Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Soil Database: Detailed Soil Information for Africa

Date Published: 
July 6, 2015

Zoom in on an African village, and see whether the soil is clayey or sandy, or how much nutrients or organic carbon it contains. This is now possible since ISRIC and partners have launched detailed freely accessible soil property maps for Africa. The maps, that can be explored in Google Earth, contain predictions of more than 20 soil properties at six standard depths at 250 meter resolution.

The new maps, commissioned by the Africa Soil Information Services project (AfSIS), are important for studies on agricultural development, environment and food security. In Africa, significant amounts of soil nutrients are lost every year due to land degradation and soil exhaustion. However, improving land management is impossible without local information on soil properties such as sand-silt-clay content, water-holding capacity, or nutrient content. Unfortunately accurate soil information has been difficult to obtain for governments or research institutes, because existing soil profiles records are scattered over many sources. The aim of AfSIS, an international project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to improve this situation, among others by creating up-to-date digital soil property maps at high spatial resolution.