CIEEM South West Conference 2017 – Life in Earth | Geckoella UK

CIEEM South West Conference 2017 – Life in Earth

A short news article by Jason Ball, Ecologist and QSHE Lead Officer at Geckoella.

It is great to have Geckoella’s support for CPD opportunities such as conferences and training days. Here are some brief notes from this week’s CIEEM SW section conference on soils, hosted at the Rothamsted research facility at North Wyke – the day after #WorldSoilDay.

The CIEEM South West Conference 2017.
Life in Earth: Soils, the forgotten science in ecology.
In association with BSSS South West Soils Discussion Group (British Society for Soil Science).

#soils #cieemsw #cieem #bsss @CIEEMnet @Soil_Science

The key perspective was soil as an ecosystem, and naturally integral to any terrestrial habitat – a living, non-renewable, essential resource that is often ignored. Talks covered soil management from a few different angles – development sites, translocation, soil creation, nature conservation, environmental protection – with presentations by soil scientists, consultant ecologists and environmental managers (including a farmer).

The main messages were about the importance of considering soils and the challenge of managing the soils on any given project.

We got helpful guidance for bucketloads of questions.

  • How do you use soil assessments to inform your surveys and site management?
  • Do you have the right skills and experience to safeguard soil structure from bad management?
  • Would you know where to find the right expertise?
  • How can you inspire the contractors to care about what happens to the soil on a site?
  • Why does soil physics matter, and how do soil properties relate to biodiversity and ‘ecosystem services’ such as flood prevention?
  • What if you had to create new soils?
  • How will you know if your soil management efforts worked?

Soil ecology is a huge topic, so the day left me with plenty more questions to take away. So I’ll be following a few of the event’s signposts to discover more…

The new Farming Rules to protect water and soils – coming into force April 2018.

Soilscape – a free soils map resource!

UK Soil Observatorya list of apps (MySoil and other good stuff)

North Wyke Farm Platform – free grassland study data.

Defra Code of Practice: Sustainable Use of Soils on Construction Sites. (PDF here)

Northern Ireland: Soils – Sustainability Policy.


Wales: Good Agricultural Practice.


Search for courses on ‘soil’ – FSC, CIEEM, the Working with Soils Programme.