Soil as you might be aware is very important for the growth of plants and all sorts of uses that have been put in place by the Human race.
Going by Wikipedia’s definition, “soil is the upper layer of earth in which plants grow, a black or dark brown material typically consisting of a mixture of organic remains, clay, and rock particles”.
Now you might be wondering, “why would someone be so focused on soil and how does it relate to technology”?. Stay with me …
I will detail the importance on why and how satellite technologies play a crucial role in mapping soil moisture and why it should matter to you. We are all affected by agriculture and its nuances in one way or another.
Soil moisture is water stored in the soil.It is affected by a spectrum of components, such as precipitation, temperature, soil characteristics, and several other aspects. These factors/components help determine the type of biomass present, and the suitability of land for growing crops. The health of crops relies upon an adequate supply of moisture among other things. As moisture availability plummets, there is disruption in the normal functioning and growth of plants, leading to the dwindling of crop yields. With the increasingly unchecked climate change be-falling us(literally in all continents), moisture availability is becoming more variable. This is why soil moisture mapping is important to most researchers and scientists in the Agricultural space.
Soil moisture mapping or deterministic methods, is indeed not a foreign concept, but it hasn’t become as mainstream as it should be. A spectrum of reasons why that is, exist with a few pointers being the cost and resources needed to make it (the mapping), a reality for example, and other methods implemented commercially. However, most of these methods have been in practice since time immemorial, using either technology or traditionally known methods in communities around the world. The quantification of soil moisture creates a possibility of a whole new spectrum of interpretation and analysis of data which will, in turn, lead to greater efficiency and deeper insights. Soil moisture measurement is indeed, very important for the well-being of any ecosystem.
This is why Remote sensing is fundamental in ensuring that soil moisture is mapped across the counties in Kenya to ensure that drought preventative measures are put in place. In addition, as earlier mentioned it would also help with crop management and flood prediction.
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