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Mapping the world’s soils

Australia: The Global Soil Map project has received a USD 18 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to begin mapping in Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on maintaining soil and landscape health and identifying the relationship of soils to food quantity and quality.

The project intends to fill in the vast gulfs in scientific understanding of the world’s soils to provide a better basis for decision making on food production and distribution, climate change and environmental degradation. It aims to map the entire world’s soils at 90 by 90 metre resolution, down to a depth of two metres.

The map will describe 10 key soil properties – including organic carbon, effective soil depth, bulk density and water holding capacity. Analysis will be based on physical soil sampling of representative landscapes, but digital interpretations will be used to fill areas where it is physically or economically impossible to sample.

The project is an initiative of the International Union of Soil Science. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is the node leader for Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Pacific Island nations.

Source: Fairfax Media