The Atlantic Soil Health Lab is a research centre at Dalhousie University based at the Dalhousie Agriculture Campus in Truro, Nova Scotia. 

As part of the mandate for this project lead researchers, Dr. David Burton and Dr. Derek Lynch, are collaborating with academics, government, and the agricultural community to establish baseline data on soil health in Atlantic Canada. With a better understanding of the current state of soils in this region we will be able to offer suggestions and help guide policy to ensure the sustainability of the agricultural sector in this region.

Our soil health testing has an emphasis on carbon and nitrogen and the role they play in greenhouse gas emissions form agricultural soil. 

Our Testing

We currently test the following parameters on our soil health samples:

  1. Total Organic Carbon
  2. Particulate Organic Carbon
  3. Permaganate Oxidizable Carbon
  4. Respiration
  5. Soil Nitrogen Supply
  6. ACE Protein
  7. Water Stable Aggregates
  8. Water Holding Capacity

Along with these parameters we also determine the soil texture and collect compaction data at the time of sampling. 

Our Funders

We have been fortunate in receiving multiple sources of funding for this work. Our core funding is as a result of a grant from AAFC’s Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program. This is a $2M grant over 5 years (2016-2021). We were successful in having three AAFC Green Internship grants supporting 3-6 month internships.  We have also received a grant from the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and Mitacs is supporting work on the relationship between soil health and water quality.