSS Photographic Competition

This year's EJSS Photographic competition 1st prize was split equally between Dr O Knox and Dr Mataix-Solera for their collections entitled "Vertisols of the slopes and plains" and "The colours of the age" respectivly.  2nd prize went to Dr Louhelainen for his collection archeological inspired pictures.Thank you to all who entered this years competition - don't forget to get snapping for next years entries!  

 

Society Awards: Dr Rob Parkinson

Dr Rob Parkinson, University of Plymouth, was presented with a long service award by Society president Dr Helaina Black. Rob has been an integral part of the Society Council and the South West regional group for more years than he would like me to mention. Thank you for all your help and support over the years.

Society Awards: Dr Bob Rees

Dr Bob Rees, SAC was given a long service award at the recent Society Conference dinner. The award was accepted by Christine Watson on behalf of Bob. Bob has been a member of the BSSS Council and heavily involved with the Society for more than 12 years. Thank you for all your hard work Bob!

Society Awards: Prof. Keith Smith

Margaret Oliver accepted a long service and outstanding contribution award on behalf of Professor Keith Smith. Keith is a past president of the Society and most recently deputy Editor of the European Journal of Soil Science. Keith you will be missed as part of the EJSS editorial team thank you for your many many years of service to the Society.

IPSS Launch Working with Soils

Defra Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr Miles Parker, helped launch Working with Soil. Devised by the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists (IPSS), this new professional competency scheme identifies minimum qualifications, skills and knowledge for practising soils scientists carrying out a range of key tasks.   Miles stated that 'Defra welcomes initiatives, such as the IPSS Working with Soils Competency Statements, that aim to improve the quality of professional soils advice'.

Annual Meeting 2011

Thank you to all of you that attended our 2011 meeting this week in London and made it such a success.  More pictures will follow shortly on the Society Facebook pages.

Soil Profile: Professor Keith Goulding FI Soil Sci, CSci

Works for: Rothamsted Research

Education: BSc Chemistry and Mathematics (Exeter University)
                MSc in Soil Chemistry (University of Reading)
                PhD in ion exchange in soil (Imperial College, London)

Personal Interests: bird watching, walking

Burning Ambition: Another academic paper published in Nature

Soil Profile:Mr Padraic Mulroy MI Soil Sci, CSci

Works for: Mulroy Environmental

Education: B.Sc. (Microbiology), NUI Galway
M.Sc., University of Florida (Soil and Water Science)

Personal interests: sports (rowing, rugby, sailing), reading historic novels

Burning Ambition: Secure the future of my company

Soil Profile: Mr Tim O'Hare MI Soil Sci, CSci

Works for: Tim O'Hare Associates

Education: BSc Geography, Masters in Pedology, Soil Survey and Land Evaluation at Redding University

Personal interests: Family and sport. Running, triathlons, surfing, rugby.


Eurosoil 2012 Call for abstracts

The 4th International congress of the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies (ECSSS), 2-6 July 2012 Bari, Italy. Call for Abstracts

 

© BSSS 2011

The BSSS is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

The British Society of Soil Science is a limited company, registered in England and Wales No. 7110309 and a Registered Charity No. 1134456.