Healthy soils provide us with a wide range of benefits. Some of these benefits are obvious, like growing food, while many are less clear, like filtering water, reducing flood risk and influencing climate. When soils are damaged by natural or man-made processes, they may no longer be able to provide some or all of these services that are essential to support our ecosystems.
Covering soil with a waterproof material or structure, e.g. tarmac or buildings, (known as soil sealing) means it is effectively lost to the ecosystem. It is one of the causes of soil damage that often lead to irreversible loss of soil functions.
The extent of our built landscape can be used as a proxy for estimated the extent of soil sealing. Settlements, transport, energy and communications infrastructure, as well as industry and housing which extend much more widely throughout Scotland are all components of our built landscape.
This is an indicator of built environment pressures derived from analysis of Ordnance Survey MasterMap (a commercially available map and database of fixed features of a few meters and larger) and Scottish Natural Heritage records on windfarm sites. It includes national coverage (ha) and the distribution of built development pressures on 1km grid squares for the whole of Scotland.
This indicator is prepared by Scottish Natural Heritage
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