African soils from ISRIC collection on display in special exhibition

Copyright © KU Leuven

4th December the exposition "Africa soil in Profile" has been launched in the Africa Museum of Tervuren (Belgium).The expositon is a collaboration between Catholic University of Leuven, JRC,  the Africa Museum of Tervuren and , ISRIC. The exposition will be open for two months. At the launch there was a scientific program and the French edition of the improved Soil Atlas of Africa has been presented.

This unique exhibition is organized by the University of Leuven in cooperation with ISRIC - World Soil Information, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren). Unique objects from the collections of the World Soil Museum and the Royal Museum for Central Africa are brought together in this exhibition. The exhibition displays 30 resin-impregnated soil cores, called ‘monoliths’, from all over the continent. Each shows a vertical section of soil (a profile) exactly as it would look in the field. Together with over 200 photographs, geological samples and archeological materials, these monoliths tell the story of how soils are critical to livelihoods, land-use and biodiversity and what can be achieved when the public, scientists, farmers, policy makers and industry join forces.

The story line of the exhibition is based on the ‘Soil Atlas of Africa’, compiled by a team of scientists led by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. The University of Leuven is linked to the history of mapping soils in Africa. The story starts in 1965, when the first major Soil Map of Africa was presented by a team of over a hundred specialists, led by Jules D’Hoore. This map formed the basis for the FAO-UNESCO Soil Map of the World that was published in 1977 by a team led by Rudi Dudal. Both of them were Professors in Soil Science at KU Leuven. The exhibition brings these soil maps to life for a wide audience.

The Soil Atlas of Africa presents a comprehensive interpretation of soils across the African continent. It explains the origin and functions of soil, describes the different soil types that can be found in Africa and their relevance to both local and global issues. The French edition of the Atlas will be launched during the International Congress  organized at the opening of the exhibition

The scientific program that precedes the formal opening of the exhibition highlights the role and status of soil information (morning programme) and discusses the perspectives for cooperation (afternoon programme).

Herman Van Rompuy (former EU president) will open the exhibition, jointly with, Alexander De Croo (Belgium Minister for Development Cooperation), Rik Torfs (Rector KU Leuven) and Vincent Blondel (Rector UCL).

The exhibition is open to  the public from 05/12/2015 to 29/01/2016between 8.30 am and 10 pm on weekdays and between 10 am and 7 pm during the week-end. Entrance is free. Venue:  Arenbergbibliotheek KU Leuven, W. De Croylaan 6, Heverlee.