Land Degradation, Monitoring, and Adapting Land Management for Sustainability

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Hoover (Marriott Wardman Park)
Jeffrey Herrick, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Las Cruces, NM
Land degradation impacts on agricultural production and other ecosystem services often far exceed those of climate change, yet these impacts are largely ignored. In September, the United Nations adopted a “land degradation neutrality” target as part of its Sustainable Development Agenda. This paper will briefly review the role of soil biodiversity in meeting this target, and introduce a global Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS). The LandPKS is a suite of interactive apps that allows anyone with a mobile phone to access and share global and local knowledge and information about sustainable land management. This is the first global open source, open data system that allows users to identify the specific information that is relevant to the unique characteristics of their land, thanks to the ability to use the phone to collect soil and location information, and the power of cloud-based global knowledge bases, databases, and computing power. The system also allows users to easily monitor changes in their land, and to instantly store, access, visualize and share their monitoring data both on the phone and through a web portal. The paper concludes with a discussion of the power of open source, open data systems for accelerating the development, testing and adoption of the innovative management systems, system that will be necessary to use soil biology to limit land degradation and support restoration in the context of a rapidly changing climate.