The Soil Monitoring Action Plan (MAP) is working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to collect evidence of soil erosion in Scotland. Field staff, from across the organisation, are recording soil erosion as part of their routine sampling. Other partners will be recording soil erosion using the same method in future.
A citizen science soil erosion portal has been developed as part of Scotland's environment web where we ask people who are out and about in the countryside to look out for signs of soil erosion, to record it, take a photograph and upload it into our portal.
All of the observations recorded in these various erosion projects will be pulled together and used to get a better idea of where soil erosion is happening.
Soil erosion is a natural process that can be accelerated by extreme weather events and / or poor land management. We care about it because it can damage both our environment and our economy.
However the extent and severity of soil erosion across the country is not known.
Collecting straightforward data and information on soil erosion would:
Erosion models predict where erosion may happen, however they need to be validated – that is we need to check that erosion is actually happening in the areas the models predict it will and isn’t happening in areas that they predict it won’t. Erosion monitoring data will allow us to improve the current erosion risk models and help us provide better advice on how to reduce the risk of erosion.
Current SEPA catchment work collects information on incidences of erosion and its location. Other partners are also using the SEPA data recording template to record soil erosion in their work, for example the James Hutton Institute and Scottish Water.
We also hope to look at existing data collected for other purposes to get a better picture of the national extent of soil erosion and also allow us to compare erosion observations with modelled predictions of where erosion is likely to occur.
The data collected as part of the soil MAP will be used in a range of work included in the Scottish Government’s current Strategic Research Programme, including the development of risk maps. This will in turn improve the evidence available to create better decision support tools – not only for Scottish Government and agencies but also for a range of land managers.
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.
This page was last updated on 04 Apr 2017
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