Challenges with soil data in regional land use analysis

Joint PhD project Chantal Hendriks SGL with the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

Problem definition and objective

Population growth and climate change continue to threaten food security. Especially in countries that are vulnerable to climate change, food security is high on the political agenda. Food security can, for example, be addressed by regional land use analysis (RLUA).

Soil sampling Africa
Soil sampling Africa

Figure 1: Soil Sampling Africa

The application of RLUA changed over the last decades. RLUA based on environmental models gradually replaced descriptive land evaluation and land use planning. This change resulted in different data requirements. In my research, I focus on the supply and demand of soil data in RLUA. Nowadays, RLUA requires quantitative, high resolution and spatially exhaustive soil data. Resources to collect soil data are limited and therefore RLUA often relies on available soil data (i.e. legacy soil data). These soil data do not meet the soil data requirements for RLUA. I develop new techniques for a better connection between available soil data and required soil data for RLUA. Before I can develop new techniques, I need to analyse the problems with soil data in RLUA. Also the effect of using different soil datasets as input data for an environmental model, estimating potential yields, is analysed (Figure 1).


In my research I make use of different tools to improve the supply and demand of soil data for RLUA. I make use of available soil datasets (e.g. ISRIC-WISE, AfSIS, S-World, KenSOTER) to explore the problems and opportunities of available datasets. Field survey data helps me to explore the problems with soil data in RLUA and to develop improved techniques for a better connection between the legacy soil data and the required soil data for RLUA. Further, I use different environmental models (e.g. WOFOST model, Trade-Off model) to get insight in the effect of using different datasets for a study on RLUA or to test new techniques I develop. My research is linked to ongoing projects of ICRISAT (CCAFS project) and therefore my research has a practical application.

Start project: March 1, 2013
End project: March 1, 2017

Partners:   Soil Geography and Landscape / ICRISAT


please contact me if you need any information about my project (see contact details above).