University of Missouri-Columbia
The intent of this activity is to enhance and strengthen ongoing soil science-related project activities and initiate new cross-cutting research that uses the unique opportunities of the SANREM CRSP to examine common soil-quality issues across a wide range of climates, cropping systems, and socioeconomic conditions. A common theme among many of the projects is soil degradation from both natural and human-induced factors, and assessment of changes in soil quality due to the introduction of improved soil management practices. Identifying and developing appropriate methods to quantify and assess changes in soil quality are essential for evaluating the extent of soil degradation and the effectiveness of improved management practices. Soil quality indicators should also have meaning to farmers and land managers linking science with practice in the assessment of sustainability of management practices.
1. Assess community perceptions and indicators of soil quality, including differences in perceptions of soil quality due to gender, environment, and socioeconomic factors 2. Conduct a literature review of soil quality assessment techniques and identify practical but scientifically sound techniques that are appropriate to evaluate soil quality across SANREM activities 3. Determine the efficacy of spectroscopic-based (i.e., near-infrared, mid-infrared, and visible range) analytical methods to evaluate soil organic matter fractions and soil quality in degraded and non-degraded soils in the wide range of environments represented by the SANREM projects, and 4. Collaborate in the evaluation of soil metagenomic methods as an indicator of soil degradation.