Topsoil Organic Matter in Scotland

Topsoil Organic Matter in Scotland

Scottish soils are relatively rich in soil organic matter (SOM) which is an essential component of good soil quality and contributes to nutrient retention, stable aggregates and improved water retention and drainage. Storing more organic matter in the soil is also beneficial in combating climate change by locking up the carbon dioxide (CO2) taken out of the atmosphere by plants. Conversely, losing soil organic matter contributes to increased atmospheric CO2 which may enhance climate change.

ClimateXChange (CXC) was asked by Scottish Government to develop a free and easy-to-use tool for land managers that would allow them to compare the measured topsoil organic matter content of their soil with typical values in the national Representative Soil Profiles of Scotland database and accessed via the National Soils Map of Scotland The tool uses soils data to provide reference/context information for the average soil organic matter content value at any site. The soils data is processed within the platform so that the input by the land manager is as simple as possible.

Photo of soil profile

The aim of the tool is to help land managers understand quickly whether the soil has a good organic matter content, and alert them to the need for further action.Photo of soil profile

For further advice, information and examples of on farm soil management practices to improve soil conditions please visit the following websites:

To use the tool please click or tap on the image of the soil map below, this will open a new window in your browser.

Or if you would like to read some guidance on using the tool then click the link below to open a new page.

Tips on using the Topsoil OM tool

Click to enter the Soil Organic Matter tool