Using historical soil surveys to address contemporary challenges

Lead researchers: Prof Murray Lark, Dr Lydia Chabala, Dr Clarence Chongo, Dr Anna Greenwood, Dr Alison Mohr, Mr Stalin Sichinga, Prof Megan Vaughan

Information about soils – their composition, properties, and status – is essential for policymaking and land management if we are to develop sustainable agricultural practices in a changing climate. Legacy soil surveys, including those from the colonial and post-colonial periods, might provide information that helps us better to address contemporary agricultural problems.  

This project focuses on inherited soil surveys in Zambia, starting from the 1930s when Colin Trapnell and colleagues examined vegetation, farming practices and the soil, creating a national Vegetation and Soil Map, published in 1947. Drawing on interdisciplinary expertise from soil science, history, and social science from University of Nottingham, University of Zambia and University College London, this project explores the pedological, historical and social dimensions of legacy soil information in Zambia. 

This project is funded by AHRC as part of its Global Challenges Research Fund programme: Cultures, Behaviours and Histories of Agriculture, Food, and Nutrition. 

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