Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Sharing our knowledge abroad

Now online – the first Pacific Soils Portal

For decades, soil scientists from Manaaki Whenua have been visiting Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to collect soil samples and map soil patterns. This work is vital to help decision-makers improve their soils knowledge and land-management practices.

As new online tools have been developed, such as S-map Online (an interactive tool for understanding soils and how they vary across the New Zealand landscape), researchers have also been championing the concept of an online Pacific soils tool.

Soil mapping of Samoa as shown on the Pacific Soils Portal.

Now that vision is quickly becoming a reality. The Pacific Soils Portal (PSP) has been developed by Manaaki Whenua in collaboration with CSIRO Agriculture and Food, the Secretariat of the Pacific Communities Land Resources Division, and PICT agriculture departments. It will be ready to launch early in 2020.

“The Pacific Soils Portal brings together soil data, dating back to the 1960s, for five Pacific countries,” says Manaaki Whenua Project Lead James Barringer.

“The development is a major milestone for agricultural extension officers, land users, and decision-makers, because it means individual users can access location-specific interpretive knowledge of soil properties, and find out whether a soil is suitable for a proposed agricultural use, all at the click of a button,” adds Barringer.

The PSP currently covers Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu, and will also link to the New Zealand and Australia portals to showcase and compare soils across the entire South Pacific. It will align with activities under the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) Global Soil Partnership.

The PSP is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), and can be viewed on computers, tablets and smartphones.

Manaaki Whenua’s James Barringer showcasing the Pacific Soils Portal to representatives and decision makers from PICTs.