Soil provides society with vital goods and services (e.g. supply of food, fodder and fibre; storage of rainwater, nutrients and carbon; shelter to diverse living organisms; and protection of our buried cultural heritage). The capacity of soil to perform these functions can be undermined by degradation processes such as soil erosion, which occurs when land is used beyond its inherent ‘capability’, (for example when highly erosive crops are grown on highly erodible soils). Exceptional weather events can also trigger erosion.
The loss of soil functions through erosion has direct financial impact on the land economy at every stage along the supply chain in terms of reduced outputs (e.g. crop production (quantity and quality); loss of nutrients and carbon;) and increased inputs needed to rectify any losses (e.g. reseeding costs; additional fertilisers and cultivation operations; increased irrigation demand, higher retail prices for the consumer). These costs justify an investment in erosion risk assessment and erosion mitigation.
Understanding the location, extent and impacts of erosion on-site (e.g. loss of the soil resource in-field) and off-site (e.g. eroded sediment polluting water bodies) is key in targeting effective erosion-control mitigation measures, as are current soil policies at EU (e.g. draft Soil Framework Directive) and national (e.g. Soil Strategy for England) level.
The course is run by academic staff from Cranfield University.
By the end of this course participants will be able to:
Areas covered will include:
AgriFood Training Partnership
The University of Reading
PO Box 226, Whiteknights
Reading RG6 6AP