What is soil inversion?


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2009-05-20 14:34:30
2009-05-20 14:34:30

Landlife's Soil Inversion Technique

Landlife's Soil Inversion involves a simple intervention - totally inverting a metre of soil. It is a unique technique that uses some of the largest traction units in the country and specialist commissioned ploughs. It has resulted in a proven new sustainable forestry and ecological restoration methodology that addresses climate change impacts.

Work is targeted on land of low ecological value in lowland Britain. By getting the starting point right we allow sites to evolve into new habitats.

This project is highly significant because it:

• Creates suitable conditions for new woods to adapt to climate change by holding moisture at depth and promoting deeper rooting.

• Reduces annual herbicide usage by burying weed seed banks.

• Buries carbon, reducing its release from weathering organic matter

• Results in significantly improved tree growth and survival rates

• Creates low nutrient biodiverse habitat on eutrophicated land.

• Creates stunning floristic meadows that excite and enthuse people.

Apart from forestry, soil inversion has been used to create habitat to save the Silver Studded Blue and Marsh Fritillary butterflies. It has also rejuvenated the Asparagus industry on Merseyside and restored dunes in North Wales.

Independent surveys show subsoil sites gaining 60 new flora species in a decade, whilst bird data confirms impressive gains for Biodiversity Action Plan species. The number of breeding pairs on a site on Merseyside increased from 7 to 52 over a four-year period.

This creative conservation work is hugely popular with local communities who have posted videos, paintings, and poems about the sites on the web.

Government funded experimental trials were initiated in 2003 and independently monitored through RELU supported post graduate research. Landlife has subsequently inverted 350 acres with 17 partners across Britain,. The project was selected by the European Commission Directorate General (DG REGIO) and cited in the UK's response to the Global Plant Strategy, as an example of best practice.

The technique has been documented in Landlife's publication Soil Inversion Works - breaking new ground in creative conservation, which was awarded a UNESCO Award for Excellence in 2008.


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