New paper - The landscape of soil carbon data: emerging questions, synergies and databases

13 Sep 2019

Integrated soil data are needed to inform climate mitigation, land management and agricultural practices. Avni Malhotra et al. discuss recent advances in soil carbon data led by the International Soil Carbon Network (ISCN) and other groups, including ISRIC. Priority areas of research requiring soil carbon data are highlighted in the review paper, including (a) quantifying boreal, arctic and wetland carbon stocks, (b) understanding the timescales of soil carbon persistence using radiocarbon and chronosequence studies, (c) synthesizing long-term and experimental data to inform carbon stock vulnerability to global change, (d) quantifying root influences on soil carbon and (e) identifying gaps in model–data integration. The landscape of soil datasets currently available is discussed, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses and synergies. 

The ISCN publishes a new data version periodically (e.g., ISCN4 will contain new northern and peatland  data). In turn, the ISCN data are regularly ingested into the World Soil Information Service (WoSIS), a larger database focused on standardising nationally reported profile data. Subsequently, global gridded products such as SoilGrids are derived from profiles held in WoSIS, a set of environmental covariates and digital soil mapping.



For details, see the paper in Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment