Documents

Over the years, the JRC has produced many publications. These are found in this section. They have been sub-divided in various categories (see Subcategory buttons below). All more than 440 documents can also be inspected irrespective of the category (see 'All documents' below).

Publications in Journals include more than 280 published papers from the Soil Group in the JRC. Most of the papers refer to the last 7 years (2013-2020). In many cases the papers document the datasets published in ESDAC. Almost all the publications are Open Access. 

 

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Threats to the Soil Resource Base of Food Security in China and Europe
Resource Type: Scientific-Technical Reports
Year: 2015

Threats to the Soil Resource Base of Food Security in China and Europe To secure adequate food supply is the major challenge for humanity in the 21st century. Growing world population and its urbanization put pressure on this basic need, which is further threatened by the constant loss of fertile land. The assessment of sustainability of food supply under increasing pressure on land resources has been selected as one of the most important priority topics of the activities of Sino-EU Panel on Land and Soil (SEPLS). The Panel has performed a number of related researches and discussed the results on a scientific seminar in January 2012 in Nanjing, China. This report is an output of this seminar with a summary of the structured discussions on the below issues. Author(s) Gergely Tóth and Xiubin Li (eds.) – Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union – 2013 – 117pp. – EUR25632EN Scientific and Technical Research series, ISSN 1831-9424, doi:10.2788/71196 Download report: (Size: 4 MB) Preview FrontPage : Last Update: 10/09/2013

Tackling soil loss across Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
A European Commission analysis indicates that soil erosion continues to outstrip soil formation across the European Union, but that the Common Agricultural Policy is narrowing the gap (P. Panagos et al. Environ. Sci. Policy 54, 438–447; 2015).
The amount of soil lost to water erosion in Europe equates to an estimated economic loss of about US$20 billion per year, based on a replacement cost of $20 per tonne. Between 2000 and 2010, intervention measures through the Common Agricultural Policy have reduced the rate of soil loss in the European Union by an average of 9.5% overall, and by 20% for arable lands.
 
Continued monitoring of human-induced changes to soil every 5–10 years will be crucial for refining soil policies (D. A. Robinson Science 347, 140; 2015).

https://www.nature.com/articles/526195d

Soil Sampling Protocol to Certify the Changes of Organic Carbon Stock in Mineral Soils of European Union (Version 2)
Resource Type: Scientific-Technical Reports
Year: 2015

Soil Sampling Protocol to Certify the Changes of Organic Carbon Stock in Mineral Soils of European Union (Version 2) The objective of this report is to introduce a second, updated, version of the Protocol for soil sampling (Stolbovoy et al., 2005) which includes improvements on Technical specification, Location of the sampling sites, Sampling quantity and composition, Sample collection, Data acquisition and accuracy control, Field validation of the AFRSS method. EUR 21576 EN/2 . 57 pp. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg. Vladimir Stolbovoy, Luca Montanarella, Nicola Filippi, Arwyn Jones, Javier Gallego and Giacomo Grassi Download report: (Size: 2 MB) Preview FrontPage :

Global Soil Organic Carbon Estimates and the Harmonized World Soil Database
Resource Type: Scientific-Technical Reports
Year: 2015

Global Soil Organic Carbon Estimates and the Harmonized World Soil Database Global estimates of soil organic carbon stocks have been produced in the past to support the calculation of potential emissions of CO2 from the soil under scenarios of change land use/cover and climatic conditions (IPCC, 2006), but very few global estimates are presented as spatial data. For global spatial layers on soil parameters, the most recent and complete dataset is available as the Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD). The amended HWSD was compared to data from 4 other global data sets on SOC stocks. The comparative evaluation has demonstrated that bulk density is the most important factor for estimating SOC stocks and mainly responsible for the differences between estimates. Most affected from the variability in bulk density are SOC stocks in areas with soils which are high in organic carbon. Author(s): R. Hiederer, M. Köchy 2012 – 79 pp. – EUR 25225 EN – EUR Scientific and Technical Research series – ISSN 1831-9424 (online), ISSN 1018-5593 (print), ISBN 978-92-79-23108-7, doi:10.2788/13267 Download report: (Size: 1.5 MB) Preview FrontPage : Last Update: 20/03/2012

Site Specific Land Management; General Concepts and Applications
Resource Type: Scientific-Technical Reports
Year: 2015

Site Specific Land Management; General Concepts and Applications To meet the growing need of people for increasing farm income and to minimize the negative environmental impact of today’s farm practices, a new farming concept has been evolved where inputs are fine tuned and optimized according to the local field variability such that yield increment is achieved with a minimum harm to the local environment. This farming concept is different than the traditional farming system and can be highlighted as a precision agriculture system or more specifically termed as site specific land management (SSLM) which takes the advantage of recent technological developments and their uses in agriculture. It operates by matching resource application and agronomic practices with soil attributes and crop requirements as they vary across a field leading to the overall economic and environmental benefits. This report explains in brief a general concept and principle of this eco-friendly farming approach with some common procedures to be followed while planning of SSLM in any area. It also provides an example of applying this farming concept in a small area in Belgium and recommends some land and crop management practices. Author(s): Adhikari K, Carre F, Toth G, Montanarella L. OPOCE , 2009 – 60 pp. – EUR 23978– Scientific and Technical Research series – ISSN 1018-5593, ISBN 978-92-79-13350-3, DOI 10.2788/32619 Keywords: land management , Farm practices, farming technology, SSLM Download report: (Size: 1.5 MB) Preview FrontPage : Last Update: 21/05/2010

Evaluating Adequacy and Usability of Soil Maps in Croatia
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Evaluating Adequacy and Usability of Soil Maps in Croatia Hengl, T., Husnjak, S., 2006. Evaluating Adequacy and Usability of Soil Maps in Croatia. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 70 (3): 920-929 Look for the research paper: Soil Science Society of America Journal

Digital Soil Map of the World.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Digital Soil Map of the World. Published in SCIENCE, Pedro A. Sanchez, Sonya Ahamed, Florence Carré, Alfred E. Hartemink, Jonathan Hempel, Jeroen Huising, Philippe Lagacherie, Alex B. McBratney, Neil J. McKenzie, Maria de Lourdes Mendonça-Santos, Budiman Minasny, Luca Montanarella, Peter Okoth, Cheryl A. Palm, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Keith D. Shepherd, Tor-Gunnar Vågen, Bernard Vanlauwe, Markus G. Walsh, Leigh A. Winowiecki, Gan-Lin Zhang. Science 7 August 2009, Vol. 325. no. 5941, pp. 680 - 681, DOI: 10.1126/science.1175084 Soils are increasingly recognized as major contributors to ecosystem services such as food production and climate regulation (1, 2), and demand for up-to-date and relevant soil information is soaring. But communicating such information among diverse audiences remains challenging because of inconsistent use of technical jargon, and outdated, imprecise methods. Also, spatial resolutions of soil maps for most parts of the world are too low to help with practical land management. While other earth sciences (e.g., climatology, geology) have become more quantitative and have taken advantage of the digital revolution, conventional soil mapping delineates space mostly according to qualitative criteria and renders maps using a series of polygons, which limits resolution. These maps do not adequately express the complexity of soils across a landscape in an easily understandable way. Access the paper or Download it Last Update: 26/04/2010

Assessment of soil erosion sensitivity and post-timber-harvesting erosion response in a mountain environment of Central Italy
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

This study aimed to assess the effects of forest management on the occurrence of accelerated soil erosion by water. The study site is located in a mountainous area of the Italian Central Apennines. Here, forest harvesting is a widespread forestry activity and is mainly performed on the moderate to steep slopes of the highlands. Through modeling operations based on data on soil properties and direct monitoring of changes in the post-forest-harvesting soil surface level at the hillslope scale, we show that the observed site became prone to soil erosion after human intervention. Indeed, the measured mean soil erosion rate of 49 t ha− 1 yr− 1 for the harvested watershed is about 21 times higher than the rate measured in its neighboring undisturbed forested watershed (2.3 t ha− 1 yr− 1). The erosive response is greatly aggravated by exposing the just-harvested forest, with very limited herbaceous plant cover, to the aggressive attack of the heaviest annual rainfall without adopting any conservation practices. The erosivity of the storms during the first four months of field measurements was 1571 MJ mm h− 1 ha− 1 in total (i.e., from September to December 2008). At the end of the experiment (16 months), 18.8%, 26.1% and 55.1% of the erosion monitoring sites in the harvested watershed recorded variations equal or greater than 0–5, 5–10 and > 10 mm, respectively. This study also provides a quantification of Italian forestland surfaces with the same pedo-lithological characteristics exploited for wood supply. Within a period of ten years (2002–2011), about 9891 ha of coppice forest changes were identified and their potential soil erosion rates modeled.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X13004273

SoilTrEC: A Global Initiative on Critical Zone Research and Integration
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

SoilTrEC: A Global Initiative on Critical Zone Research and Integration Global soils provide a variety of ecosystem services. However, currently, global soils are under various threats and in specific cases catastrophic decline in these services is observed across the continents. In this context, , the European Commission published the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection identifies a specific policy need to address the threats to soil and ecosystem services that it provides. SoilTrEC which stands for Soil Transformations in European Catchments aims to research on soil processes and functions in a CZ context and, to provide recommendations to the stakeholders to develop appropriate policies on soil protection and ecosystem services. This paper presents an overview of the SoilTrEC project, its organizational structure, the methodology and the expected outcomes.
Access the paper

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11356-013-2346-x

Modelling Soil Organic Carbon Changes Under Different Maize Cropping Scenarios for Cellulosic Ethanol in Europe
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

The utilization of crop residues in the production of second-generation biofuels has the potential to boost the bioenergy sector without affecting food commodity prices. However, policies leading to large-scale biomass removal should carefully balance the consequences, both environmental and in terms of emissions, on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks depletion. Using a recently developed simulation platform, SOC changes were estimated at European level (EU + candidate and potential candidate countries) under two scenarios of low (R30) and high (R90) maize stover removal for cellulosic ethanol production (i.e. 30 and 90 % of stover removal, respectively). Additionally, mitigation practices for SOC preservation, namely the introduction of a ryegrass cover crop (R90_C) and biodigestate return to soil (R90_B), were explored under the highest rate of stover removal. The results showed that 15.3 to 50.6 Mt year−1 of stover (dry matter) would be potentially available for ethanol production under the lower and high removal rates considered. However, large-scale exploitation of maize residues will lead to a SOC depletion corresponding to 39.7–135.4 Mt CO2 eq. by 2020 (under R30 and R90, respectively) with greater losses in the long term. In particular, every tonne of C residue converted to bioethanol was predicted to have an additional impact on SOC loss almost ranging from 0.2 to 0.5 CO2 eq. ha−1 year−1, considering a continuous biofuel scenario by 2050. The mitigation practices evaluated could more than halve SOC losses compared to R90, but not totally offsetting the negative soil C balance. There is a pressing need to design policies at EU level for optimum maize biofuel cultivations that will preserve the current SOC stock or even generate C credits.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12155-014-9529-2

Sequencing and comparison of the mitochondrial COI gene from isolates of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi belonging to Gigasporaceae and Glomeraceae families
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) are well known for their ecological importance and their positive influence on plants. The genetics and phylogeny of this group of fungi have long been debated. Nuclear markers are the main tools used for phylogenetic analyses, but they have sometimes proved difficult to use because of their extreme variability. Therefore, the attention of researchers has been moving towards other genomic markers, in particular those from the mitochondrial DNA. In this study, 46 sequences of different AMF isolates belonging to two main clades Gigasporaceae and Glomeraceae have been obtained from the mitochondrial gene coding for the Cytochrome c Oxidase I (COI), representing the largest dataset to date of AMF COI sequences. A very low level of divergence was recorded in the COI sequences from the Gigasporaceae, which could reflect either a slow rate of evolution or a more recent evolutionary divergence of this group. On the other hand, the COI sequence divergence between Gigasporaceae and Glomeraceae was high, with synonymous divergence reaching saturated levels. This work also showed the difficulty in developing valuable mitochondrial markers able to effectively distinguish all Glomeromycota species, especially those belonging to Gigasporaceae, yet it represents a first step towards the development of a full mtDNA-based dataset which can be used for further phylogenetic investigations of this fungal phylum.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790314000633

Seasonal monitoring of soil erosion at regional scale: An application of the G2 service in Crete focusing on the agricultural land uses
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

A new soil erosion model, namely G2, was applied in the island of Crete with a focus on agricultural land uses, including potential grazing lands. The G2 model was developed within the Geoland2 project as an agro-environmental service in the framework of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES, now Copernicus) initiative. The G2 model takes advantage of the empirical background of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) and the Gavrilovic model, together with readily available time series of vegetation layers and 10-min rainfall intensity data to produce monthly time-step erosion risk maps at 300 m cell size. The innovations of the G2 model include the implementation of land-use influence parameters based on empirical data and the introduction of a corrective term in the estimation of the topographic influence factor. The mean annual erosion rate in Crete was found to be 8.123 t ha−1. The season from October to January (the rainy season in Crete) was found to be the most critical, accounting for 80% of the annual erosion in the island. Seasonal erosion figures proved to be crucial for the identification of erosion hotspots and of risky land uses. In Crete, high annual erosion figures were detected in natural grasslands and shrublands (14.023 t ha−1), mainly due to the intensification of livestock grazing during the past decades. The G2 model allows for the integrated spatio-temporal monitoring of soil erosion per land-use type based on moderate data input requirements and existing datasets.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0303243413001116

Wind Erosion Susceptibility of European Soils
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

The EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection identified soil degradation caused by erosion as one of the major threats to European soils. A thorough literature review revealed important gaps in research on soil erosion processes in Europe. This is particularly true for wind erosion processes. The current state of the art in erosion research lacks knowledge about where and when wind erosion occurs in Europe, and the intensity of erosion that poses a threat to agricultural productivity. To gain a better understanding of the geographical distribution of wind erosion processes in Europe, we propose an integrated mapping approach to estimate soil susceptibility to wind erosion. The wind-erodible fraction of soil (EF) is one of the key parameters for estimating the susceptibility of soil to wind erosion. It was computed for 18,730 geo-referenced topsoil samples (from the Land Use/Land Cover Area frame statistical Survey (LUCAS) dataset). Our predication of the spatial distribution of the EF and a soil surface crust index drew on a series of related but independent covariates, using a digital soil mapping approach (Cubist-rule-based model to calculate the regression, and Multilevel B-Splines to spatially interpolate the Cubist residuals). The spatial interpolation showed a good performance with an overall R2 of 0.89 (in fitting). We observed the spatial patterns of the soils' susceptibility to wind erosion, in line with the state of the art in the literature. We used regional observations in Lower Saxony and Hungary to ensure the applicability of our approach. These regional control areas showed encouraging results, and indicated that the proposed map may be suitable for national and regional investigations of spatial variability and analyses of soil susceptibility to wind erosion.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016706114002389

Recommendations for the quantitative analysis of landslide risk
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

This paper presents recommended methodologies for the quantitative analysis of landslide hazard, vulnerability and risk at different spatial scales (site-specific, local, regional and national), as well as for the verification and validation of the results. The methodologies described focus on the evaluation of the probabilities of occurrence of different landslide types with certain characteristics. Methods used to determine the spatial distribution of landslide intensity, the characterisation of the elements at risk, the assessment of the potential degree of damage and the quantification of the vulnerability of the elements at risk, and those used to perform the quantitative risk analysis are also described. The paper is intended for use by scientists and practising engineers, geologists and other landslide experts.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10064-013-0538-8

Soil erodibility in Europe: A high-resolution dataset based on LUCAS
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

The greatest obstacle to soil erosion modelling at larger spatial scales is the lack of data on soil characteristics. One key parameter for modelling soil erosion is the soil erodibility, expressed as the K-factor in the widely used soil erosion model, the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) and its revised version (RUSLE). The K-factor, which expresses the susceptibility of a soil to erode, is related to soil properties such as organic matter content, soil texture, soil structure and permeability. With the Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS) soil survey in 2009 a pan-European soil dataset is available for the first time, consisting of around 20,000 points across 25 Member States of the European Union. The aim of this study is the generation of a harmonised high-resolution soil erodibility map (with a grid cell size of 500 m) for the 25 EU Member States. Soil erodibility was calculated for the LUCAS survey points using the nomograph of Wischmeier and Smith (1978). A Cubist regression model was applied to correlate spatial data such as latitude, longitude, remotely sensed and terrain features in order to develop a high-resolution soil erodibility map. The mean K-factor for Europe was estimated at 0.032 t ha h ha− 1 MJ− 1 mm− 1 with a standard deviation of 0.009 t ha h ha− 1 MJ− 1 mm− 1. The yielded soil erodibility dataset compared well with the published local and regional soil erodibility data. However, the incorporation of the protective effect of surface stone cover, which is usually not considered for the soil erodibility calculations, resulted in an average 15% decrease of the K-factor. The exclusion of this effect in K-factor calculations is likely to result in an overestimation of soil erosion, particularly for the Mediterranean countries, where highest percentages of surface stone cover were observed.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969714001727

Germination and Root Elongation Bioassays in Six Different Plant Species for Testing Ni Contamination in Soil
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

In vitro short-term chronic phytotoxicity germination and root elongation test were applied to test the effects of nickel (Ni) in seed germination and root elongation in six plants species: Cucumis sativus (Cucurbitaceae), Lepidium sativum and Brassica nigra (Brassicaceae), Trifolium alexandrinum and Medicago sativa (Fabaceae), Phacelia tanacetifolia (Boraginaceae). A naturally Ni rich soil was used to compare the results obtained. Unlike root elongation, germination was not affected by Ni in any of the six species tested. EC50 values, calculated on the root elongation, showed that Ni toxicity decreases in the following order: P. tanacetifolia > B. nigra > C. sativus > L. sativum > M. sativa > T. alexandrinum. The test conducted using soil elutriate revealed a significantly lower effect in both seed germination and root elongation when compared to the results obtained using untreated soil. Conversely, the test performed on soil confirmed the high sensitivity of C. sativus, P. tanacetifolia and L. sativum to Ni.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%252Fs00128-013-1166-5

Geoarchaeological and historical implications of late Holocene landscape development in the Carseolani Mountains, central Apennines, Italy
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

This study investigates the relationship between late Holocene landscape development and early human interaction by means of geomorphological and sedimentological analyses supported by GIS modeling operations. The selected geoarchives are sedimentary valley fills of two subwatersheds located in the upper Turano River drainage basin (60 km northeast of Rome, Italy), where humans settled at least since the earliest classic period. First the alluvial plains were identified and mapped through multiple GIS operations. Thereafter, 12 cores were taken from the alluvial plains, collecting in total 68 m of alluvial profiles. By sedimentological analyses (i.e., grain size, carbon determination) together with 36 AMS-radiocarbon dates, we identified phases when changes in the geomorphological evolution of the study area occurred. Starting around 4200 cal BP, eight distinct clusters of increased cumulated probability density functions of the 14C dates were observed, representing enhanced alluvial deposition and/or fluvial activity. The shift from a phase of prevailing biostasy to a period of anthropic rhexistasy occurred after 4200 cal BP in the Rio di Riccetto and around 2200 cal BP in the more remote Ovito watersheds. Dividing the alluvial sediment volumes by the potential erosion areas and assuming a sediment delivery ratio (SDR) between 0.21 and 0.46, we obtained an average late Holocene surface lowering of 370 to 540 mm in the Rio di Riccetto and 400 to 510 mm in the Ovito watersheds. Our results show that notable land reshaping occurred in the vicinity of the city of Rome, which can be attributed to human-induced land cover changes.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X14001664

Potential carbon sequestration of European arable soils estimated by modelling a comprehensive set of management practices
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

Bottom–up estimates from long‐term field experiments and modelling are the most commonly used approaches to estimate the carbon (C) sequestration potential of the agricultural sector. However, when data are required at European level, important margins of uncertainty still exist due to the representativeness of local data at large scale or different assumptions and information utilized for running models. In this context, a pan‐European (EU + Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Norway) simulation platform with high spatial resolution and harmonized data sets was developed to provide consistent scenarios in support of possible carbon sequestration policies. Using the CENTURY agroecosystem model, six alternative management practices (AMP) scenarios were assessed as alternatives to the business as usual situation (BAU). These consisted of the conversion of arable land to grassland (and vice versa), straw incorporation, reduced tillage, straw incorporation combined with reduced tillage, ley cropping system and cover crops. The conversion into grassland showed the highest soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration rates, ranging between 0.4 and 0.8 t C ha−1 yr−1, while the opposite extreme scenario (100% of grassland conversion into arable) gave cumulated losses of up to 2 Gt of C by 2100. Among the other practices, ley cropping systems and cover crops gave better performances than straw incorporation and reduced tillage. The allocation of 12 to 28% of the European arable land to different AMP combinations resulted in a potential SOC sequestration of 101–336 Mt CO2 eq. by 2020 and 549‐2141 Mt CO2 eq. by 2100. Modelled carbon sequestration rates compared with values from an ad hoc meta‐analysis confirmed the robustness of these estimates.

Climate-physiographically differentiated Pan-European landslide susceptibility assessment using spatial multi-criteria evaluation and transnational landslide
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

With the adoption of the EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection in 2006, small-scale (1:1 M) assessments of threats affecting soils over Europe received increasing attention. As landslides have been recognized as one of eight threats requiring a Pan-European evaluation, we present an approach for landslide susceptibility evaluation at the continental scale over Europe. Unlike previous continental and global scale landslide susceptibility studies not utilizing spatial information on the events, we collected more than 102,000 landslide locations in 22 European countries. These landslides are heterogeneously distributed over Europe, but are indispensable for the evaluation and classification of Pan-European datasets used as spatial predictors, and the validation of the resulting assessments. For the analysis we subdivided the European territory into seven different climate-physiographical zones by combining morphometric and climatic data for terrain differentiation, and adding a coastal zone defined as a 1 km strip inland from the coastline. Landslide susceptibility modeling was performed for each zone using heuristic spatial multicriteria evaluations supported by analytical hierarchy processes, and validated with the inventory data using the receiver operating characteristics. In contrast to purely data-driven statistical modeling techniques, our semi-quantitative approach is capable to introduce expert knowledge into the analysis, which is indispensable considering quality and resolution of the input data, and incompleteness and bias in the inventory information. The reliability of the resulting susceptibility map ELSUS 1000 Version 1 (1 km resolution) was examined on an administrative terrain unit level in areas with landslide information and through the comparison with available national susceptibility zonations. These evaluations suggest that although the ELSUS 1000 is capable for a correct synoptic prediction of landslide susceptibility in the majority of the area, it needs further improvement in terms of data used.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X14003675

Identification of landslide hazard and risk ‘hotspots’ in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014
Landslides are a serious problem for humans and infrastructure in many parts of Europe. Experts know to a certain degree which parts of the continent are most exposed to landslide hazard. Nevertheless, neither the geographical location of previous landslide events nor knowledge of locations with high landslide hazard necessarily point out the areas with highest landslide risk. In addition, landslides often occur unexpectedly and the decisions on where investments should be made to manage and mitigate future events are based on the need to demonstrate action and political will. The goal of this study was to undertake a uniform and objective analysis of landslide hazard and risk for Europe. Two independent models, an expert-based or heuristic and a statistical model (logistic regression), were developed to assess the landslide hazard. Both models are based on applying an appropriate combination of the parameters representing susceptibility factors (slope, lithology, soil moisture, vegetation cover and other- factors if available) and triggering factors (extreme precipitation and seismicity). The weights of different susceptibility and triggering factors are calibrated to the information available in landslide inventories and physical processes. The analysis is based on uniform gridded data for Europe with a pixel resolution of roughly 30 m × 30 m. A validation of the two hazard models by organizations in Scotland, Italy, and Romania showed good agreement for shallow landslides and rockfalls, but the hazard models fail to cover areas with slow moving landslides. In general, the results from the two models agree well pointing out the same countries with the highest total and relative area exposed to landslides. Landslide risk was quantified by counting the number of exposed people and exposed kilometers of roads and railways in each country. This process was repeated for both models. The results show the highest relative exposure to landslides in small alpine countries such as Lichtenstein. In terms of total values on a national level, Italy scores highest in both the extent of exposed area and the number for exposed population. Again, results agree between the two models, but differences between the models are higher for the risk than for the hazard results. The analysis gives a good overview of the landslide hazard and risk hotspots in Europe and allows a simple ranking of areas where mitigation measures might be most effective.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10064-013-0541-0

Detection of harvested forest areas in Italy using Landsat imagery
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

This study presents a thorough approach, based on the application of multi-spectral remote sensing Landsat imagery, to determine human-induced forest cover change in Italy during the decade 2002–2011. A total of 785.6 ×1 04 ha of forestland was mapped using the main forest classes described within the CORINE land cover 2006 database (3.11 – broad-leaved forest; 3.12 – coniferous forest; 3.13 – mixed forest). The approach employs multi-temporal Landsat imagery to determine large-scale spatiotemporal variations in forest cover with a high degree of precision. The semi-automated procedure is based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) pixel-oriented image differencing technique. The results were validated and rectified as a result of on-screen visual interpretation, whereby all the false-positive forest changes that were incorrectly mapped during the automatic procedure were identified and removed. The derived high-resolution data of forest cover change show that 317,535 ha (4.04% of the total forest area in Italy) were harvested during the period under review. The 125,272 individual clear-cut areas identified are mainly located within protected areas of the European Natura 2000 network. The outcome of this study is a publicly accessible database that can encourage further studies in the framework of international biodiversity and soil protection conventions (http://eusoils.jrc.ec.europa.eu/library/themes/erosion/italy/). The methodology can contribute to the monitoring of human-induced forest changes in support of the Kyoto Protocol.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014362281400006X

Seasonal monitoring of soil erosion at regional scale: An application of the G2 model in Crete focusing on agricultural land uses
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

A new soil erosion model, namely G2, was applied in the island of Crete with a focus on agricultural land uses, including potential grazing lands. The G2 model was developed within the Geoland2 project as an agro-environmental service in the framework of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES, now Copernicus) initiative. The G2 model takes advantage of the empirical background of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) and the Gavrilovic model, together with readily available time series of vegetation layers and 10-min rainfall intensity data to produce monthly time-step erosion risk maps at 300 m cell size. The innovations of the G2 model include the implementation of land-use influence parameters based on empirical data and the introduction of a corrective term in the estimation of the topographic influence factor. The mean annual erosion rate in Crete was found to be 8.123 t ha−1. The season from October to January (the rainy season in Crete) was found to be the most critical, accounting for 80% of the annual erosion in the island. Seasonal erosion figures proved to be crucial for the identification of erosion hotspots and of risky land uses. In Crete, high annual erosion figures were detected in natural grasslands and shrublands (14.023 t ha−1), mainly due to the intensification of livestock grazing during the past decades. The G2 model allows for the integrated spatio-temporal monitoring of soil erosion per land-use type based on moderate data input requirements and existing datasets.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0303243413001116

A new baseline of organic carbon stock in European agricultural soils using a modelling approach
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

Proposed European policy in the agricultural sector will place higher emphasis on soil organic carbon (SOC), both as an indicator of soil quality and as a means to offset CO2 emissions through soil carbon (C) sequestration. Despite detailed national SOC data sets in several European Union (EU) Member States, a consistent C stock estimation at EU scale remains problematic. Data are often not directly comparable, different methods have been used to obtain values (e.g. sampling, laboratory analysis) and access may be restricted. Therefore, any evolution of EU policies on C accounting and sequestration may be constrained by a lack of an accurate SOC estimation and the availability of tools to carry out scenario analysis, especially for agricultural soils. In this context, a comprehensive model platform was established at a pan‐European scale (EU + Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Norway) using the agro‐ecosystem SOC model CENTURY. Almost 164 000 combinations of soil‐climate‐land use were computed, including the main arable crops, orchards and pasture. The model was implemented with the main management practices (e.g. irrigation, mineral and organic fertilization, tillage) derived from official statistics. The model results were tested against inventories from the European Environment and Observation Network (EIONET) and approximately 20 000 soil samples from the 2009 LUCAS survey, a monitoring project aiming at producing the first coherent, comprehensive and harmonized top‐soil data set of the EU based on harmonized sampling and analytical methods. The CENTURY model estimation of the current 0–30 cm SOC stock of agricultural soils was 17.63 Gt; the model uncertainty estimation was below 36% in half of the NUTS2 regions considered. The model predicted an overall increase of this pool according to different climate‐emission scenarios up to 2100, with C loss in the south and east of the area (involving 30% of the whole simulated agricultural land) compensated by a gain in central and northern regions. Generally, higher soil respiration was offset by higher C input as a consequence of increased CO2 atmospheric concentration and favourable crop growing conditions, especially in northern Europe. Considering the importance of SOC in future EU policies, this platform of simulation appears to be a very promising tool to orient future policymaking decisions.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcb.12292

Assessing soil erosion in Europe based on data collected through a European Network
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

The European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment (DG Environment) and the European Environmental Agency (EEA) have identified soil organic matter conservation and mitigation of soil loss by erosion as priorities for the collection of policy-relevant soil data at the European scale. In order to support European Union (EU) soil management policies, soil quality indicators are required that can be applied using harmonized data for the EU Member States. In 2010, the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) of the European Commission conducted a project to collect data on soil erosion from national institutions in Europe, using the European Environment Information and Observation Network for soil (EIONET-SOIL). The aim of this paper is to present a selection of the results obtained for soil erosion from the participating countries. The data collected were compared with estimates of soil loss using the Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment (PESERA) model, and aggregated soil erosion data from pan-European experimental plot studies. The comparison focuses on eight countries for which complete soil erosion data have been received. Overall, the mean values of soil loss reported by the national institutes (EIONET-SOIL) are larger than the PESERA estimates, with the main differences being for sloping land (> 2°) and for the land cover type forest and heterogeneous agricultural [land cover types according to CORINE (“coordination of information on the environment”) Land Cover 2006].

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00380768.2013.835701

Predicting soil organic carbon content in Cyprus using remote sensing and Earth observation data
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

The LUCAS (Land Use/Cover Area frame Statistical Survey) database currently contains about 20,000 topsoil samples of 15 soil properties. It is the largest harmonised soil survey field database currently available for Europe. Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) levels have been successfully determined using both proximal and airborne/spaceborne reflectance spectroscopy. In this paper, Cyprus was selected as a study area for estimating SOC content from multispectral remotely sensed data. The estimation of SOC was derived by comparing field measurements with a set of spatially exhaustive covariates, including DEM-derived terrain features, MODIS Vegetation indices (16 days) and Landsat ETM+ data. In particular, the SOC levels in the LUCAS database were compared with the covariate values in the collocated pixels and their eight surrounding neighbours. The regression model adopted made use of Support Vector Machines (SVM) regression analysis. The SVM regression proved to be very efficient in mapping SOC with an R2 fitting of 0.81 and an R2 k-fold cross-validation of 0.68. This study proves that the inference of SOC levels is possible at regional or continental scales using available remote sensing and Earth observation data.

https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/9229/1...