BSSS Annual Conference - Soil in Action

15th October 2020

BSSS Annual Conference - Soil in Action

This first ever British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) virtual Annual Conference will take place on Friday 4 December 2020 in support of the United Nations’ (UN) World Soil Day, which aims to raise international awareness of the importance of soil.

The morning session Soil In Action: Use Across Professions will welcome presentations from Lorna Dawson on soil use in forensic science, Martin Ballard, Group Environment Manager of Willmott Dixon, with a view from the construction sector, Alexandre M.J.-C Wadoux on sampling strategies for soil mapping and John Boardman discussing off‐site impacts of soil erosion and runoff.

Designed to highlight the use of soil across disciplines, Lorna and Martin will highlight the importance which soil has within the distinctly different areas of forensic science and construction and infrastructure. Lorna will cover examples from real case work and from fiction, where evidence from the earth has been of importance in helping to solve crimes and bring about natural justice and Martin will highlight the impacts which current regulations have within the built environment and present a proposed action plan for addressing these. 

Alexandre Wadoux, invited on behalf of the European Journal of Soil Science (EJSS) Editor, Jenni Dungait, will discuss simple sampling strategies for soil mapping, based on his popular article which has free open access in the Early View of the EJSS. John Boardman, invited by Deyi Hou, Soil Use and Management Editor, will present a summary of his article Off‐site impacts of soil erosion and runoff: Why connectivity is more important than erosion rates which featured in Soil Use and Management 35(2).

The afternoon session, Keep Soil Alive, Protect Soil Biodiversity, is the same topic as World Soil Day which will take place the following day, Saturday 5 December. Speakers will discuss the challenges for the bio-diversity of soil, including the impact which human intervention has had and offer their own thoughts on how soil can be protected, and the impact on the world if it is not. Members are invited to pre-submit questions on biodiversity and an invited panel of experts, representing a wide-range of biodiversity specialisms, will respond to them.

Professor Wilfred Otten, BSSS Past President and Conference Chair said, “Our members work across a wide range of professions, both in academia and in practice and this year’s programme aims to highlight important applications of soil science and excellent work published in our journals. In addition, we continue to support the UN’s World Soil Day and hope that our programme raises awareness of soil’s biodiversity and its importance as an eco-system.”

The conference will take place from 10:00am – 3:00pm, is free of charge to BSSS members and registration is available via:



Media Contact

Sarah Garry
Executive Officer
British Society of Soil Science



Notes for Editors

  • The British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) is an established international membership organisation and charity committed to the study of soil in its widest aspects. The society brings together those working within academia, and practitioners implementing soil science in industry. Soil scientists’ research findings are essential for investigating the feasibility of agricultural, landscaping, construction, conservation and archaeological projects. Our members are employed by both private and public sector institutions including academic universities, conservation charities, construction companies and consultancies. 
  • Participants can register for the Annual Conference via the Go To Webinar link:
  • The full programme and speaker biographies are available on the BSSS website:
  • The BSSS Annual Conference is open to members only and to join from £31 until 31 December 2021, visit
  • Lorna Dawson is Principal Scientist and Head of Forensic Soil Science at the James Hutton Institute. She is an advisor with the National Crime Agency, a trained Expert Witness, and holds diplomas in civil and criminal law. She has published over 100 scientific papers, books and book chapters and is the Science Advisor and KE Lead for Environment for SEFARI (Scottish Environment Food Agriculture Research Institutes).
  • Martin Ballard is the Group Environment Manager of Willmott Dixon where his role is to ensure the sustainable practices and targets set for site performance are being consistently embedded and delivered. He has experience of delivering on waste, water, and carbon reduction, as well as strategic stakeholder and supply chain engagement, for example on biodiversity, surface water and sustainable urban drainage controls.
  • Dr Alexandre Wadoux is a research associate in soil science and pedometrics at the University of Sydney. He has made contributions to soil science through the development of quantitative methods for soil sampling, mapping and assessment using geostatistics, statistical learning algorithms and spectroscopy.
  • John Boardman is a geomorphologist and an Emeritus Fellow at the ECI, Research Fellow at Green-Templeton College and at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. He has published over 160 papers mainly on land degradation and has edited several books. He is UK representative on the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Transdisciplinary Proposal Standing Assessment Board and on the Earth System Science and Environmental Management committee. John continues to work on soil erosion in southern England and on land degradation in South Africa.