Towards improved soil information for quantification of environmental, societal and economic sustainability
International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC – World Soil Information, Wageningen) has recently published this large report in which information needs for soil data at an increasingly fine spatial resolution are being discussed.
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 first 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. 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. The scope for collecting large amounts of site specific and project specific soil information, possibly through crowd-sourcing and consistently storing screening and analysing such data are discussed within the context of ISRCI's emerging Global Soil Information Facility (GSIF), together with the possible institutional implications.
GSIF-related activities are currently being embedded in global initiatives Such as the FAO-led Global Soil Partnership (GSP), GlobalSoilMap.net, the ICSU World Data System, and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) that promote participatory approaches to data sharing. In order to consolidate its world information services, ISRIC is collaborating with national institutes and international organisation with a mandate for soil resource inventories.
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