Special Section: Call for Papers


COVID-19 and Soils, Agriculture, and the Environment 


Submissions open: 1 Aug. 2021

Submission deadline: 1 Mar. 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in both direct and indirect impacts on soil, agriculture, and the environment. Disruptions in the food supply chain from production to household have resulted in changes in agricultural practices, highlighting the need to sustain food security at the regional level. Higher demands on local soils have resulted in soil security concerns such as limited land suitable for agriculture in urban areas or enhanced soil degradation due to nutrient and carbon depletion.  On the flip side, reduction in transportation has resulted in temporary reduction in emissions and therefore the concentrations of greenhouse gases and particulate matter in soil.  Both greater and weaker demand for outdoor recreational activities and access to open space has resulted in shifts in our natural ecosystem’s response.  

This multi-journal collection compiles articles that broadly demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on soil, agriculture, and the environment. This includes contributions on the interconnectivity between the pandemic and soil health and functionality, sustainable soil management and restoration, crop production, and agricultural practices.  Articles highlighting the efforts to prevent soil degradation and improve, restore, and protect soils, water, crop production, and environments are also welcome.  

For the Soil Science Society of America Journal, we invite articles that discuss and or investigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in all areas of soil science including outreach and consulting areas.  Reports on the changes in chemical and physical properties of the soil, microbial ecology, soil fertility and testing, forest and rangeland soils, and soil pedology and mineralogy, though difficult to influence in only a few years, could be impacted through a drop in P.M.2.5, ammonia, and vehicle (nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide) emissions during the pandemic, for example. Crop growth and resilience could be impacted and related to changes in trace gas emissions and nutrient cycling. As an example, due to the reduction in emissions from industries and automobiles, the amount of nitrogen oxides may have dropped from vehicle emissions influencing low level ozone production. These linkages could induce changes in soil fertility, plant transpiration, and hydrology that affect yields and the nutritional quality of food. Lower emissions could affect forest and wildland ecosystems and provide information on changes in baseline soil properties. How has COVID impacted the ability to manage soil healthfor example, a change in farmer access to organic amendments and/or negative consequences from workforce health? In addition, SSSAJ welcomes reports on COVID impacts on scientists, particularly young researchers and woman and underrepresented scientists. This could include research impacts and issues that pertain to attaining tenure for example.  

Manuscripts for Soil Science Society of America Journal should be submitted through SSSAJ’s ScholarOne submission portal: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/sssaj  


See other participating journals’ Calls for Papers: Agricultural & Environmental LettersAgronomy JournalAgrosystems, Geosciences & EnvironmentCrop ScienceJournal of Environmental Quality; Urban Agriculture & Regional Food SystemsVadose Zone Journal. 


 Special Issue: Soil Health and Sustainability: Proceedings of The 19th Chinese Young Soil Scientists and 14th Chinese Young Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer Scientists Academic Conference 


Submissions open: 1 Aug. 2021

Submission deadline: 30 Nov. 2021


Guest Editors: 

Yonghong Wu,Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of SciencesNanjing, Chinayhwu@issas.ac.cn  

Chengrong ChenAustralian Rivers Institute,  BrisbaneQLDAustralia, c.chen@griffith.edu.au 

Pengfei SunInstitute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China,pfsun@issas.ac.cn

Jan Dolfing, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK, jan.dolfing@northumbria.ac.uk

Healthy and sustainable soils are central to sustain our food systems, filter and regulate the flow of freshwater, store vast quantities of carbon, and support myriad organisms. But the world’s soils are increasingly under pressure from climate change, population growth, and poor land management. This collection brings together a selection of articles that can provide suggestions for the protection of healthy soil and the sustainable development of healthy soil.  We hope that the collection supports this aim to start a point for improved understanding, better protection, and sustainable management of our soil resources. 

This special section will mainly address the following scientific topics: 

  • Soil nutrient cycling in soil. 
  • Soil microbiomes and heathy soil.  
  • Soil quality degradation, improvement processes, and their biotic and abiotic mechanisms. 
  • Sustainable management practices and resilience of soil to climate change.  


KEYWORDS: nutrient cycling; soil microbiomes; quality degradation; sustainable management practices; biotic and abiotic mechanisms


The issue coincides with the conference that was held in China from 18 to 22 May 2021. The sources of submission to this special issue are mainly from the conference, which has about 600 peers. 


Manuscripts should be submitted through SSSAJ’s ScholarOne submission portal. https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/sssaj  


Mollisols Degradation and Evolution under Different Management Practices and Climate Change 


Submissions open: April 2021

Submission deadline: 30 October 2021


Guest Editors: 

  • Lu-Jun Li, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harbin, PR China, lilujun@iga.ac.cn 
  • Xia Zhu-Barker, Univ. of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA, wyjzhu@ucdavis.edu
  • Na Li, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harbin, PR China, nal@iga.ac.cn 
  • Scott X. Chang, Dep. of Renewable Resources, Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, scott.chang@ualberta.ca
  • Junjie Liu, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harbin, PR China,  liujunjie@iga.ac.cn  


Mollisols represent the most economically important and agriculturally productive soil order in the world and are extensively distributed on the steppes of North America, South America, Ukraine, and Northeast China. Since the last century, a large majority of the Mollisols have been intensively converted to agricultural soils to meet the increasing demands for food due to world population growth. Mollisols support a significant production of the world’s grain supply. However, much of the Mollisols has been predatorily used without sustainable management to protect soil quality and enhance soil healthAs a result, it is not surprising that Mollisols are prone to soil degradation and dehumification, especially in the context of climate change. In particular, soil fertility and soil organic matter, especially in the top layer of soil, have decreased inevitably in Mollisols. This has resulted in tremendous losses both from economic and environmental perspectives. 

This special section will mainly address the following scientific topics: 

  1. Soil organic carbon sequestration and stabilization in Mollisols.
  2. Soil nutrient cycling in Mollisols.
  3. Soil quality degradation, improvement processes, and their biotic and abiotic mechanisms. 
  4. Sustainable management practices and resilience of Mollisols to climate change. 

Within this context, we organize this special section with the Mollisol theme. We will involve leading scientists focused on Mollisol research to share their innovation in developing theoretical foundations and practical management approaches to illustrate the current status and evolution of Mollisols, aiming to provide guidance for sustainable utilization and development of Mollisols, a precious soil resource.  

Manuscripts should be submitted through SSSAJ’s ScholarOne submission portal. https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/sssaj  

 Stability of mineral-Organic matter associations under varying biogeochemical conditions


Submissions open: 1 Jan. 2021

Submission deadline: 30 June 2021


Guest Editors: 

Ravi Kukkadapu, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA USA, ravi.kukkadapu@pnnl.gov

Qian Zhao, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA USA, qian.zhao@pnnl.gov


This special issue will explore the role of minerals in the persistence of soil organic matter (SOM) under varying environmental changes (e.g., fluctuating oxygen conditions). Mineral-organic matter (OM) interactions are generally considered to stabilize bioavailable OM. Recent experimental, nanoscale spatial characterization analysis, and molecular dynamic modeling studies further suggest that the composition and bioavailabilities of SOM vary with soil mineralogy (Fe- and Al-oxides, phyllosilicate clay minerals, and CaCO3); Ca, Fe, and Al minerals display preferential affinities to different classes of OM, and the extent and type of OM available for microbial respiration depend on the redox state of the soil. We welcome submissions to this rapidly evolving understanding through novel experimental studies coupled to advanced spectroscopic/analytical methods and/or modeling approaches to strengthen or challenge the existing conceptual models of SOM stabilization, particularly with a focus on mineral-OM associations.


KEYWORDS: soil organic matter, mineralogy, biogeochemical condition, organo-mineral interaction, carbon bioavailability and stability, molecular dynamic modeling


Authors are encouraged to send a short abstract to the guest editors before formal submission to Soil Science Society of America Journal.


The review process will follow standard protocols with anonymous peer reviews and the papers will be published online as soon as they are accepted.