Volcanic Soil Resources in Europe. COST Action 622 final meeting. Abstracts

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Hlynur Ëskarsson, Ëlafur ArnaldsRALA2004ReykjavÝk
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Fj÷lrit RALA2141-128

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Introduction

O. Arnalds and H. Oskarsson
Agricultural Research Institute (Rala), Iceland

A group of European soil scientists has over the past six years participated in an European COST action titled Soil Resources of European Volcanic Systems (COST-622). Soils of volcanic areas often exhibit unique properties that separate them from other soils on Earth. The most common soils of volcanic regions are Andosols, but the Action had a broad agenda dealing with all soils that form in volcanic regions regardless of age of the parent materials. The action is chaired by Francois Bartoli (France).

During the action, both workshops and small group meetings have been held in various locations in Europe, based on activity of 5 working groups. Action workshops have been held in Iceland, Napoli, Canary Islands, Azores, Sicily, Massive Central (France), Manderscheid (Germany), Budapest, Wageningen, and with small group meetings at various locations in Europe.

This issue of Rala Report contains abstracts for the last workshop of the COST-622 action, which is held in Akureyri and Hallormsstadur in North and East Iceland. It exemplifies the extensive research activity throughout Europe involving soils of volcanic areas. There are about 60 abstracts, covering a range of issues such as mineralogy, chemistry, physics, organic matter, soil genesis and land use. It also includes abstracts from non-European scientists such as from the U.S., Canada and Japan. The fact that scientists from 17 countries will attend the meeting in Iceland reflects well the international aspect of this work.

One unique aspect of the COST-622 was a joint sampling of soil pedons in the participating countries. The samples were subsequently distributed to the participating laboratories for various analyses. The Euopean COST-622 pedons are therefore among the best studied soils in the world. Many of the abstracts included here deal with these COST pedons. The Action has brought a new light on the unique properties of volcanic soils and their distribution in Europe, and has entered European soil scientists more actively into international scientific debate about such soils.

This issue is an example of other similar pubications with abstracts in relation to this COST Action (e.g. COST-622, 1998, 2001, 2002; KertÚsz 2002). Papers from the German meeting were alzo published in the Mainzer Naturwissenschaft Archiv 40. In addition, the partnership has resulted in special issues of the scientific journals Geoderma (Bartoli et al., 2003) and Catena (Arnalds and Stahr, 2004). Publication activities have also included field guides and reports of various working groups.

The partnership established between European soil scientists involved in research of volcanic regions by the EU-COST program is an excellent example of what such programs can achieve. It has been especially important for the Icelandic partners, which has the largest extent of Andosols in Europe, enchanced both science and education this field and opened up reseach co-operation and firendship among partners that will remain long after the conslucion of the COST action.