EIONET Erosion Data

September 2013

Two of the main soil threats in European soils are soil erosion and decline in soil organic matter.

The EEA and the European Commission DG Environment have identified these issues as priorities in relation to the collection of policy relevant soil data at European scale. In the context of its European Soil Data Centre(ESDAC) activities and in response to EEA soil data requirements, the JRC is responsible for collection and management of European soil data in collaboration with EIONET members.

Therefore, the JRC has organizde through EIONET a data collection exercise with the objective of creating European-wide datasets for actual soil erosion and soil organic carbon (OC). ESDAC adopted a “light” data collection protocol that summarised SOC and soil erosion data on grid of 1km x 1km assigned to each country according to the Directive for an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) (INSPIRE, 2007). For soil erosion, the grid values were expressed in tonnes per hectare per year (t/ha/y). The data collection protocol defined by ESDAC requested the soil erosion data to include only erosion caused by water (rill & interrill, sheet) and not other types of erosion such as wind or tillage or mass movement/landslides

Regarding soil erosion, the cell values had to express tonnes per hectare per year (t/ha/y). The information requested in the meta-data include the model used, Methods, land use covered and the input factors .

The grid selected to overlay the European territory is a grid suggested by the technical co-ordinators for the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive.

Contributing Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia


Table 1: The Soil Erosion by Water (T/ha per Year)

Country Country Coverage
with erosion Value (%)
Average Soil erosion
(T/ha annually)
Standard Deviation
(T/ha annually)
Model and land use covered
Austria 97.6 0.66 1.9 Model: Combination of USLE and
Land: all land-cover types
Belgium 87.3 3.65 4.1 Model: RUSLE
Land: all land-cover types
Bulgaria 91.2 1.88 2.7 Model: USLE
Land: all land-cover type
Germany 46.6 1.40 2.1 Model: USLE
Land: Agricultural
Italy (10 Regions) 49.2 6.60 13.6 Model: RUSLE
Land: all land-cover type
Netherlands 94.7 0.25 1.0 Model: RUSLE
Land: all land-cover type
Poland 70.1 1.46 2.8 Model: USLE
Land: Agriculture
Slovakia 99.5 1.04 1.5 Model: USLE
Land: all land-cover type

Note: Estonia and Norway provided data for a limited coverage.

For more information and full documentation about the EIONET soil Erosion data collection (you can request a reprint from the Author):
Panagos, P., Meusburger, K., Van Liedekerke, M., Alewell, C., Hiederer, R., Montanarella, L. 2014. Assessing soil erosion in Europe based on data collected through a European Network.
Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 2014, Vol. 60 (1), pp.15-29. DOI: 10.1080/00380768.2013.835701