WUR president Sjoukje Heimovaara visits ISRIC – World Soil Information

Share on: 06 Mar 2023

Wageningen University and Research Executive Board President Dr Sjoukje Heimovaara met with ISRIC – World Soil Information director and staff on 27th February, 2023 at the World Soil Museum. In a highly interactive session, Dr Heimovaara was introduced to the programmes and projects of ISRIC.

“Soil is literally the foundation of our lives, and a vital source of our food production and biodiversity. ISRIC's work provides open source knowledge about soils worldwide, making a tremendous contribution to the management, use and conservation of soils,” said Dr. Heimovaara after reflecting about her time at ISRIC – World Soil Information.

The programme included:

  • ISRIC Director Rik van den Bosch started the meeting with a presentation on the importance of reliable and accessible soil data for sustainable land management decisions and climate change mitigation measures.
  • ISRIC Project Managers Thaïsa van der Woude and Ditte Trojaborg contributed presentations, highlighting the application of soil data in various development projects for impact and sharing experiences with ‘agile’ project management strategies for large donor-funded projects with many stakeholders.
  • ISRIC Senior Researcher Gerard Heuvelink, who also holds the title special professor in pedometrics and digital soil mapping at Wageningen University, gave a live demo on space-time modelling of soil organic carbon stock changes with the Soils Revealed platform. Soil Revealed quantifies changes in soil organic carbon stocks over time and considers opportunities for future gains with appropriate management strategies, with potential benefits for soil health and climate change mitigation.
  • ISRIC Senior Digital Soil Mapping Expert Bas Kempen explained the purpose of the European Union Horizon 2020 project Soils4Africa, coordinated by ISRIC, and outlined future activities on sampling, analysis, mapping and soil health indicator development for the whole African continent.

The fruitful afternoon was concluded with a walk along the soil monoliths in the World Soil Museum guided by Stephan Mantel, Head of the ISRIC World Soil Museum, discussing the diversity of soils and the need for their sustainable management.

“I loved finally seeing a profile of Ukraine's famous Chernozem soil, and the huge difference between soils worldwide. Instructive and highly recommended,” Dr. Heimovaara said about her tour of the World Soil Museum.