World Soil Profiles — towards a unified, web-based soil profile database

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ISRIC - World Soil Information invites the world to join in rescuing, collating and harmonizing soil profile description and analytical data. We are promoting the creation of a single, comprehensive and accessible compilation of global soil information. This is being done via WorldSoilProfiles.org as a contribution to Global Earth Observation System of System (GEOSS) and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP). ISRIC is accredited by the International Council of Science (ICSU) as the World Data Center for Soils. With this mandate, ISRIC aims to stimulate and organize the collation and harmonisation of legacy soil data. The most valuable and widely available soil data consist of soil profile observations that present descriptive and analytical records of key, management-related soil properties. Typically, profile data describe 1x1 m blocks of land sampled to depths of 1-2 m. Many millions of soil profiles have been described, sampled and analysed during soil surveys and other soil studies since the beginning of the last century (1930-1940's). Only a very small number of these are presently easily accessible via global or even regional or national soil information systems. These "missing" soil profile data will be very valuable for global studies if they can be discovered, collated, harmonised, archived and finally accessed via a common portal. Once made accessible, these valuable data will contribute to efforts to improve soil and water management, reduce land degradation, improve food security, mitigate climate change, and conserve biodiversity. ISRIC welcomes all to contribute soil profile data allocated under their management. Contributors can choose whether to make their data freely available or to retain control on access and usage under ISRIC's data policy.