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Soil information, from the global to the local scale, has often been the one missing biophysical information layer, the absence of which has added to the uncertainties of predicting potentials and constraints for food and fiber production. The lack of reliable and harmonized soil data has considerably hampered land degradation assessments, environmental impact studies and adapted sustainable land management interventions. Recognizing the urgent need for improved soil information worldwide, particularly in the context of the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol for soil carbon measurements and the immediate requirement for the FAO/IIASA Global Agro-ecological Assessment study (GAEZ v3.0), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) took the initiativeof combining the recently collected vast volumes of regional and national updates of soil information with the information already contained within the 1:5,000,000 scale FAOUNESCO Digital Soil Map of the World, into a new comprehensive Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD). This database was achieved in partnership with: • ISRIC-World Soil Information together with FAO, which were responsible for the development of regional soil and terrain databases and the WISE soil profile database; • the European Soil Bureau Network, which had recently completed a major update of soil information for Europe and northern Eurasia, and • the Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences which provided the recent 1:1,000,000 scale Soil Map of China.
This global data set shows the spatial distribution of generalized soil classes as defined for IPCC Tier-I level national greenhouse gas inventory assessments. The database was derived from the Harmonized World Soil Data Base (HWSD ver. 1.1, at scale 1:1-1:5 M) and a series of taxotransfer procedures to convert FAO soil classifications (1974, 1985 and 1990 Legend) to the seven default IPCC soil classes: high activity clay (HAC), low activity clay (LAC), Sandy (SAN), Spodic (POD), Volcanic (VOL), wetlands (WET) and Organic (ORG). The resulting GIS database may be used for exploratory assessments at national and broader scale, for regions that lack more detailed soil information; inherent limitations of the data are discussed in the documentation. This dataset has been compiled in the framework of the GEF co-funded 'Carbon Benefits Project: Measuring, modelling and monitoring', Component A ( http://carbonbenefitsproject-compa.colostate.edu/index.htm).
A homogenized, global set of 1,125 soil profiles is presented. These profiles have been extracted from the database developed at ISRIC for a project on "World Inventory of Soil Emission Potentials" (WISE), as a contribution to the activities of the Global Soils Data Task Group of IGBP-DIS. The subset consists of a selection of 665 profiles originating from digital data files released by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, Lincoln), 250 profiles obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, Rome), and 210 profiles from the reference collection of the International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC, Wageningen). All profiles are georeferenced and classified in the FAO-Unesco Legend whereby they can be linked to the edited and digital version of the FAO-Unesco Soil Map of the World. This data set is being released in the public domain for use by global modellers and other interested scientists. It is envisaged that the data set will be expanded by ISRIC when new, uniform soil profile data become available. Note: a) A more recent version (some 10,000 profiles) of WISE profiles is available at: http://data.isric.org/geonetwork/srv/eng/catalog.search#/metadata/a351682c-330a-4995-a5a1-57ad160e621c (2009) b) For a larger compilation see the WoSIS database: http://isric.org/explore/wosis (2017)
This harmonized dataset of derived soil properties for the world (WISE30sec) is comprised of a soil-geographical and a soil attribute component. The GIS dataset was created using the soil map unit delineations of the broad scale Harmonised World Soil Database, version 1.21, with minor corrections, overlaid by a climate zones map (Köppen-Geiger) as co-variate, and soil property estimates derived from analyses of the ISRIC-WISE soil profile database for the respective mapped ‘soil/climate’ combinations. The dataset considers 20 soil properties that are commonly required for global agro-ecological zoning, land evaluation, crop growth simulation, modelling of soil gaseous emissions, and analyses of global environmental change. It presents ‘best’ estimates for: organic carbon content, total nitrogen, C/N ratio, pH(H2O), CECsoil, CECclay, effective CEC, total exchangeable bases (TEB), base saturation, aluminium saturation, calcium carbonate content, gypsum content, exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP), electrical conductivity, particle size distribution (content of sand, silt and clay), proportion of coarse fragments (less than 2 mm), bulk density, and available water capacity (-33 to -1500 kPa); also the dominant soil drainage class. Soil property estimates are presented for fixed depth intervals of 20 cm up to a depth of 100 cm, respectively of 50 cm between 100 cm to 200 cm (or less when appropriate) for so-called ‘synthetic’ profiles’ (as defined by their ‘soil/climate’ class). The respective soil property estimates were derived from statistical analyses of data for some 21,000 soil profiles managed in a working copy of the ISRIC-WISE database; this was done using an elaborate scheme of taxonomy-based transfer rules complemented with expert-rules that consider the ‘in-pedon’ consistency of the predictions. The type of rules used was flagged to provide an indication of the possible confidence (i.e. lineage) in the derived data. Best estimates for each attribute are given as means and standard deviations (STD), as calculated for the sample populations that remained upon application of a robust data outlier detection scheme. Results of the analyses can be linked to the spatial data through the unique map unit (grid cell) identifier, which is a combination of the soil unit and climate class code. Most map units are comprised of up to ten different components; each of these with their own range of derived soil properties and associated statistical uncertainties. Estimates of global soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks to 200 cm are presented in the technical documentation as an example of possible application.