One of the earthworms found in a soil sample in Shropshire
By Jeremy Lelean, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading
Soil, from being an overlooked area of research, is now considered an area of vital interest in the solution to many of the global problems of we currently face. A key idea of how to manage our soil is the notion of soil health, which was referred to regularly in the newly published DEFRA Twenty-Five Year Environment Plan.
Measuring soil health, however, is a vexed question as there are a number of potential indicators that can be used. One of these is earthworm numbers, but numbers alone may not give a good picture of soil health overall. As part of the Soil Security Programme, fellow Dr Jackie Stroud has developed a method that is more indicative of soil health than simple earthworm numbers.
For those who like to encounter wildlife up close and personal come to UnEarthed 2017 where the renowned Soil Safari will be on display where you can hunt for worms (and other things!) in the soil.
UnEarthed 2017 is the Natural Environmental Research Council’s science and public engagement exhibition. It will take place from the 17th to 20th of November at the Dynamic Earth attraction in Edinburgh.
Led by Professor Chris Collins, the Soil Security Programme team will be representing the University of Reading there, having been selected by NERC through a competitive process.