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Soil Matters

Soil Change Matters

The International Workshop ‘Soil Change Matters’ in Bendigo, Australia, 24-27 March 2014, was convened to explore and discuss changes to soil in the Anthropocene (the era of human influence on the environment) – specifically, how our use of land and soil has affected soil quality and what policy responses are needed to ensure sustainability of the soil resource. The workshop brought together scientists, policy makers, land managers and other stakeholders for a forum in which over 70 separate presentations were made, ranging from the newest perspectives on soil biology to international policies for soil protection. The workshop program and abstracts are available here.

The workshop was supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and a conference report prepared can be viewed here.

Two publications were produced from selected papers from the Soil Change Matters workshop


The overview paper prepared by Workshop Convenors Richard MacEwan and Jennifer Alexander and published as part of the open-access IOP Conference Series is available here.

2015 International Year of Soils

The United Nations declared that 2015 was International Year of Soils.

Soil connects us all – food, clothes, building materials are all produced by soil, even the water we drink is filtered by soil. Soil is essential for cultural enjoyment and recreation, for the arts and sports. It is linked both positively and negatively to human health. So there are many reasons to acknowledge the role played in our lives by the soil beneath our feet, a silent servant, 24/7.

In Melbourne, celebrations of International Year of Soils coincided with World Soil Day on the 5th of December. An array of activities were held at Federation Square including soil painting/moulding/crayons, soil map art installation (using soil samples from around Victoria), 'Stewards of the Soil' photography competition, keynote speakers, science buskers and interactive soil exhibits.


View highlights of the day, or watch the welcoming address by Soil Science Australia President Tim Overheu.
The Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources put together a 3 minute video titled 'Our Soil Story - understanding and mapping Victoria's soil resources'.


International Year of Soil official logo
World Soil Day

Recognising the importance of soils, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) made a resolution in 2002 proposing that 5th December be known as World Soil Day - to celebrate and recognise the importance of soil as a critical component of the global natural system and as a vital contributor to human well-being.

Tthe 38th Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Conference in 2013 unanimously endorsed two resolutions requesting that 5th December be officially designated as World Soil Day (WSD) and 2015 as the International Year of Soils (IYS).
World Soil Day official logo
Victorian State Soil

2005 was the 50th anniversary of the Australian Society of Soil Science Inc (ASSSI). To mark this occasion, the Victorian Branch of the ASSSI decided to increase awareness and appreciation of soils in Victoria by selecting a Victorian State Soil.


Soil Science Australia

The Australian Society of Soil Science Incorporated is the peak body in Australia for soil scientists. The society holds regular meetings at National and State branch levels and is open to anyone interested in soil science. The society is also responsible for a certification and accreditation scheme for soil scientists.
Soil Science Australia official logo

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