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Assessment of soil health at scale for evidence based decision making

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Presentation by Tor-Gunnar Vagen at the session on sustainable soil management in Africa at the European Development Days 2017. https://eudevdays.eu/sessions/sustainable-soil-management-foundation-africas-future

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Assessment of soil health at scale for evidence based decision making

  1. 1. ASSESSMENTS OF SOIL HEALTH AT SCALE FOR E V I D E N C E BASED DECISION MAKING Tor-G. Vågen World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Nairobi, KENYA
  2. 2. • Indicators of soil health need to be consistent • Need to be supported by analytical frameworks for modeling and mapping with high levels of rigour • Should integrate biophysical and socio-economic indicators across scales (i.e. in landscapes) • Diagnostics to assess interactions between social and ecological systems, including their resilience and socioeconomic drivers of changes in soil health To assess soil health at scale
  3. 3. The Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF) • Spatially stratified random sampling • Hierarchical structure
  4. 4. Global network of LDSF sentinel sites • > 200 sentinel sites in ~40 countries • > 30,000 reference plots • Archive of more than 200,000 soil samples
  5. 5. 5 In the LDSF we utilize and build applications around new EO platforms from the European Space Agency and established EO platforms from NASA Open Data aws Earth observation (EO) has significant potential for assessments of soil health at scale Open Data Open Data
  6. 6. Understanding how the soil properties and their spatial distribution determine sensitivity to land degradation – i.e. the inherent resilience of the system. Source: Google Maps For a paper describing the modeling approach: Vågen, T.-G., Winowiecki, L.A., Abegaz, A., Hadgu, K.M., 2013. Landsat-based approaches for mapping of land degradation prevalence and soil functional properties in Ethiopia. Remote Sens. Environ. 134, 266–275. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.03.006 Soil pH is high à soil is prone to degradation even under moderate levels of disturbance/stress Example: Soil pH or acidity
  7. 7. Source: Google Maps For a paper describing the modeling approach: Vågen, T.-G., Winowiecki, L.A., Abegaz, A., Hadgu, K.M., 2013. Landsat-based approaches for mapping of land degradation prevalence and soil functional properties in Ethiopia. Remote Sens. Environ. 134, 266–275. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.03.006 Soil pH is high à soil is prone to soil erosion even under moderate levels of disturbance/degradation Example: Soil organic carbon (SOC) Soil organic carbon content is moderate to high à inherent resilience is high. Understanding how the soil properties and their spatial distribution determine sensitivity to land degradation – i.e. the inherent resilience of the system.
  8. 8. Land cover and land use - SATVI based on Landsat 8 • land cover does not necessarily reflect land degradation status or processes that drive it • has implications for both data requirements and modeling approaches to create outputs that can be used in a meaningful way to support decision making For a paper describing the modeling approach: Vågen, T.-G., Winowiecki, L.A., Abegaz, A., Hadgu, K.M., 2013. Landsat-based approaches for mapping of land degradation prevalence and soil functional properties in Ethiopia. Remote Sens. Environ. 134, 266–275. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.03.006
  9. 9. Social Systems Ecological Systems assessments need to be based on quantifiable metrics that provide opportunities for hypotheses testing
  10. 10. Assessments need to be spatially explicit and at scales relevant to farmers or land managers Soil erosion based on Landsat 8. Example from Tigray region, Ethiopia Source: Google Maps
  11. 11. The SHARED approach uses comprehensive facilitation to support interaction with evidence and co-learning, building long-term relationships to ensure that evidence can be critically evaluated and interpreted to inform decision-making. Challenges: • To make information (evidence) about land degradation and land-/ecosystem health available to decision makers and farmers/pastoralists • To ensure that decision makers use evidence in their planning and decision making StakeHolder Approach to Risk-informed and Evidence-based Decision-making
  12. 12. Soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil erosion prevalence. Laikipia County, Kenya
  13. 13. Thank you! Email: t.vagen@cgiar.org Asante!

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