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This page is no longer updated. The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute joined forces with SCRI joined forces on 1 April 2011 to create The James Hutton Institute. Please visit the James Hutton Institute website.

Tuesday 18th June 2024

Effective Indicators


Effective soil monitoring is underpinned by robust, high throughput, and economically viable indicators of soil quality.

Development of effective indicators requires:

  • Identification of priority indicators of soil quality for Scotland
  • Refinement of rapid chemical, physical and biological methods; including calibration with ‘gold standard’ techniques.
  • Practical application/testing of both indicators and methodological aspects of monitoring

Soil monitoring plays a key role in soil protection, providing early warning of soils that may be under threat. The usefulness of any monitoring scheme depends on how practical (logistical, financial) it is to implement, and how well it answers the questions of interest. This module aims to provide the evidence to underpin future monitoring activities in Scotland.


  • New chemical, physical, and especially biological indicators.
  • Evaluation of existing indicators and their appropriateness for Scottish soils.
  • Comparison of indicators under different approaches to monitoring
  • Data on trends, such as change in soil carbon content


Dr. Allan Lilly, Macaulay Institute.

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