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GSP Training - Digital Soil Organic Carbon Mapping: Towards the development of national soil organic carbon stock maps

Date: 24 - 30 April 2017

Location: Bangkok, Thailand


The 25th Committee on Agriculture - COAG (FAO, Rome, 26-30 September 2016) and the 155th FAO Council (5-9 December 2016), assigned the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) of FAO the task to establish the Global Soil Information System and prepare the Global Soil Organic Carbon Map (GSOCMap) by 2017. The GSOCMap will be developed using a distributed approach which strongly relies on country inputs to build a global map from national soil organic carbon (SOC) maps. To this end, countries are invited to develop national SOC maps according to predetermined specifications developed by under the GSP and reported in the “GSP Guidelines for sharing national data/information to compile a Global Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC) map” and the “GSOCmap Cookbook Manual”.

In compiling the GSOCMap, the GSP is promoting the use of bottom-up, participatory and inclusive approaches aiming to build national capacity and instil ownership of the final products within the countries. The development of national SOC maps is very relevant for national processes since it provides countries with information that useful to: 1) inform the soil fertility status (SOC could be used to monitor soil health), 2) report to the different Rio conventions and SDGs (e.g. SDG 15.3.1 on land degradation), and 3) inform decisions on climate change adaptation and mitigation (countries will know where SOC protection is most important and where SOC sequestration potential may be the most prominent). Additionally, this will support the development of national soil information systems which would greatly contribute to national decision making on land use, land use change and soil protection.

The development of national SOC maps was included in the implementation plan for the Asian region, which was ultimately endorsed during the Third Asian Soil Partnership meeting (Bangkok, 14-16 December 2016). For the purpose of supporting countries in developing their national SOC maps, the FAO funded regional on-the-job training together through the GSP which was co-organized by the Soil and Fertilizer Society of Thailand and the Land Development Department of Thailand. The training on “Digital Soil Organic Carbon Mapping: towards the development of national soil organic carbon stock maps” was held in Bangkok, Thailand from 24 to 30 April 2017. It was successful in training 16 experts appointed by their respective governments for developing their national SOC maps, 2 representatives of the UNCCD based in Bangkok, and approximately 20 Thai soil experts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Participants were guided through the specifications for developing the SOC maps by trainers who provided step-by-step instructions and practical exercises on the use of R, SPLINE and ArcGIS. FAO trainers will further support the participants and those national experts who could not join the training by providing electronic technical assistance.

Presentations | Photogallery | Global Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC) Map | Report (soon available)