Keith Shepherd is a Principal Soil Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre and leads the Centre’s Science Domain on Land Health Decisions. His research focuses on land health surveillance and response – an evidence-based approach to measuring land health, targeting sustainable land management interventions and monitoring impacts. To support this research, he has created a Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostics Laboratory at the Centre for high throughput analysis of soil and plant samples using light (infrared, x-ray and laser spectroscopy) and a controlled environment facility for bioassay of plant responses to nutrients. The unit supports the Africa Soil Information Service and a network of infrared spectroscopy laboratories in African national programmes and the private sector across ten countries.
Keith also leads Information Systems Strategic Research in the CGIAR Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems. This research focuses on decision engagement and analytics using probabilistic approaches. This involves holistic cost-benefit analysis of stakeholder intervention decisions with emphasis on quantifying uncertainty and risks so that further research is focused on information needs that have high economic value. The programme is also strengthening capacity of researcher and stakeholder in decision sciences.
Keith has over 30 years experience in tropical land management. He has also worked with the Centre on integrated ecological-economic modelling and nutrient balances of smallholder farm systems, and on methods for on-farm agroforestry research. Prior to this, Keith worked with: Hunting Technical Services as Chief Adaptive Research Officer on the Jebel Marra Integrated Rural Development Project in Darfur, Sudan; with the University of Reading and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on water and nutrient balances of rice-based cropping systems; with the International Centre for Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria on growth, water use and nutrient uptake of barley in Mediterranean climates; and with the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland as Dryland Crop Agronomist for Swaziland.