Soil structure and soil type are critical in determining plant species diversity and in the ability of soil to deliver other benefits such as carbon storage, water storage and food production.
Recently, the British Ecological Society (BES) produced a response to the Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry on Soil Health in the UK. This can be viewed here.
Understanding the soil type, structure and texture will all help in understanding the current species diversity and potential restoration of floodplain meadows.
Some soil characteristics, such as the soil profile, texture and structure, can be explored through observation in the field. More detailed information about physical structure requires laboratory analysis of soil samples or more complex field measurements.
More detail on soil, and how to understand them can be found in Chapter 5 of our technical handbook.
Other useful documents relating to soils:
A soil key can show you the type of soil your site lies on. Knowing the type of soil you have is really important in understanding the plant community response to change and the movement of water across the site. This knowledge can help you decide the best management option for you.