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James Hutton Institute

Living Laboratory

Land use(s)

  • Upland
  • Livestock farm with sheep, cattle and red deer, improved and extensive pastures, agroforestry, moorland, woodland and peatland.

Successes / outcomes

  • Farm woodland expansion of >150ha (+700-1500 t CO2 per yr), rotational grazing introduced and livestock numbers reduced, leading to >20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and reductions in nitrates and phosphates in water and soils
  • Mentioned in many press releases.

Methods / issues being explored

  • Remediation of land
  • Whole system approach
  • Solutions to reduce erosion and land degradation
  • Reduced use of / alternatives to inorganic fertilisers
  • Rewetting of peatlands
  • Re-use of water / wastes
  • Increased diversity of sward/crops
  • Soil tillage and management
  • Modification of organic matter inputs
  • Woodland and woody feature creation
    Introduction / management of water bodies
  • Agroforestry
  • Green energy.

Data being collected on

  • Soil health
  • Yield
  • Costs
  • Biodiversity
  • Water runoff / flooding
  • Water quality
  • Social engagement
  • Renewable energy and green hydrogen storage / use

Methods of data collection

  • Visual assessments
  • Field surveys
  • Commercial laboratories
  • Remote sensing (LIDAR, satellites, drones, etc.)
  • Social surveys.

Types of organisation involved

  • Farmers
  • Foresters
  • Agri- or forestry industries
  • Academics
  • Consultants.


Alison Hester
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AB30 1HB

Other organisations involved:

  • Scottish Government
  • Macaulay Development Trust
  • Baillie Gifford
  • SRUC
  • Aberdeen University
  • Forest Research
  • LEAF
  • NFUS
  • UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Water to Water
  • RINA

Land use type:

  • Upland