Soil Surveys, Environmental Assessment & Land Management

Forest and Woodland Creation & Managements

Knowledge of the spatial variation in soil properties is a fundamental component of sustainable forest management as it can affect planting choices, mainten

ance, timber yields and the wider environment in the following ways:

  • Slowly permeable subsoil layers such as dense clays and ironpans restrict downward drainage, resulting in seasonal waterlogging, impaired aeration for root growth, shallow root systems and a resulting risk of windthrow before the trees are ready to be harvested
  • More freely draining soils are not affected in the same way but sandy or shallow types may retain insufficient water over the growing season to supply the demands of root up-take, reducing potential timber yields and affecting species selection


  • Soil pH varies with soil type and can affect the availability of plant nutrients. Phosphorus availability is particularly important for tree growth and potassium is often deficient in peat soils. Soil pH and plant nutrient availability also affects the success of habitats in unplanted areas
  • Cultivation of organic soils for woodland establishment can result in soil carbon losses to the atmosphere greater than carbon uptake by tree growth over the long term. Carbon losses to the atmosphere have been linked to global warming

For further information on soil surveys for forest management or woodland creation contact us on +44 (0)1509 670570 or email