Dr. Keith Shepherd leads the Science Domain on Land Health Decisions and serves as a Principal Soil Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre. His research focuses on land health surveillance – an evidence-based approach to measuring and monitoring land health (including soil carbon) and associated risk factors, and improving stakeholder decision-making through Decision Analysis. Keith has pioneered a Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostics Laboratory at the Centre for high throughput analysis of soil and plant samples using only light (infrared, x-ray and laser spectroscopy). The lab is supporting the Africa Soil Information Service and a network of spectral laboratories in national and development institutions across the tropics. Keith co-leads Information Systems Strategic Research in the CGIAR Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems has co-developed a new flagship on restoring degraded landscapes, with emphasis on land health risk assessment, monitoring and evaluation. His research on decision analysis focuses on use of Bayesian approaches and value-of-information analysis to improve development decision-making in data-limited environments.
With over 40 years’ experience in tropical land management, Keith 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, UK 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.