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Research challenges in soil use and management – meeting multiple demands Phil Haygarth and many others, Environment Centre, Lancaster University APPG.

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Presentation on theme: "Research challenges in soil use and management – meeting multiple demands Phil Haygarth and many others, Environment Centre, Lancaster University APPG."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research challenges in soil use and management – meeting multiple demands Phil Haygarth and many others, Environment Centre, Lancaster University APPG on Agroecology: “Boosting Britain’s soils to meet farming needs” Co-Sponsors: British Society of Soil Science and Food Ethics Council Thursday 6 th December 2012 Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster

2 Photos and concept: K. Ritz

3 Soil forms slowly From Heimsath et al (1999) 0.1 mm/yr SLIDE FROM JOHN QUINTON

4 Land Use Futures

5 We must raise national awareness and get the public to own soil issues

6 SOIL-BASED ECOSYSTEM GOODS AND SERVICES (Haygarth and Ritz 2009) CO 2, CH 4 NO x, N 2 CNPKS Supporting Primary production Soil formation Nutrient cycling Provisioning Platform Refugia Food supply Biomaterials Raw materials Water storage Biodiversity Cultural Heritage Cognitive Recreation Regulating Water supply Gas regulation Erosion control Water quality Climate regulation

7 PROVISIONING: SOILS, BIODIVERSITY AND MEDICINE E.g. Streptomyces are found predominantly in soil and decaying vegetation Isolates used to produce over two-thirds of the clinically useful antibiotics of natural origin (e.g., neomycin, chloramphenicol) Soil organisms may harbour as yet untapped biological and medical resources (Kieser et al., 2000) Soils.usda.gov

8 REGULATING: WATER STORAGE, QUALITY, SUPPLY AND EROSION Soil misuse or over-exploitation can have significant consequences for groundwater, rivers and estuarine and coastal waters Phil Haygarth

9 Water 66% of the worlds freshwater is stored in soils for use by plants SLIDE FROM JOHN QUINTON

10 Not just overseas 35 thousand million tonnes of soil lost every year Soil erosion also displaces 23–42 million tonnes of nitrogen And million tonnes of phosphorus per year From Quinton et al, Nature Geosciences (2010) SLIDE FROM JOHN QUINTON

11 Support biodiversity SLIDE FROM JOHN QUINTON

12 SOILS SUPPORT NUTRIENT CYCLING (Stutter et al., 2012). Pie-chart segments denote P compound distributions as means of the extract P data (n = number of soils per country), taken from thirteen literature sources using soil 31P NMR studies

13 AT THE MICROBIAL SCALE….. Microbial biomass P and organic P released to water (Turner and Haygarth, Nature, 2001)

14 © DMSP

15 SOIL SEALING; CRITICAL LAND USE TIPPING POINT Foley Square, New York © National Geographic Magazine

16 Soil sealing Every year in Europe an areas the size of Brussels is sealed off. Much of our best land is close to cities i and Independent 27/11/12 SLIDE FROM JOHN QUINTON

17 National demonstration platforms and observatories…..

18 The National Defra/EA DTC Platform Wensum (Norfolk) Arable farming Consortium includes: University of East Anglia, Scott Wilson, Cranfield University, British Geological Survey, Entec, NIAB and others... Avon (Hampshire) Mixed lowland farming Consortium includes: ADAS, University of Reading, University of Bristol, QMUL, ENTEC and others... Eden (Cumbria) Livestock and mixed farming Consortium includes: Lancaster University, Newcastle University, Durham University, University of Cumbria, Eden Rivers Trust, CEH and others... Focusing effort on 3 catchments but linking closely to other catchment work

19 Completion of kiosk installations in the Eden DTC Newton Rigg demonstration catchment, March 2011 Morland catchment outlet station, March 2011 Pow catchment outlet station, September 2011 Dacre catchment outlet station, July sub-stations for installation throughout the Eden catchment – 6 installed to date

20 38 staff, 8 organizations Involve as many staff as possible Open door to collaborations, shared activities, learning together Wide spectrum of capability Building a new way of working

21 Eden Catchment Demonstration Centre A focal point for local engagement Organise a local stakeholder launch event Demonstration events

22 Helping with community engagement

23 Leadership and Management team – Adrian McDonald (Leeds) – Robert Gurney (Reading) – Bridget Emmett (CEH) WP leaders – Phil Haygarth (Lancaster) – Jim Freer (Bristol) – Wouter Buytaert (Imperial) – Gordon Blair (Lancaster) & Gwyn Rees (CEH) – Doerthe Tetzlaff (Aberdeen) Full team Keith Beven (Lancaster) Gordon Blair (Lancaster) John Bloomfield (BGS) Roland Bol (Rothamsted) Wouter Buytaert (Imperial) Bridget Emmett (CEH) Jim Freer (Bristol) Robert Gurney (Reading) Phil Haygarth (Lancaster) Penny Johnes (Reading) Paul Quinn (Newcastle) Mark Macklin (Abserystwyth) Christopher Macleod (Macaulay) Adrian McDonald (Leeds) Sim Reaney (Durham) Gwyn Rees (CEH) Marc Stutter (Macaulay) Doerthe Tetzlaff (Aberdeen)

24 Convergence of data from many sources Stakeholders and scientists interact a ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ way to set the science questions, find solutions.... Community involvement, shared information and experience, meetings virtual and real Emergence and sharing of models, failures and solutions.... Continual iteration and improvement... A Virtual Observatory for Water-Soil systems... towards a new science culture

25 Working with stakeholders to collect data Opportunities for ‘crowd sourcing’ – Anecdotal oral histories of changing farming practices – identifying drivers – Historical records of fertilizer application – legacy issues – Local knowledge of areas vulnerable to flooding or the locations of field drains – Collection of new data by large numbers of people Applications – Validating model outputs – Sharing data and local information more easily – Engaging communities in their local environment and uses/ uncertainty of science

26 Developing ways of visualising / analysing / interpreting data Live data streams – linking sensors and different sources Accessing historical data Modelling the environment Development of scenarios Learning and understanding more about processes

27 CONCLUSIONS: NATIONAL ‘NEEDS’ FOR SOILS AND LAND USE PLANNING (Haygarth and Ritz, 2009) 1.to maintain the science and knowledge base, education and investment 2.to manage soil for multi-functionality and so critical tipping points are avoided 3.to map soil services and functions, dealing with scale 4.for a soils observatory that builds communities, inventories and the provision for flexible and unified databases 5.for novel prediction frameworks

28 Briefing document sent to Tim Benton 5 th Dec 2012…

29 “The history of every Nation is eventually written in the way in which it cares for its soil.” Franklin D. Roosevelt President of the United States SLIDE FROM JOHN QUINTON


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