A website, which brings together information on one of Scotland's most valuable natural assets, has now gone live. The Scotland's Soils website will provide land managers, public bodies, the scientific community and members of the public with online access to decades of data relating to our soils for the first time.Soils are recognised as an extremely important national resource, literally underpinning our economy. Scotland relies on the quality of its soil to ensure success; from the crops we grow, to our stunning natural landscapes and the high standard of water quality we enjoy.
The Scottish Government has worked collaboratively with the James Hutton Institute, SEPA, SNH, the Forestry Commission Scotland and Ricardo-AEA, to create the website.
Launching the website at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:
"It is impossible to overstate the importance of soil as a natural asset to our health and wellbeing, given entire ecosystems depend on it and it is a key determinant of the success of our food and drink sector and a crucial sink for damaging greenhouse gases. It is vital we do all we can to manage and protect it. With this in mind, the Scottish Government commissioned and funded the creation of the Scotland's Soils website.
"Putting information into everyone's hands, this site aims to be a source of authoritative and scientifically robust data, which will grow and develop as new material becomes available over time.
"This project is another illustration of excellent partnership work between the Scottish Government and land managers, agencies and other partners, all with the aim of promoting the sustainable management and protection of soils, an invaluable but vulnerable asset."
Professor Colin Campbell, Director of Science Excellence at the James Hutton Institute said:
"The Institute is delighted to be involved in this initiative and I believe that making data more available will not only provide valuable information to those involved in land management but also help raise awareness among the Scottish people of how important our soils are.
"Scotland has one of the best soil data sets in the world with its origins going back 80 years and it is now freely available to help people make decisions about managing soils, land and water."
Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse also published a Progress Report on the Scottish Soil Framework, outlining progress on the 39 identified actions, which indicate developments towards the 13 Soil Outcomes.