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VESS: Visual evaluation of soil structure


This two-page guide shows how to sample soils and quickly perform a visual assessment of structure in the field, assigning structure to one of five classes from friable to very compact. It includes photographs showing examples of the different structures. This information from following this guidance could be used for monitoring changes in soil condition, and also identifying areas where restoration or improved management may or may not be needed, including the need for nature-based solutions to address issues such as soil compaction, erosion, poor infiltration and water pollution. See also the Agile tool for selecting biodiversity and soil health metrics.


Guidance type/project stage

  • Monitoring and assessment


  • Farmland

Challenges addressed

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Biodiversity
  • Food production
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Natural flood management
  • Water quality

Source | SRUC, OEM and Aarhus University

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