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

© NERC – Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. All rights reserved.
Because it takes 10,000 years to create a soil but only 10 years to destroy it
Soil © Shutterstock
Because crops would not grow, and purification of pollutants would not take place
Chernobyl Power Plant © Shutterstock
Securing and progressing the UK’s radioecological expertise
Video still from overview of Catchment Managment Modelling Platform
Launch of the Catchment Management Modelling Platform
Microscopic life in soil
How can soil health be better measured and managed?
© RioTinto2006
Improving human health and new environmental quality standards
Field Work © John Evans
'Evaluating Wales’ largest environmental resources and services scheme