Spatial Assessments of Soil Organic Carbon for Stakeholder Decision-Making in Kenya

Tor-Gunnar Vågen, Leigh Ann Winowiecki, Constance Neely, Sabrina Chesterman, and Mieke Bourne (ICRAF) co-authored a new paper on the use of online land management platform, Resilience Diagnostic and Decision Support Tool, for local stakeholders to monitor the health status of their land and make sustainable land use decisions.


Land degradation impacts the health and livelihoods of about 1.5 billion people worldwide. Given that the state of the environment and food security are strongly interlinked in tropical landscapes, the increasing need for land for food production, urbanization, and other uses poses several threats to sustainability in the long term. This paper demonstrates the integration of land and soil health maps with socioeconomic datasets into an online, open-access platform called the Resilience Diagnostic and Decision Support Tool for Turkana County in Kenya, using the Stakeholder Approach to Risk Informed and Evidence Based Decision Making (SHARED) methodology. The paper highlights the utility of spatial assessments of soil organic carbon (SOC) for monitoring land degradation neutrality (LDN) compliance, understanding the drivers of SOC dynamics and inclusion of these in stakeholder decision-making. The main objectives of this paper were to (1) demonstrate the application of a systematic approach for land health assessments, including spatial mapping of soil organic carbon; (2) show an operational interdisciplinary framework for assessing ecosystem health and (3) showcase the application of evidence-based tools for stakeholder engagement using the SHARED approach. Through the approaches and tools presented, the paper addresses the increasing need for more integrated approaches when assessing and managing ecosystem health to meet the targets of the 2030 Agenda, including Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15.3. In addition to systematic and reliable biophysical and socioeconomic assessments, stakeholder engagement with evidence is crucial to support such integrated approaches.

Vågen, T.-G., Winowiecki, L. A., Neely, C., Chesterman, S., and Bourne, M.: Spatial assessments of soil organic carbon for stakeholder decision-making – a case study from Kenya, SOIL, 4, 259-266, 2018.