Since 2015, the US Forest Service (USFS) has been using LandPKS to collect monitoring data in Ethiopia to develop a baseline for rangeland condition, and to evaluate the efficacy of rangeland management treatments in an adaptive management approach. As part of the USAID Pastoral Resilient Improved Market Expansion (PRIME) project, USFS ecologists Tom DeMeo and Sabine Mellmann-Brown have been working with CARE Ethiopia Rangeland Specialists Gudina and Beressa Edessa to track local vegetation changes over time, and to record grazing effects and soil erosion trends. USFS has conducted monitoring work primarily in the Borana, Guji, and Afar regions of Ethiopia, using both the LandPKS LandInfo and LandCover applications for electronic data collection and online cloud storage. To date, this work has resulted in 149 monitoring plots.
Kenya is one of our major pilot countries where LandPKS has been extensively tested and used. LandPKS is being used by Dr. David Kimiti, Senior Scientist at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, to help monitor rangeland restoration projects in community conservancies throughout Northern Kenya. In addition, the Regional Center for Mapping for Development (RCMRD) has worked with the LandPKS team to develop a one-day LandPKS training. RCMRD is now offering the training to their students and outside organizations at their headquarters in Nairobi. Further, LandPKS has close collaborations with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
LandPKS is being used by our partners at Michigan State University and AfricaRising. These partners are using the LandInfo module in order to conduct site characterization of mother trails for agronomic research. LandInfo is used to identify the soil texture, important for understanding how these agronomic trials are performing and what factors may be increasing or limiting crop yields.
Both LandInfo and LandCover modules are being widely applied by several organizations in Namibia to better understand the soil properties and plant community composition and structure that affect the effect of different restoration and management practices. LandCover is also being used to monitor the impacts of brush control.
Tanzania is the first pilot country where we are testing our cloud-based soil identification algorithms and potential crop productivity and erosion risk models. LandInfo has been used by our partners at Michigan State University, CIMMYT (International Maize and What Improvement Center), and CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture). These organizations are using LandInfo to help characterize agricultural fields. Furthermore, Peace Corps Tanzania will be implementing LandPKS with Peace Corps Volunteers who are based in rural, agricultural villages country-wide in order to help Volunteers provide easily accessible and useful information to farmers about land potential. It is also being used to support land use planning in the Iringa region.