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MA Healthy Soils Action Plan Methodology

MA Healthy Soils Action Plan Overview

The MA Healthy Soils Action Plan focuses on the five major land covers of the Commonwealth: Forests, Wetlands, Farmlands, Recreational, and Urbanized. The project team sought to understand threats to soil health in these land covers through the following lenses:

  • Land Conversion,
  • Climate Change/Natural Hazards, and
  • Soil Management Practices

Because carbon content is one of the few universally agreed-upon indicators of soil health, recommendations in the Plan aim to protect and enhance soil organic carbon within the five land covers.

MA Healthy Soils action plan methodology

In order to provide Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) estimates for all 20 major land cover classes in Massachusetts (2016 High Resolution Land Cover plus the HSAP forest class) the Healthy Soils Action Plan researchers combined two methods. The first method relied on weighted averages of SOC by land cover and drainage class. The landcovers calculated with this method consisted of Cropland, Pasture, Grasslands, and Forest. For all other land cover classes, soil organic carbon estimates were derived from a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed research describing SOC values by land cover type combined with SSURGO SOC averages for those areas.

For a complete description of methodology, please see PDF linked below.

Have a question about HSAP? Contact Keith Zaltzberg-Drezdahl –

PDF of HSAP Methodology



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