The Working Group „Forest Soils“ of the German Soil Science Society was founded about 25 years ago; one of the main tasks at that time was to harmonize the research on forest dieback/forest damage which was a serious ecological and political issue in Germany at that time. Important themes at that time were soil acidification caused by air pollution, mobilization of aluminum and toxic heavy metals in the pedosphere, as well as the development of suitable mitigation strategies which counteract soil acidification cause by atmospheric acid immission. Research on these issues resulted in long-termed intensive collaboration with the Section “Forest and Water” of the German Union of Forest Research Institutes (DVFFA). In the past, the main activity of the Working Group „Forest Soils“ of the German Soil Science Society was to initiate and hold scientific symposia on important research topics. Most of these meetings were joint symposia with the section “Forest and Water” of the German Union of Forest Research Institutes which were biannually. According to a recent opinion poll among the members of the working Group „Forest Soils“, these symposia are highly appreciated and thus shall be continued in the future. In addition, we intend to increase the presence of our working group within the German Soil Science Society; this shall be primarily accomplished by holding specific symposia on current forest soil issues at the annual meetings of the German Soil Science Society, which are held biannually.
Current themes that are relevant for the integrity and health of German forest soils are: (i) effects of climate change on forest soils (water and nutrient cycling), and (ii) the role of forest soils as C source or C sink, including the effects of different forest management regimes. Other relevant issues are effects of introduction of non-native tree species and intensified wood export for biofuel production.