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The Representative Soil Sampling Scheme of England and Wales: a statistical analysis of topsoil nutrient status and pH between 1971 and 2001

Oliver, M. A., Archer, J. R., Baxter, S. J., Todd, A. D. and Skinner, R. J. (2006) The Representative Soil Sampling Scheme of England and Wales: a statistical analysis of topsoil nutrient status and pH between 1971 and 2001. Soil Use and Management, 22 (4). pp. 372-382. ISSN 0266-0032

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-2743.2006.00051.x

Abstract/Summary

The Representative Soil Sampling Scheme of England and Wales has recorded information on the soil of agricultural land in England and Wales since 1969. It is a valuable source of information about the soil in the context of monitoring for sustainable agricultural development. Changes in soil nutrient status and pH were examined over the period 1971-2001. Several methods of statistical analysis were applied to data from the surveys during this period. The main focus here is on the data for 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001. The results of examining change over time in general show that levels of potassium in the soil have increased, those of magnesium have remained fairly constant, those of phosphorus have declined and pH has changed little. Future sampling needs have been assessed in the context of monitoring, to determine the mean at a given level of confidence and tolerable error and to detect change in the mean over time at these same levels over periods of 5 and 10 years. The results of a non-hierarchical multivariate classification suggest that England and Wales could be stratified to optimize future sampling and analysis. To monitor soil quality and health more generally than for agriculture, more of the country should be sampled and a wider range of properties recorded.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3942
Uncontrolled Keywords:Representative Soil Sampling Scheme (RSSS) monitoring temporal change classification ANOVA
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