Baker Consultants to showcase first of its kind soil listening station in Royal Entomological Society insect lab at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Baker Consultants to showcase first of its kind soil listening station in Royal Entomological Society insect lab at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

East-Midlands firm Baker Consultants has been invited to install a soil listening station in the Royal Entomological Society Garden’s insect laboratory at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2023.

As part of Tom Massey’s Royal Entomological Society Garden, supported by Project Giving Back at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this month, the Royal Entomological Society (RES) is bringing people closer to the unseen and unheard residents of our gardens and the natural world with an innovative outdoor insect science laboratory. Part of the set up will include a ‘soil listening station’ by Baker Consultants, specialists in ecoacoustics - the science of recording and analysing the noise made by wildlife.

Baker Consultants, based in the heart of the Peak District, is a world leader in the application of technology to survey species using ecoacoustic and bioacoustics technologies. This is the first public installation of this technology exploring how soil health can be measured by the level of noise generated. This provides sound science for use by farmers, landowners, regenerative agriculture systems, vineyards and conservation organisations.

Gardeners and horticulturists are increasingly using more sustainable and insect-friendly methods, and consumers are demanding more organic and sustainably farmed foods. The application of ecoacoustics now gives the food, farming and wine producing industries a cost-effective and robust method for ensuring measuring and monitoring soil health.

By replacing existing costly, time & energy-consuming soil tests with ecoacoustic methods of analysis (using a microphone probe in the ground), landowners can measure the health of their soils by listening to the sounds of the invertebrates and other soil fauna within them. This data can then be analysed and compared with a database of soil sound, to quantify soil health and see how changes in soil management could improve soil condition. An easy way to think of it, is that “a healthy soil is a noisy soil”.

Simon Ward, Chief Executive Officer of the RES said: “Partnering with Baker Consultants’ on the garden brings leading-edge soil analysis technology to our insect lab and gives visitors an opportunity to experience not only the habitats of insects they are familiar with, but also an insight into the below ground and water-borne animals we rarely see.

Research into pollination, food security and vector-borne diseases is widely accepted as critical to our survival in a changing world, but despite their crucial role in ecosystems across the planet, insect conservation and study is often undervalued when compared with mammal and bird science.”

The RES exists to advance insect science through research and global scientific collaboration and to increase public understanding and appreciation of insects and the diverse and important roles they play in our global ecosystems, including soil.

Andrew Baker, Managing Director of Baker Consultants said: “This collaboration with the RES gives us an opportunity to show how the use of technology can transform not only how we see and hear the natural world, but also how the application of ecoacoustics can promote the uptake of more sustainable farming practices worldwide based on sound science. Consumers have been demanding greater accountability in the food production chain, and gardeners have been adopting better practice in recent years. We’re really excited to be able to bring this message to a wider audience at RHS Chelsea this year.”

RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place 22-27 May 2023, bringing together the biggest names in the gardening and horticulture industry, where the RES are inviting a focus on insects and biodiversity with their garden design this year.

Find out more about the Royal Entomological Society Garden, which has been designed by award-winning garden designer Tom Massey, here:

You can also find out more about Baker Consultants’ research in the field of soil acoustics here:

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