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RD 1.1.1 Soil and its ecosystem function

RD 1.1.1 Soil and its ecosystem function

Soils in good condition mediate processes that underpin essential ecosystem services including plant growth, water quality and greenhouse gas mitigation. These functions are affected by complex interactions between biological, physical and chemical components of the soil. Understanding these interactions and their consequences for soil functions provides insights into the health of soils and soil’s ability to provide ecosystem services and allows us to identify indicators that can be used to support development of management practices to protect and enhance beneficial soil functions.


Aim of Research

To combine physical, chemical and biological approaches to characterise soil functions delivering essential ecosystem services. This will be done in the context of identifying the potential to promote beneficial functions of soils (e.g. water-holding capacity, resistance to erosion, storage of carbon, nutrient cycling) and to mitigate impacts on the environment (e.g. nutrient leaching and greenhouse gas emissions). The applied context that this research is directed toward is to identify management options (e.g. grass cultivar selection and tillage practice) that foster sustainable soil functioning and mitigate impacts on the wider environment.

The research builds of previous work within the RESAS Strategic Research Programme and on collaborations with UK and International partners.

Further information

General information on the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI) and the Scottish Government funded Strategic Research Portfolio can be found on the SEFARI website.
Within this, there are webpages providing summary overview information for each of the Research Deliverables (RDs) within the Strategic Programme. The page for RD 1.1.1 Soil and its ecosystem function is available here and includes annual progress and highlights summaries, key outputs and links to case studies and key research staff.

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project
SEFARI – Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research InstitutesSEFARI is the collective of six Scottish world-leading Research Institutes working across the spectrum of environment, land, food, agriculture and communities – all topics which affect how we live our lives, in Scotland and beyond.


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.