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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376785

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems on Spatially Variable Landscapes and Soils

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: The Soil Health Assessment Protocol and Evaluation (SHAPE)

item Veum, Kristen
item NUNES, MARCIO - Orise Fellow
item WILLS, SKYE - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item SEYBOLD, CATHY - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item PARKER, PAUL - University Of Missouri
item HOLAN, SCOTT - University Of Missouri
item AMSILI, JOSEPH - Cornell University
item VAN ES, HAROLD - Cornell University
item KARLEN, DOUGLAS - Retired ARS Employee
item Moorman, Thomas

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2020
Publication Date: 12/10/2020
Citation: Veum, K.S., Nunes, M.R., Wills, S.A., Seybold, C.A., Parker, P.A., Holan, S.H., Amsili, J.P., Van Es, H.M., Karlen, D.L., Moorman, T.B. 2020. The Soil Health Assessment Protocol and Evaluation (SHAPE) [abstract]. Transactions of the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 1-17, 2020, virtual. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil health has a long tradition primarily rooted in an agricultural perspective, but renewed interest has focused on a wide range of ecosystem services provided by soils. In general, ecosystem services are inherently difficult to measure directly due to high cost and high spatial and temporal variability; therefore, a wide range of soil health indicators have been identified to serve as proxy measurements. Several challenges still remain in soil health assessment for landowners, and perhaps the most significant is the need for a strong, quantitative basis for interpretation of soil health indicators. It is widely recognized that climatic and edaphic factors are key determinants in soil characteristics; yet we seek to quantify the effects of land use to promote sustainable management practices. To address these needs, the Soil Health Assessment Protocol and Evaluation (SHAPE), a Bayesian, model-based interpretive framework, is under development by a team of USDA, University of Missouri, and Cornell University scientists. SHAPE simultaneously accounts for inherent site-specific factors at the continental scale and is sensitive to anthropogenic activities. The soil organic carbon scoring curves have been recently completed. Ultimately, SHAPE will provide a wide range of regionally-relevant indicator options to facilitate large-scale soil health monitoring for sustainable land management.