The German Soil Science Society (DBG) was founded on 24th February 1926 in Berlin as a section of the International Soil Science Society (ISSS). Until the 2nd World War the congresses / conferences were affected by scientists from Berlin like O. Lemmermann, F.W. Schucht and P. Giesecke, supported by A.E. Mitscherlich (Königsberg) and P. Ehrenberg (Breslau). These scientists have contributed together with E. Blanck (Göttingen), Editor of the Handbuch der Bodenkunde (Handbook of Soil Science), G.A. Krauss (München) and H. Stremme (Danzig) to the international reputation of our scientific society.
Highlights during these days were the creation of the soil maps of Germany and Europe, the contribution to the German Soil Appraisal (Reichsbodenschätzung), the pot experiments to estimate the nutrient demand of field crops and the characterisation of fundamental soil properties, e.g. colloids.
After the re-foundation as an independent society on 7th December1949 in Wiesbaden, the German Soil Science Society was influenced during the first 2 decades mainly by its long-lasting president F. Scheffer. With the support of corresponding members like G. Barbier and P. Duchaufour (France), M. Gracanin (Jugoslavia), R. Tavernier (Belgium), A. van Baren (The Netherlands) and later by L. Wiklander (Sweden), R. Dudal (Belgium-FAO) and D. Yaalon (Israel) the German Soil Science Society re-established its international reputation quickly.
The continuously increasing annual conferences, the large number of scientific activities of the commissions, working groups and working committees and many excursions led to an intensive exchange of experiences and a rapid scientific progress. A highlight was the conference of the International Soil Science Society (IUSS) in 1986 in Hamburg. Additionally, international conferences were organised by the commissions like 1958 in Hamburg, 1966 in Braunschweig-Völkenrode, 1971 in Stuttgart-Hohenheim and 1981 in Berlin. Especially remarkable was the last common conference of the East- and West-German Soil Science Society in 1961 in Vienna and the first one after the re-unification in 1991 in Bayreuth.
During that time the main focus was on questions concerning soil development, soil geography and soil suitability. Later, soil ecology, biology and fertililty were dominating topics. Since the 1980s the aspects of soil conservation gained more and more in importance. This expressed itself in a working group which was directly linked to the executive board, later it was manifested in the foundation of the 8th commission of the DBG and finally in the outsourcing of the Bundesverband Boden e.V. (Federal Soil Association).
The number of members increased quickly from about 150 in 1950 over more than 800 in 1975 to 2.450 in 2003, whereas the Society was always characterised by a high proportion of young members. About 10 % of our members are from or working in foreign countries.
There are many close co-operations with other institutions in the field of Soil Science in Germany and foreign countries. The high reputation of the German Soil Science was fostered through the collaboration as commission chairs of the IUSS by Flaig, Schwertmann, Hartge, Schlichting, Ottow, Horn, Stahr and Burghardt and documented through the IUSS honorary membership of W. Kubiena (Hamburg), F. Scheffer (Göttingen), W. Flaig (Braunschweig), E. Mückenhausen (Bonn), P. Schachtschabel and K.-H. Hartge (both from Hannover ).