The iSQAPER consortium brings soil quality to ones fingertips.
A newly developed Soil Quality Mobile App (SQAPP) has been launched during the last plenary meeting in Tartu, Estonia (12-15 June, 2018) of the iSQAPER project. SQAPP offers an easy-to-use tool that brings global soil data into the decision-making sphere of land users and other interested end users. SQAPP returns available soil quality information for any location in the world, simply picked by the user from a world map. Soil properties for that specific location are then shown and possibilities are offered to cycle through these values and to adapt them if necessary. Rather than scoring soil quality in absolute terms, the app scores the soil quality relative to the average soil quality within areas with similar soil and climatic conditions (so-called pedo-climatic zones). For example, 80% means that only 20% of the area of the selected pedoclimatic zone is considered to have a higher indicator value than the point location being assessed.
Depending on location as well as soil properties SQAPP will also give an overview of possible soil threats. These soil threats are scored based on general, scientifically-derived threshold values.
A summary shows the overall threat level and to which soil parameters and soil threats attention needs to be paid to reach a better soil quality. Moreover, recommendations are provided on how this can be achieved.
SQAPP is a test version and freely available on Google Play Store and the Apple Appstore. So, take your chance and green your fingers, help us testing the Soil Quality app.
Feedback is appreciated and can be send to the Wageningen University iSQAPER management team (see below). Project partners can also use the internal online Forum for discussion.
Effects of agricultural management practices on soil quality: A review of long-term experiments for Europe and China
The title above comes from a new article published in "Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment". The article is a review and describes the effects four paired management practices on five soil quality indicators. Some highlights of this research : 1) yield was lower under No Tillage (NT) and organic agriculture, but with environmental benefits, 2) Soil Organic Matter (SOM) increased under NT, organic matter addition, crop rotation and organic farming, 3) number of earthworms was the most sensitive indicator for the paired practices, and 4) soil pH appears to be the least sensitive indicator.
The article is open access and the authors are: Zhanguo Bai, Thomas Caspari, Maria Ruiperez Gonzalez, Niels H. Batjes, Paul Mäder, Else K. Bünemann, Ron de Goede, Lijbert Brussaard, Minggang Xu, and Carla Sofia Santos Ferreira
4th plenary iSQAPER meeting
The 4th plenary iSQAPER meeting will be held from Tuesday 12 June – Friday 15 June, 2018 in Tartu, Estonia. The meeting will be held at the campus of the Estonian University of Life Sciences located at Kreutzwaldi str. 5, Tartu, Estonia. The meeting includes a one day field trip to the experimental field plots of the University. Endla Reintam will act as our host. document Travel information (421 KB) is available for download. Participants can register for this meeting after logging in to the website.
Pegasus conference highlights
Delivering environmental and social benefits from agriculture and forestry in a changing policy context.
On 7 February, more than 120 people representing national authorities, EU institutions, the agricultural and forestry sectors, academics as well as NGOs and think tanks, gathered in Brussels to contribute to an evolving policy debate in Europe through discussions around the key lessons and messages of the PEGASUS project.
Interested in the highlights of this conference? pdf Download them here (392 KB)
Soil quality – A Critical Review
"Soil quality – A critical review" is the title of a new article published in "Soil Biology & Biochemistry". The article deals with soil quality and related concepts, besides it identifies the most frequently used soil quality indicators under agricultural land use.
It is an open access article, enabled by different EU funded projects. The iSQAPER project played a major role in the realization of this article. Authors are: Else K. Bünemann, Giulia Bongiorno, Zhanguo Bai, Rachel E. Creamer, Gerlinde De Deyn, Ron de Goede, Luuk Fleskens, Violette Geissen, Thom W. Kuyper, Paul Mäder, Mirjam Pulleman, Wijnand Sukkel, Jan Willem van Groenigen, Lijbert Brussaard.
iSQAPER – Soil Quality App in the spotlights
Horizon, the EU Research & Innovation Magazine, pays attention to the developments on the soil quality app for smartphones. Today, 13 February 2018, an article entitled "Cultural cross-fertilisation to rescue soils" was published. Dr. Luuk Fleskens explains that wheat growing areas in north-eastern China are comparable to the conditions in Poland. So, farmers can learn from each other how to manage their soils and crops. The soil quality app makes it possible to share the best practice farming techniques with farmers from different cultures and traditions, to help them to increase the quality of their soils. The article was written by Jude Gonzalez. Read it here.