Infrared spectroscopy: a diagnostic tool for land health surveillance

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Infrared (IR) spectroscopy plays a pivotal role in making the diagnostic surveillance framework which is modeled on medical diagnostic approaches for evidence-based management of agriculture and environment in developing countries operational, by providing a rapid (>500 samples can be characterized in a day) , low cost and highly reproducible (repeatability of 0.99) diagnostic screening tool


Where it has been used

We are using this tool in characterizing and mapping out soil indicators throughout sub-Saharan Africa under Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) Project. This tool is also used as part of their national soil health surveillance systems e.g. Ethiopia under their Agricultural Transformation Agency. Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania are also adopting the same program soon.


How the tool is used for implementing a landscape approach

Infrared spectroscopy is used in tropical watershed studies and soil management research to:

  • Quantify historical land use changes on soil quality and erosion by calibration to stable and radio-isotope concentrations;
  • Predict soil fertility capability constraints with 80-90% accuracy using regional and global soil spectral libraries;
  • Calibrate soil functional properties or indicators to digital terrain and remote sensing for soil landscape modeling.

Tool Specifications

Tool Submitted By:

Elvis Weullow, Deputy Lab Manager - World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

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