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    The Land Capability Classification for Agriculture has as its objective the presentation of detailed information on soil, climate and relief in a form which will be of value to land use planners, agricultural advisers, farmers and others involved in optimising the use of land resources. The classification ranks land on the basis of its potential productivity and cropping flexibility determined by the extent to which its physical characteristics (soil, climate and relief) impose long term restrictions on its agricultural use. THE CLASSES Class 1. Land capable of producing a very wide range of crops with high yields Class 2. Land capable of producing a wide range of crops with yields less high than Class 1. Class 3. Land capable of producing good yields from a moderate range of crops. Class 4. Land capable of producing a narrow range of crops. Class 5. Land suited only to improved grassland and rough grazing. Class 6. Land capable only of use as rough grazing. Class 7. Land of very limited agricultural value. THE DIVISIONS A division is a ranking within a class. As the requirements of the crops suited to Classes 1 and 2 are fairly stringent, land in these classes has inherently low degrees of internal variability and no divisions are present. The requirements of crops grown in the remaining classes are less rigorous, consequently land included is more variable in character.

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    This dataset comes from an amalgamation of classes 1 and 2 of the MLURI Land capability classificaton. LCA Class 1 - Land capable of producing a very wide range of crops LCA Class 2 - Land capable of producing a wide range of crops Land Capability for Agriculture maps at 1:250K scale were produced and published in 1982. These maps provided a national and regional appreciation of the location and areal extent of the Land Capability for Agriculture classes and were specifically designed for strategic planning purposes. More detailed maps of the main arable areas of Scotland were carried out and published in the mid 1980's. These covered classes 1, 2 and 3.1. The purpose of these maps was to assist planners and agricultural officers in assessing cases made for development and determining priorities in relation to retaining areas of high quality agricultural land.

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    The main use of the Land Capability Classification for Forestry is as an aid to decision-making at broad planning levels, as a guide for land managers and as a statement of the natural resources of the land of Scotland in terms of forestry potential for educational and general interest purposes. The system is an interpretation derived from several sources and, as with all such approaches, will be subject to some degree of arbitrary decision. Class F1. Land with excellent flexibility for the growth and management of tree crops Class F2. Land with very good flexibility for the growth and management of tree crops Class F3. Land with good flexibility for the growth and management of tree crops Class F4. Land with moderate flexibility for the growth and management of tree crops Class F5. Land with limited flexibility for the growth and management of tree crops Class F6. Land with very limited flexibility for the growth and management of tree crops Class F7. Land unsuitable for producing tree crops Please cite as: Soil Survey of Scotland Staff. (1988). Land Capability for Forestry of Scotland at a Scale of 1:250 000. Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen.

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    This is the digital dataset which was created by digitising the Soils of Scotland 1:25,000 Soil maps and the Soils of Scotland 1:25,000 Dyeline Masters. The Soils of Scotland 1:25,000 Soil maps were the source documents for the production of the Soils of Scotland 1:63,360 and 1:50,000 published map series. The classification is based on Soil Associations, Soil Series and Phases which reflect parent material, major soil group, and soil sub-groups, drainage and (for phases), texture, stoniness, land use, rockiness, topography and organic matter. Phases are not always mapped. In general terms this dataset primarily covers the cultivated land of Scotland but also includes some upland areas . Not all of the available source documents have been digitised. Should there be a requirement for other areas to be captured, the Internal Contact should be contacted in the first instance. Attribute definitions: The attributes on each map (coverage) are specific to that map sheet, but in general terms the following categories are mapped: soil association, soil series, parent material, soil complexes, soil phases, skeletal soils, alluvial soils, organic soils, miscellaneous soils, mixed bottom land, built-up area, quarries/disturbed ground, collieries/bings, golf courses.

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    In recognition of the different physical and socio-economic characteristics across the regions, the European Union introduced the Less Favoured Area (LFA) designation to support farming where production conditions are difficult. The criteria for LFA designation were first established in European legislation in 1975 (Directive 75/268 EEC and accompanying measures). There are 3 types of LFA's; all in Scotland fall into the category of simple LFA's marked by poor soils and low agricultural income. Scotland's LFA's are defined by: (i) The presence of poor land of poor productivity, which is difficult to cultivate and with a limited potential which cannot be increased except at excessive cost, and which is mainly suitable for extensive livestock farming. (ii) lower than average production, compared to the main indices of economic performance in agriculture. (iii) a low or dwindling population predominantly dependent on agricultural activity, the accelerated decline of which could cause rural depopulation

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    The map shows the risk of a bare soil being eroded by water under intense or prolonged rainfall and primarily covers the cultivated land in Scotland. Soils with mineral topsoils have been classified separately from those with organic (peaty) surface layers. The risk of soil erosion is shown in 3 main classes for soils with mineral topsoils; High, Moderate or Low. The risk of erosion is greatest on coarse textured soils with a low water adsorption capacity on steep slopes. Each main class is divided into 3 subclasses (H1-3, M1-3 and L1-3) with the greater numbers in each risk class indicating a higher risk of erosion due to increases in slope, soil textures becoming more coarse and/or the soils having a lesser ability to absorb rainfall. The risk of soil erosion for soils with organic (peaty) surfaces is also shown in 3 classes; High, Moderate or Low. The Moderate and Low erosion risk classes are divided into subclasses (Mi–iv and Li-iii) with the greater numbers (i-iv) in each risk class indicating a higher risk of erosion due to increases in slope and/or the soils having a lesser ability to absorb rainfall.

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    Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are areas within Scotland that contain surface water or groundwater that is susceptible to nitrate pollution from agricultural activities. They are designated in accordance with the requirements of the European Commision's Nitrates Directive 91/676/EEC, aims to protect water quality across Europe by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters and by promoting the use of good farming practices. The Scottish Government is responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of the aquatic environment, and carries out a review of the NVZ areas every four years. In 2016, five areas of Scotland were designated as NVZs under the following regulations: The Designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (SSI 2014/373). The five NVZ areas were designated as nitrate levels from agricultural sources either resulted, or would likely result, in a concentration equal or exceeding 50 milligrammes of nitrate per litre of water in either surface water or groundwater. The five areas within Scotland, currently designated as NVZs, are: Aberdeenshire, Banff, Buchan and Moray, Strathmore and Fife, Stranraer Lowlands, Edinburgh, East Lothian and Borders, and Lower Nithsdale.

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    The map shows the vulnerability of subsoils to compaction by traffic. It covers most of Scotland’s cultivated agricultural land area. The subsoil compaction risk gives information on the likelihood of the subsoil becoming compacted due to heavy machinery in four classes (Extremely vulnerable, Very vulnerable, Moderately vulnerable or Not particularly vulnerable) based on the soil texture and the amount of water left in the soil after any excess has drained away (known as field capacity).

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    The map shows the risk of potential pollutants and nutrients leaching through the soil to ground and surface waters. This map primarily covers the cultivated land in Scotland. The soil leaching potential gives information on the likelihood of a potential pollutant that is applied to the soil surface infiltrating the soil and leaching to a water course or ground water in three main categories (High, Intermediate and Low) with the High class being subdivided into 3 classes while the intermediate class is subdivided into 2 classes. Note: soils over current and restored mineral workings and in urban areas that are often disturbed or absent are assumed to have little ability to retain potential pollutants and so are classified as having a high leaching potential (see Lewis, M.A., Lilly, A and J.S. Bell. 2000. Groundwater vulnerability mapping in Scotland: Modifications to classification used in England and Wales. In: Groundwater in the Celtic Regions: Studies in Hard Rock and Quaternary Hydrogeology. Eds. N.S. Robins and B.D.R. Misstear Geological Society Special Publication No. 182. pp 71-79.).

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    The Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA's) scheme was first introduced in 1987. The ESA scheme was introduced in Scotland to help conserve specially designated areas of the countryside where the landscape, wildlife or historic interest is of particular importance and where these environmental features can be affected by farming operations. ESA's were designated under powers given to the Secretary of State in the Agriculture Act 1986. In addition Parliament approved individual Statutory Instruments which set out the terms and conditions for each designated area. There are 10 ESA's currently operating in Scotland