Towards Improved Soil Information for Quantification of Environmental, Societal and Economic Sustainability

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This document discusses soil information needs in support of studies of environmental, societal and economic sustainability at an increasingly fine spatial resolution. First, the need for appropriately scaled, consistent and quality assessed soil information in support of studies of food productivity, soil and water management, soil carbon dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions, and the reduction or avoidance of land degradation are discussed. Soil variables considered most critical for current and likely future model-based assessments are identified and new, cost-effective measurement methods that may reduce the need for conventional laboratory methods are evaluated. Following on from this, the status and prospects for improving the accuracy of soil property maps and tabular information at increasingly detailed scales (finer resolution) for the world is addressed. Finally, the scope for collecting large amounts of ‘site specific’ and ‘project specific’ soil (survey) information, possibly through crowd-sourcing, and consistently storing, screening and analysing such data are discussed within the context of ISRIC’s emerging Global Soil Information Facilities (GSIF), together with the institutional implications. GSIF-related activities are currently being embedded in global initiatives such as the FAO-led Global Soil Partnership,, the ICSU World Data System, and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) that promote participatory approaches to data sharing.
Soil, Sustainability
Batjes NH, Bindraban PS and Reuter HI. Towards improved soil information for quantification of environmental, societal and economic sustainability. Report 2013/05, ISRIC―World Soil Information, Wageningen. 44 pages, 4 figures and 3 tables.