Soil Health & Soil Heritage

Why this collaboration?

Managing agricultural land sustainably requires an understanding of how environmental processes, cultivation practices, past human activities, soil biomes, soil technical properties, weather and climate interact. Given the breadth of expertise needed to develop integrated approaches to agricultural land management, practitioners and researchers working in this area benefit from collaborations between disciplines and across organisations.

This collaborative project aimed to build links between groups exploring how soils in farmed landscapes are qualified, studied, modelled, and valued from different perspectives: agricultural, environmental, and archaeological. It focused on data created through remote and near-surface sensing technologies to provide an impetus for cross-disciplinary conversations, because these data have the potential to serve as a shared resource for research and management. The project aimed to identify shared research and management priorities related to soil health and soil heritage in agricultural landscapes, to evaluate the capability of commercial and experimental sensors to provide data to address these shared priorities, and to identify barriers to the creation of interoperable remote and near-surface sensing data resources on soils and their role in agricultural systems.

The project was led by a group of researchers at the University of Glasgow, working on initiatives including agri-environment sensing projects in CENSIS, the Global Soil Heath network, and the ipaast-czo project on archaeological remote and near-surface sensing.

In 2022, the project reviewed instruments to assess their suitability for cross-domain data collection and ran two workshops, in Dalswinton and Glasgow, to build a research and practice network focused on sensing methods for soils.

This project was supported by funding from NERC (DISCIPLINE HOPPING) – award 317545.