Soil Management

Course next runs September 2017


This module will draw on the expertise of Bangor University and NIAB to provide both a practical and a theoretical overview of soil management. Sustainable soil management is reviewed in relation to increasing food production efficiency whilst limiting environmental impacts and a decline in soil quality and services. The dynamic function of the soil system will be explored, including ecosystem services, nutrient budgets, carbon cycling, greenhouse gases and mitigation.

The module’s units consist of:

  • Soils, understanding the basics - the making of soil; basic properties of soils; major soil types in the UK; the EU Soils Directive.
  • Soil quality and ecosystem services - soil as a resource; major threats to soil functions; indicators of quality; principles of sustainable use.
  • Managing soils as a resource - soil degradation; erosion risk planning; soil conservation practices.
  • Managing soils for food security: soil fertility - constructing a nutrient budget; efficient management of nutrients.
  • Managing soils for food security: soil structure - soils as a rooting medium; managing soil compaction; role of organic matter; composts.
  • Managing soils for biodiversity - the living soil; soil biota and their functions; improving soil biodiversity.
  • Managing soils for water security – soils and water pollution; runoff generation and flooding; mitigating water quality impacts.
  • Managing soils to mitigate climate change - greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions; carbon sequestration in soils; constructing C/GHG budget.
  • Soils and human health - risks to human health (pathogens, metals); bio resource quality; current regulatory standards.
  • Managing soils on the farm – guidance and legislation; current codes of practice, cross compliance; countryside stewardship; options for multiple gains.

Contributions from: Prof Paul Withers, Dr Dave Styles, Prof Dave Chadwick, Ron Stobart (NIAB).

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