During its development SQAPP has been demonstrated to and discussed by many different groups of farmers, advisors, policy makers and researchers and students (see »Stakeholder feedback and SQAPP development). The feedback they have given have helped shape and organise the app. Here we provide answers to some of the questions that people most commonly ask about SQAPP that cannot be provided on the app itself.
Ed: ** This is still being written
How is SQAPP different from other soil apps?
A range of excellent soil apps exists providing information about the soil. However these tend to give limited attention to advice on improving quality through managment practices and, if such a focus exists, it is either narrowly concerned with particular aspects of soil quality (e.g. soil organic carbon), or requires payment of a fee. In SQAPP we integrate existing soil quality data (consisting of a range of physical, chemical and biological soil quality indicators) and associated soil threats, and provide recommendations for specific management practices that improve the soil quality and address the threats. This functionality goes beyond what is currently offered by existing apps.
»Review of existing soil apps
Where does the soil data in SQAPP come from?
SQAPP accesss data and information from otherwise fragmented global data sets and information sources (e.g. Soilgrids, European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC), Global Soil Dataset for Earth System Modelling, and the WOCAT Global Database on Sustainable Land Management). If necessary, users can improve accuracy by entering their own local data.
How is potential for soil quality improvement assessed?
SQAPP makes use of empirical cumulative probability density curves for each soil quality indicator in every pedo-climatic zone. The density curves are based on empirical probability density histograms with 256 bands between the lowest and highest value of each indicator in each zone. For all indicators SQAPP indicates where the local values lie on that probability density curve. The potential for improvement is hence best attainable value minus the local value. The overall potential for soil quality improvement score is the average of all the individual soil quality indicator scores.
»Scoring soil quality indicators
What soil threats are addressed in SQAPP?
Soil threats are degradation-causing processes that result from direct human activity or indirect causes such as climate change. They pose a potential risk to soil functions and ecosystem services. In the iSQAPER research programme we have identified the following as the main soil threats to agricultural land and address them in SQAPP: soil erosion; organic matter depletion; acidification; compaction; salinization; nutrient depletion; soil biodiversity loss; contamination.
»What soil threats are addressed in SQAPP?
What agricultural management practices are included in SQAPP?
SQAPP draws on a world-wide database (including, but not only, the WOCAT Global Database on Sustainable Land Management) to make recommendations for agricultural management practices that have been used to improve soil quality in similar situations. The 89 practices included in the database are classified broadly into types of terrain, soil, vegetation, water, carbon and nutrient, pest, pollutant and grazing management. Over 390 examples of the use of these practices is provided.
»Agricultural management practices recommended by SQAPP
How are the management practice recommendations made?
*** Luuk - what's the best link to give here
How has stakeholder feedback been incorporated into the development of SQAPP?
SQAPP has been through a number of rounds of evaluation by different groups of users stakeholders during its development. These include: a field evaluation of SQAPP performance; a formal evaluation of the beta version by some 90 European stakeholders (researchers, farmers, students, advisory services and policy makers) in locations in Slovenia, Poland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, France, Estonia, Romania and Netherlands; evaluation following a workshop presentation by participants in the Wageningen Soil Conference; a peer-review by iSQAPER partners; an evaluation by some 220 participants in the 11 study site Demonstration Events.
»User feedback and SQAPP development
This feedback was evaluated and taken into account in subsequent revisions of SQAPP.
How can SQAPP be used by farmers and land users?
For farmers and land users, SQAPP can provide a comparative soil quality assessment of all your land. This allows you to compare the soil quality of your fields with others under the same land use, in similar soil types and climate zones. By drawing on a database of hundreds of examples of agricultural management practices (AMPs) that have been proved to increase soil quality, SQAPP recommends practices that would suit your local situation and goals.
»SQAPP for farmers & land users
How can SQAPP be used by advisors and technicians?
Advisors and technicians can use SQAPP as a tool to assist in working with farmers and land users. Firstly, SQAPP gives you access to global soil data and constitutes a quick-scan tool for relative soil quality assessments. Secondly, by drawing on a database of hundreds of examples of agricultural management practices (AMPs) that have been proven to increase soil quality, SQAPP recommends practices that would suit the area you operate in.
»SQAPP for advisors & technicians
How can SQAPP be used by students and researchers?
SQAPP is a valuable source of data and information for students and researchers. Firstly, SQAPP gives you access to global soil data and relative soil quality information, making it a convenient first-stop data source. Secondly it provides information about the principal soil threats at a location or study site of interest. Thirdly, it makes an explicit link between hundreds of examples of agricultural management practices (AMPs) and the effects they can have on improving soil quality in different conditions.
»SQAPP for students & researchers
How can SQAPP be used by policy makers?
Awareness of soil quality, soil threats and agricultural management practices (AMPs) that can be implemented to improve poor conditions is essential in order to make the right policy decisions. You may furthermore be interested in the potential of SQAPP to act as an interactive soil quality assessment tool, (i.e. its potential for self-reporting). SQAPP gives you the option to have bi-directional exchange of soil data with farmers and land users. It also provides relative quality and soil threat information, allowing you to plan priority interventions.
»SQAPP for policy makers