See more from this Session: Spatial Predictions In Soils, Crops and Agro/Forest/Urban/Wetland Ecosystems: III (Includes Graduate Student Competition)
Profound shifts have occurred over the last three centuries in which human actions have become the main driver to global environmental change. In this new epoch, the Anthropocene, human-driven changes such as population growth, climate and land use change, are pushing the Earth system well outside of its normal operating range causing severe and abrupt environmental change. In the Anthropocene, soil change and soil formation/degradation have also accelerated, jeopardizing soil quality and health. To respond to the challenges soil scientists face in the Anthropocene, we propose a space-time modeling framework called STEP-AWBH (“step-up”), explicitly incorporating ancillary soil properties (S), topographic properties (T), ecological properties (E), geologic properties (P), atmospheric properties (A), water properties (W), biotic properties (B), and human-induced forcings (H) to predict pixel-based soil properties or behavior. Such a soil pixel (i) is knowledge rich (i.e., provides detailed pedogenic information), (ii) provides an ideal dimension (width x length) to represent the spatial variability of multiple soil properties and/or outcomes of soil ecosystem processes, and (iii) is contiguous in space and time across continents and the globe. This soil pixel is likely not uniform and universal across the globe, depending on the geographic location, inherent soil variability, relationships between soil and environmental factors, and disparately acting anthropogenic and natural forcings, which transform and reshape the soil pixel as time evolves.