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Capacity building on Soil Organic Carbon Modelling: Launch of the Cookbook

Recently, the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) and its Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) launched a global endeavor to develop a Global Soil Organic Carbon map (GSOCMap) by the end of 2017 in support of the Sustainable Development Goal Indicator 15.3.1. The quality of soil carbon information at global level is still limited because much existing national soil information is not available for global application. However, a more precise and reliable global overview of soil organic carbon (SOC) is needed under different UN conventions such as the UN Convention to CombatDesertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but especially as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At national level, such information can be used as reference SOC stocks, with the aim to refine national greenhouse gas inventories and assess the sensitivity of soils to degradation and climate change.

The GSOCMap will consist of national SOC maps, developed as 1 km soil grids, covering a depth of 0-30 cm.

                                                    ------    Download the Cookbook       ------


The global SOC mapping exercise was initiated during preparations for the second meeting of the International Network of Soil Information Institutions (INSII), 24 and 25 November 2016, and discussed there in detail. Prior to the INSII meeting, a special technical session on SOC mapping was held on 23 November 2016. During this session, the mapping specifications and the detailed methodologies were discussed, and examples of national SOC maps presented. Since these meetings, GSP partners have shared details about their mapping approaches and the national contact partners. An intermediate progress assessment of the GSOCMap was presented during the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon held in March 2017. Developing the GSOCMap is a challenge which will require intensive collaboration among soil information institutions globally. Besides developing SOC mapping guidelines and a cookbook, various targeted training events support GSP partners to engage in the GSOCMap initiative.

The cookbook provides generic methodologies and the technical steps to produce a SOC map. This includes step-by-step guidance for developing 1 km grids for SOC stocks, as well as for the preparation of local soil data, the compilation and pre-processing of ancillary spatial data sets, upscaling methodologies, and uncertainty assessments. Guidance is mainly specific to soil carbon data, but also contains many generic sections on soil grid development due to its relevance for other soil properties.

The main focus of the cookbook is on the upscaling of SOC stocks in the GSOCMap and as such it supplements the “GSP Guidelines for sharing national data/information to compile a Global Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC) map”. It provides technical guidelines to prepare and evaluate spatial soil data sets to:

     Determine SOC stocks from local samples to a target depth of 30 cm;

     Prepare spatial covariates for upscaling; and

     Select and apply the best suitable upscaling methodology.


Download the Cookbook