BRUSSELS, May 23 2013 (UPI) – International experts say they’ve created a Soil Atlas of Africa to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand soil’s diversity and importance.
Our colleague Jeroen Huising provides his insights
“I think this is great as it show the great variety of soils on the African continent. And maybe contrary to general belief or perception, Africa being among the ‘oldest’ continents, not all soils are highly weathered Oxisols or Ultisols derived from igneous rock as base bed rock material. Soils are an important component of the ecosystem. Of course vegetation and land use have profound influence on soil formation, but on the other hand the soil also determines the natural vegetation (and influences composition) and determines the land use (in terms of which form of land use are possible and practical). The soils have profound influence on the above ground and below ground biodiversity and does a great job in explaining this nexus, also by addressing the ‘living soil’ explicitly . The atlas elaborates on land degradation, nutrient and water management and links these to the various soil types. For direct practical application the value is probably limited. The atlas is compiled from existing information (soil maps and other) and it does not give us the actual status of the soil in term of degradation, nutrient status, or soil carbon status (e.g. The functional properties), based on which management decisions should be made. Nevertheless, great achievement.“
Read more about it here