, 224:1658
Date: 04 Aug 2013

Remote Sensing of Soil and Water Quality in Agroecosystems

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Mismanagement of soil and water resources may not only contribute to an escalation of global poverty but also jeopardize ecosystem services, with significant costs to the environment. Although not concentrated within one geographic location (3,500 million hectares), an equivalent of approximately 24 % of the earth’s land surface is degraded land, and about 2 billion people (one third of the global population) lack access to safe and affordable water for domestic purposes. It is therefore critical to develop strategies targeted at the root causes of these problems. However, to do so would require a rapid and reliable information system that has been elusive because of the complexity of the environment and the limitations of the existing tools. The increased availability and development of remote sensing and geographic data analysis tools have opened up new possibilities for exploring and monitoring environmental variables influencing key land use and soil management options. Here, we explore the major concepts, describe the constraints, and the future potential of remote sensing for mapping and providing near real-time information on soil and water quality in the context of major land use practices employed at the global scale.