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November, 2014

Looking underground without digging a hole

Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future (GCFF) Research Programme

A new soil survey tool allows Scion scientists to assess below ground variation in soil properties using electromagnetic pulses.

November 2014

The properties of soil are critical to plant growth, but the innate spatial variability of these properties has made detailed assessments of soil across a landscape very costly in terms of time and money. Scion has acquired a hand-held tool, called the DualEM-1s, which offers a new way to analyse soil properties. This sensor is able to measure electrical conductivity to a depth of 1.6 m underground, collecting information about moisture distribution and soil structure. The tool is currently being trialled, and once this is completed, it will be used to establish and measure various GCFF trials. While this approach will not replace traditional soil moisture and nutritional assessments, it will enable sampling to be much more precise, thereby improving understanding of what may be deficient in soil, and enhancing our ability to manage any problems. 

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