Evaluating Opportunities and Barriers of Soil Organic Carbon Decision-Support Systems: Integrating Salience, Credibility and Legitimacy.

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O'Brien, Aidan
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University of Guelph

High resolution digital soil maps and precision farm technologies are changing the way scientists, policy makers and land managers communicate the ecosystem service values of soils. Soil organic carbon decision-support systems are a way to combine human and computer power to better account for the multiple benefits of conserving carbon in agri-environmental decision-making. This study evaluates opportunities and barriers surrounding the adoption of SOC DSS on working lands in Southern Ontario by conducting document analysis, Q survey and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in Ontario and the US. Applying the framework of salience, credibility and legitimacy, this research reveals insights to achieve more effective communication about SOC management with DSS by identifying four ways of thinking about their development, design and deployment. The current emphasis on precisely measuring and monitoring SOC has implications for working lands stakeholders due to the cost, complexity, rigidity and lack of social trust surrounding precision approaches.

soil organic carbon, salience, credibility, legitimacy, precision conservation, working lands governance, soil carbon science-policy-practice, decision-support systems