Significant environmental challenges have been created by pressures on land use, air and soil quality, water and food security, and biodiversity.

The UK-SCAPE programme will undertake research and provide national-scale data and models designed to deliver new integrated understanding of the environment to tackle those challenges. It will improve our understanding of the consequences of interventions in the UK landscape and allow researchers to answer high-level questions relating to the environment.

Work Packages

A holistic, integrated approach looking at the wider landscape will provide multiple benefits for researchers, the economy, the environment and people. To this end, UK-SCAPE includes the following four work packages:

  • An integrated monitoring programme for the natural environment

This national-scale programme will allow better understanding of the status and dynamics of air, land, soil, water and biodiversity. It builds upon established approaches while incorporating advances in sensor technology and data analytics. It will provide multi-scale data and metrics to support emerging research priorities.

(Lead scientists: David Roy and Stephen Thackeray)

  • Using scientific case studies to develop accessible evidence through a data science framework

Developing a data science framework through selected case studies will create a step-change in the ability of the research community and other stakeholders to understand, predict and manage the environment. This will facilitate the creation of and access to new and innovative data products, development of new models and generic analytical methods, as well as the provision of cloud-based collaborative research environments.

(Lead scientist: John Watkins)

  • Providing maps of environmental drivers under different future scenarios (SPEED)

SPEED will provide mapped projections, based on IPCC global scenarios, of harmonised future changes in climate, land use and pollution at discrete time steps up to the year 2100. This will provide researchers with a consistent set of spatially-explicit scenarios, enabling integration and prioritisation across research disciplines on impacts and responses to environmental change.

(Lead scientist: James Bullock)

  • Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics and the consequences for soil function (SOC-D)

Soil organic carbon (SOC) underpins key soil functions such as water regulation, climate mitigation and nutrient provision. Informed, sustainable management of organic carbon in soils mitigates climate change and secures healthy productive soils for future generations. SOC-D will identify and map key biotic and abiotic drivers of SOC change in UK soils, providing aligned national data.

(Lead scientist: Jack Cosby)

Providing answers to high-level questions

UKCEH will collect and integrate national scale datasets, enabling researchers to answer high-level questions around the status and trends of environmental resources, such as:

  • Land: How do the main pressures driving land use change interact, historically and into the future?
  • Biodiversity: What are the causes of loss and increase in biodiversity, and what is the impact on ecosystems?
  • Soil: How do multiple pressures interact to change soil condition and function?
  • Air: What drives the fluxes of pollutants and greenhouse gases?
  • Water: What are the environmental determinants of water flows and soil moisture?

Chair, Programme Board

Dr Eleanor Blyth, Head of National Capability Integration and Outreach


The five-year UK-SCAPE programme, worth £27.8 million, is funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council as part of a National Capability Science Single Centre award.


To find out more about UK-SCAPE, email

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