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This page is no longer updated.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.

Monday 20th May 2024

Value of soils to society


Most economic studies of soil have focussed on the agricultural value but the benefits of soil are far wider than this, such as carbon storage, mitigating flooding, water quality or supporting out native habitats and biodiversity. Effective management of soils and planning future land use will be increasingly reliant upon achieving the balance of these ecosystem services at a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Current projects

  • The benefits of soil carbon management to society
  • Assessing methods for evaluating private and social dimensions of soil values
  • Geographical case studies to develop and test methods for multifunctional soil value assessment
  • Developing a framework to assess the sustainability of soil management practices, including the trajectory for maintaining or enhancing the social value of soil use over time
  • Evaluate how policy instruments might be deployed to help achieve a sustainable management path for Scottish soils
  • Develop a framework for communicating the value of soil functions to stakeholders and end-users


  • Innovative and integrative approaches to measure the social value of soils, such as carbon storage and biodiversity values
  • Characterisation of human values associated with Scottish soils, including historic, cultural, environmental and aesthetic significance as well as direct contributions to welfare
  • Methods for multi-functional soil value assessment at a variety of scales
  • Guidance and tools for the strategic planning of soil use and management to support the long-term sustainability of our soil resource and for communicating the benefits of soils to different stakeholders and end-users
  • Increasing the public awareness of the function and value of soil as an economic and social resource


  • Dr Dominic Moran
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