Maps indicating the availability of Raw Material from soils in the European Union.

This dataset (maps)(2016) indicates the availability of Raw Material (organic soil material and soil material for constructions) from soils in the European Union.
Registration is requested: 
Author - Contributors: 
Gergely Tóth, Ciro Gardi, Katalin Bódis, Éva Ivits, Ece Aksoy, Arwyn Jones, Simon Jeffrey, Thorum Petursdottir and Luca Montanarella, European Commission

This dataset (maps) indicates the availability of Raw Material (organic soil material and soil material for constructions) from soils in the European Union, and corresponds to the figures 7a and 7b from the publication "Continental-scale assessment of provisioning soil functions in Europe", Gergely Tóth, Ciro Gardi, Katalin Bódis, Éva Ivits, Ece Aksoy, Arwyn Jones, Simon Jeffrey, Thorum Petursdottir and Luca Montanarella, Ecological Processes 2013 2:32; DOI: 10.1186/2192-1709-2-32. (

From this publication: "... For the evaluation of the raw material provision functions, the definition of the criteria for soil-originated raw material needs to be established. Firstly, it is important to set distinct criteria for soil and non-soil materials. Most mineral raw materials used by humans are of geological origin and are generally excavated by mining operations. Although soil parent material is usually considered as part of the pedon (e.g., soil taxonomy), in the raw material provisioning soil service, only soil layers above the parent material are considered. This designation also corresponds to the soil characterization provided by the TSSP, according to which “soil is generally defined as the top layer of the Earth’s crust, formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms” (CEC 2006). Based on the above considerations, the biomass production function and raw material availability in the soil layers above the parent material were assessed during the evaluation of provisioning soil ecosystem services."


" ... For continental-scale evaluations of raw materials in soils we must limit ourselves to the issues apparent over larger areas. While acknowledging the significance of locally important soil characteristics (such as high quality kaolinite for ceramics; bentonite for metal casting, well drilling, or food additives; clay for various applications), this study has focused on two applications: (1) organic soil (for horticultural and other applications) and (2) soil materials in construction. These two fields of applications involve by far the largest amounts of excavated soils in Europe. It is worth noting that a regional or local soil quality assessment might consider other elements (and with different weights). It is also worthwhile to mention that the growing demand for the services provided by the genetic pool of soil biota (e.g., from pharmaceutical industry) might lead to extraction of some soil material locally. However, the magnitudes of these kinds of extractions involve minor areas on the local scale and are not significant on a regional scale, and as such do not significantly affect the capacity of soil to provide other ecosystem services. "


"Evaluation of soil provisioning functional capacities:

The evaluation of raw material availability from soil origin is limited to resources above the parent material. The assessment included the following two options, with the relevant criteria:

a) Peat (for horticultural and other applications) and organic topsoil: All organic soils (Histosols) are considered and no mineral soils are considered.

b) Soil materials for construction: To assess the quality of soils to provide construction materials, the approach presented in the Soil Atlas of Europe applied, and the presence of  sand and gravel was examined for this function. Criteria:

a. Coarse texture (clay < 18% and sand > 65%) and/or
b. Stones and gravel content are dominant in the horizon (> 80% by volume)
In addition to the above construction materials, loamy clay is often used to produce bricks and tiles. Although the Soil Atlas of Europe does not consider these as among the dominant soil-based construction materials, their widespread usage could justify the inclusion of loamy-clay (sub) soils in the analysis. However, the currently available continental soil databases contain no information on soil texture at this level of detail; therefore such an analysis was not feasible at this time. The evaluation did not account for any 
economic considerations (i.e., only the availability of raw material was assessed).
Results are presented as the proportional availability of these materials in the mapping units. For Cyprus, no information on texture and stone and gravel content was available and, therefore Cyprus was excluded from this analysis.
Results and discussions:
Raw material provisioning of the mapping units was calculated on the basis of the proportional shares of the Soil Typological Units (STUs) with raw material content in the area of each mapping unit. Once again it is important to stress that geological maps showing availability of materials worthwhile for human use that are present below the soil cover were not 
considered in this assessment and might show a very different pattern. The result of the assessment is presented in the figures A and B (see below). It is well acknowledged that this first approximation to highlight the availability of soil-born raw materials on the continental scale might be biased (1) by the classification of soil materials of human interest for excavation and (2) by the thematic and geographic limitations of the dataset. However, the attempt to consider the main human activities that require materials of soil  
origin and to map the locations where those materials are available on a continental scale provides new insight to this field of research. These maps showing a continental overview can suggest opportunities for raw material extraction from soil which can serve current or future needs for a number of applications, such as construction and the health  industry (soil organic matter). The maps show that northern and north-eastern Europe have large stocks for both applications, while most other regions of the continent do not have large reserves of soil organic matter but are generally well suited for extraction of construction materials, with substantial intraregional differences."
Figure A: Raw material availability from soils of the European Union. Organic soil material
Figure B: Raw material availability from soils of the European Union. Soil material for constructions



The data come as a single shapefile; the polygons are those from the European Soil Database. Raw material calculations were made for all polygons for which relevant data were available. From these polygons, in order to derive the maps that are shown in the paper, only the ones belonging to the EU-28 (but Croatia and Cyprus) should be retained.

The attributes org and constr in the attribute table indicate 'organic soil material' and 'soil material for constructions' respectively; values are between 0 and 10, and indicate, as already mentioned "... the proportional shares of the Soil Typological Units (STUs) with raw material content in the area of each mapping unit."

Coordinate system: INSPIRE-recommended Lambert Azimuth Equal Area: .prj-file



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