Ground-breaking study to dig up latest on Dublin’s soil and vegetation

by Kim O Leary

By Kim O’Leary

For the next six weeks sampling teams will visit over 800 sites in Dublin City to collect soil and vegetation samples.

It is part of the Dublin City Biodiversity Action Plan,  where Dublin City Council will support the Tellus Survey, which is being carried out by the Geological Survey of Ireland this summer.

Leslie Moore, Head of Parks Services, stated: “For the first time, we will be able to get a good picture of what the soils of Dublin City are – our natural resources that we depend upon for biodiversity, growing food, storing water, pollutants and carbon and giving life to the city. Dublin City Council welcomes the opportunity to support this landmark study.”

The samples will be taken using a hand auger to a maximum depth of 50cm, collecting about 1 kg of soil. Ground disturbance will be minimal.

The teams will visit a range of land uses including parks and open spaces, playing fields, road verges, allotments and golf courses. Residential gardens will not be sampled.

The samples will be analysed for over 50 elements including trace elements, major elements and metals, to understand the natural chemistry of the soil, along with changes that may occur due to urban activities over time.

In cooperation with Trinity College Dublin, vegetation samples will be analysed and preserved. The survey follows on from a previous survey of urban soils completed in 2009 (the Dublin SURGE project) and continues the work of the Tellus geochemical programme from rural into urban areas.  

Tellus is undertaken by Geological Survey Ireland and is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. All data from Tellus is made available free of charge online.

Tellus involves two types of surveying: airborne geophysical surveying using a low-flying aircraft, and ground-based geochemical surveying of soil, stream water and steam sediment.

Tellus are also working on Product Development using Tellus data under five main themes: mineral pro​spe​ctivity, smart agriculture, environment and health, climate action and education.

It is understood that results from the survey collected during the summer months will be published and made available to members of the public on the Geological Survey Ireland website Tellus (

Click on link to read more in this weeks Digital Edition

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