Let’s focus on soil degradation…

June 29, 2015

Soil – the unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants – is increasingly encountering problems like erosion, desiccation and salinization. What does that mean for us – the human race – the fertile top layers of the soil is disappearing, water infiltration is deteriorating and surface discharge is accelerating. This decline in soil fertility, productivity and cultural and recreational value has many negative effects, not just on vulnerable eco systems but life for all of us.

It is estimated that a third of all soils is degraded due to erosion, compaction, soil sealing, salinization, soil organic matter, nutrient depletion, acidification and pollution. Research has shown we need to manage soil more responsibly and sustainably.

Our partner Eijkelkamp has put together an interesting presentation on the effects of Land degradation and in response to the requirement to better manage this vital resource we offer a range of equipment to monitor, measure and evaluate soil from collecting samples, to monitoring salinity, measuring soil moisture and soil characterisation for laboratory assessment.

Our Saltiphone, a sensor for measuring the impact of wind erosion on soil, works on an acoustic measuring principle as particles hit a microphone and produce a high frequency noise, which in turn distinguishes noises caused by wind and rain.


The Saltiphone has recently been used for research into the impact of sand grains and the volume of sand transported for a project by the Soil Physics and Land Management group from Wageningen University. As a result articles have been published explaining this monitoring technique and their findings from the laboratory and wind tunnel experiments can be found in:

  • Poortinga, A., van Rheenen, H., Ellis, J. T., & Sherman, D. J. (2015). Measuring aeolian sand transport using acoustic sensors. Aeolian Research,16, 143-151.
  • Poortinga, A., Van Minnen, J., Keijsers, J., Riksen, M., Goossens, D., & Seeger, M. (2013). Measuring fast-temporal sediment fluxes with an analogue acoustic sensor: a wind tunnel study. PloS one, 8(9), e74007.
  • Spaan, W.P.; Abeele, G.D. van den; 1991. Wind borne particle measurements with acoustic sensors.. Soil Technology 5 (1991) 51-63.
  • Spaan, W.P.; Abeele, G.D. van den; 1991. Wind borne particle measurements with acoustic sensors.. Soil Technology 5 (1991) 51-63.

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