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Soil as natural capital

This page is no longer updated.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 wind turbine and peat bog
Soil is essentially a non-renewable resource and is fundamentally one of the Earth’s most important natural capital assets.

Soil’s most widely recognised function is supporting plant growth, whether for crops, trees or native habitats. But, sitting as it does at the interface between the atmosphere, biosphere and underlying rocks, soil is being increasingly recognised for other environmental and ecosystem benefits, including climate regulation (green house gas emissions and carbon storage) and water flow regulation (flood control), and as the largest terrestrial reservoir of biodiversity.

At The James Hutton Institute, we are interested in how we can improve soil quality to maintain and enhance the supply of these benefits through alternate land use systems, innovations in management and restoration of degraded soils. To tackle these issues, our researchers are questioning the value of soils to society; mapping of the supply of ecosystem services from soils; developing informative indicators of soil quality; modelling the contributions of soils to ecosystem services from pedon to landscape-scales; characterising and quantifying the role of soil biodiversity in ecosystem functions and services and exploring the contribution that soils can make to the adaptive capacity of ecosystems under climate change.

For further information contact Helaina Black or see her staff page.

Research

Areas of Interest


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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.