264-12 Soils A Critical Layer for Estimating Ecosystem Services.

See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: Spatial Predictions In Soils, Crops and Agro/Forest/Urban/Wetland Ecosystems: III (Includes Graduate Student Competition)
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C, Street Level
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Sharon W. Waltman, National Soil Survey Center - Geospatial Research Unit, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Morgantown, WV, Anne C. Neale, Landscape Ecology Branch, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, Norman Bliss, EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls, SD and Larry West, NSSC, USDA/NRCS, Lincoln, NE
Reliable and readily accessible soil geographic information is critical for the estimation of many, if not most, ecosystem services. For example, the amount of carbon that can be stored in soils impacts climate regulation and controls fertility. The ability of the soil to store precipitation and release water to plants can diminish or amplify the impact of agricultural drought events. The ability of an area to support wildlife is related to soil landscape pattern. The capacity for a riparian buffer or a wetland to mitigate pollutants from runoff and regulate water quality depends on the kinds of soils present. The quantity of water delivered as stream flow versus that being recharged to groundwater within a basin is related to the physical and landscape properties of soils. Soils also influence an area’s ability to protect against flood or erosion events.

Ecosystem services assessments are being conducted over large regions or even entire countries and all of these efforts require soils information. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with many partner organizations including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is developing a National Atlas of Sustainable Ecosystem Services. As part of this effort, EPA, NRCS, and the USGS are developing a standardized 30 m gridded soil geographic layer product for the conterminous USA and making this product accessible. The product will include those attributes most commonly used in ecosystem service modeling assessments and will include values for multiple soil depths for a subset of variables. Readily accessible gridded soils data have several advantages over vector data, such as easier integration with other land surface datasets. This poster describes the gridded soil geographic layer product and shows how the information can be used in ecosystem service assessments.