Policy Focused Research
Soils research covers a wide variety of topics and disciplines. Originally grounded in the core sciences of chemistry, biology and physics, it now extends into social and behavioural sciences and the priority themes of biodiversity and climate change.
This library looks to collate only research that is directly and specifically targeted at policy development, in particular the soil quality indicators that underpin on-farm and nationwide monitoring.
Human-induced soil erosion is a serious threat to global sustainability, endangering food security, driving desertification and biodiversity loss.To help assess this threat, we amassed a global inventory of soil erosion rates.
Soil hosts one of the largest reservoirs of biodiversity on Earth: up to 90% of living organisms in terrestrial ecosystems, including some pollinators, spend part of their life cycle in soil habitats. Without soil biodiversity, terrestrial ecosystems may collapse.
The Royal Society
This report synthesises the evidence on the relationship between soil structure and benefits, focusing mainly on agricultural, mineral soil.
Soil Association / Woodland Trust / Plantlife
This report explores the challenges that the disrupted nitrogen cycle poses to our future, tackles some big unanswered questions and proposes a pathway forward.
Soil Security Programme (SSP)
A Soil Security Programme (SSP) group of expert soil health researchers and practitioners met in May 2019 to discuss the most practical and reliable farmer led on farm measurements for soil health and their applicability to ELM.
This paper presents the results from a pilot #60minworms study which mobilised farmers to assess over >1300 ha farmland soils in spring 2018.
Graves et al.
This paper develops and uses an approach to derive the total economic cost of soil degradation in England and Wales.
Visual soil evaluation in relation to measured soil physical properties in a survey of grassland soil compaction in England and Wales
Newell-Price et al.
In a survey of grassland soil compaction in England and Wales, soil visual evaluation methods were used alongside more widely accepted physical measurements of soil compaction.
Palmer et al.
Field investigations between 2002 and 2011 identified soil structural degradation to be widespread in SW England with 38% of the 3243 surveyed sites having sufficiently degraded soil structure.
The purpose of this work package was to identify, explore and critique appropriate existing datasets, models and approaches for mapping quantitative estimates of risk for each of the soil threats.
Cranfield University / ADAS
This project assessed whether physical soil properties can be used to indicate the quality of soil in terms of its capacity to deliver ecosystem goods and services.
Is current soil classification relevant to soil function and diversity? Final report to Defra SP1602
UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
To test the relationship between soil type and topsoil function and diversity, soils (0-15cm) were sampled from across the UK using a stratified random approach of landcover types as part of an integrated, national monitoring programme.
Since 2003, the UK Soils Indicator Consortium (UKSIC) has been working to develop a set of suitable indicators of soil function that will allow us to monitor the current status and any change in soil quality.
The primary objectives of Project LQ09 were to carry out a stocktaking exercise of all environmental monitoring schemes currently in place (UK and EU) which might be useful in the context of soil monitoring.
The development and use of soil quality indicators for assessing the role of soil in environmental interactions
This project builds on the findings of the previous Environment Agency-led project 'Identification and development of a set of national indicators for soil quality' (Loveland et al., 2002).
Shepherd, T. G.
To justify the use of VSA as a tool for assessing soil properties at farm and regional scales in New Zealand, VSA scores were compared against conventional, laboratory-based, measures of soil properties.
Morgan et al.
An automated soil sampler and a system for measuring the physical properties of soil cores in the field were developed for the study of soil compaction and tillage effects on soil physical properties.