The agricultural production system in the region is predominantly rainfed, mono-cropped at subsistence level with significant areas still under shifting cultivation practices. At about 1,520 kg/hectare, land productivity is very low in the region has tremendous scope for improving the productivity with efficient management of the resources. Mapping of soil and land capability is one of the prime requirements towards efficient management of soil resources. Under a NEC funded project, NESAC is carrying out Soil and Land Capability mapping in major agricultural districts in NER. Under Soil Resource Mapping (SRM) project coordinated by Soil and Land use Survey of India (SLUSI), NESAC is carrying out soil resource mapping in 7 districts in the region. NESAC is also contributing in Soil Carbon Pool analysis under National Carbon project. Identification of suitable areas for expansion of Boro rice in Meghalaya has recently been completed, where soil fertility maps were prepared at 1:50,000 scale. Methodology has been developed for land evaluation for organic crop planning in Assam with geospatial techniques under EOAM sponsored programme of Dept. of space.
Under ISRO-NASA AVIRIS programme, spatial variability mapping of essential nutrients in Chilika, Odisha is being done with the objectives of identification of most suitable bands for estimating soil fertility attributes, which will help to generate spatial variability map of essential nutrients. Another R &D work on assessment of soil fertility in Ribhoi district of Meghalaya using hyperspectral spectroscopy is in progress. Characterization of acid soils under different land cover patterns and its impact on crop growth with hyperspectral remote sensing is being explored under a collaborative project with ICAR-NEH Centre. This spectroscopy based non destructive techniques will help in discrimination, identification and monitoring acidity induced abiotic stresses on major crop performance in the hilly ecosystems of Northeast India.