Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

To develop a robust indicator of soil organic matter status - SP0310

Description
Most UK soils are under agricultural management. It is essential to ensure that the Department’s policies, advice to farmers or environmental pressures do not lead to long-term, irreversible degradation or loss and that advice to land managers to this effect is based on sound science. This is important both to reduce the environmental impacts of soil degradation and loss and to protect soil as a vital resource.
The project objectives are i) to establish the potential economic benefit derived from ‘managing’ soil organic matter, ii) to provide simple and robust indicators of current status and potential for change of soil C, iii) to summarise the outcome of the research in terms of land management advice to farmers and other land users.
Thus the project answers the critical question of whether, in arable farming systems, short term economic benefit accrues from management interventions that ensure sustainability of productive agriculture. Answering this question will inform both formulation of policy and appropriate advice to farmers.
Objective
Thus this project seeks:
1. to establish the potential economic benefit to be derived from ‘managing’ soil organic matter.
2. to provide simple and robust indicators of i) the potential for change of soil C, ii) of active carbon to indicate the status of the soil and iii) to summarise these findings in a form useful to the land manager.
Project Documents
• Final Report : To develop a robust indicator of soil organic matter status   (625k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2001

To: 2004

Cost: £395,576
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC)
Keywords
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection              
Land              
Organic Carbon              
Soil              
Fields of Study
Soil Protection