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Irish Soils - the living skin of our nation

Our soil is a critical national resource that underpins national agricultural, environmental, ecological and cultural dimensions of our economy and society. Soil is a highly variable and yet fragile skin to our landscape, and in the context of emerging pressures from climate change, urban expansion, and intensification of use, it is essential that we have access to knowledge on soil formation, its properties and its functions in order to provide for its sustainable management into the future.

Irish Soils - the living skin of our nation
Lilian O’Sullivan, Teagasc, Co-Editor of the Soils of Ireland, pictured here with Dr. Jonathan Derham, EPA, Mr. Dara Lynott, formerly Executive Director of the EPA, Dr. Lance O’Brien, Head of Strategy and International Relations, Teagasc and Dr. John Spink, Head of Programme CELUP, Teagasc. Pictured at the recent book launch event that was well attended and hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford.

This is the first textbook for Ireland that takes an integrated and dedicated assessment of the role of soils in our economic, environmental and cultural development.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Teagasc support a range of national activities that serve to increase knowledge on our natural environment and our natural resources, and together are pleased to launch the Soils of Ireland book which incorporates the latest national science and provides a powerful resource to inform science and policy in relation to the resilience of this critical raw material, our soil.

This publication, which has been supported by the EPA and Teagasc, and prepared by thirty-nine national experts in their respective fields, provides a richly illustrated and comprehensive overview of Irish soils, and includes important discussions and applications of the study of soils and soil management in Ireland.

Editor of The Soils of Ireland, Lilian O’Sullivan, described the utility of the book saying “This book has been developed as a robust source of current knowledge of Irish soils and represents an important resource for students, educators, advisors, researchers and more, integrating existing knowledge together in one volume.” The twenty one chapters address the diversity of functional roles of Irish soils in agriculture, nutrient management, water quality, ecosystems, and engineering, as well as addressing the cultural and geographical aspects of soils in our landscape and archaeology.

Speaking about the book, Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment, Dr Matthew Crowe said: “This is the first textbook for Ireland that takes an integrated and dedicated assessment of the role of soils in our economic, environmental and cultural development. This advancement in soil knowledge for Ireland, coupled with the development of the soil information system database for Ireland, together provides an invaluable national resource for scientists, land managers, and policy makers.”

Speaking about the book, Teagasc Head of Strategy and International Relations, Dr. Lance O’Brien, said: “What this book forces us to realise is the integrated and systemic nature of the functions that our soil resources provide. Our economic, social and cultural wellbeing depend on the health and sustainable management of our soil. The Soils of Ireland publication reminds us of this intimate dependency and core responsibility.”

You can purchase this publication at the following link: