Soil Science Society of South Africa
(Grondkunde Vereniging van Suid-Afrika)
Welcome to the website of the Soil Science Society of South Africa (SSSSA)!
We are a group of dedicated soil scientists based in South Africa. The primary purpose of the Society is to foster and promote the study of the soil in all its facets.
View photo's from the 2014 Combined Congress in Durban.
The 2014 International Congress of Phytoremediation of polluted soils will take place in Vigo (Spain) from 29-30 July, 2014. The theme of the congress is “Current Research and Main Aspects of Usual Pollutants. The abstract submission deadline is February 28, 2014. For more information please read the brochure .
The November 2013 newsletter is now available online. Read more...
All orders for SSSSA shirts are now CLOSED! Remember to pick up your order at the Combined Congress 2014, Grahamstown (January 20-23, 2014).
Winners of the SSSSA at The 33rd International Science Fair - Eskom Expo for Young Scientists (28-30 Sept 2013)
- SENIOR - Pieter Brand (Paul Roos Gymnasium, Grade 9): "The effect of different types of fertilizer applications on the growth patterns of oats". Pieter was subsequently also Invited to the International Science Fair Interviews.
- JUNIOR - Helga Claasen (Laerskool Pietersburg, Grade 6): "Fertilizer or manure"
Tribute to Dr. Abel D P Botha (6 June 1932 – 29 August 2013)
The 2014 Combined Congress will take place from 20 to 23 January 2014 at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. The theme of the congress is “Promoting Sustainable Agricultural Production Together”; aiming to bridge gaps between academia, industry and government. The abstract submission deadline is 31 October 2013. For more information please read the brochure and visit the Combined Congress website http://www.combinedcongress.org.za/mainpage.htm.
20th World Congress of Soil Science (Jeju, South Korea – 8-13 June 2014)
The theme of the 20th World Congress of Soil Science is Soils Embrace Life and Universe. The congress, which is held once every four years, will take place on Jeju Island (Currently considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world) in South Korea in June 2014. The call for abstracts is now open. The dealine for abstract submission is 31 October 2013. For more information visit the congress website http://www.20wcss.org/
Invitation to send a team to the inaugural International Soil Judging Competition
At the 20th World Congress of Soil Sciences to be held in Jeju, Korea in June 2014, an exciting initiative of the IUSS Commission 4.4 (Soil Education and Public Awareness) will be the staging of the inaugural International Soil Judging Competition.
This competition will be held over three days (June 5th-7th, inclusive) immediately preceding the Congress, and will be open to teams of students currently studying soil science at university. Teams will represent countries and may contain no more than four students, although any combination of full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students is permissible. Each team will have a coach, who would normally be an academic from the same country as the student team. Each country may field up to two teams.
Although more details will follow in coming months, the broad format of the competition is as follows:
- student teams spend two days familiarising themselves with the soils and landscapes of the Jeju area by describing a number of practice pits
- at each practice pit, students describe soil morphological features, classify the soil and make interpretations from their data – all features, classifications and interpretations are worth points and the coach assists during these practice sessions
- on the third day, students attempt four competition soil judging pits – two as individual soil judging and two as team soil judging – the winning team will have the best aggregate points tally from the individual and team judging pits. Coaches are not to provide assistance on the competition day.
An international Coordinating Committee has been set-up to promote and organise this competition, and a Korean Task Force has also been set-up to organise the logistics of the competition in Jeju.
The Coordinating Committee would like to request that national society members of the IUSS (e.g. Soil Science Society of America, Soil Science Australia) be responsible for nominating the members of the team, or teams, from their countries, along with the team coach(es). It will be up to each national society to decide how the team members and coach(es) are selected.
We would like the national societies to finalise their nominations of team members and coach(es), to the Coordinating Committee, by March 20th, 2014.
While there will not be an entry fee for teams to participate in this competition, all participants must register for the WCSS 20. It is likely that national societies will need to support their teams financially, to some extent. More details of funding arrangements and possible subsidies will be forthcoming over the next few months.
Members of the Coordinating Committee, with whom you may wish to discuss details of this competition, are:
- Stephen Cattle, Australia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Cristine Morgan, USA (email@example.com)
- Lúcia Anjos, Brazil (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Chris Baxter, USA (email@example.com)
- Cornie van Huyssteen, South Africa (vanHuyssteenCW@ufs.ac.za)
- John Kim, Korea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Erika Micheli, Hungary (email@example.com)
- Rosa Poch, Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Christian Walter, France (Christian.email@example.com)
- Jingguo Wang, China (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We look forward to staging a truly international and exciting soil judging competition, and we hope that your country can be involved by sending a team or two.
Coordinating Committee for the International Soil Judging Competition Chair, Commission 4.4
For all SACNASP registered scientists in South Africa: UPDATE ON SACNASP PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE COVER FROM 1 APRIL 2013 AND RECORD OF ADVICE: LINK
Landmark for “Soils of South Africa” authored by Martin Fey
When Cambridge University Press published Martin Fey’s Soils of South Africa in 2010, the African Branch in Cape Town 'took a chance' and printed 2000 copies, twice the number recommended in some quarters. Three years later that decision has been vindicated and on the occasion of the first reprinting we asked the author to offer an explanation for the book’s success.
Martin explains the success as follows:
‘To begin with it’s certainly been the fine professional approach of CUP that has made the biggest difference, along with the important contributions of colleagues Jeff Hughes, Jan Lambrechts, Theo Dohse, Anthony Mills and Antoni Milewski, and also by Keith Phillips on layout. After that I could list a number of factors which have made the product inherently attractive'.
'For South African soils there is no modern comparable treatment of the subject, which has expanded enormously in recent decades. People needing an understanding of soils for their own work include farmers, foresters, ecologists, engineers and environmental specialists in mining and other industries. Many gardeners have an amateur interest in soil and are naturally curious to discover how much we know about soil differences. Wildlife enthusiasts are bound to find the chapter on soils and animals particularly rewarding.'
Martin further elaborates on the steady demand the book has generated:
‘A book of this kind, with its blend of technical detail and liberal illustration, will always have a place on South African bookshelves. Southern Africa has an exceptionally large variety of contrasting landscapes. This is true from many, well documented perspectives: geological, climatic, geomorphic and ecological. An account of this diversity would be seriously incomplete if it did not include a pedological perspective, since in many respects our soils are our most valuable natural resource. And it is because of the harshness of our climate, the ruggedness of our terrain and the difficulty we have in getting good value, or a predictable response, out of many of our soils that a better than average knowledge about soils is essential for anyone concerned with South African environments. Soils have a special place here and the book sales suggest that many people knew that already.’
Cambridge University Press is confident the book will continue its reign as a perennial favourite for soil scientists and related professionals.
About the book
Title: Soils of South Africa
Author: Prof. Martin Fey
Hardback ISBN: 9781107000506
Published: February 2010 (Reprinted January 2013)
Order your copy of Soils of South Africa here: ORDER
Latest Combined Congress 2013, Durban, photos has been posted. Congratulations to all the SSSSA medal winners and also all the congress participants for a very successful congress! ...read more
Soil Carbon Day Workshop (Stellenbosch University)
The Soil Carbon Day organized by the Department of Soil Science, Stellenbosch University (SU), as part of the Germany-South Africa Year of Science initiative was successfully held in Stellenbosch on 15 February 2013. The workshop focused on soil carbon management and sequestration, biochar amendment of soils and soil health. The workshop attracted over 140 participants, including soil science researchers and students from every major university in South Africa, researchers from the Agricultural Research Council and National Department of Agriculture, agricultural consultants, and members of the Fertilizer Society of South Africa. The workshop featured 3 plenary lectures by visiting German Scientists, Prof Yakov Kuzyakov (Univ Goettingen), Prof Bruno Glaser (Univ Halle) and Prof Richard Sikora (Univ Bonn).
Prof Kuzyakov, an expert in organic matter turnover in soils, spoke about the importance of soil carbon in soil fertility and about his cutting-edge, stable isotope research studies on the turnover and sequestration of carbon in soils. Prof Bruno Glaser, the current chairperson of the European Biochar Research Network, spoke about biochar amendment of soils, the importance of biochar characterisation and the promising field studies involving composted biochar being carried out in Europe. Prof Sikora, an expert in soil health, spoke about his research into rhizosphere ecto- and endophytic microorganisms that promote plant resistance to soil pathogens and nematodes. Local speakers included: Dr Anthony Mill (SU) who talked about trading soil carbon on the international market, Mr Michael Back (Backsberg, Paarl) who talked about carbon neutral farming, Dr Ailsa Hardie (SU) who talked about the biochar research programme at Stellenbosch University, Mr. Stephen Malherbe (ZZ2) who spoke about soil carbon management at ZZ2, the largest tomato producers in South Africa. The workshop received a lot of positive feedback afterwards, as e-mails poured in from participants expressing how much they enjoyed and learned from the workshop. The presentations are posted on http://academic.sun.ac.za/soil/socaday.html
New peer-reviewed SOIL SURVEY JOURNAL hosted by University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, calls for submission of manuscripts:
The Soil Survey Journal is addressing the interests of soil scientists working in the field of soil survey and mapping. It should also be of interest to a broader community of environmental scientists requiring specific soil information. This initiative was proposed by a group of South African soil scientists and supported by many leading soil scientists world-wide to broaden publication of and access to soil information. However, it’s only the authors that can make this work.
Soil Survey Journal is an on-line open access publication hosted by Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Publication is free of charge and the operation of the journal is supported by volunteer effort of editors and referees. Currently we expect to publish at least two issues per year. The sections will span from Field Notes (short communications), Views and Reviews (Theoretical , position and discussion papers) to articles (Concise experimental work) and Reports (non-peer-reviewed section targeting publication of existing soil survey reports at any level of detail).
To get acquainted with the journal policies, editorial team, submission requirements and procedures, please visit the journal homepage http://sosj.journals.ac.za/pub
Dr. Andrei Rozanov (Department of Soil Science, Stellenbosch University), editor: Soil Survey Journal
In order to generate income for the Society and to cut costs, any advertising on the web site will be welcomed. This could take the form of advertising vacant soil science posts, bursaries, etc as well as the advertising of products and/or services connected to soil science. Any companies who would like to sponsor part or all of the web page are also welcome.
The SASSO Field Book focuses on the application of soil data to classify soils, using soil morphological criteria useful for land suitability and predicting land function in the ecosystem. It avoids a focus on soil genesis, soil formation concepts and geochemistry, which emphasise past conditions, instead of on the soil itself. The text of the Field Book is intended to provide user-friendly guidelines for soil scientists and other interested land-users. It was not intended that the text should replace the technical standard of Soil Classification: A taxonomic system for South Africa, thus the focus of the Field Book is directed towards the field indicators used to classify soils.
The book will be available as hard copy (R100) and e-book (R50) on the 11th of March.
It can be bought from www.sasso.co.za or at the SASSO workshops advertised on the website.
THE SEDIMENTARY PETROLOGY of EOLIAN SANDS in WESTERN FREE STATE AND ADJACENT AREAS NORTH OF THE VAAL RIVER (SOUTH AFRICA)
by Prof. H.J. von M. Harmse and A.M. Hattingh (Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, University of the North-West, Potchefstroom, South Africa). (Read summary)
Contact for booklet orders (R150): Anita du Preez Tel: 018 299 1573
Fax: 018 2991544.
Email Astrid Hattingh for more info: email@example.com
plant materials for environmental, ecological, geological and agricultural investigations.