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Towards Indicators of Soil Health (Project Report and Annexes) 2023


The Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) (Defra 2023), the first revision to the 25 Year Plan, reiterates the importance of soil and how this vital natural resource will be managed. It sets out a new target to bring at least 40% of England’s agricultural soil into sustainable management by 2028 through new farming schemes and increase that to 60% by 2030. The EIP also commits to several factors that will establish comprehensive baseline data including to “establish a soil health indicator under the 25 Year Environment Plan Outcome Indicator Framework”.

This report sets out the approach which aims to pave the way for an indicator framework of soil health for England. The study developed a concept for soil health indicators and how they could be presented, before trialling the process through a ‘proof-of-concept’, resulting in an interactive dashboard displaying soils’ ability to contribute to the delivery of selected ecosystem services as demonstration indicators of soil health.

Accompanying the main report are there annexes:

  • Annex 1: Review and evaluation of existing soil health indicators being used in the UK and internationally.
  • Annex 2: Complex Systems Review.
  • Annex 3: Developing conceptual ecological models and Bayesian belief networks for a soil health indicator.

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Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2023·06·12

Harris, M., Deeks, L., Hannam, J., Hoskins, H., Robinson, A., Hutchison, J., Withers, A., Harris, J., Way, L. & Rickson, J. 2023. Towards Indicators of Soil Health. JNCC Report 737 (Project Report), JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.

This report was produced by JNCC in collaboration with Cranfield University through contract number C20-0171-1550.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2023·08·22

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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