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Dear Colleague,
At the request of IGU Executive Committee, I have the pleasure to assume the role of theme leader for contributions by geographers to the "International Year of Planet Earth" (IYPE) related to the topic of Soil. According to the Science Implementation Team of this IYPE key topic, the main questions to be focused on are:
  • How can we better understand the role of soil in geographical mega-system
  • How can vulnerable soil resources be protected from pollution and how can vital polluted resources be restored, particularly in urban and suburban areas?
  • How can the Soil Information System be improved?
  • How can our improved understanding of soil forming processes lead to better interpretation of environmental development
  • How can use soil properties as an indicators of environmental conditions.

As theme leader, it will be my responsibility to act as a key facilitator for geographers who would like to contribute to the IYPE, especially geographers who are involved in special cross-disciplinary national IYPE-committees. The main aim is to provide information on ongoing activities in different countries and make it available to the wider research communities, not to establish new research projects. Against this background I am seeking information from researchers who are willing to contribute insights from their work with respect to the above questions related to either science and/or outreach, including examples of successful solutions and suggestions as to best practice.
I would be pleased to receive information on your research findings which speak directly to the questions identified in the IYPE brochure, and also examples of places and mechanisms used to communicate your findings in the media, education and the wider public. I am also interested in contacting other geographers who you think may be able to contribute to these questions. Your suggestions and recommendations by mail or email are highly appreciated.
Please let me have your responses by 30 September 2006. This will enable me to draft a summary outline of the IGU contributions to IYPE Soil, including a detailed time-table for presentation of results, for submission to the IGU Executive Committee for consideration at their meeting in Tunis 11-16 November 2006.
Thank you very much!
Best regards

Marek Degorski
Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization
Polish Academy of Sciences
PL 00-818 Warsaw, Twarda 51/55
e-mail: m.degor@twarda.pan.pl