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Exploring Scotland

The relationship between the Soil and Scottish landscape, is at times simple, in others exceedingly complex.

Aerial maps used to monitor peatland restoration on Balmoral Estate (News)

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute are deploying aerial mapping technology to collect data on the natural restoration of peatland at the Queen’s Balmoral Estate in Scotland. A survey aircraft equipped with advanced ... Read more

Innovative camera trapping technique provides insight into small mammal population (News)

Small mammals, such as mice and shrews, can occur in large numbers and play a crucial role in ecosystem functioning. They can drive predator populations and generate cascading effects on many prey species. They are also difficult ... Read more

Scotland’s natural habitats at risk due to intolerable nitrogen levels (News)

Many of Scotland’s iconic landscapes and natural habitats have intolerable nitrogen levels according to a report released by Plantlife Scotland today. Endorsed by the James Hutton Institute and produced using some of its dat ... Read more

Social science, rural Scotland, and COVID-19 (News)

Social science at the James Hutton Institute may provide an insight into how rural Scotland can and will likely respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. These research findings bring into focus the importance of community resilience, dis ... Read more

New DeeWatch blog to illustrate Deeside's stunning wildlife (News)

A blog created in celebration of Deeside’s wildlife, and Inspired by the BBC’s ‘Watches’ series has been launched by the Dee Catchment Partnership. “DeeWatch”, aims to encourage locals to explor ... Read more

Portraying Cumbernauld’s connections to urban nature via participatory video (News)

Social scientists based at the James Hutton Institute have pioneered the use of video as a participatory research technique in Scotland, in the context of a project aiming to understand the way the people of Cumbernauld connect wi ... Read more

Land managers vital to the success of rewilding in the Scottish uplands (News)

Rewilding in the Scottish uplands could take decades without the intervention of land managers, a new long-term grazing experiment at Glen Finglas has shown. The experiment, the first of its kind in Scotland, was set up in 2002 to ... Read more

A new era for local Biodiversity Partnership (News)

The North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership (NESBiP) is delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Stuart as their new coordinator. Previously employed by Aberdeen City Council Ranger Service in Duthie Park, Alex will brin ... Read more

Funding boost for biodiversity restoration in the River Dee (News)

Two projects aimed at restoring biodiversity in the River Dee catchment will receive more than £350,000 from a new competitive national fund from Scottish Natural Heritage. The Aberdeenshire projects were selected alongside ... Read more

UnderStories - Storying woodland use, management and expansion in the Cairngorms National Park (Project)

  What is the story with woodlands in the Cairngorms National Park? Or should we say, what are the stories, as there are many threads of stories of actual, former or speculative woodlands weaving in and out that make t ... Read more

UK Alpine Ecology Network (Research Page)

The UK Alpine Ecology Network was formed in 2018 as a means of bringing together scientists, conservationists and land managers with an interest in the ecology of alpine ecosystems across the UK. Membership is open to anyone with ... Read more

Hutton researcher awarded prestigious British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (News)

Orla Shortall of the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group has been awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship. The Fellowship enables early-career academics in the humanities and s ... Read more

Open Farm Sunday 2018: New Venue! (Event)

Come and spend a fun family day at Glensaugh Farm! The Institute will be taking part in Open Farm Sunday 2018 on 10 June. ... Read more

Podzols (Research Page)

The name Podzol is derived from the Russian words pod = under and zola = ash. Podzols are widespread throughout Scotland, generally associated with acid parent material and semi-natural heath or coarse grassland vegetation and c ... Read more

Peaty Podzols (Research Page)

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Peaty Gleys (Research Page)

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Organic Soils (Research Page)

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Humus-Iron Podzols (Research Page)

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Gleys (Research Page)

Gley soil with very poor drainage and significant peat development on surface often referred to as a peaty gley. The name gley is derived from the Russian words glei = compact bluish-grey. ... Read more

Noncalcareous Gleys (Research Page)

Gley soil with very poor drainage and significant peat development on surface often referred to as a peaty gley. ... Read more

Brown Forest Soils (Research Page)

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Brown Earths (Research Page)

Doune Series: Brown forest soil developed on acidic, fluvioglacial deposits ... Read more

Blanket Peats (Research Page)

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Alpine Soils (Research Page)

Wind-blasted vegetation on Cairngorm plateau ... Read more

Rendzinas (Research Page)

Characteristics of Rendzinas Shallow soils with solid or fragmented calcareous rock at depth Soils of limited extent in Scotland, confined to areas of limestone rock Soils have a mineral surface horizon with prominent cr ... Read more

Rankers (Research Page)

Resting on bedrock within 30cms depth. ... Read more

Links Soils (Research Page)

Links soil developed under forestry (Culbin Forest, Morayshire) showing weakly developed prodzol under vegetation. Note - buried profile with weak horizon differentiation. ... Read more

Immature Soils (Research Page)

Such soils are represented by a broad class of shallow or weakly developed soils including alluvial soils, soils developed on coastal dunes and in relatively flat areas of blown sand, called links or machair ion Scotland and shall ... Read more

Alluvial Soils (Research Page)

Imperfectly draining, fine-textured alluvial soil with weak horizon differentiation. ... Read more

Soil Distribution (Research Page)

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Torridon (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Pre-Cambrian rocks of the Torridonian Formation. ... Read more

Thurso (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Sandstones and flagstones of Middle Old Red Sandstone age (Caithness Flagstones in Caithness, Rousay Flags and Stromness Flags in Orkney). ... Read more

Tarves (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Mixed acid and basic metamorphic and igneous rocks, locally from intermediate metamorphic and igneous rocks e.g.hornblende-schist, biotite-gneiss and diorite. ... Read more

Strichen (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Acid rocks; mainly acid schists, schistose grits and granulites of the Dalradian. ... Read more

Sourhope (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Lavas of andesitic composition associated with sediments of Lower Old Red Sandstone age (also associated with granitic masses at Cheviot and in Argyll). ... Read more

Rowanhill (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Sandstones and shales with some limestones and coals, all rocks of Carboniferous age. ... Read more

Lochinver (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Gneisses and schists of Lewisian age, acid, basic and intermediate composition. ... Read more

Foundland (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Slates, phyllites and other weakly metamorphosed argillaceous rocks, including andalusite-schists, fine-grained mica schists and block schists of the Dalradian series. ... Read more

Ettrick (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Ordovician and Silurian greywackes and shales. ... Read more

Durnhill (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Quartzites and quartzose grits. ... Read more

Darleith (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Basaltic lavas and various igneous rocks e.g. dolerites, agglomerates. ... Read more

Corby (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Acid rocks, mainly schists and granites. TYPES OF PARENT MATERIALS MAPPED: Fluvioglacial sands and gravels, raised beach terraces ... Read more

Countesswells (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Granite or granitic gneiss rock ... Read more

Balrownie (Research Page)

DERIVATION: Old Red Sandstone rocks, principally sandstone with some erratics of Dalradian schist ... Read more

Arkaig (Research Page)

Derivation: Schists, gneisses, granulites and quartzites, principally of the Moine Assemblage. ... Read more

Soil Texture (Research Page)

Soil Particles and Texture Soils are generally a mixture of Sand / Silt and Clay Texture refers to the overall feel of the soil, which reflects the proportion of sand, silt and clay particles, and often the amount of organic ... Read more

Soil and Time (Research Page)

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Topography (Research Page)

Block diagram of soil depth within Highland environment. A hydrologic soil sequence in permeable parent material The configuration of the land influences the drainage and the subsequent formation of the soil: ... Read more

Soil Climate (Research Page)

Climate affects soil formation through local differences in precipitation (snowfall and rainfall) and temperature. It also indirectly influences the soil by determining the mass and distribution of plant communities, the soil wate ... Read more

Soil Parent Material (Research Page)

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Duneland, Maritime grassland and heaths (Research Page)

DUNELANDS Areas of windblown sand, generally near coasts and having distinctive, though varied dune landforms are characteristic of this category. Vegetation cover may be incomplete so that bare sand is exposed, in other instanc ... Read more

Land Cover Surveys (Research Page)

Land cover describes the principal features and characteristics of the countryside. Data on land cover, both in map and statistical format, is essential to assess the stock and distribution of landscape features as well as the det ... Read more

Woodland (Research Page)

In general terms there are two dominant woodland types, broadleaved and coniferous. ... Read more

Wetland (Research Page)

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Smooth Grassland (Research Page)

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Montane Vegetation (Research Page)

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LCS88 Dataset (Research Page)

The LCS dataset was completed after three distinct work phases: ... Read more

Heather Moorland (Research Page)

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Coarse Grassland (Research Page)

Flying bent (Molinia caerulea) or white bent (Nardus stricta) predominate and plant communities include these plant species with some bog myrtle (Myrica gale) present in western areas.  ... Read more

Bracken (Research Page)

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Arable Land and Improved Grassland (Research Page)

An extensive feature, agricultural land comprises land formed in a rotation of arable crops and short-ley grassland. Crops include cereals, potatoes, root crops, field vegetables, oil seed rape, field soft fruits and fodder crops. ... Read more

Mixed Agriculture (Research Page)

Land capable of supporting Mixed Agriculture (Class 3.2 to Class 4.2) Distribution of land capable of supporting mixed agriculture in Scotland which covers 1,541,100 hectares or 20 per cent of Scotland's land area. ... Read more

Improved Grassland (Research Page)

Land capable of supporting Improved Grassland (Class 5.1 to Class 5.3) ... Read more

Arable Agriculture (Research Page)

Land capable of supporting Arable Agriculture (Class 1 to Class 3.1) The distribution of land capable of supporting arable agriculture in Scotland which covers 625,800 hectares or 8 per cent of Scotland's land area ... Read more

Rough Grazing (Research Page)

Land capable of supporting only Rough Grazing (Class 6.1 to Class 7) Distribution of land capable of supporting only rough grazing in Scotland which covers 4.035,800 hectares or 51 per cent of Scotland's land area. ... Read more

Waste Utilisation (Research Page)

Changes in the EU and UK regulatory framework mean that alternatives to landfill and dumping at sea must be found for a range of organic wastes. Recycling to land is a favoured option, but there are both associated benef ... Read more

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Research Page)

The leaching of nitrate to both ground and surface waters is a natural consequence of agricultural activity but excessive levels of nitrates can alter the natural ecology of rivers and pollute drinking waters.  ... Read more

Land Capability for Agriculture (Research Page)

This classification groups land according to the degree of limitation imposed by biophysical factors on agriculture. It is used by Scottish Goverment and planning authorities when development or other changes to agricultural land ... Read more

Indicators of Sustainablity (Research Page)

There is a wide range of pressures on the environment that may restrict or confine our use of the land in the future. Using this as a guide on the meaning of sustainable use we can start to identify and minimise the risk of any pr ... Read more

Forestry Potential (Research Page)

This classification classifies land according to the degree of limitation imposed by biophysical factors on economic forestry activities. ... Read more

Climate Change (Research Page)

Climate change and carbon emissions ... Read more

Acid Rain (Research Page)

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Southern Uplands (Research Page)

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The Islands (Research Page)

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Highlands (Research Page)

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Central Lowlands (Research Page)

Rolling hills within Glen Devon, south of Gleneagles ... Read more

Soils and Sustainability (Research Page)

Soils fulfil a number of ecological and other functions more directly related to human activity most soils support more than one function at a time. These functions can be grouped into 6 categories: ... Read more

Soils – Introduction (Research Page)

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Introduction to Exploring Scotland (Research Page)

The relationship between the Soil and Scottish landscape, is at times simple, in others exceedingly complex. ... Read more

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.