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The Irish National Soils Database

an image of the landscape of Ireland

The National Soil Database (NSDB) has produced, for the first time, a national baseline database of soil geochemistry including data point maps and spatial distribution maps of major nutrients, major elements, essential trace elements, trace elements of special interest and minor elements. In addition, this study has generated a National Soil Archive, comprising both dried soil samples and a nucleic acids (DNA) archive as well as sampling and location information for each sampling point.

The National Soil Archive represents a considerable research resource. The report and archive will provide Ireland with a sound, well structured baseline of soil geochemical properties relevant to environmental, agronomic and health-related pressures and against a background of increasing soil protection policies.

The National Soil Database generated baseline soil geochemical maps using geo-referenced sampling points, this data has been amalgamated to produce a spatial distribution map for Ireland. This study also applied large-scale microbiological analysis of soils for the first time in Ireland and in doing so also investigated microbial community structure in a range of soil types.

A number of key outcomes relating to the National Soil Database are worth mentioning:

  • Geographical coherence of the geochemical results and a strong relationship with the underlying geology
  • Evidence of land-use, anthropogenic and climatic effects
  • A strong relationship between parent material and microbial data

Useful Downloads

  • NSDB Synthesis Report "Towards a National Soils Database" (Synthesis Report PDF) - available on EPA STRIVE website
  • NSDB Final Report "Towards a National Soils Database" ( Final Report   PDF) - available on EPA STRIVE website
  • NSDB Datasets and GIS Maps - available from ERC's Secure Archive for Environmental Research Data (SAFER). These files are linked to a full dataset description on SAFER.

NSDB Terms and Conditions

Use of this website and of the National Soils Database and Archive is conditional upon acceptance of the terms and conditions set out below. Please read these terms and conditions carefully before accessing any other pages in this website.
Terms and Conditions: (NSDB Terms and Conditions Document PDF Format)


Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the material contained in the NSDB Archive, complete accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency, Teagasc, nor NUI Galway accept any responsibility whatsoever for loss or damage occasions or claimed to have been occasioned, in part or in full, as a consequence of any person acting, or refraining from acting, as a result of a matter contained in this archive.

Contact Us

For more detailed information, please contact the NSDB partners by email.

NSDB Partners

The NSDB Archive Interface will be accepting applications for access to soil samples from May 1st 2008. Please note that processing of these requests will not begin until September 2008.