Soils, Cross-Cutting: Phase 1

Lead Organization:

Colorado State University Foundation

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa




Intensification of smallholder agriculture has led to widespread soil degradation and a loss of soil organic matter (SOM) and the associated soil-based ecosystem services that support smallholder farmers around the globe. While a number of projects within the CCRP and beyond have promoted technologies that should benefit SOM and support soil quality in the long-term, few have adequately evaluated the impacts of promoted technologies on soils. Because SOM and the trade-offs that govern its management are closely linked with access to resources and socioeconomic well-being, SOM serves as a valuable indicator to assess the sustainability of different agroecological intensification options. Additionally, given soil’s importance to agricultural livelihoods across diverse contexts, soil quality and associated ecosystem services represent a cross-cutting theme for the entire CCRP program. Our project will enhance CCRP support for improved SOM management and address soil quality decline by focusing on three objectives that seek to integrate global, regional, and local scales:

Grant Aims:


  • Work with local collaborators across the CCRP to develop a global “toolkit” for agroecological approaches and indices for sustainable soil management, with particular emphasis on CCRP partners and projects.
  • Support and collaborate with local institutions to apply the toolkit and evaluate the local soil management innovations being promoted, understanding these within local contexts of farmer soil knowledge, residue availability, and implication for long-term SOM and soil quality.
  • Address key social and biophysical knowledge gaps surrounding trade-offs of residue management and SOM dynamics in smallholder systems to inform the efforts in Nos. 1 and 2 above via data gathering, model building, and experimentation across multiple smallholder contexts and scales.


  • Local and Scientific Soil Knowledge

  • A Soil Tool Kit to Evaluate Soil Properties and Monitor Soil Health Changes in Smallholder Farming Contexts

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  • Kit de herramientas de salud

  • Kit d’outils pour la santé des sols

  • Building and Assessing Soil Health Across the CCRP Program

    East & Southern Africa