Pre-work background

Digital soil assessment goes beyond the goals of digital soil mapping.

Digital soil assessment (DSA) can be defined (from McBratney et al. 2012) as the translation of digital soil mapping outputs into decision making aids that are framed by the particular contextual human-value system which addresses the question/s at hand.

The concept of DSA was first framed by Carre et al. (2007) as a mechanism for assessing soil threats, assessing soil functions and for soil mechanistic simulations to assess risk based scenarios to complement policy development. DSA naturally fits within broader assessment frameworks where soil information is just one component of the biophysical system being investigated, or even more broadly in social and econometric modelling systems that underscore both complex systems studies and policy development for sustainable development.

The following pages provides a flavor of some of the sorts of assessments which we might consider in the purview of DSA.


Carre, F., Alex B. McBratney, Thomas Mayr, and Luca Montanarella. 2007. “Digital Soil Assessments: Beyond DSM.” Geoderma 142 (1-2): 69–79.

McBratney, Alex B., Budiman Minasny, Ischani Wheeler, Brendan P. Malone, and David Van Der Linden. 2012. “Frameworks for Digital Soil Assessment.” Edited by Budiman Minasny, Brendan P. Malone, and Alex B. McBratney. London, UK: CRC Press.

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