Shining a light below the surface: digital soil maps support decision making

A healthy soil is one that can deliver the benefits, or ecosystem services, that we all depend on.


Soils in Mwala, Eastern Kenya, with some mango trees. Photo by Daisy Ouya/ICRAF. August 2015

Until recently, limited knowledge about soil health and degradation has been standing in the way of effective policies and interventions. Without knowing the state of the soil, making smart choices to alleviate the problem, or to capitalize on existing resources, is nearly impossible.

“New digital maps, based on infrared spectroscopy, can tell us precisely what we really want to know to support decision making. That is, the actual distribution of soil properties,” explains Keith Shepherd, leader of Land Health Decisions at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

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For more information see:

Land Health Decisions program at ICRAF

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