Cover Management factor (C-factor) for the EU

This dataset (GIS map) (2015) represents the Cover Management factor (C-factor), one of the input layers when calculating the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model, which is the most frequently used model for soil erosion risk estimation; for EU28; resolution 100m. The C-factor was estimated for a) arable lands based on crop composition and for b) all other land uses (non-arable) based on the vegetation density and land cover type. The management practices (reduced tillage/no till, plant residues and winter cover crops) were taken into account in estimating C-factor in arable lands.

Metadata:

Title: Cover Management(C-factor) factor of soil erosion by water at European Scale.
Description: The C-factor (Cover and Management) is presented at 100m resolution. This C-factor was estimated for a) arable lands based on crop composition and for b) all other land uses (non-arable) based on the vegetation density and land cover type. The management practices (reduced tillage/no till, plant residues and winter cover crops) were taken into account in estimating C-factor in arable lands.
Spatial coverage: European Union (28 Countries)
Pixel size: 100 m
Measurement Unit: Dimensionless
Projection: ETRS89 Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area
Temporal coverage: 2010

C-factor in Europe

Land use and management influence the magnitude of soil loss. Among the different soil erosion risk factors, the cover-management factor (C-factor) is the one that policy makers and farmers can most readily influence in order to help reduce soil loss rates. The present study proposes a methodology for estimating the C-factor in the European Union (EU), using pan-European datasets (such as CORINE Land Cover), biophysical attributes derived from remote sensing, and statistical data on agricultural crops and practices. In arable lands, the C-factor was estimated using crop statistics (% of land per crop) and data on management practices such as conservation tillage, plant residues and winter crop cover. The C-factor in non-arable lands was estimated by weighting the range of literature values found according to fractional vegetation cover, which was estimated based on the remote sensing dataset Fcover. The mean C-factor in the EU is estimated to be 0.1043, with an extremely high variability; forests have the lowest mean C-factor (0.00116), and arable lands and sparsely vegetated areas the highest (0.233 and 0.2651 respectively). Conservation management practices (reduced/no tillage, use of cover crops and plant residues) reduce the C-factor by on average 19.1% in arable lands. The methodology is designed to be a tool for policy makers to assess the effect of future land use and crop rotation scenarios on soil erosion by water. The impact of land use changes (deforestation, arable land expansion) and the effect of policies (such as the Common Agricultural Policy and the push to grow more renewable energy crops) can potentially be quantified with the proposed model. The C-factor data per land use and country can be found in the publication while the C-factor maps (at 100m pixel resolution) are available for download here.

Data

The C-factor dataset is in Raster format. The user can download 2 datasets:

  1. Cover management factor (C-factor) in the European Union at 100m resolution
  2.  A shapefile where the user can map the:
    •  Cover-Management factor (C-factor) in arable lands at regional (NUTS2) level in the European Union
    •  Influence of Tillage practices on C-factor reduction
    •  Influence of plant residues on C-factor reduction
    •  Influence of cover crops on C-factor reduction

Detailed information about the C-factor per country and land use are also available in the open-access publication.
To get access to the data, please compile the Request form; instructions will then follow how to download the datasets. More information about Cover Management in the corresponding section.

References

A complete description of the methodology and the application in Europe is described in the paper:
Panagos, P., Borrelli, P., Meusburger, C., Alewell, C., Lugato, E., Montanarella, L., 2015. Estimating the soil erosion cover-management factor at European scale. Land Use policy journal. 48C, 38-50

 

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