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Willie Towers

Staff picture: Willie Towers
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Research Scientist / Honorary Research Associate
willie.towers@hutton.ac.uk
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

 

Willie is a soil scientist who has made a significant contribution to the Scottish soil map coverage and the Institute soils database, both of which are recognised as two of the Institute's key corporate assets. Willie has over 200 published outputs covering peer reviewed papers, conference papers and abstracts, consultancy reports and a range of knowledge exchange and awareness raising tools. He advises and works closely with policy colleagues in the Scottish Government on diverse issues such as CAP reform, LFA redefinition and delineation and soil policy and has contributed to enquiries (written and verbal) at the House of Lords and the Scottish Parliament in this capacity. He was lead author of 'Scotland's Soil Resource - Current State and Threats' in 2006 for the Scottish Government and which has proved to be a seminal work in the development of the Scottish Soil Framework (Scottish Government 2009); Willie undertook a short term secondment to the Scottish Government to advise on, and contribute to its development. With others, he has developed a range of novel mechanisms to raise awareness of the role and value of soils to society and chairs a Europe wide group, financed by the JRC in Italy, to develop European initiatives on soil education and awareness.

Current research interests

Willie's research interests are primarily related to the role of soils in environmental and ecological research. He has developed and applied a number of modelling approaches to assess a range of diverse land use options, including the potential for native woodlands, land suitability for sewage sludge recycling and for new housing and other built development. Process based information has also been incorporated into parametric rule-based models, for example examining the behaviour of heavy metals in soils. His current interests focus on developing the concept of soil multifunctionality within landscapes, exploring methods of examining trade-offs between them and seeking to explicitly identify the role of soils in the delivery of ecosystem services. Willie also contributes to new interdisciplinary research areas in the Institute including risk assessment and soil valuation in its widest sense. Much of his work capitalises on his in-depth understanding of the data sources used to characterise soils and their functions.

Bibliography

  • Donnelly, D.; Towers, W., (2016) Method for applying biophysical constraints to delineate areas of natural constraint in Scotland., Technical Report to Scottish Government and EU Joint Research Centre.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Miller, D.G.; Towers, W.; Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A., (2016) CAP Greening Review, Summary., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Website.
  • Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Towers, W.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A., (2016) CAP Greening Review, Part 4, Expert Panel Review. Views of members of the expert panel on CAP Greening., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Websites.
  • Towers, W.; Miller, D.G.; Matthews, K.B. (eds.), (2016) CAP Greening Review, Part 1:Trends in Environmental Indicators - A brief overview of recent trends in key environmental indicators in Scotland, covering biodiversity, water quality, land, including soils and climate change., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Websites.
  • Aitkenhead, M.J.; Black, H.I.J.; Squire, G.; McLeod, K.; Hastings, E.; Troldborg, M.; Aalders, I.H.; Towers, W.; Lilly, A.; Brown, I.; Coull, M.C.; Castellazzi, M.; Matthews, K.B.; Baggaley, N.J., (2016) A review of ecosystem service mapping within Scottish Government RESAS-funded research., Report for Scottish Government.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Riach, D.J.; Towers, W.; Hewison, R.L.; Beesley, L.; Donnelly, D., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 54 - Salachan Forest, Lochaber Forest District. (2016), Digital data submitted to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Hewison, R.L.; Nolan, A.J.; Riach, D.J.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Donnelly, D., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 53 - Greenburn Block, Loch Ard Forst (South), Cowal and Trossachs Forest Distric.t (2016), Digital data submitted to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Towers, W.; Hewison, R.L.; Beesley, L.; Riach, D.J.; Donnelly, D.; Campbell, G., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 45 - Aberdeenshire Forest Blocks and New Acquisitions, Moray and Aberdeenshire Forest District. (2016)., Digital data submitted to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Gwatkin, R.; Donnelly, D., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 41 - Appin and West Barcaldine Blocks, West Argyll Forest District (2015)., Digital data to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Dunn, S.M.; Towers, W.; Dawson, J.J.C.; Sample, J.; MacDonald, J., (2015) A pragmatic methodology for horizon scanning of water quality linked to future climate and land use scenarios., Land Use Policy, 44, 131-144.
  • Chamen, W.C.T.; Moxey, A.P.; Towers, W.; Balana, B.B.; Hallett, P.D., (2015) Mitigating arable soil compaction: A review and analysis of available cost and benefit data., Soil and Tillage Research, 146, 10-25.
  • Lilly, A.; Miller, D.R.; Towers, W.; Donnelly, D.; Poggio, L.; Carnegie, P., (2015) Mapping of Scotland's natural resources., Bulletin of the Society of Cartographers, 48, 35-46
  • Towers, W.; Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Miller, D.R., (2015) Carbon-rich soil, deep peat and priority peatland habitats map., Consultation response to Scottish Natural Heritage from the James Hutton Institute.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D,J.; Towers, W.; Riach, D.J.; Gwatkin, R.; Donnelly, D., (2015) Soil Survey Maps and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 39 - Dalchork Forest, North Highland Forest District. (2014)., Digital Data submitted to Forestry Commission.
  • Lilly, A.; Bell, J.S.; Hudson, G.; Nolan, A.J.; Towers, W., (2015) Lilly, A., Bell, J.S., Hudson, G., Nolan, A.J. & Towers. W. 2011. National soil inventory of Scotland 2007-2009: profile description and soil sampling protocols. (NSIS_2). Technical Bulletin, James Hutton Institute., Scotland's Soils Website.
  • Lilly, A.; Bell, J.S.; Hudson, G.; Nolan, A.J.; Towers, W. (Compilers), (2015) Lilly, A., Bell, J.S., Hudson, G., Nolan, A.J. & Towers. W. (Compilers) 2010. National soil inventory of Scotland (NSIS_1); site location, sampling and profile description protocols. (1978-1988)., Scotland's Soils Website.
  • Slee, B.; Brown, I.; Donnelly, D.; Gordon, I.J.; Matthews, K.B.; Towers, W., (2014) The ‘squeezed middle’: identifying and addressing conflicting demands on intermediate quality farmland in Scotland., Land Use Policy, 41, 206-216.
  • Miller, D.G.; Matthews, K.B.; Towers, W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.J.; Squire, G.; Hawes, C.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.; Owen, J.; Wardell-Johnson, D.H., (2014) CAP Greening Review - Expert panel - Interim results., Technical Report for Policy.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Hewison, R.L.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Riach, D.J.; Baggaley, N.; Donnelly, D., (2014) Soil Survey Maps and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 31 - South Loch Ard & Drumore Block, Loch Ard Forest, Cowal & Trossachs Forest District., Digital data submitted to Forest Enterprise Scotland.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Lilly, A.; Bell, J.S.; Cameron, C.; Donald, C.; Fielding, D.; Green, G.; Hewison, R.H.; McIntyre, S.; Newman, G.: Nolan, A.; Owen, J.; Smith, D.; Sturgeon, F.; Thompson, C.; Towers, W.; Williams E., (2014) Ecosystem effects of long-term herbivore exclusion., SNH Contract Report.
  • Miller, D.R.; Towers, W.; Ruffell, A.; Morrice, J.; Dawson, L.A.; Brooker, R., (2014) A land strategy for Northern Ireland., Report to Land Matters Task Force, Northern Ireland.
  • Aitkenhead, M.J.; Black, H.I.J.; Squire, G.; McLeod, K.; Hastings, E.; Troldborg, M.; Aalders, I.; Towers, W.; Lilly, A.; Poggio, L.; Gimona, A.; Brown, I.; Castellazzi, M.; Matthews, K.B.; Baggaley, N.J., (2014) A review of ecosystem service mapping within Scottish Government RESAS funded research., Report for Scottish Government.
  • Hough, R.L.; Bengough, A.G.; Chapman, S.J.; Daniell, T.; Matthews, R.; Squire, G.; Towers, W.; White, P.J., (2014) Heat in the soil form (NIA-NGGT0017)., Interim Report for National Grid.
  • Munoz-Rojas, J.M.; Topp, K.; Ogston, M.; Pimblett, D.; Donnelly, D.; Lilly, A.; Towers, W.; Matthews, R.B., (2014) SRDP Report on draft final targeting maps and criteria., SRDP Spatial Targeting Project-Climate Change Working Group Report to Scottish Government and Final Version of the SRDP Spatial Targetting Tool.
  • Sing, L.; Towers, W.; Ellis, J., (2013) Woodland expansion in Scotland: an assessment of the opportunities and constraints using GIS., Scottish Forestry, 67, 18-25.
  • Troldborg, M.; Aalders, I.; Towers, W.; Hallett, P.D.; McKenzie, B.M.; Bengough, A.G.; Lilly, A.; Ball, B.C.; Hough, R.L., (2013) Application of Bayesian Belief Networks to quantify and map areas at risk to soil threats: using soil compaction as an example., Soil and Tillage and Research, 132, 56-68.
  • Aitkenhead, M.J.; Coull, M.C.; Towers, W.; Hudson, G., (2013) Prediction of soil characteristics and colour using data from the National Soils Inventory of Scotland., Geoderma, 200-201, 99-107.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Bell, J.S.; Campbell, C.D.; Hudson, G.; Lilly, A.; Nolan, A.J.; Robertson, A.H.J.; Potts, J.M.; Towers, W., (2013) Comparison of soil carbon stocks in Scottish soils between 1978 and 2009., European Journal of Soil Science, 64, 455-465.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Buchan, K.; Miller, D.G.; Towers, W., (2013) Reforming the CAP - with area-based Pillar 1 payments, who wins and who loses?, Land Use Policy, 31, 209-222.
  • Rhind, S.M.; Kyle, C.E.; Kerr, C.; Osprey, M.; Zhang, Z.L.; Duff, E.I.; Lilly, A.; Nolan, A.; Hudson, G.; Towers, W.; Bell, J.; Coull, M.C.; McKenzie, C., (2013) Concentrations and geographic distribution of selected organic pollutants in Scottish surface soils, Environmental Pollution, 182, 15-27.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Bell, J.; Brown, I.; Donnelly, D.; McKeen, M.; Miller, D.G.; Towers, W., (2013) Future CAP payments: considerations for the use of the Land Capability for Agriculture Classification and Maps as a basis for the regionalisation of the Basic Payment Scheme., Internal Report for the James Hutton Institute Management, 12 June 2013.
  • Miller, D.R.; Birnie, R.V.; Dunn, S.M.; Hough, R.L.; Morrice, J.; Roberts, D.; Stutter, M.I.; Sutherland, L-A.; Towers, W., (2013) Review of renewable energy research at the James Hutton Institute., Report to Scottish Government.
  • Bell, J.S.; Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Donnelly, D., (2013) Soil survey maps and reports, scale 1:10,000, Volume 27 - Longart, North Highland Forest District., Forest Enterprise Scotland.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Hewison, R.L.; Towers, W.; Donnelly, D., (2013) Soil survey maps and reports, scale 1:10,000, Volume 21 - Beinn Bhan Block, Loch Ard Forest, Cowal and Trossachs Forest District., Forest Enterprise Scotland.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Bell, J.S.; Hewison, R.L.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Donnelly, D., (2013) Soil survey maps and reports, scale 1:10,000, Volume 20 - Fiunary Forest, Lochaber Forest District., Forest Enterprise Scotland.
  • Avery, L.M.; Abel, C.; Tamburini, M.; Randerson, P.; Towers, W.; Hough, R.L., (2013) Evidence for SEPA administrative change in consent at Dinnet WWTP., Report to SEPA, May 2013.
  • Towers, W.; Xiao, X.; Lilly, A.; Donnelly, D.; Woodfield, M.; Miller, D.R., (2013) Scotland's soils website., Final Report to Scottish Government of Scottish Website, launched at Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, 10 December 2013.
  • Towers, W.; Donnelly, D., (2013) The Use of Land Capability for Agriculture (LCA) as a mechanism to ‘fine-tune’ Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) assessments in Scotland: an exploratory study., Technical Note to Scottish Government.
  • Roberts, D.; Thomson, K.; Dinnie, L.; Brown, K.; Martin-Ortega, J.; McKee, A.; Prager, K.; Pages, M.; Towers, W.; Munoz-Rojas, J.; Slee, B., (2013) Improving implementationn and increasing uptake of measures to improve water quality in Scotland: key messages for informing policy makers., Scottish Government Land Reform Review Group (LRRG): Call for Evidence - Submission on behalf of the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, 11 January 2013.
  • Slee, B.; Brown, I.; Donnelly, D.; Gordon, I.J.; Matthews. K.B.; Towers, W., (2013) The squeezed middle: potential conflicts over Scotland’s intermediate quality rural land., The James Hutton Institute.

  • Dawson, L.A.; Towers, W.; Owen, J.; White, D.; Coull, M.C.; Ross, J.M.; Donnelly, D.; Cooper, P., (2010) Soils of the crofts., In: Dawson, L.A., Morrice, J. & Rodway, P. Soils of the Crofts. The James Hutton Institute Publication with Crofting Connections, Aberdeen, 130pp.
  • Towers, W.; Hester, A.J.; Malcolm, A.; Hall, J.; Stone, D., (2004) The potential for native woodland in Scotland: the native woodland model., Natural Heritage Management Series. Scottish Natural Heritage, Battleby, Perth. 56p. Includes CD ROM. ISBN: 1 85397 390 4
  • Richman, A.G.; Bell, J.S.; Towers, W., (1993) 1:250 000 scale sludge utilization suitability map of Orkney Mainland., Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen. (Restricted circulation).
  • Macmillan, D.C. and Towers, W., (1990) Predicted yield class and windthrow hazard class for Sitka spruce in Grampian Region., Maps.
  • Hudson, G.; Towers, W.; Bibby, J.S.; Henderson, D.J., (1982) Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture (The Outer Hebrides)., The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, 1982.
  • Futty, D.W.; Towers, W., (1982) Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture (Northern Scotland)., The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, 1982.

  • Donnelly, D.; Towers, W., (2016) Method for applying biophysical constraints to delineate areas of natural constraint in Scotland., Technical Report to Scottish Government and EU Joint Research Centre.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Miller, D.G.; Towers, W.; Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A., (2016) CAP Greening Review, Summary., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Website.
  • Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Towers, W.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A., (2016) CAP Greening Review, Part 4, Expert Panel Review. Views of members of the expert panel on CAP Greening., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Websites.
  • Towers, W.; Miller, D.G.; Matthews, K.B. (eds.), (2016) CAP Greening Review, Part 1:Trends in Environmental Indicators - A brief overview of recent trends in key environmental indicators in Scotland, covering biodiversity, water quality, land, including soils and climate change., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Websites.
  • Aitkenhead, M.J.; Black, H.I.J.; Squire, G.; McLeod, K.; Hastings, E.; Troldborg, M.; Aalders, I.H.; Towers, W.; Lilly, A.; Brown, I.; Coull, M.C.; Castellazzi, M.; Matthews, K.B.; Baggaley, N.J., (2016) A review of ecosystem service mapping within Scottish Government RESAS-funded research., Report for Scottish Government.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Riach, D.J.; Towers, W.; Hewison, R.L.; Beesley, L.; Donnelly, D., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 54 - Salachan Forest, Lochaber Forest District. (2016), Digital data submitted to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Hewison, R.L.; Nolan, A.J.; Riach, D.J.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Donnelly, D., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 53 - Greenburn Block, Loch Ard Forst (South), Cowal and Trossachs Forest Distric.t (2016), Digital data submitted to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Towers, W.; Hewison, R.L.; Beesley, L.; Riach, D.J.; Donnelly, D.; Campbell, G., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 45 - Aberdeenshire Forest Blocks and New Acquisitions, Moray and Aberdeenshire Forest District. (2016)., Digital data submitted to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Gwatkin, R.; Donnelly, D., (2016) Soil Survey Map Data and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 41 - Appin and West Barcaldine Blocks, West Argyll Forest District (2015)., Digital data to Forestry Commission, Scotland.
  • Towers, W.; Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Miller, D.R., (2015) Carbon-rich soil, deep peat and priority peatland habitats map., Consultation response to Scottish Natural Heritage from the James Hutton Institute.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D,J.; Towers, W.; Riach, D.J.; Gwatkin, R.; Donnelly, D., (2015) Soil Survey Maps and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 39 - Dalchork Forest, North Highland Forest District. (2014)., Digital Data submitted to Forestry Commission.
  • Lilly, A.; Bell, J.S.; Hudson, G.; Nolan, A.J.; Towers, W., (2015) Lilly, A., Bell, J.S., Hudson, G., Nolan, A.J. & Towers. W. 2011. National soil inventory of Scotland 2007-2009: profile description and soil sampling protocols. (NSIS_2). Technical Bulletin, James Hutton Institute., Scotland's Soils Website.
  • Lilly, A.; Bell, J.S.; Hudson, G.; Nolan, A.J.; Towers, W. (Compilers), (2015) Lilly, A., Bell, J.S., Hudson, G., Nolan, A.J. & Towers. W. (Compilers) 2010. National soil inventory of Scotland (NSIS_1); site location, sampling and profile description protocols. (1978-1988)., Scotland's Soils Website.
  • Miller, D.G.; Matthews, K.B.; Towers, W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.J.; Squire, G.; Hawes, C.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.; Owen, J.; Wardell-Johnson, D.H., (2014) CAP Greening Review - Expert panel - Interim results., Technical Report for Policy.
  • Nolan, A.J.; Henderson, D.J.; Hewison, R.L.; Towers, W.; Beesley, L.; Riach, D.J.; Baggaley, N.; Donnelly, D., (2014) Soil Survey Maps and Reports, Scale 1:10,000, Volume 31 - South Loch Ard & Drumore Block, Loch Ard Forest, Cowal & Trossachs Forest District., Digital data submitted to Forest Enterprise Scotland.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Lilly, A.; Bell, J.S.; Cameron, C.; Donald, C.; Fielding, D.; Green, G.; Hewison, R.H.; McIntyre, S.; Newman, G.: Nolan, A.; Owen, J.; Smith, D.; Sturgeon, F.; Thompson, C.; Towers, W.; Williams E., (2014) Ecosystem effects of long-term herbivore exclusion., SNH Contract Report.
  • Miller, D.R.; Towers, W.; Ruffell, A.; Morrice, J.; Dawson, L.A.; Brooker, R., (2014) A land strategy for Northern Ireland., Report to Land Matters Task Force, Northern Ireland.
  • Aitkenhead, M.J.; Black, H.I.J.; Squire, G.; McLeod, K.; Hastings, E.; Troldborg, M.; Aalders, I.; Towers, W.; Lilly, A.; Poggio, L.; Gimona, A.; Brown, I.; Castellazzi, M.; Matthews, K.B.; Baggaley, N.J., (2014) A review of ecosystem service mapping within Scottish Government RESAS funded research., Report for Scottish Government.
  • Hough, R.L.; Bengough, A.G.; Chapman, S.J.; Daniell, T.; Matthews, R.; Squire, G.; Towers, W.; White, P.J., (2014) Heat in the soil form (NIA-NGGT0017)., Interim Report for National Grid.
  • Munoz-Rojas, J.M.; Topp, K.; Ogston, M.; Pimblett, D.; Donnelly, D.; Lilly, A.; Towers, W.; Matthews, R.B., (2014) SRDP Report on draft final targeting maps and criteria., SRDP Spatial Targeting Project-Climate Change Working Group Report to Scottish Government and Final Version of the SRDP Spatial Targetting Tool.

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