Soils provide ecosystem services such as flood prevention and clean water and host a significant proportion of our terrestrial biodiversity. Monitoring will help us understand how soils work and how changes to land management, climate and pollution may change soil properties and communities.
The soil monitoring includes measuring soil biodiversity and we use DNA analysis to determine what bacteria communities and groups of bacteria are more prevalent and interacting with plant communities above ground. They can be good indicators of change as they react more quickly than plant communities to changes in the environment. Soil chemistry monitoring allows us to track the total nitrogen deposition from the air to the soil as nitrates to better understand the uptake of nitrogen by the vegetation and understand the effect nitrogen deposition on plant and soil communities
This dataset contains soil baseline monitoring data based on field and lab assessments at 34 sites across England between 2011 and 2015. The data includes the results of soil physical, chemical and biological analyses, which will help Natural England understand the effects of climate change, air pollution and land management on soils, their biodiversity and function.
The full methodology and data available to download for this protocol can be found below.
Update April 2018: The 2016 soils data has recently been added to the existing dataset.