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Hutton soil scientists help develop first Global Soil Organic Carbon Map

Fragment of Global Soil Organic Carbon Map (courtesy FAO)
"A healthy soil with an ideal amount of soil organic carbon can provide good plant growing conditions, help nutrient cycling and allow adequate water infiltration and storage"

Soil scientists from the James Hutton Institute, along with colleagues at Cranfield University, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, have contributed to the development of the first Global Soil Organic Matter map launched today (World Soil Day 2017), by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The map is the first of its kind to be produced on a common grid for the whole planet and involved over 100 countries. It will allow scientists and policy makers to identify degraded areas and explore the potential for soils to sequester (store) soil carbon, which is a major component of soil organic matter, to help reduce atmospheric CO2 and mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

The amount of organic carbon in the soil is also important for overall soil health, soil fertility and food production. A healthy soil with an ideal amount of soil organic carbon can provide good plant growing conditions, help nutrient cycling and allow adequate water infiltration and storage.

While Scotland’s soils hold as much as 3000 Mt (mega tonnes) of carbon in the upper 1m alone, only around 500 Mt are found in our cultivated soils. Although Scottish agricultural soils are rich in organic carbon compared with other areas of the world they may have the potential to store even more carbon.

The map also helps users set restoration targets, support the greenhouse gas emission reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and make evidence based decisions to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate.

For more information on our soil research, visit our Soils@Hutton pages or head to the FAO World Soil Day website.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/hutton-soil-scientists-help-develop-first-global-soil-organic-carbon-map on 16/06/19 04:38:13 AM

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.