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Allan Lilly

Staff picture: Allan Lilly
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Soil Hydrologist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Allan Lilly is a soil scientist with particular interest in hydropedology. He has a background in soil survey, biophysical resource analysis and land evaluation and has been responsible for both systematic soil survey and land evaluation at a national level and contract soil surveys at detailed scales.

Current research interests

I have over 40 years experience in soil hydrology, soil survey and soil mapping, hydropedology and bio-physical resource analysis and have been responsible for systematic soil survey and data collection for input into the Scottish Soils Database. I have authored or contributed to over 120 technical reports and have published over 60 papers in peer reviewed science journals. A key aspect of my work is to make soils data more robust and readily accessible to other researchers for use in models. I was a key researcher in the development of the HYPRES database of soil hydrological properties for Europe and the development of the hydrological classification for UK soils (HOST). I currently lead a project to enhance and improve the national soils datasets improving these key national datasets through the provision of new data, updating and revising existing data including making new interpretations and development of web access to soil data. I have developed methods for estimating the hydrological characteristics of soils from existing data and integrating these data into spatially-scaled hydrological and hydro-geochemical models. I also oversaw the development of field protocols and sampling procedures for the resampling of the National Soil Inventory. Based on previous work with both collecting and interpreting soil data, he has also been working to assess the impact of climate and land use change on soil. In particular, he has been developing methods for generating robust input data for land use and climate change modelling as well as assessing the potential of Scottish soils to sequester carbon.

I am the current Chair of the European Soil Bureau Network and a member of European Soil Partnership Pillar 4 Working Group on soil data and information. I have been a visiting scientist at the Victoria Department of Primary Industries and at CSIRO, Australia as well as the USDA_ARS station in Beltsville, Maryland. I spent a year in the Netherlands working on an EU funded project to develop a soil hydrological database. I was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Science (F.I.Soil Sci) in 2015.


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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.