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Harmonized World Soil Database

Year of publication: 2012
Harmonized World Soil Database


Coordination: Freddy Nachtergaele 1, Harrij van Velthuizen 2, Luc Verelst 2, David Wiberg 2
Contributors: Niels Batjes 3, Koos Dijkshoorn 3, Vincent van Engelen 3, Guenther Fischer 2, Arwyn Jones 5, Luca Montanarella 5, Monica Petri 1, Sylvia Prieler 2, Edmar Teixeira 2, Xuezheng Shi4

Affiliations: 1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2 International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), 3 ISRIC-World Soil Information, 4 Institute of Soil Science – Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISSCAS), 5 Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC)


The HWSD is of immediate use in the context of the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol for soil carbon measurements and for the FAO/IIASA Global Agro-ecological Assessment studies (GAEZ 2012), for which HWSD was developed in the first place. The HWSD contributes sound scientific knowledge for planning sustainable expansion of agricultural production to achieve food security and provides information for national and international policymakers in addressing emerging problems of land competition for food production, bio-energy demand and threats to biodiversity.


The HWSD is a 30 arc-second raster database with over 16000 different soil mapping units that combines existing regional and national updates of soil information worldwide (SOTER, ESD, Soil Map of China, WISE) with the information contained within the 1:5 000 000 scale FAO-UNESCO Soil Map of the World (FAO, 19711981).

Reference: FAO/IIASA/ISRIC/ISSCAS/JRC, 2012. Harmonized World Soil Database (version 1.2). FAO, Rome, Italy and IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria.


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