Our research

We measure and model change in the structure, function and quality of our soil and land so we can better develop solutions to conserve and enhance these valuable natural assets.

From croplands to deserts, from peatlands to rainforests and from tundra to tropics, we explore the impacts of climate and land management so we can develop more sustainable management of soil and land for future generations.

World-class science and innovation

  • Exploitation and integration of technologies and modelling to assess the role of land use and climate change on soils, habitats and their interaction over time and space from local to national and global scales. To capture these changes exploiting the natural capital approach to understand the impact on social and economic benefits.
  • Providing better understanding of the role of microbial diversity in underpinning soil functions, specifically the formation and persistence of soil carbon, and developing a new modular soil carbon model to support future land use decisions.
  • To quantify the long-term turnover and transport of carbon from organic soils, including transfers to atmosphere and oceans and impacts on water quality and explore more sustainable management options.
  • To develop an integrated approach to the assessment of risk and opportunities to improve the sustainable management of coastal habitats to better integrate our land-sea capabilities.
  • To develop whole system approaches to bioenergy systems in the UK and abroad considering social, economic, environmental and technological constraints.

Mixed soil and land use showing woodland, grassland and arable

Science Groups

Our facilities

Bioenergy crops in Lincolnshire
Maximising the impact of NERC research on bioenergy sustainability
Lumbricus terrestris earthworms up close
Secrets of the earthworm stomach
ECN Moor House in the North Pennines
Long-term multi-parameter monitoring to understand causes and consequences of environmental change
New growth in soil
CEH scientists collaborate on £1.6m soil security project
International Year of Soils 2015 logo
Soils are critically important for a healthy environment and sustainable human life
Austria Center Vienna, photo: CC-BY-SA-3.0 BambooBeast
Details of abstracts from Vienna General Assembly
Countryside Survey Data Capture
A recurring national survey of the countryside
Cefn Brywn crump weir on the river Wye
Experimental catchments and outdoor observatory within the headwaters of the rivers Severn and Wye
Cosmos Moor House camera
Presenting two key soil science projects
Honeybees, image by Shutterstock
A large-scale, pan-European field experiment
Soil water measurement
Simulates the resulting reactions of metals entering water and soil systems