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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322952

Title: The soil management assessment framework: A potential soil health assessment tool

item Karlen, Douglas

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF) was developed in the 1990s utilizing Systems Engineering and Ecology experiences with scoring functions to normalize disparate soil physical, chemical, and biological indicator data representing critical properties and processes associated with soil quality. Many people have contributed to development of SMAF scoring functions for normalizing laboratory, plot, field, and on-farm data. Techniques for modifying or adding scoring functions to SMAF have been published. Strategies, such as principal component analysis (PCA) have been used to help select minimum indicator datasets. Researchers around the world have used the SMAF to evaluate soil quality/health impacts of crop rotation, tillage, and irrigation management. The SMAF was used as a model to develop scoring functions for the Cornell Soil Health Test. During the past 10 years, it has been used to help evaluate soil quality in 14 ARS cropland Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) and three, NRCS CEAP Special Emphasis watersheds throughout the U.S. The SMAF is being used to help assess various corn (Zea mays) stover harvest strategies, and thus provide soil health baselines needed to ensure cellulosic bioenergy and bio-product industries in the U.S. are sustainable. Current efforts led by Brazilian soil scientists and engineers, include the evaluation and planned addition of Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) indicator scores to the SMAF framework, and development of a computer-based soil quality monitoring framework whose Portuguese acronym “SIMAA” translates to “Agro-Environmental Monitoring System.” SIMAA will facilitate soil quality monitoring of land use change effects and construction of Soil Quality Indices (SQI) using microbial, chemical and physical soil attribute data in Brazil. Details of these accomplishments will be presented and discussed.