Title
Support Practices factor (P-factor) for the EU
Abstract

The USLE/RUSLE support practice factor (P-factor) is rarely taken into account in soil erosion
risk modelling at sub-continental scale, as it is difficult to estimate for large areas. This study
attempts to model the P-factor in the European Union. For this, it considers the latest policy
developments in the Common Agricultural Policy, and applies the rules set by Member
States for contour farming over a certain slope. The impact of stone walls and grass margins
is also modelled using the more than 226,000 observations from the Land use/cover area
frame statistical survey (LUCAS) carried out in 2012 in the European Union.
The mean P-factor considering contour farming, stone walls and grass margins in the
European Union is estimated at 0.9702. The support practices accounted for in the P-factor
reduce the risk of soil erosion by 3%, with grass margins having the largest impact (57% of the
total erosion risk reduction) followed by stone walls (38%). Contour farming contributes very
little to the P-factor given its limited application; it is only used as a support practice in eight
countries and only on very steep slopes. Support practices have the highest impact in Malta,
Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium, The Netherlands and United Kingdom where they
reduce soil erosion risk by at least 5%. The P-factor modelling tool can potentially be used by
policy makers to run soil-erosion risk scenarios for a wider application of contour farming in
areas with slope gradients less than 10%, maintaining stone walls and increasing the number
of grass margins under the forthcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. More information about the methodology of P-factor estimation in: Panagos, P., Borrelli, P., Meusburger, K., van der Zanden, E.H., Poesen, J., Alewell, C. 2015. Modelling the effect of support practices (P-factor) on the reduction of soil erosion by water at European Scale. Environmental Science & Policy 51: 23-34


References
A complete description of the methodology and the application in Europe is described in the paper: Panagos, P., Borrelli, P., Meusburger, K., van der Zanden, E.H., Poesen, J., Alewell, C. 2015. Modelling the effect of support practices (P-factor) on the reduction of soil erosion by water at European Scale. Environmental Science & Policy, 51: 23-34.
Data ownership
European Commission, Joint Research Centre.
Publication Date
Type
Raster Data
Category
Environment
environmental resources, protection and conservation. Examples: environmental pollution, waste storage and treatment, environmental impact assessment, monitoring environmental risk, nature reserves, landscape
Regions
Europe

Maintenance Frequency
5-10 Years, Data Is Updated In Intervals That Are Uneven In Duration
Edition
1
Purpose

This layers is used as input for soil erosion modelling

Language
English

Spatial Representation Type
grid data is used to represent geographic data
Attribute Name Label Description
P_factor None None

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    Support Practices factor (P-factor)

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