ECR Time Capsule 2019

It is estimated that there are 15 gigatonnes (15 thousand million tonnes) of carbon in the world’s soils – three times more than in all terrestrial vegetation. Current climate warming is likely to accelerate the release of soil carbon into the atmosphere therefore speeding up the process. In England and Wales alone, our soils have lost 100 metric tonnes of carbon over the last 25 years (Bellamy et al., 2005, Nature). That mass of soil carbon equates to eight million London buses. Lined up bumper to bumper, eight million buses would stretch more than twice around the Earth! Given that soil is a fundamental global resource for carbon storage and producing food for a growing population, it is vital that over the next 25 years, we act to conserve our soils to protect our carbon to abate climate warming and improve soil health. 

Fortunately, the British Society of Soil Science has over 200 Early Career researchers who are working at institutes across the UK and beyond to save our soils for future generations. We have decided to celebrate our Early Career community for their efforts in addressing the mounting issues that threaten our soils by burying a Time Capsule at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, the oldest agricultural research institution in the world. Inside the capsule, our Early Career Researchers have placed items from their significant and impactful research along with messages to the future generation of soil scientists who will open the capsule in 2047, to celebrate the Society’s 100th anniversary. 

In addition to the burial of this Time Capsule, Rothamsted Research will host an exhibition in their museum, where artefacts commemorating the institute’s centennial legacy will be displayed, alongside a selection of the materials placed inside the capsule.

If you have any questions regarding the Time Capsule, please don’t hesitate to email Dan on