Soil Monitoring Action Plan (Soil MAP)

The Soil Monitoring Action Plan (MAP) is working to improve communication, awareness and understanding between a range of different users. The aim is to develop a soil monitoring programme that supports the collection of soil data and makes soil data and information available that meets the needs of these users.

The Soil MAP was developed in partnership across Scotland’s soil community. The Soil MAP:

  • identified who needs soil data / information;
  • assessed what data / information is required;
  • determined what data / information exists;
  • identified data / information gaps.

An Implementation Plan was then developed which:

  • recognised that it was not possible to set up a one-size-fits-all monitoring programme across Scotland to fill all the gaps in the immediate future;
  • identified areas of work that could be delivered in the short term by linking to existing activities or by using existing data resources;
  • identified additional monitoring needs which require further discussion and development.

More details on work in progress can be found below.  If you need any further information, please contact us.

Soil MAP work in progress

  • Soil erosion work
  • Peatland and carbon work
  • Soil sealing work
  • Research

Soil erosion work

The Soil MAP is working with Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as part of its priority catchment work to record incidences of soil erosion. SEPA ecologists and soil scientists are also recording soil erosion while out doing their routine sampling. There is the potential for other partners to record soil erosion using this method in future.

soil erosion app has also been developed to allow anyone to record incidences of soil erosion in Scotland and upload them to a website.  

All of the observations recorded in these projects will be pulled together and used to get a better idea of where soil erosion is happening.

The links between all the different pieces of soil erosion work (past, present and future) with references to where you can find further information are illustrated in a soil erosion network diagram. Further information on the MAP soil erosion work can be found on our soil erosion web page.

Peatland and carbon work

The Soil MAP is currently working with the National Peatland Plan Research and Monitoring Group. Monitoring associated with peatland restoration provides a baseline of peat depth and condition across Scotland.

The links between all the different pieces of peatland work (past, present and future) with references to where you can find further information are illustrated in a peatland network diagram.

Soil sealing work

There are a number of projects being carried out for a variety of reasons (e.g. flooding, ecosystem health) that are recording different aspects of soil sealing (covering of soil with impermeable materials). We hope we can pull the results of these different projects together to give us an idea of the different soils that are being lost as a result of sealing.


There are a number of different strands of work in the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (SRP) which will inform the soil MAP.

Sources of soil data and information

There are a number of organisations that collect and publish data and information on soil in Scotland. These include:

Scotland's environment web publishes information on Ecosystem health indicators, including indicators for soil carbon and soil sealing.

The Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Portfolio includes a range of projects on soils - through the Strategic Research Programme, Centres of Expertise and Underpinning Capacity. 

The Centres of Expertise bring together expertise across the publicly-funded research sector to provide timely, relevant scientific advice to inform Government policy. Three of the four centres provide outputs which relate to soil:

The SEFARI Gateway hosted by the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI) publicises the findings of Scottish Government funded strategic research.

Soil and related research is also carried out at a number of Scottish Universities.

The UK Soil Observatory provides information on soils across the UK.

You can find links to further information about soil monitoring in Scotland in the Useful Links page.

This page was last updated on 26 Mar 2018

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