The country's first soil archive is making it possible for anyone looking to get information about quality of soil of different regions, to do so from a single platform.
The information includes fertility of land, its nutrient content, and aptness for producing particular type of crops.
Besides, farmers, agriculturists, forest officials, researchers and other stakeholders will get information on which land is suitable for producing agricultural crops, and which is suitable for forestation.
All these facilities are available at the soil archive that was launched in October last year at Acharya Jagadishchandra Basu Academic Building of Khulna University.
The archive has so far collected 6,500 soil samples from 1,755 plots of different regions covering hill tracts, coastal area, the Sundarbans and plain-land villages.
“From this archive, we can measure soil parameters -- especially soil nutrients, by which we can understand the fertility of land and could provide information which land is suitable for which plants,” said Dr Mahmood Hossain, professor of Forestry and Wood Technology (FWT) discipline of KU.
“Besides, the archive has opened a new area for forest, agriculture and soil department's teachers and students for research,” said Mahmood, also supervisor of the archive.
Samples were collected from two layers: from surface to 15-centimeter depth, and from 16-centimeter to 30-centimeter depth.
Along with soil samples, the archive authorities are preserving other information relating to land, to ensure sustainable use of the data and information over time.
“Suppose if someone needs to analyse soil parameters of Chittagong Hill Tracts, he does not need to go to Chattogram, rather he could collect the sample from this archive,” said Prof Dr Shaikh Motasim Billah, of Soil Water and Environment (SWE) discipline of KU.
“There is huge scope of the archive to support the research community,” said Dr Motasim.
The archive has been set up by the joint venture of KU and Bangladesh Forest Department, with technical assistance of FAO and financial assistance of USAID.