Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Soil Bio Hedge

Exciting news that Jonathan Leake (Sheffield) and colleagues have been awarded a NERC Soils Consortium grant. These things read a bit like football team line ups in terms of numbers. This grant involves:
Mike Burrell, Rob Freckleton, Steve Banwart, Duncan Cameron, Dylan Childs, Jill Edmonson (Sheffield); myself and Thorunn Helgason (York) and Les Firbanks, Joe Holden, Richard Grayson and Pippa Chapman (Leeds). 

The project (called Soil Bio Hedge) aims to:

"Deliver an integrated and predictive understanding of the mechanisms by which soil biota and soil functions resist, and recover, from impacts of conventional arable farming - compounded by extreme climatic events.  
Determine the spatial and temporal scales over which recovery occurs with particular focus on the role of dispersal of the ecosystem bio-engineers - earthworms and mycorrhizal fungi - from hedgerow and field margin reservoirs to leys that promote soil restoration.
Establish an integrative and predictive spatial-temporal model of soil quality change at field-to-landscape-scale integrating the role of dispersal of hedgerow and field margin biodiversity into arable land resulting from land use and management change involving grass-clover leys.  "

Can't wait to get started with the earthworm surveys in early April. Here are a bunch of us scoping out where to put in soil transects establishing ley strips in arable fields and arable strips in grasslands last week on a day when we had sleet, rain and sun, all within an hour or two of each other.
Pondering soil transects at Spens farm

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