The soil health tool kit assembles simplified methods to assess soil health in the context of projects and networks working with smallholder farmers. The tool kit website describes the protocols for soil pH, permanganate-oxidizable soil carbon (POXC or active carbon), particulate organic matter (POM), soil aggregate stability, and soil available phosphorus. In the downloadable manual on the website (links also below), there are additional protocols to estimate soil moisture, measure soil texture, and assess soil macrofauna, as well as a labile nitrogen test and a consideration of soil sampling strategy. We are currently improving and simplifying these tests and adding tests for soil water infiltration and soil respiration. The tests vary in complexity – some can be done directly on-farm and others are better performed in a “mobile lab” setting on larger numbers of samples from different farms, with equipment that can be set up in in an office or community space setting. The idea is to allow farmers and those who work with them to better characterize soil environments as part of social and ecological contexts, and also allow them to track progress in improving soil health with existing or new practices.
Go here to learn more about the smallholder-sha.org soil assessments