Addressing soil degradation with EOSDA

The sustainability of soils is the key to addressing the pressures of a growing population. (Image source: EOSDA)

EOS Data Analytics, a global provider of AI-powered satellite imagery analytics, held a free webinar dedicated to soil degradation and the ways it can be tracked, addressed, and prevented with EOSDA solutions

The webinar was focused on digital soil mapping and crop modelling as ways helping to monitor and sustain soil health and maximise crop yields. 

Agribusinesses, agri-cooperatives, food production companies, and specialists of various kinds from the consultancy, telecom, and banking branches attended this online event which was presented by Lina Yarysh, head of customer success at EOS Data Analytics, and Vasyl Cherlinka, soil scientist at EOS Data Analytics.

The agriculture industry has an urgent need to raise awareness and promote sustainable use of limited resources using the best available scientific information and building on all dimensions of sustainable development. The sustainability of soils here is the key to addressing the pressures of a growing population.

"Three most available ways to address and prevent soil degradation are soil carbon emission assessment, regulation of fertiliser and pesticide usage, and implementation of sustainable management practices. EOSDA's satellite imagery analytics platforms are aimed to help with all three of them," said Yarysh.

For that, EOS Data Analytics will conduct a pilot project to develop a model for cheaper soil organic carbon measurement via remote sensing technology. The company also works on the exhaustive soil model to forecast the state of the soil in several years and provide recommendations on how to improve its future fertility through precision agriculture practices in particular.

Speaking of soil degradation, Cherlinka explained its types, causes, and factors. Soils degrade either because of natural and industrial anthropogenic processes (earthquakes, mining, karst formation, etc.) or because of poor agricultural management.

Four major types of soil degradation currently known are pathology of the soil profile and genetic soil horizons; violation of water and chemical regimes; violation of the bioenergy regime, and pollution and chemical poisoning. Each of these types has distinct characteristics and a more detailed classification, but the end effect is always noticeable from space.

"Soil degradation is visible on satellite images; when we analyse various vegetation indices, we can see very clearly and vividly where and why there is a loss of soil productivity and, as a result, yield failure," explained Cherlinka.

In the integrated EOSDA tools currently being developed, along with satellite monitoring and mathematical modelling of erosion, which cross-verify each other, an advisory block will be present that will give recommendations for combating erosion based on the results of the analysis and taking the natural-climatic zone into account.

Among other things, Cherlinka also explained the science behind modelling carbon sequestration, soil characteristics, water and wind erosion, soil contamination, and other mathematical approaches to calculating soil degradation.