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ClimateChange@Hutton - Soils and Water

In Scotland, we are extremely fortunate to have a mix of soils that provide important services for agricultural productivity, water supply, carbon storage and biodiversity. These soils are vulnerable to climate change and damage through misuse however, and so we are carrying out research at the James Hutton Institute to restore, protect and enhance their condition for the future. Much of this work involves detailed survey and mapping work to find out how our soils vary across the country and what condition they are in. This provides a vital baseline to allow us to make recommendations for how to protect our soils against the threats of climate change.

Our rivers and inland water bodies are cleaner and better-protected than in many other parts of the world, and researchers at the James Hutton Institute are working to keep things this way. We work closely with organisations like SEPA (Scotland’s Environmental Protection Agency), SNH (Scotland’s Natural Heritage) and Scottish Water to develop methods of monitoring water quality and the condition of our upland soils which act as to store and filter rainfall.

Climate change threatens our soils and water in many ways, including increased risk of peat fires, flooding, crop damage (from extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall or drought) soil carbon loss and allowing invasive species to flourish. Some of these effects are already being felt and will continue to increase as temperature and rainfall patterns change. Research at the James Hutton Institute is vital for monitoring these changes, reducing their effects and preparing Scotland for the future.

Contact Mark Wilkinson or Matt Aitkenhead for further information.

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.