The world beneath our feet

Soil is an absolutely key resource across the world. Here in Scotland we rely on the quality of our soil for the crops we grow, our stunning natural landscapes and the high standard of water quality we enjoy. Indeed soil literally underpins our economy and well-being.

Scotland's soils are remarkably diverse (Image shows Taymount, Stanley, Perthshire)

Scotland’s soils are remarkably diverse for a relatively small country

Protecting our soils for future generations and managing them in the immediate future is a challenge that has just got a great deal easier, thanks to the launch of the Scotland’s Soils website which brings together information on one of Scotland’s most valuable natural assets.

The Scotland’s Soils website will provide land managers, public bodies, the scientific community and members of the public with online access to decades of data relating to our soils for the first time. The website is the result of a considerable partnership effort that has seen Scottish Government work closely with the James Hutton Institute, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Natural Heritage, the Forestry Commission Scotland and Ricardo-AEA, to create the website.

Scotland's Soils website

The brand new Scotland’s Soils website

The new website was launched in mid-December at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh by Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse. The minister neatly captured the mood of the day when he said that, “It is impossible to overstate the importance of soil as a natural asset to our health and wellbeing, given entire ecosystems depend on it and it is a key determinant of the success of our food and drink sector and a crucial sink for damaging greenhouse gases. It is vital we do all we can to manage and protect it. With this in mind, the Scottish Government commissioned and funded the creation of the Scotland’s Soils website.

“Putting information into everyone’s hands,” he added, “this site aims to be a source of authoritative and scientifically robust data, which will grow and develop as new material becomes available over time.

“This project is another illustration of excellent partnership work between the Scottish Government and land managers, agencies and other partners, all with the aim of promoting the sustainable management and protection of soils, an invaluable but vulnerable asset.”

Visit for more information.

Data about soil in Scotland has been collected for over 80 years, so Scots have long been aware of the fundamental importance of soils; what the website will do is make managing the resource easier in future.

Scotland’s soils are a great natural resource and provide many essential services to society, so it is important that they are sustainably managed and protected for future generations. This website now makes authoritative, scientifically robust soils information and data more accessible, both to help decision-makers and to increase public understanding of soils.

There is additional information about soils on the SNH website.

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