The journal article

Grunwald S., C. Yu and X. Xiong. 2018. Transferability and scaling of soil total carbon prediction models in Florida, USA. Pedosphere J. 28(6): 856-872. doi:10.1016/S1002-0160(18)60048-7

was recognized among the influential few studies to be featured in the Research Insight 2019 edition.

Research Insight 2019

Hari won the 2018 Pedometrics / Quantitative Soil Science award for his research dissertation:

Setyono H.A. 2018. Soil-landscape modeling for agroecological policy development in the developing regions. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.


Toshi (Katsutoshi) Mizuta won the Williams K. Bill Robertson Graduate Fellowship 2018.

— Congratulations.

Lou, well deserved retirement from UF after many years of leading the UF Center for Spirituality and Health as Director and faculty member in the Department of Neuroscience, College of Medicine. Thanks for the wonderful retirement dinner (May 2, 2018)

Keep going strong!


May – you graduated in super-speed from UF (Master in Accounting)! Thanks for all your help as Project Assistant for UF Mindfulness and the PLG lab. We wish you well in your new job and will miss you dearly.

What a joyful Open House. Some impressions.

Thanks to Kay for preparing home cooked food. Yum!

The “dirt cake” in the flower pot. Delicious.

Chris is making last minute preps for the Open House.

Serious research chats.

Relax and enjoy.

Student-driven research in the PLG lab.

Integral and Relational Sciences – PLG lab.

STEP-AWBH Model – PLG lab.

Research questions are discussed.



Open House PLG Lab (2018) [Flyer]

Carla presented her research at the AGU Meeting in New Orleans (Dec. 11-15, 2017). Her poster was focused on “Soil organic carbon variability in High-Andean ecosystems: Bringing together machine learning and proximal soil sensing.” Some heavy lifting at this flashy multi-media supported meeting.

2017 Women in Science Workshop “Connecting Mindfulness and Work-Life Balance”

This workshop ( was taught by Sabine Grunwald.

Slides Workshop Mindfulness WLB (2017). The associated worksheet is available per request.

Women in Science article (CSA News, 2018)


The World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) takes place only every 4 years and is organized by the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS). In 2018 it will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Aug. 12-17, 2018). I will serve as the Convener of the Divisional Symposium “C4.5.1. Integration of historical, philosophical and sociological worldviews to secure and sustain soils in the future”.

Submit an abstract by Jan. 20, 2018. 

The Division 4 “the Role of Soils in Sustaining Society and the Environment” of IUSS organizes the following Interdivisional Symposia:

4.1. Soils, society and culture: People´s connections to soil.

The aim of this symposium is for dialogue and to build a shared understanding about how different peoples and groups perceive and relate to soil. The emphasis is on how people connect and why do they care about soils. Some contemporary societies seem to ignore or overpower the existential fact that soils sustain almost all terrestrial life. On the other hand, there are many cultural traditions, archaic as well as supported by world religions, philosophies and politics, considering soil to be of high intrinsic value as sustainer of life, or even to be sacred. The focus of this symposium lies on giving attention to elements that create cultural soil appreciation, as cultural and spiritual values, that can improve understanding and communication about soils.

Conveners: Nikola Patzel (IUSS/DE, and Cristine Muggler (UFV/BR,

  1. a) The unrecognized face of the Earth. Christian Feller (IRD/FR,
  2. b) Soil Ethics – Soil Care, Beliefs and Values. Sabine Grunwald (University of Florida/US,
  3. c) Sacred Ploughing and Soil: The Peasant Sovereign in Eastern India. Milinda Banerjee (LMU/DE and Presidency University/IN,

4.2. Soil education and public awareness.

The International Year of Soils brought soil to the center stage in many ways. The major goal of promoting dialogue among different soil-related groups and engaging everybody in a conversation about the vital role of soils was shared around the world. Subsequently, the Soil Decade was proclaimed by the IUSS Council and this has focused the IUSS contributions to soil education and communication. The challenges lie in how much has been achieved in public perception of soils, how diverse audiences are reached, sensitizing and touching individuals and peoples and how continuity and permanence of the spirit, actions and movement can be assured to increase soil awareness.

Conveners: Eric Brevik (US, and Fabiane Vezzani (UFPR/BR,

  1. a) Some challenges and accomplishments in soil science education: Teaching practices, principles, and beyond. Damien Field (University of Sidney/AU,
  2. b) Soil education in Latin America. Laura Berta Reyes Sanchez (UNAM/MX, and Cristine Muggler (UFV/BR,
  3. c) Which Public? Audiences of soil communication from an arts and humanities perspective. Alexandra Toland (DE,

4.3. Paradigm change in soil science: utopia or reality? 

In this symposium dominant soil scientific paradigms are presented in the context of the history of soil science and the future challenges presented by environmental changes and the pressures of human flows. The session serves as an epistemological reflection on the state of the soil science profession in a changing world, providing philosophical as well as practical perspectives on how we conduct our work. Concurrent and sometimes conflicting approaches to research, teaching, communicating and protecting soils are juxtaposed in the proposed presentations and a moderated discussion.

Conveners: Guilherme Sobrinho (Lapsiafro/UFRRJ/BR, and Alexandra Toland (DE,

  1. From soil properties to soil functions and beyond: paradigm change in soil science? Thomas Sauer (NLAE/USDA/US,
  2. A Soil Security concept to value ecosystem services. Cristine Morgan (Texas AM University/US,
  3. Cultural patterns of soil understanding. Nikola Patzel (IUSS/DE,

4.4. Soil organic matter to secure food and water and the 4 per 1000 initiative

As soils are alive, the promotion of their functions go with the maintenance and enhancement of soil biodiversity. This means the increase of quantity and quality of soil organic matter to support and diversify the soil organisms. What are the technical practices to increase soil organic carbon stocks? What are the limits, the expected benefits and the potential drawbacks of implementing actions to increase soil organic carbon contents? What is the scientific knowledge urgently needed? The “4 per mille” initiative promotes soil organic carbon sequestration to improve soil fertility, adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, targeting agricultural soils in particular. This session aims at bringing together scientists across many disciplines to discuss these different aspects.

Conveners:  Beata Madari (EMBRAPA/BR, and

  1. a) The ‘4 per 1000 initiative’. Claire Chenu (FR) (
  2. b) ‘4 per mille’ a global persepctive. Budiman Minasny (University of Sydney/AU,
  3. c) Agroecology and tropical soils management beyond food security. Heitor Teixeira, UFV/WUR, BR,

4.5. Soil governance and sustainable development goals: connections between land use policies, soil science and society.

Globally, governance of the soil has been limited to an agricultural perspective due to increased food insecurity. However, there is a need to improve governance of the limited soil resources of the planet in order to guarantee healthy and productive soils for all essential ecosystem services. Additionally, the acceptance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 offers opportunities to analyze procedures and to derive common approaches for soil science, past and present land use changes and policies development.

Conveners: Gonçalo Farias ( and

  1. a) SDG´s as a prospect for the development of relations between soil science and society. Johann Bouma, WUR/NL
  2. b) Innovative soil governance in Latin America: La Ley de Tierras de Ecuador. Érika Zárate, Ministry of Agriculture, EC
  3. c) Soil as natural capital and the concept contribution to soil governance regulations, Brent Clothier/NZ


The Pedometrics Commission 1.5 of the Division 1 “Soils in Space and Time” of IUSS and associated working groups will convene several symposia, including

1.5.1 – Global soil carbon modeling: This symposium is to bring together scientist both from the soil science and global change community involved in global soil carbon modelling.

1.5.2 – Crucial techniques for the critical zone: Soil morphometrics, monitoring & modelling: This co-organized workshop focus on the cross-pollinations between the research areas of soil evolution modelling, sampling and monitoring and morphometric methods.

1.5.3 – Reconciling pedometrics and pedology: This symposium is intended to bring together scientists both from pedometrics and pedology to create a synergy on advancing soil resource management.

Interdivision Symposium: Pedodiversity and biodiversity

This symposium is intended to increase our knowledge on relationships between pedodiversity and soil biodiversity. Different approaches to describe and estimate soil diversity, effects of biodiversity on pedodiversity, and vice versa will be discussed.

WG – Digital soil mapping: Progress in digital soil mapping: The Symposium will be presenting the recent advances in Digital Soil Mapping techniques

WG – Digital Soil Morphometrics: Soil imaging and image analysis at multiple scales

WG – Global Soil Map: Global Soil Map: progress and challenges: The symposium will provide a review of the state of the art related to GlobalSoilMap. The symposium will review the specifications and the state of progress of GlobalSoilMap products delivery.

WG – Proximal soil sensing (PSS): The symposium will report on the development of: state-of-the-art soil sensing technologies; modern statistical methods for analyzing soil sensor data; methods for multi-sensor data fusion; and methods for sampling and fine resolution digital soil mapping using sensor data

WG – Soil Monitoring: Soil monitoring evolving tools and challenges: The objectives will be to provide a review of the state of the art related to Soil Monitoring. Special attention will be paid to the issues related to the use of new techniques or proxies for monitoring, to recent advances in cost effective sampling designs and harmonization issues.

WG – Universal Soil Classification: Progress for the development of a Universal Soil Classification System: The symposium will provide an overview of the history and progress of the development of a Universal Soil Classification System.


Chris, Kay, Sabine, Toshi, Jiahua, Risa, Hari and Carla.


So many awards for members of our lab group – Cooooooongratulations !!!

  • Carla Gavilan received the UF Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation award (2018)
  • Carla Gavilan won the best oral presentation award at the Soil and Water Science Department Research Forum, Gainesville, FL (2017)
  • Carla Gavilan received the second place in the Student Oral Competition, ASA Community “Soil Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, Int. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Meeting, Tampa, FL (2017)
  • Katsutoshi Mizuta received the Quantitative Environmental Soil Science / Pedometrics Award, Soil and Water Science Department, UF (2017)
  • Carla Gavilan was awarded the Doris Earl and Verna Lowe Scholarship (2017)
  • Wade Ross received the UF Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation award (2017)

Toshi and Sabine at the Soil and Water Sciences Department Award Ceremony (Fall 2017)


Toshi and Sabine at the IFAS-UF Graduate Student Award Ceremony. Toshi was awarded the Doris Earl and Verna Lowe Scholarship Award. Carla received the same award, but did not attend the award ceremony and banquet.


Bringing mindfulness to campus and sharing mindfulness practices, experiences, and fostering dialogue was gratifying and joyful. The UF Mindfulness Day 2017 in Gainesville, FL (Sept. 25, 2017) brought about 300 students, faculty members and people from the Gainesville community together. The program included the keynote talk by Dr. Glenn Hartelius; invited guest speaker Gurudev Shri Amritji (Yogi Amrit Desai); workshop “Choosing love: Finding peace within the eye of the storm”, and 13 special topic sessions.

More at:

Recordings of some of the presentations:

Our paper was awarded the International Best Paper in Pedometrics Award (2016). 

Viscarra Rossel, R.A., T. Behrens, E. Ben-Dor, D.J. Brown, J.A.M. Demattê, K.D. Shepherd, Z. Shi, B. Stenberg, A. Stevens, V. Adamchuk, H. Aïchi, B.G. Barthès, H.M. Bartholomeus, A.D. Bayer, M. Bernoux, K. Böttcher, L. Brodský, C.W. Du, A. Chappell, Y. Fouad, V. Genot, C. Gomez, S. Grunwald, A. Gubler, C. Guerrero, C.B. Hedley, M. Knadel, H.J.M. Morrás, M. Nocita, L. Ramirez-Lopez, P. Roudier, E.M.R. Campos, P. Sanborn, V.M. Sellitto, K.A. Sudduth, B.G. Rawlins, C. Walter, L.A. Winowiecki, S.Y. Hong and W. Ji. 2016. A global spectral library to characterize the world’s soil. Earth-Science Reviews. 155, 198–230. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2016.01.012. (pdf)

The journal Earth-Science Reviews has a current IF of 7.82.

Synopsis of the paper: A global team of researchers, including Dr. Grunwald, synthesized a spectral dataset (visible-/near-infrared spectra) and measured soil data to model various critical soil indicators at global scale. Big data analysis was used to develop global soil maps/models for carbon, clay, and other soil properties demonstrating the impact and mitigation potential under various change stressors, including global climate change and land use change, both causing unprecedented soil degradation.

Read also the feature in the Soil and Water Sciences Department, UF Blog:

The Pedometrics Conference in Wageningen, Netherlands was special (June 26 – July 1, 2017) (PM2017 pdf). We celebrated 25 years of pedometrics. Pedometrics became a Commission of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2004 and has been growing exponentially over the past decades with focal areas in Digital Soil Mapping (DSM), Digital Soil Morphometrics, Modeling of Soil and Landscape Evolution, Proximal Soil Sensing, and Soil Monitoring. Information about the conference, including abstracts and detailed program, are available at:

Dr. Grunwald gave an invited special long talk at the Pedometrics Conference:

“Past, Present and Future of Soil Physical, Chemical and Biological Process Knowledge in Pedometrics”


Pdf: Pedometrics (2017) – slides


Our lab group had several presentations at the Pedometrics Conference:

Christopher M. Clingensmith, Sabine Grunwald and Suhas
Wani. “Using new sparsity genomic methods to improve soil chemometric models”.

Christopher M. Clingensmith, Sabine Grunwald and Suhas
Wani. “Transferring and spiking of soil spectral models between two south Indian villages”.

Katsutoshi Mizuta, Sabine Grunwald, Wendell P. Cropper,
Wonsuk Lee, Gustavo M. Vasques, Michelle A Phillips,
Brenton D. Myers, Xiong Xiong and Willie G. Harris. “A novel pedometrics-econometrics approach to assess soil carbon capability”.

Katsutoshi Mizuta, Sabine Grunwald, Christopher M. Clingensmith, Gustavo M Vasques, Wonsuk Lee, Michelle A. Phillips, Wendell P. Cropper, Xiong Xiong and Brenton D. Myers. “Modelling pedo-econometric carbon scores with VNIR spectroscopy.”

 (Award Press Release from SSSA)

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) announces the following 2017 award recipient to be formally presented at the SSSA Awards Ceremony on 2017-10-24 during the scientific society’s Annual Meeting in Tampa with the ceremony held at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. The annual awards are presented for outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service, and research.

Sabine Grunwald, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL – SSSA Fellow: Sabine Grunwald is Professor and was Director
of Distance Education Programs in the Soil and Water Sciences Department, University of Florida (UF), Gainesville, FL.
She holds an affiliate faculty appointment in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, UF. Dr. Grunwald
received a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University Giessen, Germany. She is internationally recognized as an authority in
pedometrics, digital soil mapping, soil-environmental modeling and soil carbon dynamics. She has authored a total of 168 peer-reviewed publications and gave more than 430 presentations at international, national and regional conferences. Dr. Grunwald provided leadership as Associate Editor for the Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., Board member of Geoderma, Vice Chair of Commission Pedometrics of the Int. Union of Soil Sciences, and Chair of the
ASA Community Global Digital Soil Map. She has conducted research nationally and internationally including in India,
Africa, Brazil and Peru.

SSSA Fellow: Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the Soil Science Society of America. Members of the Society nominate
worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements and meritorious service. Up to 0.3 percent of the Society’s
active and emeritus members may be elected Fellow.

Our paper:

van Griensven A., Meixner, T., Grunwald S.,  Bishop, T., Di Luzio, M. and Srinivasan, R. (2006). A global sensitivity analysis method for the parameters of multi-variable watershed models, J. Hydrol., 324(1-4), 10-23.

was ranked first as classic paper (classic papers are highly-cited papers in their area of research that have stood the test of time) by Google Scholar in the category “Hydrology and Water Resources”.


Congratulations Dr. Wade Ross! It’s celebration time after years of hard work of research on DayCent climate change modeling and Random Forest modeling of soil carbon and net primary productivity. Some photos from our potluck party with the lab team. Wade graduated with the Ph.D. dissertation “A region-wide analysis of terrestrial carbon cycling across the Land of the Pines” (2017).

Ploy (Pasicha Chaikaew), who graduated with a Ph.D. from UF in 2014, was visiting our lab team in Gainesville (May 8, 2017). She came a long way from Bangkok, Thailand where she works as faculty member in the Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University.


More wonderful news.

Dr. Grunwald was awarded the UF Research Foundation Professorship. This is a three year meritorious professorship given for outstanding academic achievements by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida.

Wonderful news.

Dr. Grunwald was awarded the UF Term Professorship. This is a special three year  meritorious professorship given for outstanding academic achievements by the University of Florida.

Congratulations! The UF Mindfulness team led by Dr. Grunwald was awarded the 2016 UF Champions for Change Award by the UF Office of Sustainability and the Healthy Gators Coalition.

The UF Mindfulness team has been active as a change agent to co-construct a mindful UF campus.


What an interesting article at Vox:

Science has pros and cons. And like any other career, a scientist faces multiple challenges, among them to acquire funding for research in a competitive world of limited funding, juggle work and life, and meet expectations to teach, advise, mentor, coach, write proposals, papers, books …., design and conduct innovative research, analyze data, develop models, and create new ideas that advance science. In addition, professional service and hundreds of others little managerial and coordination tasks are demanding. It’s a 24/7 job.

TerraC is dedicated to: (i) advance terrestrial carbon science through sharing of carbon and environmental data; (ii) facilitate environmental synthesis; and (iii) enhance collaboration among researchers, scientists, and extension specialists through shared resources. TerraC offers tools to upload, store, manage, query, analyze, and download data characterizing terrestrial carbon dynamics from various sources, including soils, plants/biomass, atmosphere, water, and whole ecosystems. It was developed by Dr. Grunwald’s research team.

Access TerraC:


Pedometrics = pedos [soil] and metron [measurement]

“Pedometrics” (term coined by A.B. McBratney) is a neologism, which stems from the Greek words pedos [soil] and metron [measurement]. It is formed and used analogously to other applied statistical fields such as biometrics, psychometrics, econometrics etc. (see Preface of Geoderma, 1994: 62). Pedometrics is defined as:

“the application of mathematical and statistical methods for the quantitative modeling of soils, with the purpose of analyzing its distribution, properties and behavior”

Trends in soil science sub-disciplines and subjects between 1967 and 2001. The ordinate is the percentage of papers in Geoderma (source A.. E. Hartemink et al., 2001; Geoderma, 100, pp. 217-268).


Contemporary pedometrics topics:

  • Analysis and modeling of spatial and temporal variation of soil properties
  • Digital soil mapping
  • Error propagation
  • Multiscale data integration
  • Soil-landscape modeling
  • SCORPAN or CLORPT based modeling
  • Soil pattern analysis
  • Quantitative soil classification algorithms
  • Pedogenic simulation modeling
  • Design and evaluation of sampling schemes
  • Soil sensors
  • Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy for soil mapping
  • Remote sensing supported soil mapping
  • and more