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  • Wyss Academy

Capturing and valorizing the soil services

BERN HUB | Project LANAT-1

Our goal:

We aim to develop an innovative, time-saving method for mapping soil properties in order to provide a better basis for relevant decisions in various areas.

Photo: Simon Tanner, HAFL The morainal molasse hill near Meikirch represents a typical landscape form of the Swiss Plateau within the canton of Bern. Geology and the form of the landscape are among the most important factors shaping soils and their properties.

In a nutshell:

Soils fulfill numerous functions for people and nature. Uniformly collected, high-resolution, and reproducible soil information is of central importance for agriculture and forestry, spatial planning, climate adaptation, and groundwater protection, as well as for physical, chemical, and biological soil protection and conservation of biodiversity. Depending on the issue to be addressed, it can be important to know the nutrient and water storage capacity of soils, for example, or the risk of erosion. To date, such information is not sufficiently available in Switzerland or in the canton of Bern.

With this project, the services provided by soils will be recorded and made available for various applications. New technical application possibilities in soil data collection and resulting area mapping will be used to create an innovative and efficient method for soil mapping. Previously unavailable indicators, issue-specific application maps, and instruments will be generated for selected large-scale pilot sites. The project will be carried out in close collaboration and exchange with the Kompetenzzentrum Boden (Competence Center for Soil).

So far, a sampling plan and a four-phase concept for collection of soil information have been developed in a pilot area in the Central Plateau with the help of exploratory field surveys and statistical calculations. Key stakeholders in the process are local farmers. They have provided information and, as future users of the map series, have articulated their specific needs. In the fall and winter of 2021–2022, calibration and area mapping are being conducted by private engineering firms. This enables the implementation and testing of the training and knowledge transfer concept.

Photo: Simon Tanner, HAFL Calibration day for the mapping staff. Ensuring consistent quality of soil data collection requires proper knowledge transfer, training of mapping personnel, and cross-verified calibration.

Photo: Simon Tanner, HAFL Soil properties are best determined by means of a soil profile wall. Specific parameters are surveyed in the field and soil samples are collected for chemical analysis in the lab.


In collaboration with:

Amt für Landwirtschaft und Natur des Kantons Bern LANAT (Office for Agriculture and Nature of the Canton of Bern)

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