International Union of Soil Science (IUSS)
COMMISSION 1.1 Soil Morphology
Soil is a continuous natural body that has spatial and temporal dimensions (soil cover or pedosphere). Primary organic and inorganic constituents are organized into secondary polyhedral structural units that in turn are assembled into vertical and lateral horizons that comprise soils unique to the environment under which they are formed. The morphogenetic properties that comprise soils are the essential elements of soil classification, interpretation, and land quality. They result from current and paleohistory of soil environments and in turn record many of the environmental signatures that result. Morphogenetic properties are dynamic and anisotrophic in response to other state factor perturbations. The study of the soil cover structures develops knowledge about soil properties and dynamics; its permits the understanding of the genesis of the soil covers.

1st Vice-Chairperson:
Alexander TSATSKIN
2nd Vice-Chairperson:
Brenda BUCK

NATO - CCMS and Science Committee Workshop on Desertification in the Mediterranean Region. A Security Issue Valencia (Spain), 2-5 December 2003

Soil Classification, Petrozavodsk, Russia, August 3-11, 2004

32nd International Geological Congress Florence, Italy August 20-28, 2004

International conference on land degradation, Cartegena, Spain, September 12-17, 2004

12th International Meeting on Soil Micromorphology, Adana, Turkey, September 20-26, 2004

6th International Conference on Geomorphology, Zaragoza Spain, September 7-11, 2005

European Geoscience Union in Vienna, 24-29 April 2005

18th World Congress of Soil Science, in Philadelphia, USA, July 9-15, 2006
13th International Meeting on Soil Micromorphology, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.


New thin section and micromorphology discussion forum has been launched at the university of Stirling:

During the European Geoscience Union in Vienna, 24-29 April 2005 (see link above), the commission "Soil System Sciences Programme" will organise three symposia dealing with micromorphology:

  • Micromorphology of weathering and mineral neoformations in soils and regoliths. Convener: G. Stoops
  • Micromorphology of soil- and paleosoil development. Convener: F. Terribile.
  • Quantification of soil structure and soil porosity changes caused by natural and anthropogenic effects.

    Convener: M. Pagliai.

    The 13th International Meeting on Soil Micromorphology will be held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.

    Minutes from the Business Meeting held at 12th International Meeting on Soil Micromorphology, Adana Turkey

    Minutes of the Business Meeting of Subcommission B “Soil Micromorphology”

    Minutes of the Business Meeting of Subcommission B “Soil Micromorphology” Ghent 13 July 2001

  • Kubiëna Medal

    Call for nominations due January 15, 2006.

    The Kubiëna Medal was introduced by Subcommission B - Soil Micromorphology of the ISSS to commemorate the memory of Walter L Kubiëna for his distinguished contribution to soil micromorphology. It is the only medal awarded by the IUSS and is given for outstanding and sustained contribution in the discipline of soil micromorphology and to date there have been six awards H.J Altemüller, E. Yarilova, R. Brewer, G. Stoops, E.A FitzPatrick and L. Wilding. It is made every four years and was presented at International Working Meeting on Soil Micromorphology.
    The selection committee for the year 2004 Kubiëna Medal award is composed by G. Stoops (Belgium), E.A. FitzPatrick (UK) and L. Wilding (USA) (award holders), F. Terribile (Italy) (Chairman of the Selection Committee 2001) and G. Humphreys (AUS) (Chairman of Commission 1.1 - Morphology and Micromorphology- of the IUSS). Members of the committee are not eligible to make nominations or second nominations. The Committee was supposed to discuss the nomination during the International Meeting on Micromorphology in Adana, September 2004, but the Committee, with the agreement of the General Assembly of micromorphologists held in Adana, has agreed to postpone the deadlines because of lack in the formality of the received proposals.

    The Committee now makes a new call for proposals from any member of the IUSS for the next award to be presented at the next International Soils Congress of Soil Science of the IUSS, to take place in Philadelphia (USA), 2006. All areas of micromorphological endeavour including research, teaching and application of results to environmental, agricultural, archaeological and industrial problems are considered relevant.

    Nominations with supporting information (see below) should be sent to Georges Stoops, by January 31th, 2005 at the following e-mail address:


    1. Statement of key achievements and career highlights of the nominee (1 page)
    2. Curriculum vitae detailing career history and publication record of the nominee
    3. Name of proposer and seconder for the nominee
    4. Any other relevant information in support of the nominee
    5. Full address and contact details for the nominee

    Send to:
    Em. Prof. Dr. G. Stoops
    Laboratorium voor Mineralogie, Petrologie en Micropedologie
    Geologisch Instituut, Universiteit Gent
    Krijgslaan 281, S8
    B-9000 GENT
    Tel: 32-09-264.45.61

    Symposia Supported by Commission 1.1 (to be held at the 18th World Congress of Soil Science, Philadephia USA, July 2006)
    1.1A Hydropedology: Fundamental Issues and Practical Applications
    Symposium will address spatial-temporal patterns of soil and water properties and processes from pedon to landscape and from annual to geological time scales, integrated studies of the vadose zone/groundwater systems in understanding the role of hydrology in soils, state-of-the-art techniques in studying landscape-soil-water systems, quantitative scaling relationships, and fundamental mechanisms and practical enhancements of pedotransfer functions and how they can improve the value of soil survey databases.

    Convenor: Henry Lin (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Johan Bouma (The Netherlands) email:

    1.1B Site Disturbance: The Role of Soil Morphology in its Assessment
    The potential of morphology, including micromorphology, to assess and differentiate natural pedogenic processes from anthropogenic site disturbance is not well appreciated. This symposium will emphasize morphological markers of changes induced by soil disturbance and consequences on soil use, management, and behavior.

    Convenor: Geoff Humphreys (Australia) email:
    Co-convenor: Brenda Buck (USA) email:

    1.1C Soil Micromorphology, Archaeometry, and Archaeology
    Micromorphological concepts and approaches for the interpretation of soil, sediment and landscape evolution have been widely used by disciplines in earth sciences and engineering. There is a need to link conventional archaeological information obtained from field and excavation with microscopic interpretations to document paleo/archaeo environmental conditions and ancient and indigenous land and raw material use.

    Convenor: Selim Kapur (Turkey) email:
    Co-convenor: Alexander Tstskin (Israel) email:

    1.1P Soil Geomorphology: Concept Theory and Practices
    Symposium will address: theoretical and technical issues of soil geomorphology; soil geomorphological classification and regolith taxonomy; measurements and assessment soil geomorphic processes and the regolith; concepts and issues concerning soil stratigraphy and soil layering processes; development of analytical (pedometric) tools including digital terrain analysis and soil-landscape models; relationships between terrain analysis and soil geomorphological landscape analysis; and geomorphology in soil and land resource survey.

    Convenor: Robin Thwaites (Australia) email:
    Co-convenor: Brian Slater (USA) email:

    Other symposia at the 18th World Congress of Soil Science, Philadelphia, 2006 in which Soil Micromorphology can contribute

    1.0B Soil Change in Anthropocence
    In the last 300 years, referred to as the Anthropocene, human impact on land has affected the course of soil formation and changed soil properties and landscape conditions. Symposium will evaluate quantification of such human-induced changes to improve our identification, classification, use and management of soils.

    Convenor: Victor Targulian (Russia) email:
    Co-convenor: Hari Eswaran (USA) email:

    1.0WB Wetlands: Science and Management
    Increasing population and population density intensifies land use and management of wetlands. Sustaining the quality of wetlands requires development of new methods and instrumentation to evaluate anthropogenic impacts on wetland biogeochemistry, properties and function. Symposium will present emerging basic and applied research issues related to wetland identification, management, preservation, engineering and technology, degradation control, and remediation, reclamation, and reconstruction.

    Convenor: R. K. Reddy (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Michael Vepraskas (USA) email:

    1.2A Spatial, Societal and Environmental Aspects of Pedodiversity
    A movement for the preservation and conservation management of rare and unique kinds of soils is needed, not only because of purely scientific and environmental reasons, but for preservation and discovery of new antibiotic materials and compounds. Currently less than half of the land area is being used for growing food, feed, and fiber. The pedodiversity of the remaining forests, savannas, and unused open areas are equally valuable,and their soils need to be better recorded and preserved.

    Convenor: Robin Thwaites (Australia) email:
    Co-convenor: Jonathan Phillips (USA) email:

    1.2B Soil System Behavior in Time
    Engineering and agricultural uses of soils have existed for nearly 10,000 years and further anthropogenic demands on soils continue to expand. Yet we have relatively little quantitative understanding about the impact of management decisions on soil function,quality,and resilience over time. This symposium will consider the science of soil change and its status as a function of chronology under anthropogenic management impacts.

    Convenor: Peter Shaad (Germany) email:
    Co-convenor: Oliver Chadwick (USA) email:

    1.3A New Frontiers in Soil Genesis
    Modern concepts of soil genesis and major advances in soil classification have come about in the last half of the 20th century. This symposium will include new biochemical studies being conducted to quantify pedogenic changes as a function of chronology and the application of such knowledge to predict and manage soil and ecosystem changes for a growing global populous.

    Convenor: Ahmet R. Mermut (Canada) email:
    Co-convenor: Janis Boettinger (USA) email:

    1.3B Essence Diagnostic and Time-Scales of Natural and Human-Induced Pedogenic Processes
    Symposium will encompass the different aspects of pedogenesis as a global process involving complex combinations of individual pedogenic processes. Detailed knowledge is needed on pedogenic processes to define their diagnostics, rates, time- scales, and reversibility-irreversibility so as to understand soil formation, evolution and/or degradation and predict possible soil changes in the foreseeable future under the different natural and anthropogenic impacts.

    Convenor: Ganlin Zhang (P. R. China) email:
    Co-convenor: Angel Faz Cano (Spain) email:
    Co-convenor: J. Gelberaight (USA) email:

    1.3PA Andisols and Related Soils
    This symposium is intended to address the latest information on Andisol genesis, processes, interactions between organic matter and short range order minerals, analytical problems, regional distribution and landscape relations.It will include influences of human activity, and consequences for soil protection, land use planning and management.

    Convenor: Olafur Arnalds (Iceland) email:
    Co-convenor: Reinhold Jahn (Germany) email:
    Co-convenor: Peter Buurman (Netherlands) email:

    1.3PB Arid Soils: Genesis, Geomorphology, and Geoarchaeology
    Symposium addresses the genesis, geomorphology, and geoarchaeology of arid soils. These soils occupy about one-third of the Earth's land surface, are sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2 and global dust, support ecosystems with high biodiversity of plants and animals and are also expanding in aerial extent due to anthropogenic land practices.

    Convenor: S. Khresat (Jordan) email:
    Co-convenor: Patrick Drohan (USA) email:

    1.3PC Pedogenesis and Weathering in Humid Tropics
    Soils of humid tropics and subtropics occupy a total area about 2500 millions ha or 25 % of the land surfaces. The symposium will focus on understanding the ancient and current pedogenic processes in the humid tropics from a geology, petrology, and clay mineralogy perspective.

    Convenor: M. Rosas Ribeiro (Brazil) email:
    Co-convenor: Carmen Masutti (Brzil) email:

    1.3PD Soils on Limestones: Their Properties, Genesis, and Role in Human Societies
    Soils on limestones are globally widespread. They are soils of many early civilizations, and are important agricultural resources. This symposium will address different aspects of soils on limestones including morphological, mineralogical, physical, chemical, and biological properties, and pedogenesis.

    Convenor: Zbigniew Zagorsky (Poland) email:
    Co-convenor: Sergey Goryachkin (Russia) email:
    Co-convenor: Mike Singer (USA) email:

    1.5B Soil Sampling in Space and Time
    Symposium will address problems associated with soil sampling in the joint space-time domain. There is a need for extending the vast body of theory, methods, and applications for designing and optimizing soil sampling schemes in space to the joint space-time domain because soil variation over time is entirely different from soil variation over space; problems occur at spatial and temporal scales, ranging from centimeters to kilometers and from hours to decades.

    Convenor: Gerard Heuvelink (Netherlands) email:
    Co-convenor: Jan M. H. Hendrickx (USA) email:

    1.6A Imprint of Environmental Change on Paleosols
    Symposium will focus on current issues in paleopedological studies such as paleosols and environmental changes, Pedostratigraphy and soil mapping, rates of soil forming processes, chronological dating, paleosols as part of our cultural heritage, and paleosols and archeology. Paleopedology is a multidisciplary and interdisciplinarity science that bridges many different disciplines.

    Convenor: Edoardo A. C. Costantini (Italy) email:
    Co-convenor: Alexander O. Makeev (Russia) email:
    Co-convenor: Francesco Malucelli (Italy) email:

    1.6B Amozonian Dark Earth Soils (Terra Preta and Terra Preta Nova): A Tribute to Wim Sombroek
    Wim Sombroek in his monumental Soils of the Amazon (1966) not only provided the baseline for the soils of this enormously significant region, but also brought the anthropogenic terra preta (black earth) and terra mulata (brown earth) soils to the attention of the outside world. The symposium will focus around the following themes: Amazonian dark earth soils and global climate; implications for soil fertility and land use; and understanding how these soils form and persist in the landscape.

    Convenor: A. M. G. A. WinklerPrins (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: W. I. Woods (USA) email:

    2.0A Synchrotron Spectromicroscopy of Particulate Matter Affecting Air, Water & Soil Quality
    Synchrotron-based spectromicroscopy is an emerging research technique suited to chemical investigation of particulate matter affecting air, water and soil quality permitting detailed chemical characterization at micron and submicron spatial resolution. This symposium will evaluate particulate matter research by synchrotron-based spectromicroscopy, the role of particulates in surface and subsurface water quality, and soil micro-environments in contact with plants and micro-organisms.

    Convenor: Will Bleam (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Paul Bertsch (USA) email:

    2.0B Innovative Technologies in Rhizosphere Research
    This symposium will examine innovative technologies for agriculture and environmental management that arise from or pertain to the study of physical, chemical, and biological processes in the rhizosphere, i.e. the volume of soil around living roots that is influenced by root activity. It will also address novel experimental approaches for studying the rhizosphere to foster new interdisciplinary collaborations among scientists who are working on various aspects of this research topic.

    Convenor: Philippe Hinsinger (France) email:
    Co-convenor: David Crowley (USA) email:

    2.0W Emerging Methods to Examine Metal Speciation and Bioavailability in Soils
    This symposium will focus on new techniques, broadly classified as biological, geochemical, and modeling, to determine the speciation and bioavailability of metals in soils. Examples of specific methods under these three classifications could include:
    Lux-based bioassays, hyphenated analytical speciation techniques (e.g., FFF-ICP-MS), spectroscopic techniques (e.g., XAS), mineralogical residence-phase determinations, and terrestrial applications of the biotic ligand model.

    Convenor: LaDonna Choate (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: James Ranville (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Kathleen Smith (USA) email:

    2.0P Measurement, Occurrence, and Transport of Radionuclides in Soils and Sediments
    and their Transfer Soil remediation at sites with low-levels of radionuclide contamination is a major cost to society today. In the symposium, we will discuss the behavior of radionuclides in surficial terrestrial environments, including the physical, chemical and mineralogic speciation of radioactive contaminants, radionuclide-analog studies, natural attenuation processes and in-situ remediation methods, and bioremediation to reduce soil contamination.

    Convenor: Edward Landa (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Shigeo Uchida (Japan) email:

    2.1A Soil Structuring as a Dynamic Process and Particles Transfer
    Symposium focuses on the quantification of soil structure and changes following the agricultural activity and seasonal dynamics, with the goal of proposing indicators of soil structure quality and quantifying soil degradation(loss of structure stability, compaction, crusting, salinization, etc.). The development of modeling approaches and databases will be emphasized to predict changes in physical soil properties (soil structure quality) due to agricultural activities.

    Convenor: Marcello Pagliai (Italy) email:
    Co-convenor: Thomas Baumgartl (Australia) email:

    2.1B Soil Hydrology, Structure, and Micromorphic Propoerties (Soil Porous System)
    Symposium focuses on interactive research among soil hydrology, soil structure and soil micromorphology. The presentations will elucidate a better understanding of the relationships between aggregation, n-modal porosity, configuration of pores and soil hydraulic properties. The quantification of the size, continuity, connectivity, orientation and irregularity of pores allows a more precise modeling of soil water movement and solute transport as applied to soil hydraulic functions and preferential flow.

    Convenor: Miroslav Kutilek (Czech Republic) email:
    Co-convenor: Fabio Terribile (Italy) email:

    2.2A Soil Organic Matter: Stabilization and Carbon Sequestration
    Symposium will provide a forum to present:the most recent advancements on carbon sequestration; review and summarize methods of evaluating carbon sequestration in soils at different spatial and temporal scales; stimulate new and advanced biological and chemical technologies for enhancing organic carbon levels in soils and; develop new methods for proper extrapolation (upscaling) of point/field-results on carbon sequestation to landscapes, biomes and pedosphere, inferences.

    Convenor: Alessandro Piccolo (Italy) email:
    Co-convenor: Alvin Smucker (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Ingrid Kögel-Knabner (Germany) email:

    2.3A Microbial Habitat: Evolution, Structure and Distribution in Soils
    Soil structure and microbial habitat are central to functioning of soils. Because of the high microbial diversity, complex spatial arrangement of biota and solid phases, it has been difficult to understand the nature and dynamics of microbial habitats. Soil physical techniques and new molecular biology techniques are rapidly evolving disciplines that hold promise to provide new insights into the complex interplay of microorganisms and soil structure.

    Convenor: Richard P. Dick (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Donald Gabriels (Belgium) email:
    Co-convenor: Gupta Vadakattu (Australia) email:

    2.4A Poorly Ordered Nanoparticulate materials (PONM) in Soils
    “Poorly ordered nanoparticulate materials (PONM) in soils” are naturally or artificially occurring, finely particulate minerals, which may form at low (weathering) and high temperatures (burning). The forms, amounts and functions of PONM in soils are very poorly understood, partly because conventional analytical techniques are insensitive for these materials. Symposium will focus on how PONM phenomena may control soil properties and processes such as crystallization reactions or magnetic properties.

    Convenor: Jerry Bigham (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Balwant Singh (Australia) email:

    2.4B Soil Mineralogy and Geophysics: Environmental and Soils Management and Mineral Exploration
    Symposium will draw together leading experts in soil mineralogy and geophysics /remote sensing to demonstrate how these two divergent fields can be usefully combined to enhance the efficiency of geophysics and remote sensing for mineral exploration. This will lead to improved environmental management and risk assessment. Two leading-edge technologies, namely soil nanoparticulate mineralogy and specific ground/airborne geophysics, will be emphasized.

    Convenor: Rob Fitzpatrick (Australia) email:
    Co-convenor: Carolyn Olson (USA) email:

    3.4B Combating Global Soil & Land Degradation II. Agroecosystems: Reclamation Strategies
    Presentations on the physical, chemical and biological degradation of soils, and the management options for sustainable use of degraded soils will be an integral part of the symposium. Specific questions related to degraded environments, such as the possibility to predict and quantify both the economic and ecologic impact of altering these processes will be included. The symposium focuses on case studies and theoretical or practical approaches on reclamation strategies to reverse soil degradation.

    Convenor: Rainer Horn (Germany) email:
    Co-convenor: Alvin Smucker (USA) email:

    3.5D Combating Global Soil & Land Degradation IV. Salinization, Sodification and Other Forms of Degradation
    in Agricultural and Native Ecosystems The symposium covers processes and evaluation of soil and environmental degradation, degraded soil management and remediation, strategies for minimizing soil and environmental degradation, and linking research outcomes to policy with special emphasis on salt-affected agricultural and native ecosystems. Presentations on the physical, chemical and biological degradation of soils, and the management options for sustainable use of degraded soils and their reclamation will be integral part of the symposium. Specific questions related to degraded environments such as the effect of land uses on natural resources off-site and fertility management will be included.

    Convenor: Tibor Toth (Hungary) email:
    Co-convenor: H. J. Di (New Zealand) email:
    Co-convenor: J. D. Oster (USA) email:

    3.4P Evaluation of Anthropogenic Sealing Systems Impact on the Environment
    Symposium deals with the physical, chemical, and biological processes in waste deposit sealing of soil systems, It deals with the long-term impermeability of water,gas, and leachate transport in soil. Case studies and theoretical and/or practical approaches to minimize soil, air, and groundwater contamination, and to restore the internal mechanical strength and functionality of capillary barrier systems will be stressed. Symposium will include strategies for minimizing environmental degradation and the linkage of research outcomes to policy.

    Convenor: Heiner Fleige (Germany) email:
    Co-convenor: Wolfgang Burghardt (Germany) email:

    4.0W Soils and Human Health
    Symposium will show the importance of soils and soil properties for human health. Relevant topics include influence of soil and climatic factors on the content of essential nutrients or naturally occurring toxic substances in plant products, impacts of soil pollution on human health, and spreading of infectious diseases via atmospheric transport of soil dust. This symposium is a contribution to the ICSU initiative on "Science for Health and Well-being".

    Convenor: Eiliv Steinnes (Norway) email:
    Co-convenor: Charles Rice (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Joseph Bunnell (USA) email:

    AS Acid Sulfate Soils: Technological Advances Enabling Better Management
    Techniques for the analysis of acid sulfate soils, our understanding of their behavior, and the risk that these soils pose to the environment have proceeded rapidly of late. In addition many new techniques designed to manage these soils and limit their off- site impacts have been developed in the past decade. These endeavors continue. The focus of this symposium is on the innovative techniques that have been recently developed to allow us to manage acid sulfate soil environments without degradation.

    Convenor: Leigh Sullivan (Australia) email:
    Co-convenor: Rob Fitzpatrick (Australia) email:
    Co-convenor: Del Fanning (USA) email:

    CR Soils of Northern, Southern Polar Region and Soils of High Elevations and Their Relationship to Global Climate Change
    Crysols cover approximately 13 % of the earth’s land surface. Cryosols are of global concern since it is predicted that Polar Regions will experience a significant increase in average temperature with climatic change scenarios. Symposium will present state-of-knowledge in Polar Regions regarding soil formation, classification, chemistry, biology, and mineralogy.

    Convenor: Sergey Goryachkin (Russia) email:
    Co-convenor: John Kimble (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: C. L. Ping (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: J. Bockheim (USA) email:

    LD Soil Degradation: Processes, Control, and Politics
    Soil degradation is a serious global issue in terms of sustainability of ecosystem productivity and economic and social aspects, leading to a decline in soil quality and net primary productivity, pollution and eutrophication of natural waters, and emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The symposium will focus on land use and management options to restore degraded soils, improve water quality and sequester carbon to mitigate the greenhouse effect. Speific topics discussed will include physical and chemical degradation through soil erosion, depletion of soil organic matter and plant nutrients in relation to land use and management systems. Both ecological and human dimension issues will be included.

    Convenor: Bal Ram Singh (Norway) email:
    Co-convenor: Rattan Lal (USA) email:
    Co-convenor: Hari Eswaran (USA) email:

    SU Soils in Urban Ecosystems: Characteristics and Functioning
    Symposium considers soils developed in urban environments which are characterized by nontraditional substrates with unique properties (e.g., chemicals, soil compaction, dust release, elevated temperatures, vegetative cover, hydrological function), occurrence, and distribution. Processes of soil formation will be both inhibited and elevated due to urban maintenance and disturbance. Evaluating current soil conditions as a way to predict future urban soils strongly justify the making of soil inventories, and quantification of soil characteristics and properties in urban areas.

    Convenor: Jean Louis Morel (France) email:
    Co-convenor: Ganlin Zhang (P. R. China) email:
    Co-convenor: Joyce Scheyer (USA) email:

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