Map of soil organic carbon content (percent) in Scottish topsoils

This soil organic carbon dataset is based on the digital (vector) version of the soils of Scotland 1:250 000 maps and the land cover of Scotland 1988.

The topsoil carbon percentage in this dataset has been computed using data from the Scottish soils knowledge and information base (SSKIB). The soil carbon contents (and other chemical data) held within SSKIB are derived from a subset from over 40 000 analyses held within the Scottish soils database. The median carbon contents were calculated for each soil horizon of each soil taxonomic unit (soil series) delineated within the 1:250 000 national soil map of Scotland, using only data from those horizons that matched the typical horizon sequences for each taxonomic unit. Where carbon data were missing or were below the detection limit, the carbon contents were firstly estimated from the loss on ignition values using regression equations derived from the data for mineral and for organic horizons. If this was not possible the detection limit was allocated to these horizons. Where no data were available, information from analogous (similar) soil series (taxonomic units) were used. The map shows the organic carbon content of the most extensive soil in each 1:250 000 soil map unit.


Lilly, A, Baggaley, N and Donnelly, D.  2012.  Map of soil organic carbon in top soils of Scotland.  Map prepared for EU project GS-SOIL -Assessment and strategic development of INSPIRE compliant Geodata-Services for European Soil Data. ECP-2008-GEO-318004.

These data are delivered under the terms of the Open Government Licence, subject to the following acknowledgement accompanying the reproduced James Hutton Institute materials: "Contains James Hutton Institute materials © [year]".

Map of soil organic carbon content (%) in Scottish topsoils

Map legend

Key Median carbon (%)
low (<1.5%)
moderate (1.5 – 3.0%)
high (3.0 – 5.0%)
humose (5.0 – 12.0%)
organo-mineral(12.0 – 35.0%)
Organic (>35%)
Title Map of soil organic carbon content (percent) in Scottish topsoils
Source The James Hutton Institute
Scale(s) Notionally 1:250 000
Coverage Scotland
Price Data can be downloaded for free under an Open Data licence from Scotland's soils website. A free WMS service is also available.
Uses National scale
Map viewer View in UKSO Map Viewer
Web map service
Images High resolution | low resolution