Developing High-resolution Soil Database for Regional Crop Modeling in East Africa

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Eunjin Han and Amor V M Ines, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, United States
The most readily available soil data for regional crop modeling in Africa is the World Inventory of Soil Emission potentials (WISE) dataset, which has 1125 soil profiles for the world, but does not extensively cover countries Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in East Africa. Another dataset available is the HC27 (Harvest Choice by IFPRI) in a gridded format (10km) but composed of generic soil profiles based on only three criteria (texture, rooting depth, and organic carbon content). In this paper, we present a development and application of a high-resolution (1km), gridded soil database for regional crop modeling in East Africa. Basic soil information is extracted from Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS), which provides essential soil properties (bulk density, soil organic carbon, soil PH and percentages of sand, silt and clay) for 6 different standardized soil layers (5, 15, 30, 60, 100 and 200 cm) in 1km resolution. Soil hydraulic properties (e.g., field capacity and wilting point) are derived from the AfSIS soil dataset using well-proven pedo-transfer functions and are customized for DSSAT-CSM soil data requirements. The crop model is used to evaluate crop yield forecasts using the new high resolution soil database and compared with WISE and HC27. In this paper we will present also the results of DSSAT loosely coupled with a hydrologic model (VIC) to assimilate root-zone soil moisture. Creating a grid-based soil database, which provides a consistent soil input for two different models (DSSAT and VIC) is a critical part of this work. The created soil database is expected to contribute to future applications of DSSAT crop simulation in East Africa where food security is highly vulnerable.