What is SQAPP?
Good soil quality is of fundamental importance to local and global food production and to ecosystem resilience. Agricultural soils world-wide are subject to threats and pressures including increasing demand for food and biofuels, climate change impacts, land degradation and associated productivity decline.
To manage agricultural soils well, decision-makers need science-based, easy to apply and cost-effective tools to assess soil quality and function. Reliable knowledge and data help land users assess the quality and make well-informed decisions about the use of their soils.
In response to this issue, the Horizon 2020 EU-funded project iSQAPER has created SQAPP, an innovative soil quality app for mobile devices developed, tested, evaluated and improved by farmers, agricultural service providers, scientists, and policy makers.
- Gives users free global access to soil maps and contextual soil quality information (showing how their soil scores relative to others of the same type in similar climatic conditions).
- Assesses the most probable threats to soil quality with explicit links between soil quality status and agricultural management.
- Provides targeted advice on how to improve soil quality status with different agricultural management practices.
- Has the capacity for users to interact with the databases, uploading local data to refine the soil quality analysis and recommendations.
Why should advisors and technicians use SQAPP?
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.
Should you become a registered user?
We recommend that advisors and technicians become registered users (registration is free) because this allows you to store soil quality information and evaluate management recommendations.
Do you need to enter a lot of local data?
In some areas, the data in the databases that SQAPP uses is of poorer quality or evidently wrong. In these cases entering typical values, rather than site-specific data, will be sufficient for you to get a good feel for the soil quality assessment and the kinds of AMPs that are recommended. You can use this list of recommended AMPs, and the further details available on each practice, to tailor the information you disseminate to local farmers and land users.
How can you use SQAPP with farmers and land users?
SQAPP can be used as a tool to focus your discussions about soil quality issues with farmers and land users. For them, it will be important to increase the accuracy of the soil properties and land management data by entering either their own or any other local data you can help them access. The principal soil threats identified and potential for improvement scores can be discussed with them as can the suitability of any recommended or alternative AMPs (e.g. those that reduce the use of pesticides with high environmental impact). Your experience with the use of AMPs in experimental settings and/or by other farmers in the region may also be relevant.
Where can you find more information?
More information on all the AMPs included in SQAPP can be found in the section »Agricultural management practices recommended by SQAPP in this iSQAPERiS website where links to websites with more details are provided. This section on iSQAPERiS is also of interest in its own right, because it provides access to the full set of AMPs that can be browsed for inspiration.
Help us evaluate SQAPP and the AMP recommendations
The network of farmers and land users that you interact with and the area you cover make you ideally placed to give us feedback on any SQAPP usability and accuracy issues you encounter. Because you potentially review a large number of SQAPP’s AMP recommendations, your feedback on them is particularly useful to researchers as they work to improve them (e.g. by removing those that are consistently evaluated as inappropriate).
SQAPP was originally written in English.
We are working to provide it in these languages too:
Chinese, Estonian, French, German,
Contact us if you would like to help translating it into another language
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