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U.S. National Committee for Soil Sciences

The U.S. National Committee for Soil Sciences (USNC/SS) represents the interests of the U.S. soil science community in the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and provides leadership in the advancement of soil science nationally and internationally. The committee advises The National Academies in all matters pertaining to the IUSS and supports U.S. participation in the international arena. To identify relevant issues for the committee to address, the USNC communicates with professional societies and organizations.

What's New   

2015 Declared the International Year of Soils
In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated December 5th as World Soil Day and declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils. The designations were made in recognition of sustainable soil management’s essential role in food security, hunger eradication, climate change adaptation, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. The Secretariat of the United Nations’ Global Soil Partnership will serve as the Secretariat of the International Year of Soils. More information on the Global Soil Partnership, World Soil Day, and the International Year of Soils can be found on the Global Soil Partnership’s website

20th World Congress of Soil Science, Jeju Island, Korea

The 20th World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) was held in Korea at the Jeju International Convention Center from June 8-13, 2014. A highlight of the event was the election of Rattan Lal (The Ohio State University) as President of IUSS. He will serve as President-Elect until 2017. For more information, please visit the 20th WCSS website.

The Wilford Gardner World Congress of Soil Science Fellowship Program provides financial assistance for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at U.S. institutions, who make presentations at WCSS.

The 2014 awardees were:

  • Jason P. Ackerson, Texas A&M University
  • Amanda Ashworth, University of Tennessee
  • Eduardo Chávez, University of Florida
  • Youn Choi, Purdue University
  • Davide Ciceri, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Jason Fischel, University of Delaware
  • Matthew Fischel, University of Delaware
  • Joshua LeMonte, University of Delaware
  • Joseph Martin, Purdue University
  • Dinesh Panday, Lincoln University of Missouri
  • SaeRom Park, Purdue University
  • An-Min Wu, University of Minnesota

More details can be found in the Soil Science Society of America’s news release, “Graduate and Postdoctoral Students Present Papers at World Congress of Soil Science.” 

2014 AAAS Symposium - “Santa’s Revenge: The Impacts of Arctic Warming on the Mid-Latitudes” - February 15, 2014
This symposium examined high-latitude changes linked to mid-latitude weather and the effect of these complex phenomena on freshwater resources, food availability, and national security. This event was spearheaded by the U.S. National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics, and co-sponsored by the U.S. National Committees for INQUA, Soil Sciences, and Geological Sciences.

An audio file of the symposium, the presentations given by each speaker, and a more complete list of media coverage can be found on the 2014 Santa's Revenge archive page.

Click below to see the BBC's coverage and interview with Jennifer Francis (1:51 minutes)

Image courtesy NASA. Original file:

Other press from “Santa’s Revenge: The Impacts of Arctic Warming on the Mid-Latitudes":

Past Activities 

“Good Mentors Are Made, Not Born: A Mentor/Mentee Primer” Session
On November 5th, the USNC/SS co-organized the session “Good Mentors Are Made, Not Born: A Mentor/Mentee Primer” at the 2013 ASA, CSSA, and SSSA International Annual Meetings. The purpose of this session, sponsored by the SSSA’s Early Career Member Committee, was to present mentoring best practices. The session provided participants with a primer on common mentoring issues and gave attendees tips for the improvement of their mentoring skills. More information on this event can be found on the session’s webpage.

"Soil-mediated Drivers of Coupled Biogeochemical and Hydrological Processes Across Scales": 21-24 October, 2013
The USNC/SS co-organized an AGU Chapman Conference on “Soil-mediated Drivers of Coupled Biogeochemical and Hydrological Processes Across Scales.” This Chapman Conference brought together scientists from soil systems sciences, hydrology, and biogeochemistry to discuss recent findings dealing with the role and importance of coupled hydrological and biogeochemical processes occurring in the soil system and its interfaces with adjacent compartments. This four-day conference consisted of oral sessions, a poster session, four open workshop spaces, and a wrap up session. To learn more about this conference, including a list of speakers and contributors, proposed topics, and other information, please visit the conference website.

2013 AAAS Symposium - "U.S. Climate and Weather Extremes: Past, Present, and Future"
Sponsored by the four USNCs for the Earth Sciences and spearheaded by the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Quaternary Research. This session provided both current and paleoclimatic perspectives on the nature of recent extreme climate and weather events and their societal and ecological impacts, with a focus on the United States. The symposium was held on February 15, 2013 at the AAAS meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information about this meeting, including a list of speakers, please visit the 2013 U.S. Climate and Weather Extremes archive webpage.




Activities and Events
Resource Links
IUSS Webpage

Contact the USNC/SS

Ester Sztein, Assistant Director
Pam Gamble, Administrative Associate

February 15, 2014 AAAS Session: “Santa’s Revenge: The Impacts of Arctic Warming on the Mid-Latitudes”

December 12, 2013 AGU Session (PDF): “Science Diplomacy in the Geosciences”

February 15, 2013 AAAS Session: “U.S. Climate and Weather Extremes: Past, Present, and Future"

December 7, 2012 AGU Town Hall (PDF): “International Geoscience”

February 19, 2012 AAAS Session: “Causes and Effects of Relative Sea-Level Changes in the Northeast Pacific"

February 17, 2012 AAAS Session: “Toward Stabilization of Net Global Carbon Dioxide Levels"

February 20, 2011 AAAS Session: “The Practice of Science Diplomacy in the Earth Sciences”

February 19, 2010 AAAS Session: "Dust in the Earth System"

December 17, 2009 AGU Poster Sessions: “Extreme Natural Hazards: Risk Assessment, Forecasting, and Decision Support”

February 16, 2009 AAAS Session: "Global Sea Level Rise: Observation, Causes, and Prediction"

September 25, 2008 BISO Symposium (PDF): “Global Connections among Earth Sciences, Health, and Policy"

February 15, 2008 AAAS Session (PDF): "Planet Earth: Lessons Ignored, Lessons Learned”

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number ICER-1312037. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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