Workshop on Statistical Aspects of National-Scale Soil Monitoring

Workshop on Statistical Aspects of National-Scale Soil Monitoring

11 - 12th December 2008

Rothamsted Conference Centre, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ, England


Driven by The European Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, national soil monitoring networks are being designed or have recently been created across Europe. The design and implementation of these monitoring networks creates novel challenges for statisticians. We are therefore holding a two-day workshop to discuss these challenges. The workshop will consist of invited key-note presentations, contributed talks and discussions within break-out groups.

The requirements of the monitoring networks are diverse. Monitoring information is needed to help policy-makers understand the current state of the environment, how it is changing, and to understand the pressures placed upon it. Information from monitoring is required to assess whether national and international laws and agreements for protecting the environment are being met. Additionally, monitoring information will also support the development and implementation of future soil and environmental policy and management guidance by providing evidence on the state of soils.

We invite participants to submit abstracts for 20 minute oral presentations on the statistical challenges associated with national-scale soil monitoring. We broadly separate these challenges into three themes.

  1. Design of monitoring networks. Statisticians must decide upon the sampling design and the intensity of sampling in both space and time. Often these decisions will be based upon limited information regarding the variation of the soil indicators being measured. Information regarding temporal variation at the national scale may be particularly sparse. The monitoring networks must answer specific questions posed by policy-makers but be flexible enough to answer unforeseen questions in the future. Policy-makers may require information over multiple reporting units at different spatial scales.
  2. Analyses of data. The questions posed by policy makers will require analyses over different spatial scales, ranging from national means of soil properties to identifying local areas where properties exceed regulatory thresholds or where the soil quality is rapidly changing. The questions may change after the monitoring network has been designed so the analyses must be adapted appropriately. The analyses will be further complicated by outlying observations or unusual distributions.
  3. Communication with policy-makers. In order to select the appropriate sampling intensity we require quantitative measures of the quality of information required. However policy-makers may not be used to expressing their needs in this form. We must ensure that the requirements of policy-members are correctly translated into statistical terms and that our findings are presented in a form which is clear to non-statisticians.

B.P. Marchant and R.M. Lark

Timetable for Registration and Submission of Abstracts

To ensure that there is sufficient interest in the workshop we request that potential participants inform us of their intention to attend and their intention to submit an abstract ASAP:
  • May 30: Expression of intention to attend the workshop and submit an abstract by email (ben.marchant(at)
  • August 29: Submission of abstracts
  • October 31: Registration and payment of fees

Registration forms will be provided in due course.


Bed and breakfast accommodation with shared bathroom facilities is available at Rothamsted Manor for $40 per night or $50 per night including evening meal.


Hotel accommodation is available at Harpenden House Hotel (single room $85 per night, double room single occupancy $95 per night, double room double occupancy $105 per night).


Both accommodation options are within walking distance of the Rothamsted Conference Centre. We suggest that participants delay booking transport and accommodation until registration forms have been sent out.


The registration fee for the workshop (including lunch each day and workshop dinner on the Thursday) is $100.

Maps and Directions

Directions to Rothamsted Conference Centre can be found at:

Contact Details

Further details are available from Ben Marchant (ben.marchant(at) and Murray Lark (murray.lark(at)
Topic revision: r4 - 13 Aug 2010, TheresiaFreska
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