European Soil Database Derived data

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Additional Spatial layers derived from the European Soil Database

A number of layers for soil properties have been created based on data from the European Soil Database in combination with data from the Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD) and Soil-Terrain Database (SOTER). The available layers include: Total available water content, Depth available to roots, Clay content, Silt content, Sand content, Organic carbon, Bulk Density, Coarse fragments. The layers of soil properties of Soil Typological Units (STUs) are only intended to facilitate modelling purposes. The final result of the modelling activity should be aggregated to SMUs or another larger mapping unit. The derived data have mainly the following features (compared to the past - European Soil Database):

  • Represent a soil property from all STUs pertaining to an SMU in a single raster layer was made by mapping the STUs to geographic positions
  • The attribute data are in part based on the STU table of the ESDB and other data sources : Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD), Soil and Terrain Database (SOTER)
  • The range of parameters is broadened by using Pedo-Transfer Rules (PTRs) to derive estimates of additional parameter
Soil Property Topsoil (Filename) Subsoil (Filename) Unit
Area of STU allocation STU_EU_ALLOCATE unitless
Depth available to roots STU_EU_DEPTH_ROOTS cm
Clay content STU_EU_T_CLAY STU_EU_S_CLAY %
Sand content STU_EU_T_SAND STU_EU_S_SAND %
Silt content STU_EU_T_SILT STU_EU_S_SILT %
Organic carbon content STU_EU_T_OC STU_EU_S_OC %
Bulk density STU_EU_T_BD STU_EU_S_BD g cm-3
Total available water content from PTR SMU_EU_T_TAWC SMU_EU_S_TAWC mm
Total available water content from PTF STU_EU_T_TAWC STU_EU_S_TAWC mm

Access to the data:

In order to obtain access to these databases : Fill in the Request form; after which you will receive further instructions how to download the data.

References - Porposed Citations

Layer Properties

Common properties for the soil property layers are:

Format: Idrisi raster format
Reference system: ETRS 89 LAEA
Rows: 5900
Columns: 4600
Min. X 1500000.0
Max. X 7400000.0
Min. Y 900000.0
Max. Y 5500000.0
Resolution: 1000.0
Reference unit: meter

Comments - Notes on to use of soil property layers

Comments on to use of soil property layers from spatially allocating soil typological units (STU) of the European Soil Database (ESDB):

  • Spatial layers on key soil properties for the topsoil and subsoil with pan-European coverage are derived from the spatial allocation of STUs. STUs are only allocated to 1km grid cells for those areas where suitable data exist to perform a multi-criteria evaluation and land allocation. In other areas the properties of the dominant STUs are mapped. The area where STUs are allocated is provided as a binary layer.
  • The layers of soil properties of STUs are intended to facilitate modelling requirements by making the complete range of data for a soil mapping unit (SMU) available in a single layer. The procedure used to spatially allocate STU properties to 1km grid cells does not estimate the property of that grid cell, but is the likely distribution of all STUs of a soil mapping unit (SMU) within the spatial and thematic limits of that unit. Users should be aware that the correlation between the soil properties of a grid location with point data from ground surveys may be very low.
  • The final result of the modelling activity should be aggregated to SMUs or another larger mapping unit. It is generally not recommended to aggregate soil properties to larger spatial units by averaging the property values first and then using the average values as input for models.

Special note for depth:

  • The depth layer included in the data set is the "depth to obstacles to roots" derived from the ESDB depth classes recorded in the field [ROO.ST_SGDBE]. For organic soils in Sweden the field contains only code 4 (Obstacle to roots between 20 and 40 cm depth). The depth value for this class is set to 30cm. As a consequence, the subsoil layers for organi9c carbon and bulk density only contain mineral soils.
  • The layer is not suitable to calculate soil organic carbon density other than the topsoil. To compute this parameter the required soil properties (depth, organic carbon content, bulk density and gravel content) should be available for the depth of the soil.

Special note for peat:

  • The soil texture data contains texture values as provided by the Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD) V.1.2.1. The HWSD provides texture values also for most typological units classified as peat.
  • In the ESDB pedo-transfer rule (PTR) 22 is used to identify peat. The conditions defining the PTR are purely based on the soil classification name (taxonomy). Data of organic carbon content of the HWSD do not fully correspond to the results of using PTR 22. For example, Histo-Humic Gleysol (Ghh) is classified as peat by PTR 22, but classifying the soil texture and organic carbon content data of the HWSD does not necessarily provide the same class.
  • To identify areas of peat in this data set the peat class (Class 8) in the layer on texture classes should be used, which is consistent with the texture and organic carbon layer data. The classification of peat is done on the basis of the soil clay and organic carbon content as found in the SGDBE of the ESDB. In case a model uses soil texture information separately from peat it is recommended to give priority to the peat areas identified in the data layer of classified soil texture


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