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Soil Map

In most people's mind, soil would not figure highly in a list of the natural resources of Africa. However, healthy and fertile soils are the cornerstones of food security, key environmental services, social cohesion and the economies of most African countries. Unfortunately, soil in Africa tends to reach public awareness only when it fails – often with catastrophic consequences as seen by the famine episodes of the Sahel in the 1980s and more recently in Niger and the Horn of Africa. In the context of major global environmental challenges such as food security, climate change, fresh water scarcity and biodiversity loss, the protection and the sustainable management of soil resources in Africa are of paramount importance. This layer presents the diversity of soil types across Africa. This map was produced by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission for the Soil Atlas of Africa.

/1. Dewitte, O., Jones, A., Spaargaren, O., Breuning-Madsen, H., Brossard, M., Dampha, A., Deckers, J., Gallali, T., Hallett, S., Jones, R., Kilasara, M., Le Roux, P., Michéli, E., Montanarella, L., Thiombiano, L., Van Ranst, E., Yemefack, M., Zougmore, R., 2013. Harmonisation of the soil map of Africa at the continental scale. Geoderma, 211-212, 138-153 /2. Spaargaren O, Schad P, Micheli E (2010): Guidelines for constructing small-scale map legends using the WRB. FAO, Rome.


The data provided has been prepared for use by internal research activities in the Land Resource Management Unit (Institute for Environment & Sustainability, JRC Ispra) in the context of Soil Atlas of Africa. The data were developed for research purposes of the JRC (European Commission). The JRC does not accept any liability whatsoever for any error, missing data or omission in the data, or for any loss or damage arising from its use. The JRC agrees to provide the data free of charge but is not bound to justify the content and values contained in the databases. The permission to use the data specified above is granted on condition that, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are these data passed to third parties. They can be used for any purpose, including commercial gain. The user agrees to: a) Make proper reference to the source of the data when disseminating the results to which this agreement relates; b) Participate in the verification of the data (e.g. by noting and reporting any errors or omissions discovered to the JRC).

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