The issue

Healthy soils and peatlands are critical for life. They produce 95 per cent of our food and are the source of many of our antibiotics. They store more carbon than the world's forests, mitigate climate change, recycle nutrients and waste, and clean our water. Yet, they are vulnerable to pollution, unsustainable exploitation and erosion.

Soils are vulnerable to pollution, unsustainable exploitation and erosion. UKCEH science enables integrated management for healthy soils.

Our role

Our multidisciplinary, integrated soils research spans physical, biological and chemical soil processes and investigates their interaction with the biosphere. This research enables environmental risk assessment and prediction of how soils may change under future scenarios of land use and climate change.

Our commitment

  • To determine the status, trends and drivers of change in soil health, including change of biodiversity and carbon stocks in British soils and peats.
  • To develop a new generation of soil system models that accurately represent biogeochemical cycling and soil function from local to global scales.
  • To ensure these new models can predict the impact of land use and climate change on soils at the landscape scale.

Our research

© 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
Solardomes © Gina Mills
Monitoring biodiversity to safeguard natural capital and ecosystem services