Skip to navigation Skip to content

Soils and climate change

This page is no longer updated. The information presented here formed part of our previous areas of research. This has included research carried out on behalf of our research partners, commerical contracts and also the Scottish Goverment's Strategic research programme during the period 2011 - 2016.

Scottish Goverment LogoWe have left these pages here to provide background information on our previous areas of research. Further details on the RESAS strategic programme of research (2016-21) will be made available.

Further details on why we archive pages can be found on the following page.

Photograph of a peatbog in Caithness (© Willie Towers)
Soils themselves may respond to climate change, leading to both positive and negative feedback effects.

The climate is changing in response to the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While the burning of fossil fuels has made a major contribution to the levels of carbon dioxide, soils have been responsible for part of this increase through the cultivation of native soils and through deforestation and biomass burning.

Natural wetlands and rice cultivation also produce methane and nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture contributes to nitrous oxide. At the same time, soils have the potential to store carbon, in grassland and forest soils, and particularly in peatland soils, through the removal of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Soils themselves may respond to climate change, leading to both positive and negative feedback effects.

For these reasons, we are concerned with assessing the role of soils in Scotland in climate change:

  • How much carbon is locked away in the organic-rich soils that we have?
  • How much does agriculture contribute to nitrous oxide emissions?
  • What is the potential for forests and peatlands to store carbon?
  • How will a warmer or wetter or drier climate interact with soils in the way they produce or sequester greenhouse gases?
  • How should we manage soils so as to mitigate against climate change?


Areas of Interest

Printed from /research/archive/2011-16/delivering-sustainable-production-systems/soils/climate-change on 21/02/24 02:57:20 PM

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.