A new National Soil Database website (NSDB) has been launched
as part of a joint project between Teagasc and the EPA.
The new website - Click
Here - includes an interactive map interface, which
allows all the data compiled during the soil sampling campaigns
to be viewed. Clicking on a point on the map provides access
to the data relevant to that sampling site. A sample can then
be requested by completing the form available online. Requests
will be reviewed by an advisory committee composed of the
National Soil Database Project Partners and international
Dr Micheal Lehane, EPA programme manager, said - "The reports
from the National Soil Database will become important tools
to inform Ireland's response to future EU Directives - in
particular, the proposed Soils Framework Directive. They can
also be used in the future to measure the effects of issues
such as global warming."
This new website - together with a new book 'Soil Geochemical
Atlas of Ireland' - were both produced to publicise the
output of 11 years of research on the National Soil Database
Between 1995 and 2006, a countrywide geochemical survey was
conducted as part of the 'National Soil Database' project.
This project sampled 1,310 sites on a national grid, which
were analysed for soil organic carbon, pH and a suite of 40
chemical elements. The project has resulted in the production
of soil geochemical maps, final and synthesis reports of the
research work, an archive of soils' samples and extracted
nucleic acids and a freely accessible database.
Teagasc researcher, Rachel Creamer said - "Understanding
soil systems is essential to sustainable management and ensuring
that they continue to perform their services for many years
to come. This project has established baseline information
on the chemical composition of soils and their roles in the
environments in which they occur. The study also applied large-scale
microbiological analysis of soils for the first time in Ireland
and investigated microbial community structure in a range
of soil types."
Maps of the major nutrients and elements have been published.
In addition, this study has generated a National Soil Archive
- comprising both of air-dried soil samples and a nucleic
acids (DNA) archive. The report and archive will provide Ireland
with a sound, well-structured baseline of soil geochemical
properties relevant to environmental, agronomic and health-related
pressures, set against a background of increasing soil protection
The newly-published Soil Geochemical Atlas of Ireland presents
a user-friendly summary of national baseline soil geochemical
data. Soils are discussed in general, as are the influences
that have affected - and continue to affect - their chemical
composition, such as geology, climate and land use.
Maps for each of the measured elements and an interpretation
of the findings with respect to underlying parent material,
glacial geology, land use and anthropogenic and climatic effects