Publications in Journals

Peer review Papers published in International Journals and Magazines.

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). An important number of papers has been published in high impact factor journals: Nature, Nature Climate Change, Nature Communications, Science Advances, Science, PNAS, Global Change Biology, Science of the Total Environment, etc.

The publications are relevant to soil themes, functions and threats. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during most of the presented studies are available in the ESDAC datasets section. Almost all the publications are Open Access. 

You can browse in the publications by year and you can download them (A hyperlink is provided per each publication).

 

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The relevance of sustainable soil management within the European Green Deal
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2021

The new European Green Deal has the ambition to make the European Union the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The European Commission presented an ambitious package of measures within the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the Farm to Fork and the European Climate Law including actions to protect our soils. The Farm to Fork strategy addresses soil pollution with 50 % reduction in use of chemical pesticides by 2030 and aims 20 % reduction in fertilizer use plus a decrease of nutrient losses by at least 50%. The Biodiversity Strategy has the ambition to set a minimum of 30 % of the EU’s land area as protected areas, limit urban sprawl, reduce the pesticides risk, bring back at least 10 % of agricultural area under high-diversity landscape features, put forward the 25 % of the EU’s agricultural land as organically farmed, progress in the remediation of contaminated sites, reduce land degradation and plant more than three billion new trees. The maintenance of wetlands and the enhancement of soil organic carbon are also addressed in the European Climate Law. The new EU Soil Observatory will be collecting policy relevant data and developing indicators for the regular assessment and progress towards the ambitious targets of the Green Deal.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837720304257

Integrated management for sustainable cropping systems: Looking beyond the greenhouse balance at the field scale
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Cover crops (CC) promote the accumulation of soil organic carbon (SOC), which provides multiple benefits to agro‐ecosystems. However, additional nitrogen (N) inputs into the soil could offset the CO2 mitigation potential due to increasing N2O emissions. Integrated management approaches use organic and synthetic fertilizers to maximize yields while minimizing impacts by crop sequencing adapted to local conditions. The goal of this work was to test whether integrated management, centered on CC adoption, has the potential to maximize SOC stocks without increasing the soil greenhouse gas (GHG) net flux and other agro‐environmental impacts such as nitrate leaching. To this purpose, we ran the DayCent bio‐geochemistry model on 8,554 soil sampling locations across the European Union. We found that soil N2O emissions could be limited with simple crop sequencing rules, such as switching from leguminous to grass CC when the GHG flux was positive (source). Additional reductions of synthetic fertilizers applications are possible through better accounting for N available in green manures and from mineralization of soil reservoirs while maintaining cash crop yields. Therefore, our results suggest that a CC integrated management approach can maximize the agro‐environmental performance of cropping systems while reducing environmental trade‐offs.

How to halt the global decline of lands
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020
Land degradation is the persistent reduction in the capacity of the land to support human and other life on Earth1. Human dominance of land and its natural resources has vastly increased over the past century and has substantially altered natural ecological processes on three-quarters of the Earth’s land surface2. That domination of the biosphere has contributed to increased human welfare, but the downside to humans and the environment is increasingly apparent. In every terrestrial and freshwater ecosystem type, to varying degrees, unsustainable land use and overexploitation of natural resources have impaired ecological function, capacity to supply ecosystem services, and the ability to support biodiversity1. Populations of wild species have decreased and extinctions are occurring much more frequently than the rate at which new species naturally evolve3. Land degradation has negatively affected the living conditions of at least two-fifths of the people on Earth and it is estimated to be reducing global economic output by a tenth4. Vulnerable groups, indigenous and marginalized communities are disproportionately and negatively impacted, especially in terms of water supply and quality, health, and disaster vulnerability.
 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-0477-x

An indicator to reflect the mitigating effect of Common Agricultural Policy on soil erosion
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2020

This study presents the updated version of the recently published LANDUM model [Land Use Policy 48, 38–50 (2015)]. LANDUM is integrated into the 100 m resolution RUSLE-based pan-European soil erosion risk modelling platform of the European Commission. It estimates the effects of local land use and management practices on the magnitude of soil erosion across each NUTS2 region of the European Union. This is done based on a spatially explicit estimation of the so-called cover-management factor of (R)USLE family models which is also known as C-factor. In this updated version, the data on soil conservation measures (i.e., reduced tillage, cover crops and plant residues) reported in the latest EU Farm Structure Survey (2016) were integrated and elaborated in LANDUM in order to estimate the changes of the C-factor in Europe between 2010 and 2016. For 2016, a C-factor of 0.2316 for the arable land of the 28 Member States of the European Union was estimated. This implies an overall decrease of C-factor of ca. -0.84 % compared to the 2010 survey. The change in C-factor from 2010 to 2016 could be an indication for the effectiveness of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) soil conservation measures in reducing soil erosion in Europe, especially key CAP policies such as Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions and Greening.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026483771931172X

High-Throughput DNA Sequence-Based Analysis of AMF Communities
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are obligate symbionts of most land plants. They have great ecological and economic impacts as they support plant nutrition and water supply, soil structure, and plant resistance to pathogens. Investigating AMF presence and distribution at small and large scales is critical. Therefore, research requires standard protocols to be easily implemented. In this chapter, we describe a workflow for AMF identification by high-throughput sequencing through Illumina MiSeq platform of two DNA target regions: small subunit (SSU) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS). The protocol can apply to both soil and root AMF communities.

https://link.springer.com/protocol/10.1007%2F978-1-0716-0603-2_9

Comparison of sampling with a spade and gouge auger for topsoil monitoring at the continental scale
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

The sampling method is a key aspect when designing a soil monitoring network. The determination of any physical and chemical property can be subject to uncertainties because of the sampling method. In this study, we compared the efficiency of sampling with a spade and a gouge auger for the physicochemical characterization of topsoil samples from 150 mineral soils under various land cover (LC) classes in Switzerland taken within the LUCAS 2015 Survey. The sampling methods differed in their scheme, accuracy of litter removal and control of sampling depth, which were more rigorous with the gouge auger than the spade method. Values of root mean square error of properties ranged between 1/2 and 1/30 of their mean values. Lin's concordance correlation coefficient showed that the spade and gouge auger methods produced similar results for all properties (LCCC ≥0.73), with a better relation for arable land than other LC classes. A poor relation was observed for potassium (LCCC = 0.35) in coniferous forest because of its shallow distribution in depth. We concluded that the simpler and cheaper spade method is an accurate method for topsoil sampling at the continental scale. From this study, it is clear that some improvements in the control of sampling depth and the accuracy of litter removal are needed, especially when monitoring forest soils and properties that change rapidly with depth. Spade sampling can help to expand the implementation of soil monitoring surveys at the continental scale at relatively low sampling cost.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ejss.12862

Land use and climate change impacts on global soil erosion by water (2015-2070)
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2020

Soil erosion is a major global soil degradation threat to land, freshwater, and oceans. Wind and water are the major drivers, with water erosion over land being the focus of this work; excluding gullying and river bank erosion. Improving knowledge of the probable future rates of soil erosion, accelerated by human activity, is important both for policy makers engaged in land use decision-making and for earth-system modelers seeking to reduce uncertainty on global predictions. Here we predict future rates of erosion by modeling change in potential global soil erosion by water using three alternative (2.6, 4.5, and 8.5) Shared Socioeconomic Pathway and Representative Concentration Pathway (SSP-RCP) scenarios. Global predictions rely on a high spatial resolution Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE)-based semiempirical modeling approach (GloSEM). The baseline model (2015) predicts global potential soil erosion rates of 43+9.2−7 Pg yr−1, with current conservation agriculture (CA) practices estimated to reduce this by ∼5%. Our future scenarios suggest that socioeconomic developments impacting land use will either decrease (SSP1-RCP2.6–10%) or increase (SSP2-RCP4.5 +2%, SSP5-RCP8.5 +10%) water erosion by 2070. Climate projections, for all global dynamics scenarios, indicate a trend, moving toward a more vigorous hydrological cycle, which could increase global water erosion (+30 to +66%). Accepting some degrees of uncertainty, our findings provide insights into how possible future socioeconomic development will affect soil erosion by water using a globally consistent approach. This preliminary evidence seeks to inform efforts such as those of the United Nations to assess global soil erosion and inform decision makers developing national strategies for soil conservation.

https://www.pnas.org/content/117/36/21994

Blind spots in global soil biodiversity and ecosystem function research
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Soils harbor a substantial fraction of the world’s biodiversity, contributing to many crucial ecosystem functions. It is thus essential to identify general macroecological patterns related to the distribution and functioning of soil organisms to support their conservation and consideration by governance. These macroecological analyses need to represent the diversity of environmental conditions that can be found worldwide. Here we identify and characterize existing environmental gaps in soil taxa and ecosystem functioning data across soil macroecological studies and 17,186 sampling sites across the globe. These data gaps include important spatial, environmental, taxonomic, and functional gaps, and an almost complete absence of temporally explicit data. We also identify the limitations of soil macroecological studies to explore general patterns in soil biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, with only 0.3% of all sampling sites having both information about biodiversity and function, although with different taxonomic groups and functions at each site. Based on this information, we provide clear priorities to support and expand soil macroecological research.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17688-2

Global phosphorus shortage will be aggravated by soil erosion
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Soil phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural systems will limit food and feed production in the future. Here, we combine spatially distributed global soil erosion estimates (only considering sheet and rill erosion by water) with spatially distributed global P content for cropland soils to assess global soil P loss. The world’s soils are currently being depleted in P in spite of high chemical fertilizer input. Africa (not being able to afford the high costs of chemical fertilizer) as well as South America (due to non-efficient organic P management) and Eastern Europe (for a combination of the two previous reasons) have the highest P depletion rates. In a future world, with an assumed absolute shortage of mineral P fertilizer, agricultural soils worldwide will be depleted by between 4–19 kg ha−1 yr−1, with average losses of P due to erosion by water contributing over 50% of total P losses.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18326-7

Blind spots in global soil biodiversity and ecosystem function research
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2020

Soils harbor a substantial fraction of the world’s biodiversity, contributing to many crucial ecosystem functions. It is thus essential to identify general macroecological patterns related to the distribution and functioning of soil organisms to support their conservation and consideration by governance. These macroecological analyses need to represent the diversity of environmental conditions that can be found worldwide. Here we identify and characterize existing environmental gaps in soil taxa and ecosystem functioning data across soil macroecological studies and 17,186 sampling sites across the globe. These data gaps include important spatial, environmental, taxonomic, and functional gaps, and an almost complete absence of temporally explicit data. We also identify the limitations of soil macroecological studies to explore general patterns in soil biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, with only 0.3% of all sampling sites having both information about biodiversity and function, although with different taxonomic groups and functions at each site. Based on this information, we provide clear priorities to support and expand soil macroecological research.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17688-2

The potential of straw mulch as a nature-based solution in olive groves. A biophysical and socio-economic assessment
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Fifty paired plots under simulated rainfall showed that the use of a cover of straw mulch of 50% (1 mg ha−1) in olive orchards results in a reduction of soil erosion. An economic survey based on interviews shows that the use of straw mulch in olive plantation would cost €174.7 ha−1, from which €54.7 ha−1 is needed for the application work, €52.3 ha−1 for the purchase cost, and €67.7 ha−1 for the transport of 20‐kg bales. The cost of the straw is 22.5% of the total income of the farmers. We found that their perception was negative about the use of straw mulch, as the tradition is to keep the soil clean from any weed or cover, except the crop. However, farmers would use it if they would be subsidized with a minimum of €267 ha−1, which is €92 ha−1 more than the costs estimated on the basis of the surveys. We conclude that soil erosion can be controlled with the use of straw mulch but that to convince farmers to adopt this management strategy, it needs to be subsidized.

Land susceptibility to water and wind erosion risks in the East Africa region
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Land degradation by water and wind erosion is a serious problem worldwide. Despite the significant amount of research on this topic, quantifying these processes at large- or regional-scale remains difficult. Furthermore, very few studies provide integrated assessments of land susceptibility to both water and wind erosion. Therefore, this study investigated the spatial patterns of water and wind erosion risks, first separately and then combined, in the drought-prone region of East Africa using the best available datasets. As to water erosion, we adopted the spatially distributed version of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation and compared our estimates with plot-scale measurements and watershed sediment yield (SY) data. The order of magnitude of our soil loss estimates by water erosion is within the range of measured plot-scale data. Moreover, despite the fact that SY integrates different soil erosion and sediment deposition processes within watersheds, we observed a strong correlation of SY with our estimated soil loss rates (r2 = 0.4). For wind erosion, we developed a wind erosion index by integrating five relevant factors using fuzzy logic technique. We compared this index with estimates of the frequency of dust storms, derived from long-term Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor Level-3 daily data. This comparison revealed an overall accuracy of 70%. According to our estimates, mean annual gross soil loss by water erosion amounts to 4 billion t, with a mean soil loss rate of 6.3 t ha−1 yr−1, of which ca. 50% was found to originate in Ethiopia. In terms of land cover, ca. 50% of the soil loss by water erosion originates from cropland (with a mean soil loss rate of 18.4 t ha−1 yr−1), which covers ca. 15% of the total area in the study region. Model results showed that nearly 10% of the East Africa region is subject to moderate or elevated water erosion risks (>10 t ha−1 yr−1). With respect to wind erosion, we estimated that around 25% of the study area is experiencing moderate or elevated wind erosion risks (equivalent to a frequency of dust storms >45 days yr−1), of which Sudan and Somalia (which are dominated by bare/sparse vegetation cover) have the largest share (ca. 90%). In total, an estimated 8 million ha is exposed to moderate or elevated risks of soil erosion by both water and wind. The results of this study provide new insights on the spatial patterns of water and wind erosion risks in East Africa and can be used to prioritize areas where further investigations are needed and where remedial actions should be implemented.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719350089

Plutonium aided reconstruction of caesium atmospheric fallout in European topsoils
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Global nuclear weapon testing and the Chernobyl accident have released large amounts of radionuclides into the environment. However, to date, the spatial patterns of these fallout sources remain poorly constrained. Fallout radionuclides (137Cs, 239Pu, 240Pu) were measured in soil samples (n = 160) collected at flat, undisturbed grasslands in Western Europe in the framework of a harmonised European soil survey. We show that both fallout sources left a specific radionuclide imprint in European soils. Accordingly, we used plutonium to quantify contributions of global versus Chernobyl fallout to 137Cs found in European soils. Spatial prediction models allowed for a first assessment of the global versus Chernobyl fallout pattern across national boundaries. Understanding the magnitude of these fallout sources is crucial not only to establish a baseline in case of future radionuclide fallout but also to define a baseline for geomorphological reconstructions of soil redistribution due to soil erosion processes.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-68736-2

Soil and water threats in a changing environment
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020
A fast pacing climate change exacerbates the multitude of human impacts. Several reports highlighted (e.g., Magurran, 2016; Lewis et al., 2017; Diffenbaugh et al., 2018) that the degree of impact imposed by human activities on all the ecosystem components are unprecedented. We entered a new era, the Anthropocene (Malhi, 2017; Laurence, 2019). In this new era, soil and water resources are exposed to tremendous pressure, and our life depends on it.
 
Soils and water environments (e.g., freshwater, coastal and marine) provide a wide range of direct and indirect regulating (e.g., carbon sequestration, climate regulation, water purification and storage, flood retention), provisioning (e.g., food, fiber, wood), and cultural (e.g., education, recreation, landscape aesthetics) ecosystem services (ES). Therefore, both soils and water are the key elements to humankind (Barbier, 2017; Pereira et al., 2018; Jorda-Capdevila et al., 2019). Soils and water environments interact in a continuum through very complex processes and feedbacks. For example, agriculture practices have implications on land degradation, water bodies eutrophication and pollution.
 
Here, we present numerous studies focusing on how land abandonment (Tarolli et al., 2019), urbanization (Ferreira et al., 2018), agriculture intensification (Panagos et al., 2016), mining (Zibret et al., 2018), warfare activities in relation to land degradation (Certini et al., 2013) and climate change (Plaza et al., 2019) are accelerating soil and water resources degradation, and reducing their capacity to provide ES in quality and quantity. These drivers of change either interact individually or coupled at different spatio-temporal scales

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935120303947

Reconstruction of past rainfall erosivity and trend detection based on the REDES database and reanalysis rainfall
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Rainfall erosivity is the driving force of soil erosion and it is characterized by a large variability in space and time. In order to obtain robust estimates of rainfall erosivity, long series of high-frequency rainfall data are needed, which are often not available for large study areas. In this study we reconstructed past rainfall erosivity in Europe for the period 1961–2018, with the aim to investigate temporal changes in rainfall erosivity. As input data, we used the Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) and Uncertainties in Ensembles of Regional Reanalyses (UERRA) rainfall data. Using a set of regression models, which we derived with the application of the k-fold cross-validation approach, we computed the annual rainfall erosivity for the 1675 stations forming the REDES database. Based on the reconstructed data, we derived a rainfall erosivity trend map for Europe where the results were qualitatively validated. Among the stations showing a statistically significant trend, we observed a tendency towards more positive (15%) than negative trends (7%). In addition, we also observed an increasing tendency of the frequency of years with maximum erosivity values. Geographically, large parts of regions such as Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Baltic countries, Great Britain and Ireland, part of the Balkan Peninsula, most of Italy, Benelux countries, northern part of Germany, part of France, among others, are characterized by a positive trend in rainfall erosivity. By contrast, negative trends in annual rainfall erosivity could be observed for most of the Iberian Peninsula, part of France, most of the Alpine area, Southern Germany, and part of the Balkan Peninsula, among others. The new dataset of rainfall erosivity trends reported in this study scientifically provides new information to better understand the impacts of the ongoing erosivity trends on soil erosion across Europe, while, from a policy perspective, the gained findings provide new knowledge to support the development of soil erosion indicators aiming at promoting mitigation measures at regional and pan-European level.

A Soil Erosion Indicator for Supporting Agricultural, Environmental and Climate Policies in the European Union
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2020
Publisher: Remote Sensing

Soil erosion is one of the eight threats in the Soil Thematic Strategy, the main policy instrument dedicated to soil protection in the European Union (EU). During the last decade, soil erosion indicators have been included in monitoring the performance of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study comes five years after the assessment of soil loss by water erosion in the EU [Environmental science & policy 54, 438–447 (2015)], where a soil erosion modelling baseline for 2010 was developed. Here, we present an update of the EU assessment of soil loss by water erosion for the year 2016. The estimated long-term average erosion rate decreased by 0.4% between 2010 and 2016. This small decrease of soil loss was due to a limited increase of applied soil conservation practices and land cover change observed at the EU level. The modelling results suggest that, currently, ca. 25% of the EU land has erosion rates higher than the recommended sustainable threshold (2 t ha−1 yr−1) and more than 6% of agricultural lands suffer from severe erosion (11 t ha−1 yr−1). The results suggest that a more incisive set of measures of soil conservation is needed to mitigate soil erosion across the EU. However, targeted measures are recommendable at regional and national level as soil erosion trends are diverse between countries which show heterogeneous application of conservation practices.

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/12/9/1365

 

Towards an Assessment of the Ephemeral Gully Erosion Potential in Greece Using Google Earth
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2020

Gully erosion may cause considerable soil losses and produce large volumes of sediment. The aim of this study was to perform a preliminary assessment on the presence of ephemeral gullies in Greece by sampling representative cultivated fields in 100 sites randomly distributed throughout the country. The almost 30-ha sampling surfaces were examined with visual interpretation of multi-temporal imagery from the online Google Earth for the period 2002–2019. In parallel, rill and sheet erosion signs, land uses, and presence of terraces and other anti-erosion features, were recorded within every sample. One hundred fifty-three ephemeral gullies were identified in total, inside 22 examined agricultural surfaces. The mean length of the gullies was 55.6 m, with an average slope degree of 9.7%. Vineyards showed the largest proportion of gullies followed by olive groves and arable land, while pastures exhibited limited presence of gullies. Spatial clusters of high gully severity were observed in the north and east of the country. In 77% of the surfaces with gullies, there were no terraces, although most of these surfaces were situated in slopes higher than 8%. It was the first time to use visual interpretation with Google Earth image time-series on a country scale producing a gully erosion inventory. Soil conservation practices such as contour farming and terraces could mitigate the risk of gully erosion in agricultural areas

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/12/2/603

Towards an integrative understanding of soil biodiversity
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2020

Soil is one of the most biodiverse terrestrial habitats. Yet, we lack an integrative conceptual framework for understanding the patterns and mechanisms driving soil biodiversity. One of the underlying reasons for our poor understanding of soil biodiversity patterns relates to whether key biodiversity theories (historically developed for aboveground and aquatic organisms) are applicable to patterns of soil biodiversity. Here, we present a systematic literature review to investigate whether and how key biodiversity theories (species–energy relationship, theory of island biogeography, metacommunity theory, niche theory and neutral theory) can explain observed patterns of soil biodiversity. We then discuss two spatial compartments nested within soil at which biodiversity theories can be applied to acknowledge the scale‐dependent nature of soil biodiversity.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/brv.12567

FAO calls for actions to reduce global soil erosion
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Soil is a finite resource which is vital for producing food, sequestrating carbon, regulating water and nutrients, filtering contaminants, enhancing biodiversity, storing heritage, and regulating climate (Arshad and Martin 2002). Global soils are continuously degraded because of population growth, economic development, and climate change (Montanarella et al. 2016). Soil erosion is a major form of soil degradation as more than 1 billion hectares globally are affected by some form of erosion (e.g., water, wind, and gully) (Lal 2003). Human activity and the related land use changes (deforestation and cropland increase) are the main reasons for a 2.5% increase of soil erosion by water between 2001 and 2012 (Borrelli et al. 2017).

The Status of the World’s Soil Resources Report (FAO and ITPS 2015) found that soil erosion represents the greatest global threat to soil functions (Montanarella et al. 2016), risking food security, water quality, and climate change mitigation. New estimates indicate the annual loss to global GDP at ~ $8 billion, reducing yields by 33.7 million tonnes, and increasing water abstraction by 48 billion m3 (Sartori et al. 2019). In its recent policy report, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the impact of global mean temperature increase on desertification, land degradation (soil erosion, vegetation loss), and food security (IPCC 2019). While the problem of soil erosion is acknowledged by such international bodies (IPCC, UNCCD, and IPBES), political action at a global level is still missing (Panagos et al. 2016).
 
In one response, the United Nations brought together a group of more than 500 participants with scientists from over 100 countries calling for a community global soil erosion assessment. The call was made at the FAO Global Symposium on Soil Erosion in May 2019 (FAO 2019); organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Global Soil Partnership and the Inter-governmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS). The aim is to connect science and policy to tackle the challenges of soil erosion mitigation.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11027-019-09892-3

The Rise of Climate-Driven Sediment Discharge in the Amazonian River Basin
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

The occurrence of hydrological extremes in the Amazon region and the associated sediment loss during rainfall events are key features in the global climate system. Climate extremes alter the sediment and carbon balance but the ecological consequences of such changes are poorly understood in this region. With the aim of examining the interactions between precipitation and landscape-scale controls of sediment export from the Amazon basin, we developed a parsimonious hydro-climatological model on a multi-year series (1997–2014) of sediment discharge data taken at the outlet of Óbidos (Brazil) watershed (the narrowest and swiftest part of the Amazon River). The calibrated model (correlation coefficient equal to 0.84) captured the sediment load variability of an independent dataset from a different watershed (the Magdalena River basin), and performed better than three alternative approaches. Our model captured the interdecadal variability and the long-term patterns of sediment export. In our reconstruction of yearly sediment discharge over 1859–2014, we observed that landscape erosion changes are mostly induced by single storm events, and result from coupled effects of droughts and storms over long time scales. By quantifying temporal variations in the sediment produced by weathering, this analysis enables a new understanding of the linkage between climate forcing and river response, which drives sediment dynamics in the Amazon basin.

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/11/2/208

Soil Evolution and Sustainability
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Soils contribute to major ecosystem services (as defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005) by playing a crucial role in provisioning food and fibers, regulating water and geochemical cycles and delivering cultural services. Soils are rich in biodiversity and provide the habitat for a large number of species, many yet to be fully described. Due to this central role of soils in the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, the Soil Security concept was introduced to help Soil Science to be translated into policy guidelines for sustainable development and to be included in the Global Agenda (Koch et al., 2013; Bouma et al., 2019). Soils are indeed keys for reaching many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Especially SDG 2, related to fighting hunger and achieving food security, as well as SDG 15, on protecting the terrestrial environment for future generations, imply the application of sustainable soil management at the global scale. The IPCC report on Climate Change and Land names land and soil degradation through erosion, organic matter decline, contamination, soil sealing, compaction, loss of biodiversity or salinization as key challenges related to land use change (IPCC, 2019). Achieving food security and the elimination of hunger while simultaneously protecting our terrestrial environment is a great challenge that requires extensive, multidisciplinary research, including also human and social sciences: economists, geographers, sociologists, and urban planners.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2020.00023/full

How afforestation affects the water cycle in drylands: A process‐based comparative analysis
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

The world's largest afforestation programs implemented by China made a great contribution to the global “greening up.” These programs have received worldwide attention due to its contribution toward achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. However, emerging studies have suggested that these campaigns, when not properly implemented, resulted in unintended ecological and water security concerns at the regional scale. While mounting evidence shows that afforestation causes substantial reduction in water yield at the watershed scale, process‐based studies on how forest plantations alter the partitioning of rainwater and affect water balance components in natural vegetation are still lacking at the plot scale. This lack of science‐based data prevents a comprehensive understanding of forest‐related ecosystem services such as soil conservation and water supply under climate change. The present study represents the first “Paired Plot” study of the water balance of afforestation on the Loess Plateau. We investigate the effects of forest structure and environmental factors on the full water cycle in a typical multilayer plantation forest composed of black locust, one of the most popular tree species for plantations worldwide. We measure the ecohydrological components of a black locust versus natural grassland on adjacent sites. The startling finding of this study is that, contrary to the general belief, the understory—instead of the overstory—was the main water consumer in this plantation. Moreover, there is a strict physiological regulation of forest transpiration. In contrast to grassland, annual seepage under the forest was minor in years with an average rainfall. We conclude that global long‐term greening efforts in drylands require careful ecohydrologic evaluation so that green and blue water trade‐offs are properly addressed. This is especially important for reforestation‐based watershed land management, that aims at carbon sequestration in mitigating climate change while maintaining regional water security, to be effective on a large scale.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcb.14875

Fire severity and soil erosion susceptibility mapping using multi-temporal Earth Observation data: The case of Mati fatal wildfire in Eastern Attica, Greece
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

In recent years, forest fires have increased in terms of frequency, extent and intensity, especially in Mediterranean countries. Climate characteristics and anthropogenic disturbances lead forest environments to display high vulnerability to wildfires, with their sustainability being threatened by the loss of vegetation, changes on soil properties, and increased soil loss rates. Moreover, wildfires are a great threat to property and human life, especially in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) areas. In light of the impacts and trends mentioned above, this study aims to assess the impact of the Mati, Attika wildfire on soil erosion. The event caused 102 fatalities, inducing severe consequences to the local infrastructure network; economy; and natural resources. As such, the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) was implemented (pre-; post-fire) at the Rafina, Attika watershed encompassing the Mati WUI. Fire severity was evaluated based on the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR). This index was developed utilizing innovative remotely sensed Earth Observation data (Sentinel-2). The high post-fire values indicate the fire's devastating effects on vegetation loss and soil erosion. A critical “update” was also made to the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) v. 2018, by introducing a new land use class namely “Urban Forest”, in order to distinguish the WUI configuration. Post-fire erosion rates are notably higher throughout the study area (4.53–5.98 t ha−1 y−1), and especially within the WUI zone (3.75–18.58 t ha−1 y−1), while newly developed and highly vulnerable cites now occupy the greater Mati area. Furthermore, archive satellite data (Landsat-5) revealed how the repeated (historical) wildfires have ultimately impacted vegetation recovery and erosional processes. To our knowledge this is the first time that RUSLE is used to simulate soil erosion at a WUI after a fire event, at least at a Mediterranean basin. The realistic results attest that the model can perform well at such diverse conditions, providing a solid basis for soil loss estimation and identification of high-risk erosion areas.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S034181621930462X

Positive cascading effect of restoring forests
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

Recent assessment of global tree restoration potential reports that under current climate conditions there would be room for additional 0.9 billion hectares of woodlands and forests Bastin (2019). This could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon making forest restoration a viable strategy for climate change mitigation. Commenting on Bastin (2019), Chazdon and Brancalion (2019) call for holistic approaches because forest restoration is a mechanism to achieve multiple goals that go beyond climate mitigation, also including biodiversity conservation, socioeconomic benefits, food security, and ecosystem services. A timely scientific debate considering the recent decision of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, to declare the coming decade 2021–2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095633919301996

Maximising climate mitigation potential by carbon and radiative agricultural land management with cover crops
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2020

To reach the Paris climate targets, the mitigation capacity needs to be maximized across all components of the Earth system, especially land. Mitigation actions through land management, such as cover crops in agricultural soils, are often evaluated in terms of their carbon sequestration potential, while radiative forcing related to surface albedo changes is often ignored. The aim of this study was to assess the mitigation potential of cover crops, both as changes in biogenic greenhouse gas fluxes (CO2 and N2O) and albedo-driven radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). To achieve this, we have integrated a biogeochemistry model framework running on approximately 8000 locations across the European Union with detailed soil data, supplemented with time series of albedo measurements derived from satellite remote sensing. We found that carbon sequestration remained the dominant mitigation effect, with 1th and 3rd interquartile of 5.2–17.0 Mg CO2e ha−1 at 2050, and negligible changes in N2O emissions over that time-horizon. Cover crops were generally brighter than bare soils, hence, the reflected shortwave radiation at TOA ranged between 0.08–0.22 Wm−2 on average, broadly equivalent to a removal of 0.8–3.9 Mg CO2e ha−1. Through scenarios analysis, we further showed how the mitigation potential could be substantially increased by growing a high albedo chlorophyll-deficient cover crop. This radiative land management option has an additional benefit of providing its mitigation effect more rapidly than carbon sequestration, although additional studies might be warranted to evaluate local and non-local associated climatic effects, such as changes in patterns of surface temperature and precipitation.

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aba137

Policy instruments for soil protection among the EU member states: A comparative analysis
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019
Many factors threaten European Soils, and currently, all the Member States (MS) are introducing many types of soil protection measures. Erosion, pollution, sealing and decline of the organic matter are just some of the threats that affect one of the primary non-removable resources of the planet. Soils play a vital role in the biodiversity and are the provider of numerous Ecosystem Services that support human life on Earth. Following the withdrawal of the Soil Framework Directive proposal by the European Commission, we investigate how the different MS of the European Union (EU) address sustainable soil management under the pressures of different threats. The methodology used is based on a gap analysis applied to the instruments and/or policies adopted by the MS to contrast the various threats according to their specific level of intensity. The study presents for the first time a systematic review of the current EU policies covering all the regulatory instruments, the economic instruments, the information tools, the monitoring systems, and the research and innovation activities.
 
The comparative analysis of the different approaches adopted by MS reveals the absence of a common EU strategy to address soil protection and the inefficacy of the subsidiary principle in the sustainable management of soil resources especially in the view of addressing the Sustainable Development Goals achieving the targets by 2030. Results show how the lack of a Soil Framework Directive has weakened the possibility to have strong coordination among the MS for soil protection. Each Country is adopting an autonomous legislative framework which reveals a huge dis-homogeneity and un-coherences among approaches.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837718307622

 

Soil carbon storage informed by particulate and mineral-associated organic matter
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019
Effective land-based solutions to climate change mitigation require actions that maximize soil carbon storage without generating surplus nitrogen. Land management for carbon sequestration is most often informed by bulk soil carbon inventories, without considering the form in which carbon is stored, its capacity, persistency and nitrogen demand. Here, we present coupling of European-wide databases with soil organic matter physical fractionation to determine continental-scale forest and grassland topsoil carbon and nitrogen stocks and their distribution between mineral-associated and particulate organic matter pools. Grasslands and arbuscular mycorrhizal forests store more soil carbon in mineral-associated organic carbon, which is more persistent but has a higher nitrogen demand and saturates. Ectomycorrhizal forests store more carbon in particulate organic matter, which is more vulnerable to disturbance but has a lower nitrogen demand and can potentially accumulate indefinitely. The share of carbon between mineral-associated and particulate organic matter and the ratio between carbon and nitrogen affect soil carbon stocks and mediate the effects of other variables on soil carbon stocks. Understanding the physical distribution of organic matter in pools of mineral-associated versus particulate organic matter can inform land management for nitrogen-efficient carbon sequestration, which should be driven by the inherent soil carbon capacity and nitrogen availability in ecosystems.
 
Demands on land: mapping competing societal expectations for the functionality of agricultural soils in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) has been highly successful in securing the supply of food from Europe’s agricultural land. However, new expectations have emerged from society on the functions that agricultural land should deliver, including the expectations that land should regulate and purify water, should sequester carbon to contribute to the mitigation of climate change, should provide a home for biodiversity and allow for the sustainable cycling of nutrients in animal and human waste streams. Through a series of reforms of the CAP, these expectations, or ‘societal demands’ have translated into a myriad of EU and national level policies aimed at safeguarding the sustainability and multifunctionality of European agriculture, resulting in a highly complex regulatory environment for land managers. The current reform of the CAP aims to simultaneously simplify and strengthen policy making on environmental protection and climate action, through the development of Strategic Plans at national level, which allow for more targeted and context-specific policy formation. In this paper, we contribute to the knowledge base underpinning the development of these Strategic Plans by mapping the variation in the societal demands for soil functions across EU Member States, based on an extensive review of the existing policy environment relating to sustainable and multifunctional land management. We show that the societal demands for primary production, water regulation and purification, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and nutrient cycling vary greatly between Member States, as determined by population, farming systems and livestock densities, geo-environmental conditions and landscape configuration. Moreover, the total societal demands for multifunctionality differs between Member States, with the lowest demands found in Member States that have designated the higher shares of EU CAP funding towards ‘Pillar 2′ expenditure, aimed at environmental protection and regional development. We review which lessons can be learnt from these observations, in the context of the proposals for the new CAP for the period 2021–2027, which include enhanced conditionality of direct income support for farmers and the instigation of eco-schemes in Pillar 1, in addition to Agri-Environmental and Climate Measures in Pillar 2. We conclude that the devolution of planning to Strategic Plans at national level provides an opportunity for more effective and targeted incentivisation of sustainable land management, provided that these plans take account for variations in the societal demand for soil functions, as well as the capacity of contrasting soils to deliver on this multifunctionality.

A linkage between the biophysical and the economic: Assessing the global market impacts of soil erosion
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

Employing a linkage between a biophysical and an economic model, this study estimates the economic impact of soil erosion by water on the world economy. The global biophysical model estimates soil erosion rates, which are converted into land productivity losses and subsequently inserted into a global market simulation model. The headline result is that soil erosion by water is estimated to incur a global annual cost of eight billion US dollars to global GDP. The concomitant impact on food security is to reduce global agri-food production by 33.7 million tonnes with accompanying rises in agri-food world prices of 0.4%–3.5%, depending on the food product category. Under pressure to use more marginal land, abstracted water volumes are driven upwards by an estimated 48 billion cubic meters. Finally, there is tentative evidence that soil erosion is accelerating the competitive shifts in comparative advantage on world agri-food markets.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837718319343

Development of a harmonised soil profile analytical database for Europe: a resource for supporting regional soil management
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

Soil mapping is an essential method for obtaining a spatial overview of soil resources that are increasingly threatened by environmental change and population pressure. Despite recent advances in digital soil-mapping techniques based on inference, such methods are still immature for large-scale soil mapping. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, soil scientists constructed a harmonised soil map of Europe (1:1 000 000) based on national soil maps. Despite this extraordinary regional overview of the spatial distribution of European soil types, crude assumptions about soil properties were necessary for translating the maps into thematic information relevant to management. To support modellers with analytical data connected to the soil map, the European Soil Bureau Network (ESBW) commissioned the development of the soil profile analytical database for Europe (SPADE) in the late 1980s. This database contains soil analytical data based on a standardised set of soil analytical methods across the European countries. Here, we review the principles adopted for developing the SPADE database during the past five decades, the work towards fulfilling the milestones of full geographic coverage for dominant soils in all the European countries (SPADE level 1) and the addition of secondary soil types (SPADE level 2). We illustrate the application of the database by showing the distribution of the root zone capacity and by estimating the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks at a depth of 1 m for Europe to be 60×1015 g. The increased accuracy, potentially obtained by including secondary soil types (level 2), is shown in a case study to estimate SOC stocks in Denmark. Until data from systematic cross-European soil-sampling programmes have sufficient spatial coverage for reliable data interpolation, integrating national soil maps and locally assessed analytical data into a harmonised database remains a powerful resource to support soil resources management at regional and continental scales by providing a platform to guide sustainable soil management and food production.

https://soil.copernicus.org/articles/5/289/2019/

Global mismatches in aboveground and belowground biodiversity
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

Human activities are accelerating global biodiversity change and have resulted in severely threatened ecosystem services. A large proportion of terrestrial biodiversity is harbored by soil, but soil biodiversity has been omitted from many global biodiversity assessments and conservation actions, and understanding of global patterns of soil biodiversity remains limited. In particular, the extent to which hotspots and coldspots of aboveground and soil biodiversity overlap is not clear. We examined global patterns of these overlaps by mapping indices of aboveground (mammals, birds, amphibians, vascular plants) and soil (bacteria, fungi, macrofauna) biodiversity that we created using previously published data on species richness. Areas of mismatch between aboveground and soil biodiversity covered 27% of Earth's terrestrial surface. The temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome had the highest proportion of grid cells with high aboveground biodiversity but low soil biodiversity, whereas the boreal and tundra biomes had intermediate soil biodiversity but low aboveground biodiversity. While more data on soil biodiversity are needed, both to cover geographic gaps and to include additional taxa, our results suggest that protecting aboveground biodiversity may not sufficiently reduce threats to soil biodiversity. Given the functional importance of soil biodiversity and the role of soils in human well‐being, soil biodiversity should be considered further in policy agendas and conservation actions by adapting management practices to sustain soil biodiversity and considering soil biodiversity when designing protected areas

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13311

Mapping LUCAS topsoil chemical properties at European scale using Gaussian process regression
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2019
This paper presents the second part of the mapping of topsoil properties based on the Land Use and Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS). The first part described the physical properties (Ballabio et al., 2016) while this second part includes the following chemical properties: pH, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), calcium carbonates (CaCO3), C:N ratio, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). The LUCAS survey collected harmonised data on changes in land cover and the state of land use for the European Union (EU). Among the 270,000 land use and cover observations selected for field visit, approximately 20,000 soil samples were collected in 24 EU Member States in 2009 together with more than 2000 samples from Bulgaria and Romania in 2012. The chemical properties maps for the European Union were produced using Gaussian process regression (GPR) models. GPR was selected for its capacity to assess model uncertainty and the possibility of adding prior knowledge in the form of covariance functions to the model.
The derived maps will establish baselines that will help monitor soil quality and provide guidance to agro-environmental research and policy developments in the European Union.
The challenge for the soil science community to contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by 193 Governments at the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2015 for achievement by 2030. These SDGs present a roadmap to a sustainable future and a challenge to the science community. To guide activities and check progress, targets and indicators have been and are still being defined. The soil science community has published documents that describe the primary importance of soil for SDGs addressing hunger, water quality, climate mitigation and biodiversity preservation, and secondary relevance of soil for addressing several other SDGs. Soil scientists only marginally participated in the SDG discussions and are currently only peripherally engaged in discussions on targets or indicators. Agreement on several soil‐related indicators has still not been achieved. Involvement of soil scientists in SDG‐based studies is desirable for both developing solutions and increasing the visibility of the soil profession. Inputs into policy decisions should be improved as SDG committee members are appointed by Governments. Possible contributions of soil science in defining indicators for the SDGs are explored in this paper. We advocate the pragmatic use of soil–water–atmosphere–plant simulation models and available soil surveys and soil databases where “representative” soil profiles for mapping units (genetically defined genoforms) are functionally expressed in terms of several phenoforms reflecting effects of different types of soil use and management that strongly affect functionality.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sum.12518

Using the USLE: Chances, challenges and limitations of soil erosion modelling
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

To give soils and soil degradation, which are among the most crucial threats to ecosystem stability, social and political visibility, small and large scale modelling and mapping of soil erosion is inevitable. The most widely used approaches during an 80year history of erosion modelling are Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE)-type based algorithms which have been applied in 109 countries. Addressing soil erosion by water (excluding gully erosion and land sliding), we start this review with a statistical evaluation of nearly 2,000 publications). We discuss model developments which use USLE-type equations as basis or side modules, but we also address recent development of the single USLE parameters (R, K, LS, C, P). Importance, aim and limitations of model validation as well as a comparison of USLE-type models with other erosion assessment tools are discussed. Model comparisons demonstrate that the application of process-based physical models (e.g., WEPP or PESERA) does not necessarily result in lower uncertainties compared to more simple structured empirical models such as USLE-type algorithms. We identified four key areas for future research: (i) overcoming the principally different nature of modelled (gross) versus measured (net) erosion rates, in coupling on-site erosion risk to runoff patterns, and depositional regime, (ii) using the recent increase in spatial resolution of remote sensing data to develop process based models for large scale applications, (iii) strengthen and extend measurement and monitoring programs to build up validation data sets, and (iv) rigorous uncertainty assessment and the application of objective evaluation criteria to soil erosion modelling.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095633919300048

Carbon sequestration capacity and productivity responses of Mediterranean olive groves under future climates and management options
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

The need to reduce the expected impact of climate change, finding sustainable ways to maintain or increase the carbon (C) sequestration capacity and productivity of agricultural systems, is one of the most important challenges of the twenty-first century. Olive (Olea europaea L.) groves can play a fundamental role due to their potential to sequester C in soil and woody compartments, associated with widespread cultivation in the Mediterranean basin. The implementation of field experiments to assess olive grove responses under different conditions, complemented by simulation models, can be a powerful approach to explore future land-atmosphere C feedbacks. The DayCent biogeochemical model was calibrated and validated against observed net ecosystem exchange, net primary productivity, aboveground biomass, leaf area index, and yield in two Italian olive groves. In addition, potential changes in C-sequestration capacity and productivity were assessed under two types of management (extensive and intensive), 35 climate change scenarios (ΔT-temperature from + 0 °C to + 3 °C; ΔP-precipitation from 0.0 to − 20%), and six areas across the Mediterranean basin (Brindisi, Coimbra, Crete, Cordoba, Florence, and Montpellier). The results indicated that (i) the DayCent model, properly calibrated, can be used to quantify olive grove daily net ecosystem exchange and net primary production dynamics; (ii) a decrease in net ecosystem exchange and net primary production is predicted under both types of management by approaching the most extreme climate conditions (ΔT = + 3 °C; ΔP = − 20%), especially in dry and warm areas; (iii) irrigation can compensate for net ecosystem exchange and net primary production losses in almost all areas, while ecophysiological air temperature thresholds determine the magnitude and sign of C-uptake; (iv) future warming is expected to modify the seasonal net ecosystem exchange and net primary production pattern, with higher photosynthetic activity in winter and a prolonged period of photosynthesis inhibition during summer compared to the baseline; (v) a substantial decrease in mitigation capacity and productivity of extensively managed olive groves is expected to accelerate between + 1.5 and + 2 °C warming compared to the current period, across all Mediterranean areas; (vi) adaptation measures aimed at increasing soil water content or evapotranspiration reduction should be considered the mostly suitable for limiting the decrease of both production and mitigation capacity in the next decades

Soil loss due to crop harvesting in the European Union: A first estimation of an underrated geomorphic process
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2019

Over the last two decades or so, there has been many research carried out to understand the mechanics and spatial distribution of soil loss by water erosion and to a lesser extent of wind, piping and tillage erosion. The acquired knowledge helped the development of prediction tools useful to support decision-makers in both ex-ante and ex-post policy evaluation. In Europe, recent studies have modelled water, wind and tillage erosion at continental scale and shed new light on their geography. However, to acquire a comprehensive picture of soil erosion threats more processes need to be addressed and made visible to decision-makers. Since 1986, a small number of studies have pointed to an additional significant soil degradation process occurring when harvesting root and tuber crops. Field observations and measurements have shown that considerable amounts of soil can be removed from the field due to soil sticking to the harvested roots and the export of soil clods during the crop harvest. This study aims to scale up the findings of past studies, carried out at plot, regional, and national level, in order to obtain some preliminary insights into the magnitude of soil loss from cropland due to sugar beets and potatoes harvesting in Europe. We address this issue at European Union (EU) scale taking into account long-term (1975–2016) crop statistics of sugar beet and potato aggregated at regional and country levels.

During the period 2000–2016, sugar beets and potatoes covered in average ca. 4.2 million ha (3.81%) of the EU-28 arable land estimated at 110 million ha. The total Soil Loss by Crop Harvesting (SLCH) is estimated at ca. 14.7 million tons yr−1 in the EU-28. We estimate that ca. 65% of the total SLCH is due to harvesting of sugar beets and the rest as a result of potatoes harvesting.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719304887

Harvesting European knowledge on soil functions and land management using multi criteria decision analysis
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

Soil and its ecosystem functions play a societal role in securing sustainable food production while safeguarding natural resources. A functional land management framework has been proposed to optimize the agro‐environmental outputs from the land and specifically the supply and demand of soil functions such as (a) primary productivity, (b) carbon sequestration, (c) water purification and regulation, (d) biodiversity and (e) nutrient cycling, for which soil knowledge is essential. From the outset, the LANDMARK multi‐actor research project integrates harvested knowledge from local, national and European stakeholders to develop such guidelines, creating a sense of ownership, trust and reciprocity of the outcomes. About 470 stakeholders from five European countries participated in 32 structured workshops covering multiple land uses in six climatic zones. The harmonized results include stakeholders’ priorities and concerns, perceptions on soil quality and functions, implementation of tools, management techniques, indicators and monitoring, activities and policies, knowledge gaps and ideas. Multi‐criteria decision analysis was used for data analysis. Two qualitative models were developed using Decision EXpert methodology to evaluate “knowledge” and “needs”. Soil quality perceptions differed across workshops, depending on the stakeholder level and regionally established terminologies. Stakeholders had good inherent knowledge about soil functioning, but several gaps were identified. In terms of critical requirements, stakeholders defined high technical, activity and policy needs in (a) financial incentives, (b) credible information on improving more sustainable management practices, (c) locally relevant advice, (d) farmers’ discussion groups, (e) training programmes, (f) funding for applied research and monitoring, and (g) strengthening soil science in education.

Soil erosion modelling: The new challenges as the result of policy developments in Europe
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2019

New challenges and policy developments after 2015 (among others, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) are opportunities for soil scientists and soil erosion modellers to respond with more accurate assessments and solutions as to how to reduce soil erosion and furthermore, how to reach Zero Net Land Degradation targets by 2030. This special issue includes papers concerning the use of fallout for estimating soil erosion, new wind erosion modelling techniques, the importance of extreme events (forest fires, intense rainfall) in accelerating soil erosion, management practices to reduce soil erosion in vineyards, the impact of wildfires in erosion, updated methods for estimating soil erodibility, comparisons between sediment distribution models, the application of the WaTEM/SEDEM model in Europe, a review of the G2 model and a proposal for a land degradation modelling approach. New data produced from field surveys such as LUCAS topsoil and the increasing availability of remote sensing data may facilitate the work of erosion modellers. Finally, better integration with other soil related disciplines (soil carbon, biodiversity, compaction and contamination) and Earth Systems modelling is the way forward for a new generation of erosion process models.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935119301264

An evolutionary fuzzy rule-based system applied to the prediction of soil organic carbon from soil spectral libraries
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

The recent efforts for obtaining vast soil spectral libraries covering a significant part of the spatial and compositional variability of soils have underscored the need for accurate and interpretable models. Herein, the application of an evolutionary Fuzzy Rule-based System (FRBS) named  (Differential Evolution based Cooperative and Competing learning of Compact Rule-based Models) for the prediction of soil properties from visible, near-infrared, and shortwave-infrared (VNIR–SWIR) laboratory spectral data obtained from the LUCAS topsoil database is investigated. FRBSs model the input–output relation with fuzzy logic statements, offering an enhanced interpretability degree for the experts over classical rule-based systems and other black box models. The proposed algorithm was statistically compared with other state of the art approaches and was found to outperform other global models, while being statistically similar with local approaches that offer lower interpretation capabilities.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568494619302741

Comparison of sampling with a spade and gouge auger for topsoil monitoring at the continental scale
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

The sampling method is a key aspect when designing a soil monitoring network. The determination of any physical and chemical property can be subject to uncertainties because of the sampling method. In this study, we compared the efficiency of sampling with a spade and a gouge auger for the physicochemical characterization of topsoil samples from 150 mineral soils under various land cover (LC) classes in Switzerland taken within the LUCAS 2015 Survey. The sampling methods differed in their scheme, accuracy of litter removal and control of sampling depth, which were more rigorous with the gouge auger than the spade method. Values of root mean square error of properties ranged between 1/2 and 1/30 of their mean values. Lin's concordance correlation coefficient showed that the spade and gouge auger methods produced similar results for all properties (LCCC ≥0.73), with a better relation for arable land than other LC classes. A poor relation was observed for potassium (LCCC = 0.35) in coniferous forest because of its shallow distribution in depth. We concluded that the simpler and cheaper spade method is an accurate method for topsoil sampling at the continental scale. From this study, it is clear that some improvements in the control of sampling depth and the accuracy of litter removal are needed, especially when monitoring forest soils and properties that change rapidly with depth. Spade sampling can help to expand the implementation of soil monitoring surveys at the continental scale at relatively low sampling cost.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ejss.12862

Integrated management for sustainable cropping systems: Looking beyond the greenhouse balance at the field scale
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019
Cover crops (CC) promote the accumulation of soil organic carbon (SOC), which provides multiple benefits to agro‐ecosystems. However, additional nitrogen (N) inputs into the soil could offset the CO2 mitigation potential due to increasing N2O emissions. Integrated management approaches use organic and synthetic fertilizers to maximize yields while minimizing impacts by crop sequencing adapted to local conditions. The goal of this work was to test whether integrated management, centered on CC adoption, has the potential to maximize SOC stocks without increasing the soil greenhouse gas (GHG) net flux and other agro‐environmental impacts such as nitrate leaching. To this purpose, we ran the DayCent bio‐geochemistry model on 8,554 soil sampling locations across the European Union. We found that soil N2O emissions could be limited with simple crop sequencing rules, such as switching from leguminous to grass CC when the GHG flux was positive (source). Additional reductions of synthetic fertilizers applications are possible through better accounting for N available in green manures and from mineralization of soil reservoirs while maintaining cash crop yields. Therefore, our results suggest that a CC integrated management approach can maximize the agro‐environmental performance of cropping systems while reducing environmental trade‐offs.
 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.14989

Communicating Hydrological Hazard-Prone Areas in Italy With Geospatial Probability Maps
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2019

The recurrence of storm aggressiveness and the associated erosivity density are detrimental hydrological features for soil conservation and planning. The present work illustrates for the first time downscaled spatial pattern probabilities of erosive density to identify damaging hydrological hazard-prone areas in Italy. The hydrological hazard was estimated from the erosivity density exceeded the threshold of 3 MJ ha−1 h−1 at 219 rain gauges in Italy during the three most erosive months of the year, from August to October. To this end, a lognormal kriging (LNPK) provided a soft description of the erosivity density in terms of exceedance probabilities at a spatial resolution of 10 km, which is a way to mitigate the uncertainties associated with the spatial classification of damaging hydrological hazards. Hazard-prone areas cover 65% of the Italian territory in the month of August, followed by September and October with 50 and 30% of the territory, respectively. The geospatial probability maps elaborated with this method achieved an improved spatial forecast, which may contribute to better land-use planning and civil protection both in Italy and potentially in Europe

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2019.00193/full

Object‐oriented soil erosion modelling: A possible paradigm shift from potential to actual risk assessments in agricultural environments
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Over the last 2 decades, geospatial technologies such as Geographic Information System and spatial interpolation methods have facilitated the development of increasingly accurate spatially explicit assessments of soil erosion. Despite these advances, current modelling approaches rest on (a) an insufficient definition of the proportion of arable land that is exploited for crop production and (b) a neglect of the intra‐annual variability of soil cover conditions in arable land. To overcome these inaccuracies, this study introduces a novel spatio‐temporal approach to compute an enhanced cover‐management factor (C) for revised universal soil loss equation‐based models. It combines highly accurate agricultural parcel information contained in the Land Parcel Identification System with an object‐oriented Landsat imagery classification technique to assess spatial conditions and interannual variability of soil cover conditions at field scale. With its strong link to Land Parcel Identification System and Earth observation satellite data, the approach documents an unprecedented representation of farming operations. This opens the door for the transition from the currently used potential soil erosion risk assessments towards the assessment of the actual soil erosion risk. Testing this method in a medium‐size catchment located in the Swiss Plateau (Upper Enziwigger River Catchment), this study lays an important foundation for the application of the very same methods for large‐scale or even pan‐European applications. Soil loss rates modelled in this study were compared with the insights gained from emerging techniques to differentiate sediment source contribution through compound‐specific isotope analysis on river sediments. The presented technique is adaptable beyond revised universal soil loss equation‐type soil erosion models.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ldr.2898

Soil Thematic Strategy: An important contribution to policy support, research, data development and raising the awareness
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2018

There has been the recognition that trans-national binding legal agreements related to soils are very difficult to achieve, given the sensitivities related to national sovereignty in relation to land and soils. However, the Soil Thematic Strategy played an important role to raise the awareness of soil importance, integrate soils in different policy areas (agriculture, climate change, SDGs), develop research findings and finally increase our know how on European Soils. The Soil Thematic Strategy continue to be the main policy instrument dedicated to foster soil protection in the European Union (EU). The EU consider the importance of soils and land degradation taking into account global challenges such as the sustainable production intensification, food security, climate change and escalating population growth. During the last decade both the 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7) and the HORIZON2020 financed research and innovation projects for advancing soil protection and better understanding of soil management in EU.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468584417300533

LUCAS Soil, the largest expandable soil dataset for Europe: a review
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Soil is a non‐renewable resource that requires constant monitoring to prevent its degradation and promote its sustainable management. The ‘Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey Soil’ (LUCAS Soil) is an extensive and regular topsoil survey that is carried out across the European Union to derive policy‐relevant statistics on the effect of land management on soil characteristics. Approximately 45 000 soil samples have been collected from two time‐periods, 2009–2012 and 2015. A new sampling series will be undertaken in 2018, with new measurements included. The organization for the 2018 sampling campaign represents an opportunity to summarize past LUCAS Soil achievements and present its future objectives. In 2009–2012 and 2015, LUCAS Soil surveys targeted physicochemical properties, including pH, organic carbon, nutrient concentrations and cation exchange capacity. Data from 2009–2012 (ca. 22 000 points) and derived output (more than 20 maps) are available freely from the European Soil Data Centre website. Analyses of samples collected during 2015 are ongoing and data will be available at the end of 2017. In the 2018 LUCAS Soil sampling campaign, additional properties, including bulk density, soil biodiversity, specific measurements for organic‐rich soil and soil erosion will be measured. Here we present the current dataset (LUCAS Soil 2009–2012 and 2015), its potential for reuse and future development plans (LUCAS Soil 2018 and over). LUCAS Soil represents the largest harmonized open‐access dataset of topsoil properties available for the European Union at the global scale. It was developed as an expandable resource, with the possibility to add new properties and sampling locations during successive sampling campaigns. Data are available to the scientific community and decision makers, thus contributing to both research and the development of the land‐focused policy agenda.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ejss.12499

Lateral carbon transfer from erosion in noncroplands matters
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2018

This study combines two unprecedentedly high resolution (250 × 250 m) maps of soil erosion (inter‐rill and rill processes) and soil organic carbon to calculate a global estimate of erosion‐induced organic carbon (C) displacement. The results indicate a gross C displacement by soil erosion of urn:x-wiley:13541013:media:gcb14125:gcb14125-math-0001 Pg C/year. The greatest share of displaced C (64%) comes from seminatural lands and forests. This suggests that lateral C transfer from erosion in noncroplands may play a more important role than previously assumed. Human civilization has increasingly exploited land and soil for millennia. Today, undisturbed primary vegetation is at its historical minimum with agricultural areas covering about 38% of the Earth's ice‐free land surface (Foley et al., 2011; 12% croplands and 26% pastures). The anthropogenic acceleration of soil erosion and the impacts on soil quality are well‐known (Dotterweich, 2008; García‐Ruiz et al., 2015). Impacts on climate change, however, remain uncertain and contested, due to the extent to which soil erosion increases or decreases CO2 emissions. The extent to which eroded SOC is mineralized or buried in sediment is hotly debated (Lal, 2004; Van Oost et al., 2007). In their recent publication, Wang et al. (2017) introduced new analysis in support of the erosion‐induced C sink theory, suggesting that anthropogenic acceleration of soil erosion over the last 8,000 years would have had the potential to offset 37 ± 10% of previously recognized C emissions resulting from anthropogenic land cover change.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcb.14125

Pan-European landslide susceptibility mapping: ELSUS Version 2
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

We present an updated version of the European landslide susceptibility map ELSUS 1000 released through the European Soil Data Centre in 2013. The ELSUS V2 map shows the landslide susceptibility zonation for individual climate-physiographic zones across Europe. ELSUS V2 covers a larger area of Europe than ELSUS 1000 at a higher spatial resolution (200 × 200 m). The updated map was prepared using the same semi-quantitative method as for ELSUS 1000, combining landslide frequency ratios information with a spatial multi-criteria evaluation model of three thematic predictors: slope angle, shallow subsurface lithology and land cover. However, the new map was prepared using also: (i) an extended landslide inventory, containing 30% of additional locations for model calibration, map validation and classification and (ii) a new lithological data set derived from the International Hydrogeological Map of Europe (IHME). The new version of the map increases the overall predictive performance of ELSUS by 8%.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17445647.2018.1432511

The G2 erosion model: An algorithm for month-time step assessments
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

A detailed description of the G2 erosion model is presented, in order to support potential users. G2 is a complete, quantitative algorithm for mapping soil loss and sediment yield rates on month-time intervals. G2 has been designed to run in a GIS environment, taking input from geodatabases available by European or other international institutions. G2 adopts fundamental equations from the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and the Erosion Potential Method (EPM), especially for rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, and sediment delivery ratio. However, it has developed its own equations and matrices for the vegetation cover and management factor and the effect of landscape alterations on erosion. Provision of month-time step assessments is expected to improve understanding of erosion processes, especially in relation to land uses and climate change. In parallel, G2 has full potential to decision-making support with standardised maps on a regular basis. Geospatial layers of rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, and terrain influence, recently developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) on a European or global scale, will further facilitate applications of G2

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935117314044

Analysis and evaluation of landslide susceptibility: A review on articles published during 2005-2016 (periods of 2005-2012 and 2013-2016)
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Landslides are one of the most important environmental hazards occur naturally or human-induced with large-scale social, economic, and environmental impacts. Landslide susceptibility zoning, which has been widely performed in the last decades, allows identifying spatial prediction of areas of landslides, which could be used for land use planning and land management. The present study was conducted as a review with the aim of investigating the research background of landslide susceptibility in the world during the period of 2005–2016. The results showed that the publication of papers related to landslide susceptibility during the period of investigation has been on the rise, and China has produced a larger number of papers and authors (13% of total). In addition, this article reviews the most popularly used models and the most frequently used input factors. Among different models, the logistic regression has been used as the most common method for assessing landslide susceptibility in 28.4% of the articles, and the slope gradient is considered as the most important conditioning factor in landslide occurrence in 94.2% of the articles. Finally, it is concluded that the recent technological developments in the field of remote sensing, computing technologies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the increased data availability, and the awareness has arisen among media and recent policy developments are important elements for increasing the research interest in landslide susceptibility.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12517-018-3531-5

Soil erosion is unlikely to drive a future carbon sink in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Understanding of the processes governing soil organic carbon turnover is confounded by the fact that C feedbacks driven by soil erosion have not yet been fully explored at large scale. However, in a changing climate, variation in rainfall erosivity (and hence soil erosion) may change the amount of C displacement, hence inducing feedbacks onto the land C cycle. Using a consistent biogeochemistry-erosion model framework to quantify the impact of future climate on the C cycle, we show that C input increases were offset by higher heterotrophic respiration under climate change. Taking into account all the additional feedbacks and C fluxes due to displacement by erosion, we estimated a net source of 0.92 to 10.1 Tg C year−1 from agricultural soils in the European Union to the atmosphere over the period 2016–2100. These ranges represented a weaker and stronger C source compared to a simulation without erosion (1.8 Tg C year−1), respectively, and were dependent on the erosion-driven C loss parameterization, which is still very uncertain. However, when setting a baseline with current erosion rates, the accelerated erosion scenario resulted in 35% more eroded C, but its feedback on the C cycle was marginal. Our results challenge the idea that higher erosion driven by climate will lead to a C sink in the near future.

Monitoring soil for sustainable development and land degradation neutrality
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018
The adoption of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) listed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations urged the scientific community to generate information for planning and monitoring socioeconomic development and the underlying environmental compartments. SDGs 2, 3, 6, 11, 13, 14, and 15 have targets which commend direct consideration of soil resources. There are five groups of SDGs and assigned SDG indicators where soil plays a central role. Frameworks of soil-related sustainable development goals and related indicators which can be monitored in current monitoring schemes are proposed.
 
The United Nations’ adoption of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, urged the scientific community to generate sound information with the aim of supporting planning and monitoring of socioeconomic development interlinking with environmental sustainability dimensions (UN 2015). SDGs 2, 3, 6, 11, 13, 14, and 15 refer to targets which commend direct consideration of soil resources. For instance, food security (SDGs 2 and 6), food safety (SDG 3), land-based nutrient pollution of the seas (SDG 14), urban development (SDG 11), and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystem services (SDG 15) are all depending on the provision of ecosystem services where soil properties and functions play a key role to deliver these. In particular, SDG target 15.3 on land degradation neutrality mentions, by 2030 to combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world. In addition, soils play an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change (SDG 13). Further, SDGs 7 and 12 will indirectly rely on the availability of healthy soil resources. Regarding the remaining SDGs, linkages can be found to the sustainable management of soils to some extent (Keesstra et al. 2016).

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10661-017-6415-3

Soil organic carbon estimation in croplands by hyperspectral remote APEX data using the LUCAS topsoil database
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

The most commonly used approach to estimate soil variables from remote-sensing data entails time-consuming and expensive data collection including chemical and physical laboratory analysis. Large spectral libraries could be exploited to decrease the effort of soil variable estimation and obtain more widely applicable models. We investigated the feasibility of a new approach, referred to as bottom-up, to provide soil organic carbon (SOC) maps of bare cropland fields over a large area without recourse to chemical analyses, employing both the pan-European topsoil database from the Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey (LUCAS) and Airborne Prism Experiment (APEX) hyperspectral airborne data. This approach was tested in two areas having different soil characteristics: the loam belt in Belgium, and the Gutland–Oesling region in Luxembourg. Partial least square regression (PLSR) models were used in each study area to estimate SOC content, using both bottom-up and traditional approaches. The PLSR model’s accuracy was tested on an independent validation dataset. Both approaches provide SOC maps having a satisfactory level of accuracy (RMSE = 1.5–4.9 g·kg−1; ratio of performance to deviation (RPD) = 1.4–1.7) and the inter-comparison did not show differences in terms of RMSE and RPD either in the loam belt or in Luxembourg. Thus, the bottom-up approach based on APEX data provided high-resolution SOC maps over two large areas showing the within- and between-field SOC variability

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/10/2/153

Potential Sources of Anthropogenic Copper Inputs to European Agricultural Soils
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2018

In the European Union (EU), copper concentration in agricultural soil stems from anthropogenic activities and natural sources (soil and geology). This manuscript reports a statistical comparison of copper concentrations at different levels of administrative units, with a focus on agricultural areas. Anthropogenic sources of diffuse copper contamination include fungicidal treatments, liquid manure (mainly from pigs), sewage sludge, atmospheric deposition, mining activities, local industrial contamination and particles from car brakes. Sales of fungicides in the EU are around 158,000 tonnes annually, a large proportion of which are copper based and used extensively in vineyards and orchards. Around 10 million tonnes of sewage sludge is treated annually in the EU, and 40% of this (which has a high copper content) is used as fertilizer in agriculture. In the EU, 150 million pigs consume more than 6.2 million tonnes of copper through additives in their feed, and most of their liquid manure ends up in agricultural soil. These three sources (sales of fungicides, sewage sludge and copper consumption for pigs feed) depend much on local traditional farming practices. Recent research towards replacing copper spraying in vineyards and policy developments on applying sewage and controlling the feed given to pigs are expected to reduce copper accumulation in agricultural soil.

https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/7/2380

Global gaps in soil biodiversity data
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018
 Soil biodiversity represents a major terrestrial biodiversity pool, supports key ecosystem services and is under pressure from human activities1. Yet soil biodiversity has been neglected from many global biodiversity assessments and policies. This omission is undoubtedly related to the paucity of comprehensive information on soil biodiversity, particularly on larger spatial scales. Information on belowground species distributions, population trends, endemism and threats to belowground diversity is important for conservation prioritization, but is practically non-existent. As a consequence, much of our understanding of global macroecological patterns in biodiversity, as well as mapping of global biodiversity hotspots, has been based on aboveground taxa (such as plants2) and has not considered the functionally vital, but less visible, biodiversity found in soil.
 
We mapped the study sites from existing global datasets on soil biodiversity (soil macrofauna3, fungi4 and bacteria5) to examine key data gaps (Fig. 1). Our map indicates significant gaps in soil biodiversity data across northern latitudes, including most of Russia and Canada. Data are also lacking from much of central Asia and central Africa (for example, the Sahara Desert), as well as many tropical regions. The higher density of soil biodiversity sampling sites in Europe and the United States is similar to patterns observed for data on terrestrial bird, mammal and amphibian species6, as well as plants7. Yet, in such aboveground datasets, the gaps in understudied regions are much less pronounced than in the soil biodiversity datasets shown here. The comparative lack of soil biodiversity data across these regions limits our ability to examine global macroecological patterns and to quantify potential mismatches between aboveground and soil biodiversity. The potential for such mismatches (areas with high aboveground diversity, but low soil biodiversity, or vice versa) may be substantial, as evidence suggests that plant species richness declines more rapidly towards the North Pole than fungal species richness, which reaches a plateau.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0573-8

Mitigation potential of soil carbon management overestimated by neglecting N2O emissions
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018
International initiatives such as the ‘4 per 1000’ are promoting enhanced carbon (C) sequestration in agricultural soils as a way to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions1. However, changes in soil organic C turnover feed back into the nitrogen (N) cycle2, meaning that variation in soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions may offset or enhance C sequestration actions3. Here we use a biogeochemistry model on approximately 8,000 soil sampling locations in the European Union4 to quantify the net CO2 equivalent (CO2e) fluxes associated with representative C-mitigating agricultural practices. Practices based on integrated crop residue retention and lower soil disturbance are found to not increase N2O emissions as long as C accumulation continues (until around 2040), thereafter leading to a moderate C sequestration offset mostly below 47% by 2100. The introduction of N-fixing cover crops allowed higher C accumulation over the initial 20 years, but this gain was progressively offset by higher N2O emissions over time. By 2060, around half of the sites became a net source of greenhouse gases. We conclude that significant CO2 mitigation can be achieved in the initial 20–30 years of any C management scheme, but after that N inputs should be controlled through appropriate management.
 
Towards prediction of soil erodibility, SOM and CaCO3 using Laboratory Vis-NIR spectra: a case study in a semi-arid region of Iran
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Soil Visible–Near-Infrared (Vis-NIR) spectroscopy has become an applicable and interesting technique to evaluate a number of soil properties because it is a fast, cost-effective, and non-invasive measurement technique. The main objective of the study to predict soil erodibility (K-factor), soil organic matter (SOM), and calcium carbonate equivalent (CaCO3) in calcareous soils of semi-arid regions located in south of Iran using spectral reflectance information in the Vis-NIR range. The K-factor was measured in 40 erosion plots under natural rainfall and the spectral reflectance of soil samples were analyzed in the laboratory. Various soil properties including the CaCO3, soil particle size distribution, SOM, permeability, and wet-aggregate stability were measured. Partial least-squares regression (PLSR) and stepwise multiple linear regression (SMLR) were used to obtain effective bands and develop Spectrotransfer Function (STF) using spectral reflectance information and Pedotransfer Function (PTF) to predict the K-factor, respectively. The derived STF was compared with developed PTF using measurable soil properties by Ostovari et al. (2016) and the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) predictions of the K-factor. The results revealed that the USLE over-predicts (0.030 t h MJ− 1 mm− 1) the K-factor when compared to the ground-truth measurements (0.015 t h MJ− 1) in the semi-arid region of Iran. Results showed that developed PTF had the highest performance (R2 = 0.74, RMSE = 0.004 and ME = − 0.003 t h MJ− 1 mm− 1) to predict K-factor. The results also showed that the PLSR method predicted SOM with R2 values of 0.67 and 0.65 and CaCO3 with R2 values of 0.51 and 0.71 for calibration and validation datasets, respectively. We found good predictions for K-factor with R2 = 0.56 and ratio of predicted deviation (RPD) = 1.5 using the PLSR model. The derived STF (R2 = 0.64, RMSE = 0.002 and ME = 0.001 thMJ− 1 mm− 1) performed better than the USLE (R2 = 0.06, RMSE = 0.0171 and ME = 0.0151 thMJ− 1 mm− 1) for estimating the K-factor.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016706117314891

Model-based spatio-temporal analysis of land desertification risk in Greece
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Land desertification is recognized as a major threat to soil resources in arid, semi-arid Mediterranean areas. The use of widely applicable methodologies can facilitate the identification of land desertification risk spatio-temporal trends, which allows transnational comparison and support the development of soil management practices and policies, protecting the valuable soil resources. The aim of this study is to improve and use the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) MEDALUS methodology, in order to provide a qualitative assessment for desertification risk trends in Greece, within the last 45 years. The Management, Vegetation, Soil and Climate quality indices (MQI, VQI, SQI, CQI) and the sub-sequent Environmental Sensitive Areas Index (ESAI) have been modeled for three periods in the entire Greek territory. The four quality indices are divided in two main categories, based on data availability and inherent characteristics, such as the pace of change during the studied period. Particular emphasis is given to the assessment of MQI, by integrating criteria which derived from national policies and the elaboration of national statistical data. The results show about 9% increase of the areas characterized as Critical to land desertification risk, while Fragile, Potentially affected and Non-affected areas decrease by 3.7%, 3.6%, 2.5% respectively. The applied approach for MQI can reveal areas where particular attention to management practices is required and improves the performance of the overall desertification risk index.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0341816218301577

Climate-scale modelling of suspended sediment load in an Alpine catchment debris flow (Rio Cordon-northeastern Italy)
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Pulsing storms and prolonged rainfall can drive hydrological damaging events in mountain regions with soil erosion and debris flow in river catchments. The paper presents a parsimonious model for estimating climate forcing on sediment loads in an Alpine catchment (Rio Cordon, northeastern Italian Alps). Hydroclimatic forcing was interpreted by the novel CliSMSSL (Climate-Scale Modelling of Suspended Sediment Load) model to estimate annual sediment loads. We used annual data on suspended-solid loads monitored at an experimental station from 1987 to 2001 and on monthly precipitation data. The quality of sediment load data was critically examined, and one outlying year was identified and removed from further analyses. This outlier revealed that our model underestimates exceptionally high sediment loads in years characterized by a severe flood event. For all other years, the CliSMSSL performed well, with a determination coefficient (R2) equal to 0.67 and a mean absolute error (MAE) of 129 Mg y−1. The calibrated model for the period 1986–2010 was used to reconstruct sediment loads in the river catchment for historical times when detailed precipitation records are not available. For the period 1810–2010, the model results indicate that the past centuries have been characterized by large interannual to interdecadal fluctuations in the conditions affecting sediment loads. This paper argues that climate-induced erosion processes in Alpine areas and their impact on environment should be given more attention in discussions about climate-driven strategies. Future work should focus on delineating the extents of these findings (e.g., at other catchments of the European Alpine belt) as well as investigating the dynamics for the formation of sediment loads.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X18300849

Cost of agricultural productivity loss due to soil erosion in the European Union: From direct cost evaluation approaches to the use of macroeconomic models
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2018

Much research has been carried out on modelling soil erosion rates under different climatic and land use conditions. Although some studies have addressed the issue of reduced crop productivity due to soil erosion, few have focused on the economic loss in terms of agricultural production and gross domestic product (GDP). In this study, soil erosion modellers and economists come together to carry out an economic evaluation of soil erosion in the European Union (EU). The study combines biophysical and macroeconomic models to estimate the cost of agricultural productivity loss due to soil erosion by water in the EU. The soil erosion rates, derived from the RUSLE2015 model, are used to estimate the loss in crop productivity (physical change in the production of plants) and to model their impact on the agricultural sector per country. A computable general equilibrium model is then used to estimate the impact of crop productivity change on agricultural production and GDP. The 12 million hectares of agricultural areas in the EU that suffer from severe erosion are estimated to lose around 0.43% of their crop productivity annually. The annual cost of this loss in agricultural productivity is estimated at around €1.25 billion. The computable general equilibrium model estimates the cost in the agricultural sector to be close to €300 million and the loss in GDP to be about €155 million. Italy emerges as the country that suffers the highest economic impact, whereas the agricultural sector in most Northern and Central European countries is only marginally affected by soil erosion losses.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ldr.2879

Distribution of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in agricultural topsoils of the European Union
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

Approval for glyphosate-based herbicides in the European Union (EU) is under intense debate due to concern about their effects on the environment and human health. The occurrence of glyphosate residues in European water bodies is rather well documented whereas only few, fragmented and outdated information is available for European soils. We provide the first large-scale assessment of distribution (occurrence and concentrations) of glyphosate and its main metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in EU agricultural topsoils, and estimate their potential spreading by wind and water erosion. Glyphosate and/or AMPA were present in 45% of the topsoils collected, originating from eleven countries and six crop systems, with a maximum concentration of 2 mg kg− 1. Several glyphosate and AMPA hotspots were identified across the EU. Soil loss rates (obtained from recently derived European maps) were used to estimate the potential export of glyphosate and AMPA by wind and water erosion. The estimated exports, result of a conceptually simple model, clearly indicate that particulate transport can contribute to human and environmental exposure to herbicide residues. Residue threshold values in soils are urgently needed to define potential risks for soil health and off site effects related to export by wind and water erosion.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717327973

Managing Mediterranean soil resources under global change: expected trends and mitigation strategies
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018

The soils of the Mediterranean Basin are the products of soil processes that have been governed by a unique convergence of highly differentiated natural and anthropogenic drivers. These soils are expected to be dramatically affected by future climate and societal changes. These changes imply that suitable adaptive management strategies for these resources cannot simply be transposed from experiments that are performed in other regions of the world. Following a framework that considers the chain of “drivers-soil process-soil capital-ecosystem services/disservices,” the paper review the research undertaken in the Mediterranean area on three types of Mediterranean soil degradation than can be expected under global change: (i) soil losses due to the increase of drought and torrential rainfall; (ii) soil salinization due the increase of droughts, irrigation, and sea level; and (iii) soil carbon stock depletion with the increase of temperature and droughts. The possible strategies for mitigating each of these degradations have been largely addressed and are still studied in current research projects. They should include changes in agricultural practices, soil water management, and vegetal material. As a pre-requisite for the site-specific adaptations of such mitigation strategies within viable Mediterranean agrosystems, it is highlighted that methodological advances are necessary in integrated assessment of agricultural systems and in finer resolution soil mapping.

Soil biodiversity and soil erosion: It is time to get married
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2018

The relationship between erosion and biodiversity is reciprocal. Soil organisms can both reduce soil loss, by improving porosity, and increase it, by diminishing soil stability as a result of their mixing activities. Simultaneously, soil runoff has ecological impacts on belowground communities. Despite clear research into interactions, soil erosion models do not consider biodiversity in their estimates and soil ecology has poorly investigated the effects of erosion. In order to start filling in these research gaps, we present a novel biological factor and introduce it into a well‐known soil erosion model (the revised universal soil loss equation). Furthermore, we propose insights to advance soil erosion ecology. We present three pathways to fill in current knowledge gaps in soil biodiversity and erosion studies: (a) introducing a biological factor into soil erosion models; (b) developing plot‐scale experiments to clarify and quantify the positive/negative effects of soil organisms on erosion; (c) promoting ecological studies to assess both short‐ and long‐term effects of soil erosion on soil biota. We develop a biological factor to be included in soil erosion modelling. Thanks to available data on earthworm diversity (richness and abundance), we generate an “earthworm factor”, incorporate it into a model of soil erosion and produce the first pan‐European maps of it. New estimates of soil loss can be generated by including biological factors in soil erosion models. At the same time, the effects of soil loss on belowground diversity require further investigation. Available data and technologies make both processes possible. We think that it is time to commit to fostering the fundamental, although complex, relationship between soil biodiversity and erosion.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/geb.12782

A step towards a holistic assessment of soil degradation in Europe: Coupling on-site erosion with sediment transfer and carbon fluxes
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2018

Soil degradation due to erosion is connected to two serious environmental impacts: (i) on-site soil loss and (ii) off-site effects of sediment transfer through the landscape. The potential impact of soil erosion processes on biogeochemical cycles has received increasing attention in the last two decades. Properly designed modelling assumptions on effective soil loss are a key pre-requisite to improve our understanding of the magnitude of nutrients that are mobilized through soil erosion and the resultant effects. The aim of this study is to quantify the potential spatial displacement and transport of soil sediments due to water erosion at European scale. We computed long-term averages of annual soil loss and deposition rates by means of the extensively tested spatially distributed WaTEM/SEDEM model. Our findings indicate that soil loss from Europe in the riverine systems is about 15% of the estimated gross on-site erosion. The estimated sediment yield totals 0.164 ± 0.013 Pg yr−1 (which corresponds to 4.62 ± 0.37 Mg ha−1 yr−1 in the erosion area). The greatest amount of gross on-site erosion as well as soil loss to rivers occurs in the agricultural land (93.5%). By contrast, forestland and other semi-natural vegetation areas experience an overall surplus of sediments which is driven by a re-deposition of sediments eroded from agricultural land. Combining the predicted soil loss rates with the European soil organic carbon (SOC) stock, we estimate a SOC displacement by water erosion of 14.5 Tg yr−1. The SOC potentially transferred to the riverine system equals to 2.2 Tg yr−1 (~15%). Integrated sediment delivery-biogeochemical models need to answer the question on how carbon mineralization during detachment and transport might be balanced or even off-set by carbon sequestration due to dynamic replacement and sediment burial.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935117308137

Filling the European blank spot : Swiss soil erodibility assessment with topsoil samples
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2018

Soil erodibility, commonly expressed as the K‐factor in USLE‐type erosion models, is a crucial parameter for determining soil loss rates. However, a national soil erodibility map based on measured soil properties did so far not exist for Switzerland. As an EU non‐member state, Switzerland was not included in previous soil mapping programs such as the Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS). However, in 2015 Switzerland joined the LUCAS soil sampling program and extended the topsoil sampling to mountainous regions higher 1500 m asl for the first time in Europe. Based on this soil property dataset we developed a K‐factor map for Switzerland to close the gap in soil erodibility mapping in Central Europe. The K‐factor calculation is based on a nomograph that relates soil erodibility to data of soil texture, organic matter content, soil structure, and permeability. We used 160 Swiss LUCAS topsoil samples below 1500 m asl and added in an additional campaign 39 samples above 1500 m asl. In order to allow for a smooth interpolation in context of the neighboring regions, additional 1638 LUCAS samples of adjacent countries were considered. Point calculations of K‐factors were spatially interpolated by Cubist Regression and Multilevel B‐Splines. Environmental features (vegetation index, reflectance data, terrain, and location features) that explain the spatial distribution of soil erodibility were included as covariates. The Cubist Regression approach performed well with an RMSE of 0.0048 t ha h ha−1 MJ−1 mm−1. Mean soil erodibility for Switzerland was calculated as 0.0327 t ha h ha−1 MJ−1 mm−1 with a standard deviation of 0.0044 t ha h ha−1 MJ−1 mm−1. The incorporation of stone cover reduces soil erodibility by 8.2%. The proposed Swiss erodibility map based on measured soil data including mountain soils was compared to an extrapolated map without measured soil data, the latter overestimating erodibility in mountain regions (by 6.3%) and underestimating in valleys (by 2.5%). The K‐factor map is of high relevance not only for the soil erosion risk of Switzerland with a particular emphasis on the mountainous regions but also has an intrinsic value of its own for specific land use decisions, soil and land suitability and soil protection.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jpln.201800128

Copper distribution in European topsoils: An assessment based on LUCAS soil survey
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2018
Copper (Cu) distribution in soil is influenced by climatic, geological and pedological factors. Apart from geological sources and industrial pollution, other anthropogenic sources, related to the agricultural activity, may increase copper levels in soils, especially in permanent crops such as olive groves and vineyards. This study uses 21,682 soil samples from the LUCAS topsoil survey to investigate copper distribution in the soils of 25 European Union (EU) Member States.
 
Generalized Linear Models (GLM) were used to investigate the factors driving copper distribution in EU soils. Regression analysis shows the importance of topsoil properties, land cover and climate in estimating Cu concentration. Meanwhile, a copper regression model confirms our hypothesis that different agricultural management practices have a relevant influence on Cu concentration. Besides the traditional use of copper as a fungicide for treatments in several permanent crops, the combined effect of soil properties such as high pH, soil organic carbon and clay, with humid and wet climatic conditions favours copper accumulation in soils of vineyards and tree crops. Compared to the overall average Cu concentration of 16.85 mg kg−1, vineyards have the highest mean soil Cu concentration (49.26 mg kg−1) of all land use categories, followed by olive groves and orchards.
 
Gaussian Process Regression (GPR) combined with kriging were used to map copper concentration in topsoils and to evidence the presence of outliers. GPR proved to be performant in predicting Cu concentration, especially in combination with kriging, accounting for 66% of Cu deviance. The derived maps are novel as they include information about the importance of topsoil properties in the copper mapping process, thus improving its accuracy. Both models highlight the influence of land management practices in copper concentration and the strong correlation between topsoil copper and vineyards.
Global rainfall erosivity assessment based on high-temporal resolution rainfall records
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

The exposure of the Earth’s surface to the energetic input of rainfall is one of the key factors controlling water erosion. While water erosion is identified as the most serious cause of soil degradation globally, global patterns of rainfall erosivity remain poorly quantified and estimates have large uncertainties. This hampers the implementation of effective soil degradation mitigation and restoration strategies. Quantifying rainfall erosivity is challenging as it requires high temporal resolution(<30 min) and high fidelity rainfall recordings. We present the results of an extensive global data collection effort whereby we estimated rainfall erosivity for 3,625 stations covering 63 countries. This first ever Global Rainfall Erosivity Database was used to develop a global erosivity map at 30 arc-seconds(~1 km) based on a Gaussian Process Regression(GPR). Globally, the mean rainfall erosivity was estimated to be 2,190 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 yr−1, with the highest values in South America and the Caribbean countries, Central east Africa and South east Asia. The lowest values are mainly found in Canada, the Russian Federation, Northern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. The tropical climate zone has the highest mean rainfall erosivity followed by the temperate whereas the lowest mean was estimated in the cold climate zone.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-04282-8

Complementing the top soil information of the Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey (LUCAS) with modelled N2O emissions
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

Two objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy post-2013 (CAP, 2014–2020) in the European Union (EU) are the sustainable management of natural resources and climate smart agriculture. To understand the CAP impact on these priorities, the Land Use/Cover statistical Area frame Survey (LUCAS) employs direct field observations and soil sub-sampling across the EU. While a huge amount of information can be retrieved from LUCAS points for monitoring the environmental status of agroecosystems and assessing soil carbon sequestration, a fundamental aspect relating to climate change action is missing, namely nitrous oxide (N2O) soil emissions. To fill this gap, we ran the DayCent biogeochemistry model for more than 11’000 LUCAS sampling points under agricultural use, assessing also the model uncertainty. The results showed that current annual N2O emissions followed a skewed distribution with a mean and median values of 2.27 and 1.71 kg N ha-1 yr-1, respectively. Using a Random Forest regression for upscaling the modelled results to the EU level, we estimated direct soil emissions of N2O in the range of 171–195 Tg yr-1 of CO2eq. Moreover, the direct regional upscaling using modelled N2O emissions in LUCAS points was on average 0.95 Mg yr-1 of CO2eq. per hectare, which was within the range of the meta-model upscaling (0.92–1.05 Mg ha-1 yr-1 of CO2eq). We concluded that, if information on management practices would be made available and model bias further reduced by N2O flux measurement at representative LUCAS points, the combination of the land use/soil survey with a well calibrated biogeochemistry model may become a reference tool to support agricultural, environmental and climate policies.

ttps://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176111

Pedotransfer functions for predicting organic carbon in subsurface horizons of European soils
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

There is an increasing demand for information on organic carbon (OC) in subsurface horizons, because subsurface horizons down to the bedrock can contribute to more than half of soil carbon stocks. In this study, we developed pedotransfer functions (PTFs) for predicting OC content in subsurface horizons of European soils. We used a dataset with a wide geographical coverage in Europe. The dataset was stratified sequentially into land‐cover and soil categories. For each category, PTFs were developed by multiple linear regression with the main soil and climatic factors of soil OC storage as predictor variables: OC in topsoil (0–20 cm), depth of subsurface horizons, texture and bulk density (BD) in subsurface horizons, and mean annual temperature and precipitation. Three land‐cover categories were separated: woodland, a combined category of grassland and non‐permanent arable land, and permanent arable land. For the combined land‐cover category, two soil categories were identified: (i) soils with clay‐rich subsoil and soils with little horizon development and (ii) organic‐rich soils and soils rich in Fe and Al compounds. The adjusted R2 of all PTFs was above 0.62. When PTFs were applied to independent data, the adjusted R2 was above 0.51 for all of them. The PTFs showed good prediction ability, with root mean square error (RMSE) values between 2.43 and 13.82 g C kg−1 soil. The adjusted R2 and RMSE of PTFs were better when BD was used as a predictor variable. The PTFs could be implemented easily for applications at the continental scale in Europe.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ejss.12464

Mapping monthly rainfall erosivity in Europe
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2017
Rainfall erosivity as a dynamic factor of soil loss by water erosion is modelled intra-annually for the first time at European scale. The development of Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) and its 2015 update with the extension to monthly component allowed to develop monthly and seasonal R-factor maps and assess rainfall erosivity both spatially and temporally. During winter months, significant rainfall erosivity is present only in part of the Mediterranean countries. A sudden increase of erosivity occurs in major part of European Union (except Mediterranean basin, western part of Britain and Ireland) in May and the highest values are registered during summer months. Starting from September, R-factor has a decreasing trend. The mean rainfall erosivity in summer is almost 4 times higher (315 MJ mm ha− 1 h− 1) compared to winter (87 MJ mm ha− 1 h− 1).
 
The Cubist model has been selected among various statistical models to perform the spatial interpolation due to its excellent performance, ability to model non-linearity and interpretability. The monthly prediction is an order more difficult than the annual one as it is limited by the number of covariates and, for consistency, the sum of all months has to be close to annual erosivity. The performance of the Cubist models proved to be generally high, resulting in R2 values between 0.40 and 0.64 in cross-validation. The obtained months show an increasing trend of erosivity occurring from winter to summer starting from western to Eastern Europe. The maps also show a clear delineation of areas with different erosivity seasonal patterns, whose spatial outline was evidenced by cluster analysis. The monthly erosivity maps can be used to develop composite indicators that map both intra-annual variability and concentration of erosive events. Consequently, spatio-temporal mapping of rainfall erosivity permits to identify the months and the areas with highest risk of soil loss where conservation measures should be applied in different seasons of the year.
 
Optimizing the delivery of multiple ecosystem goods and services in agricultural systems
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017
Agricultural land is subjected to a variety of societal pressures, as demands for food, animal feed, and biomass production increase, with an added requirement to simultaneously maintain natural areas, and mitigate climatic and environmental impacts globally (Tilman et al., 2002; Pretty, 2008; Wang and Swallow, 2016). The biotic elements of agricultural systems interact with the abiotic environment to generate a number of ecosystem functions that offer services benefiting humans across many scales of time and space (Swinton et al., 2007; Power, 2010). The intensification of agriculture, particularly of that founded on fossil-fuel derived inputs, generally reduces biodiversity, including soil biodiversity (Tsiafouli et al., 2015) and impacts negatively upon a number of regulating and supporting ecosystem services (Zhang et al., 2007). There is a global need toward achieving sustainable agricultural systems, highlighted also in the UNs' Sustainable Development Goals, where among their targets they state that by 2030 we should globally “ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality” (UN-DESA/DSD, 2014).
 
There is hence an evident need for management regimes that enhance both agricultural production and the provision of multiple ecosystem services. The articles of this Research Topic enhance our knowledge of how management practices applied to agricultural systems affect the delivery of multiple ecosystem services and how trade-offs between provisioning, regulating, and supporting ecosystem services can be handled both above- and below-ground, and across multiple scales of space and time. They also show the diversity of topics that need to be considered within the framework of ecosystem services delivered by agricultural systems, from knowledge on basic concepts and newly-proposed frameworks (§1), to a focus on specific ecosystem types such as grasslands and high nature-value farmlands (§2), pollinator habitats (§3), and soil habitats (§4).

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2017.00097/full

Gap assessment in current soil monitoring networks across Europe for measuring soil functions
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017
Abstract
Soil is the most important natural resource for life on Earth after water. Given its fundamental role in sustaining the human population, both the availability and quality of soil must be managed sustainably and protected. To ensure sustainable management we need to understand the intrinsic functional capacity of different soils across Europe and how it changes over time. Soil monitoring is needed to support evidence-based policies to incentivise sustainable soil management. To this aim, we assessed which soil attributes can be used as potential indicators of five soil functions; (1) primary production, (2) water purification and regulation, (3) carbon sequestration and climate regulation, (4) soil biodiversity and habitat provisioning and (5) recycling of nutrients. We compared this list of attributes to existing national (regional) and EU-wide soil monitoring networks. The overall picture highlighted a clearly unbalanced dataset, in which predominantly chemical soil parameters were included, and soil biological and physical attributes were severely under represented. Methods applied across countries for indicators also varied. At a European scale, the LUCAS-soil survey was evaluated and again confirmed a lack of important soil biological parameters, such as C mineralisation rate, microbial biomass and earthworm community, and soil physical measures such as bulk density. In summary, no current national or European monitoring system exists which has the capacity to quantify the five soil functions and therefore evaluate multi-functional capacity of a soil and in many countries no data exists at all. This paper calls for the addition of soil biological and some physical parameters within the LUCAS-soil survey at European scale and for further development of national soil monitoring schemes.
European contribution towards a global assessment of agricultural soil organic carbon stocks
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

The chapter discusses a study that predicts the global organic carbon stocks for agricultural soils using European databases with geostatistical analysis and modeling. The overall statistical model consists of two submodels namely donor and donee modules. The donor module uses statistics to quantify the relationships between soil organic carbon (SOC) and environmental covariates. The covariates were selected based on their availability at global scale and their roles as major drivers that affect the carbon cycle in terrestrial ecosystems. Multiple linear regression was used in the donor module with the selected covariates and dense SOC measurements coming from LUCAS soil database (Toth et al., 2013a). The LUCAS soil database has more than 22,000 SOC measurements from European countries and a standardized sampling procedure was used routinely to collect samples of around 0.5 kg of topsoil (0–20 cm) each. The donor module reveals and quantifies the relationships between SOC mass concentration in soil and the predictors to be used in the donee model to extend the prediction at global scale using the same set of predictors. We used the WorldClim dataset (Hijmans et al., 2005), which is comprised of global climate data layers representing long-term conditions for the years from 1950 to 2000. The land cover data were extracted from the GlobCover 2009 (ESA and Universite' Catholique de Louvain, 2010) provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), the terrain parameters were derived from CGIAR-CSI SRTM 90 m Database (Jarvis et al., 2008), the soil layers obtained from Harmonized World Soil Database (FAO/IIASA/ISRIC/ISSCAS/JRC, 2012), and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data were obtained from Copernicus Global Land Service Data Portal (Copernicus Global Land Service, 2015). The study yielded promising results which are broadly consistent with similar efforts predicting global agricultural SOC stocks. Our model fits the SOC data well (R2 = 0.35) and preliminary results suggest a global agricultural SOC estimate of 100.34 Pg (Petagrams) in the first 20 cm. The study predicts the global agricultural SOC stocks using a geostatistical approach and the results are consistent with previous studies that used process-based SOC models.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065211316301183

An assessment of the global impact of 21st century land use change on soil erosion
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

Human activity and related land use change are the primary cause of accelerated soil erosion, which has substantial implications for nutrient and carbon cycling, land productivity and in turn, worldwide socio-economic conditions. Here we present an unprecedentedly high resolution (250 × 250 m) global potential soil erosion model, using a combination of remote sensing, GIS modelling and census data. We challenge the previous annual soil erosion reference values as our estimate, of 35.9 Pg yr−1 of soil eroded in 2012, is at least two times lower. Moreover, we estimate the spatial and temporal effects of land use change between 2001 and 2012 and the potential offset of the global application of conservation practices. Our findings indicate a potential overall increase in global soil erosion driven by cropland expansion. The greatest increases are predicted to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. The least developed economies have been found to experience the highest estimates of soil erosion rates.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02142-7

Soil natural capital in europe; a framework for state and change assessment
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

Soils underpin our existence through food production and represent the largest terrestrial carbon store. Understanding soil state-and-change in response to climate and land use change is a major challenge. Our aim is to bridge the science-policy interface by developing a natural capital accounting structure for soil, for example, attempting a mass balance between soil erosion and production, which indicates that barren land, and woody crop areas are most vulnerable to potential soil loss. We test out our approach using earth observation, modelling and ground based sample data from the European Union’s Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey (LUCAS) soil monitoring program. Using land cover change data for 2000–2012 we are able to identify land covers susceptible to change, and the soil resources most at risk. Tree covered soils are associated with the highest carbon stocks, and are on the increase, while areas of arable crops are declining, but artificial surfaces are increasing. The framework developed offers a substantial step forward, demonstrating the development of biophysical soil accounts that can be used in wider socio-economic and policy assessment; initiating the development of an integrated soil monitoring approach called for by the United Nations Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06819-3

 

Assessment of the impacts of clear-cutting on soil loss bywater erosion in Italian forests: First comprehensive monitoring and modelling approach
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017
As a member of the European Union, Italy has committed to the maintenance and protection of its forests based on sustainable forest development and management practices. According to Eurostat, Italy has the seventh largest forest surface available for wood supply in the EU-28, which is equal to 8.086 million hectares. For 2012, the Italian National Institute of Statistics estimated the total roundwood production of Italy to be 7.7 million m3, from a harvested forest surface of 61,038 ha. Large parts of the country's forests, mainly located in vulnerable mountainous landscapes that are highly sensitive to environmental changes, are subject to anthropogenic disturbance driven by wood supply interests. Despite the extensive logging activities and the well-known impacts that such management practices have on the soil-related forest ecosystems, there is a lack of spatially and temporally explicit information about the removal of trees. Hence, this study aims to: i) assess the soil loss by water erosion in Italian forest areas, ii) map forest harvests and iii) evaluate the effects of logging activities in terms of soil loss by means of comprehensive remote sensing and GIS modelling techniques. The study area covers about 785.6 × 104 ha, which corresponds to the main forest units of the CORINE land cover 2006 database (i.e. broad-leaved forests, coniferous forests and mixed forests). Annual forest logging activities were mapped using Landsat imagery. Validation procedures were applied. A revised version of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) was used to predict the soil loss potential due to rill and inter-rill processes. To ensure a thorough modelling approach, the input parameters were calculated using the original methods reported in the USDA handbooks. The derived high-resolution data regarding forest cover change shows that 317,535 ha (4.04% of the total forest area in Italy) were harvested during the period under review. The predicted long-term annual average soil loss rate was 0.54 Mg ha− 1 yr− 1. The average rate of soil loss in forests that remained undisturbed during the modelled period is equal to 0.33 Mg ha− 1 yr− 1. Notably, about half of the soil loss (45.3%) was predicted for the logged areas, even though these cover only about 10.6% of the Italian forests. The identified erosion hotspots may represent a serious threat for the soil-related forest ecosystems, and are in contrast to the EC Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection and Water Framework Directive.
 
The Impact of Policy Instruments on Soil Multifunctionality in the European Union
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

Agricultural ecosystems provide a range of benefits that are vital to human well-being. These benefits are dependent on several soil functions that are affected in different ways by legislation from the European Union, national, and regional levels. We evaluated current European Union soil-related legislation and examples of regional legislation with regard to direct and indirect impacts on five soil functions: the production of food, fiber, and fuel; water purification and regulation; carbon sequestration and climate regulation; habitat for biodiversity provisioning; and the recycling of nutrients/agro-chemicals. Our results illustrate the diversity of existing policies and the complex interactions present between different spatial and temporal scales. The impact of most policies, positive or negative, on a soil function is usually not established, but depends on how the policy is implemented by local authorities and the farmers. This makes it difficult to estimate the overall state and trends of the different soil functions in agricultural ecosystems. To implement functional management and sustainable use of the different soil functions in agricultural ecosystems, more knowledge is needed on the policy interactions as well as on the impact of management options on the different soil functions

Soil legacy data rescue via GlobalSoilMap and other international and national initiatives
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

Legacy soil data have been produced over 70 years in nearly all countries of the world. Unfortunately, data, information and knowledge are still currently fragmented and at risk of getting lost if they remain in a paper format. To process this legacy data into consistent, spatially explicit and continuous global soil information, data are being rescued and compiled into databases. Thousands of soil survey reports and maps have been scanned and made available online. The soil profile data reported by these data sources have been captured and compiled into databases. The total number of soil profiles rescued in the selected countries is about 800,000. Currently, data for 117, 000 profiles are compiled and harmonized according to GlobalSoilMap specifications in a world level database (WoSIS). The results presented at the country level are likely to be an underestimate. The majority of soil data is still not rescued and this effort should be pursued. The data have been used to produce soil property maps. We discuss the pro and cons of top-down and bottom-up approaches to produce such maps and we stress their complementarity. We give examples of success stories. The first global soil property maps using rescued data were produced by a top-down approach and were released at a limited resolution of 1 km in 2014, followed by an update at a resolution of 250 m in 2017. By the end of 2020, we aim to deliver the first worldwide product that fully meets the GlobalSoilMap specifications.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214242816300699

Towards estimates of future rainfall erosivity in Europe based on REDES and WorldClim datasets
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

The policy requests to develop trends in soil erosion changes can be responded developing modelling scenarios of the two most dynamic factors in soil erosion, i.e. rainfall erosivity and land cover change. The recently developed Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) and a statistical approach used to spatially interpolate rainfall erosivity data have the potential to become useful knowledge to predict future rainfall erosivity based on climate scenarios. The use of a thorough statistical modelling approach (Gaussian Process Regression), with the selection of the most appropriate covariates (monthly precipitation, temperature datasets and bioclimatic layers), allowed to predict the rainfall erosivity based on climate change scenarios. The mean rainfall erosivity for the European Union and Switzerland is projected to be 857 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 yr−1 till 2050 showing a relative increase of 18% compared to baseline data (2010). The changes are heterogeneous in the European continent depending on the future projections of most erosive months (hot period: April–September). The output results report a pan-European projection of future rainfall erosivity taking into account the uncertainties of the climatic models.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169417301439

Soil Functions in Earth’s Critical Zone: Key Results and Conclusions
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017
This chapter summarizes the methods, results, and conclusions of a 5-year research project (SoilTrEC: Soil Transformations in European Catchments) on experimentation, process modeling, and computational simulation of soil functions and soil threats across a network of European, Chinese, and United States Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs). The study focused on the soil functions of biomass production, carbon storage, water storage and transmission, water filtration, transformation of nutrients, and maintaining habitat and genetic diversity.
 
The principal results demonstrate that soil functions can be quantified as biophysical flows and transformations of material and energy. The functions can be simulated with mathematical models of soil processes within the soil profile and at the critical zone interfaces with vegetation and atmosphere, surface waters and the below-ground vadose zone and groundwater. A new dynamic model for soil structure development, together with data sets from the CZOs, demonstrate both seasonal fluctuations in soil structure dynamics related to vegetation dynamics and soil carbon inputs, and long-term trends (decadal) in soil carbon storage and soil structure development.
 
Cross-site comparison for 20 soil profiles at seven field sites with variation in soil type, lithology, land cover, land use, and climate demonstrate that sites can be classified, using model parameter values for soil aggregation processes together with climatic conditions and soil physical properties, along a trajectory of soil structure development from incipient soil formation through productive land use to overly intensive land use with soil degradation.
 
A new modeling code, the Integrated Critical Zone model, was applied with parameter sets developed from the CZO site data to simulate the biophysical flows and transformations that quantify multiple soil functions. Process simulations coupled the new model for soil structure dynamics with existing modeling approaches for soil carbon dynamics, nutrient transformations, vegetation dynamics, hydrological flow and transport, and geochemical equilibria and mineral weathering reactions. Successful calibration, testing, and application of the model with data sets from horticulture plot manipulation experiments demonstrate the potential to apply modeling and simulation to the scoping and design of new practices and policy options to enhance soil functions and reduce soil threats worldwide. Köppen–Geiger Classification).

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065211316301249

Discovering historical rainfall erosivity with a parsimonious approach: A case study in Western Germany
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

An in-depth analysis of the interannual variability of storms is required to detect changes in soil erosive power of rainfall, which can also result in severe on-site and off-site damages. Evaluating long-term rainfall erosivity is a challenging task, mainly because of the paucity of high-resolution historical precipitation observations that are generally reported at coarser temporal resolutions (e.g., monthly to annual totals). In this paper we suggest overcoming this limitation through an analysis of long-term processes governing rainfall erosivity with an application to datasets available the central Ruhr region (Western Germany) for the period 1701–2011. Based on a parsimonious interpretation of seasonal rainfall-related processes (from spring to autumn), a model was derived using 5-min erosivity data from 10 stations covering the period 1937–2002, and then used to reconstruct a long series of annual rainfall erosivity values. Change-points in the evolution of rainfall erosivity are revealed over the 1760s and the 1920s that mark three sub-periods characterized by increasing mean values. The results indicate that the erosive hazard tends to increase as a consequence of an increased frequency of extreme precipitation events occurred during the last decades, characterized by short-rain events regrouped into prolonged wet spells.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169416307296

A New Assessment of Soil Loss Due to Wind Erosion in European Agricultural Soils Using a Quantitative Spatially Distributed Modelling Approach
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017
Field measurements and observations have shown that wind erosion is a threat for numerous arable lands in the European Union (EU). Wind erosion affects both the semi‐arid areas of the Mediterranean region as well as the temperate climate areas of the northern European countries. Yet, there is still a lack of knowledge, which limits the understanding about where, when and how heavily wind erosion is affecting European arable lands. Currently, the challenge is to integrate the insights gained by recent pan‐European assessments, local measurements, observations and field‐scale model exercises into a new generation of regional‐scale wind erosion models. This is an important step to make the complex matter of wind erosion dynamics more tangible for decision‐makers and to support further research on a field‐scale level. A geographic information system version of the Revised Wind Erosion Equation was developed to (i) move a step forward into the large‐scale wind erosion modelling; (ii) evaluate the soil loss potential due to wind erosion in the arable land of the EU; and (iii) provide a tool useful to support field‐based observations of wind erosion. The model was designed to predict the daily soil loss potential at a ca. 1 km2 spatial resolution. The average annual soil loss predicted by geographic information system Revised Wind Erosion Equation in the EU arable land totalled 0·53 Mg ha−1 y−1, with the second quantile and the fourth quantile equal to 0·3 and 1·9 Mg ha−1 y−1, respectively. The cross‐validation shows a high consistency with local measurements reported in literature

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ldr.2588

How does tillage intensity affect soil organic carbon? A systematic review
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017
The loss of carbon (C) from agricultural soils has been, in part, attributed to tillage, a common practice providing a number of benefits to farmers. The promotion of less intensive tillage practices and no tillage (NT) (the absence of mechanical soil disturbance) aims to mitigate negative impacts on soil quality and to preserve soil organic carbon (SOC). Several reviews and meta-analyses have shown both beneficial and null effects on SOC due to no tillage relative to conventional tillage, hence there is a need for a comprehensive systematic review to answer the question: what is the impact of reduced tillage intensity on SOC?
 
Topological data analysis (TDA) applied to reveal pedogenetic principles of European topsoil system
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

Recent developments in applied mathematics are bringing new tools that are capable to synthesize knowledge in various disciplines, and help in finding hidden relationships between variables. One such technique is topological data analysis (TDA), a fusion of classical exploration techniques such as principal component analysis (PCA), and a topological point of view applied to clustering of results. Various phenomena have already received new interpretations thanks to TDA, from the proper choice of sport teams to cancer treatments. For the first time, this technique has been applied in soil science, to show the interaction between physical and chemical soil attributes and main soil-forming factors, such as climate and land use. The topsoil data set of the Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame survey (LUCAS) was used as a comprehensive database that consists of approximately 20,000 samples, each described by 12 physical and chemical parameters. After the application of TDA, results obtained were cross-checked against known grouping parameters including five types of land cover, nine types of climate and the organic carbon content of soil. Some of the grouping characteristics observed using standard approaches were confirmed by TDA (e.g., organic carbon content) but novel subtle relationships (e.g., magnitude of anthropogenic effect in soil formation), were discovered as well. The importance of this finding is that TDA is a unique mathematical technique capable of extracting complex relations hidden in soil science data sets, giving the opportunity to see the influence of physicochemical, biotic and abiotic factors on topsoil formation through fresh eyes.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717303431

Storage and stability of biochar-derived carbon and total organic carbon in relation to minerals in an acid forest soil of the Spanish Atlantic area
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2017

Biochar can largely contribute to enhance organic carbon (OC) stocks in soil and improve soil quality in forest and agricultural lands. Its contribution depends on its recalcitrance, but also on its interactions with minerals and other organic compounds in soil. Thus, it is important to study the link between minerals, natural organic matter and biochar in soil. In this study, we investigated the incorporation of biochar-derived carbon (biochar-C) into various particle-size fractions with contrasting mineralogy and the effect of biochar on the storage of total OC in the particle-size fractions in an acid loamy soil under Pinus radiata (C3 type) in the Spanish Atlantic area. We compared plots amended with biochar produced from Miscanthus sp. (C4 type) with control plots (not amended). We separated sand-, silt-, and clay-size fractions in samples collected from 0 to 20-cm depth. In each fraction, we analyzed clay minerals, metallic oxides and oxy-hydroxides, total OC and biochar-C. The results showed that 51% of the biochar-C was in fractions < 20 μm one year after the application of biochar. Biochar-C stored in clay-size fractions (0.2–2 μm, 0.05–0.2 μm, < 0.05 μm) was only 14%. Even so, we observed that biochar-C increased with decreasing particle-size in clay-size fractions, as it occurred with the vermiculitic phases and metallic oxides and oxy-hydroxides. Biochar also affected to the distribution of total OC among particle-size fractions. Total OC concentration was greater in fractions 2–20 μm, 0.2–2 μm, 0.05–0.2 μm in biochar-amended plots than in control plots. This may be explained by the adsorption of dissolved OC from fraction < 0.05 μm onto biochar particles. The results suggested that interactions between biochar, minerals and pre-existing organic matter already occurred in the first year.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717303698

Maps of heavy metals in the soils of the European Union and proposed priority areas for detailed assessment
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Soil contamination is one of the greatest concerns among the threats to soil resources in Europe and globally. Despite of its importance there was only very course scale (1/5000 km2) data available on soil heavy metal concentrations prior to the LUCAS topsoil survey, which had a sampling density of 200 km2. Based on the results of the LUCAS sampling and auxiliary information detailed and up-to-date maps of heavy metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb, Zn, Sb, Co and Ni) in the topsoil of the European Union were produced. Using the maps of heavy metal concentration in topsoil we made a spatial prediction of areas where local assessment is suggested to monitor and eventually control the potential threat from heavy metals. Most of the examined elements remain under the corresponding threshold values in the majority of the land of the EU. However, one or more of the elements exceed the applied threshold concentration on 1.2 M km2, which is 28.3% of the total surface area of the EU. While natural backgrounds might be the reason for high concentrations on large proportion of the affected soils, historical and recent industrial and mining areas show elevated concentrations (predominantly of As, Cd, Pb and Hg) too, indicating the magnitude of anthropogenic effect on soil quality in Europe.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716310452

Mapping regional patterns of large forest fires in the Wildland-Urban Interface areas in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Over recent decades, Land Use and Cover Change (LUCC) trends in many regions of Europe have reconfigured the landscape structures around many urban areas. In these areas, the proximity to landscape elements with high forest fuels has increased the fire risk to people and property. These Wildland–Urban Interface areas (WUI) can be defined as landscapes where anthropogenic urban land use and forest fuel mass come into contact. Mapping their extent is needed to prioritize fire risk control and inform local forest fire risk management strategies. This study proposes a method to map the extent and spatial patterns of the European WUI areas at continental scale. Using the European map of WUI areas, the hypothesis is tested that the distance from the nearest WUI area is related to the forest fire probability. Statistical relationships between the distance from the nearest WUI area, and large forest fire incidents from satellite remote sensing were subsequently modelled by logistic regression analysis. The first European scale map of the WUI extent and locations is presented. Country-specific positive and negative relationships of large fires and the proximity to the nearest WUI area are found. A regional-scale analysis shows a strong influence of the WUI zones on large fires in parts of the Mediterranean regions. Results indicate that the probability of large burned surfaces increases with diminishing WUI distance in touristic regions like Sardinia, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, or in regions with a strong peri-urban component as Catalunya, Comunidad de Madrid, Comunidad Valenciana. For the above regions, probability curves of large burned surfaces show statistical relationships (ROC value > 0.5) inside a 5000 m buffer of the nearest WUI. Wise land management can provide a valuable ecosystem service of fire risk reduction that is currently not explicitly included in ecosystem service valuations. The results re-emphasise the importance of including this ecosystem service in landscape valuations to account for the significant landscape function of reducing the risk of catastrophic large fires.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479716300548

Assessment of the cover changes and the soil loss potential in European forestland: First approach to derive indicators to capture the ecological impacts on soil-related forest ecosystems
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

The Member States of the European Union have committed to the maintenance and protection of forest lands. More precisely, the Member States aim to ensure the sustainable development and management of the EU's forests. For 2013, Eurostat's statistics about primary and secondary wood products in the European forest land (65% thereof privately owned) estimate a roundwood production of 435 million m3 in total. Harmonised information, i.e., spatially and temporarily differentiated, on forestry and wood harvesting activities in the European forests are missing however. This lack of information impedes the scientific assessment of the impacts that forest management practices have on the soil-related forest ecosystems (e.g., accelerated water soil erosion, delivery of inert sediments and pollutants within the drainage network, pauperization of aquatic ecosystems). It also prevents national and European institutions from taking measures aimed at an effective mitigation of the rapidly advancing land degradation. This study provides a first pan-European analysis that delineates the spatial patterns of forest cover changes in 36 countries. The first dynamic assessment of the soil loss potential in the EU-28 forests is reported. The recently published High-resolution Global Forest Cover Loss map (2000–2012) was reprocessed and validated. Results show that the map is a powerful tool to spatiotemporally indicate the forest sectors that are exposed to cover change risks. The accuracy assessment performed by using a confusion matrix based on 2300 reference forest disturbances distributed across Europe shows values of 55.1% (producer accuracy) for the algorithm-derived forest cover change areas with a Kappa Index of Agreement (KIA) of 0.672. New insights into the distribution of the forest disturbance in Europe and the resulting soil loss potential were obtained. The presented maps provide spatially explicit indicators to assess the human-induced impacts of land cover changes and soil losses on the European soil-related forest ecosystems. These insights are relevant (i) to support policy making and land management decisions to ensure a sustainable forest management strategy and (ii) to provide a solid basis for further spatiotemporal investigations of the forestry practices’ impacts on the European forest ecosystems.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X1500494X

A method of establishing a transect for biodiversity and ecosystem function monitoring across Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

The establishment of the range of soil biodiversity found within European soils is needed to guide EU policy development regarding the protection of soil. Such a base-line should be collated from a wide-ranging sampling campaign to ensure that soil biodiversity from the majority of soil types, land-use or management systems, and European climatic (bio-geographical zones) were included. This paper reports the design and testing of a method to achieve the large scale sampling associated with the establishment of such a baseline, carried out within the remit of the EcoFINDERS project, and outlines points to consider when such a task is undertaken.

Applying a GIS spatial selection process, a sampling campaign was undertaken by 13 EcoFINDERS partners across 11 countries providing data on the range of indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem functions including; micro and meso fauna biodiversity, extracellular enzyme activity, PLFA and community level physiological profiling (MicroResp™ and Biolog™). Physical, chemical and bio-geographical parameters of the 81 sites sampled were used to determine whether the model predicted a wide enough range of sites to allow assessment of the biodiversity indicators tested.

Discrimination between the major bio-geographical zones of Atlantic and Continental was possible for all land-use types. Boreal and Alpine zones only allowed discrimination in the most common land-use type for that area e.g. forestry and grassland sites, respectively, while the Mediterranean zone did not have enough sites sampled to draw conclusions across all land-use types. The method used allowed the inclusion of a range of land-uses in both the model prediction stage and the final sites sampled. The establishment of the range of soil biodiversity across Europe is possible, though a larger targeted campaign is recommended. The techniques applied within the EcoFINDERS sampling would be applicable to a larger campaign

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0929139315300342

Towards a pan-European assessment of land susceptibility to wind erosion
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Understanding spatial and temporal patterns in land susceptibility to wind erosion is essential to design effective management strategies to control land degradation. The knowledge about the land surface susceptible to wind erosion in European contexts shows significant gaps. The lack of researches, particularly at the landscape to regional scales, prevents national and European institutions from taking actions aimed at an effective mitigating of land degradation. This study provides a preliminary pan‐European assessment that delineates the spatial patterns of land susceptibility to wind erosion and lays the groundwork for future modelling activities. An Index of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion (ILSWE) was created by combining spatiotemporal variations of the most influential wind erosion factors (i.e. climatic erosivity, soil erodibility, vegetation cover and landscape roughness). The sensitivity of each input factor was ranked according to fuzzy logic techniques. State‐of‐the‐art findings within the literature on soil erodibility and land susceptibility were used to evaluate the outcomes of the proposed modelling activity. Results show that the approach is suitable for integrating wind erosion information and environmental factors. Within the 34 European countries under investigation, moderate and high levels of land susceptibility to wind erosion were predicted, ranging from 25·8 to 13·0 M ha, respectively (corresponding to 5·3 and 2·9% of total area). New insights into the geography of wind erosion susceptibility in Europe were obtained and provide a solid basis for further investigations into the spatial variability and susceptibility of land to wind erosion across Europe. 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ldr.2318

Spatio-temporal analysis of rainfall erosivity and erosivity density in Greece
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Rainfall erosivity considers the effects of rainfall amount and intensity on soil detachment. Rainfall erosivity is most commonly expressed as the R-factor in the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) and its revised version, RUSLE. Several studies focus on spatial analysis of rainfall erosivity ignoring the intra-annual variability of this factor. This study assesses rainfall erosivity in Greece on a monthly basis in the form of the RUSLE R-factor, based on a 30-min data from 80 precipitation stations covering an average period of almost 30 years. The spatial interpolation was done through a Generalised Additive Model (GAM). The observed intra-annual variability of rainfall erosivity proved to be high. The warm season is 3 times less erosive than the cold one. November, December and October are the most erosive months contrary to July, August and May which are the least erosive. The proportion between rainfall erosivity and precipitation, expressed as erosivity density, varies throughout the year. Erosivity density is low in the first 5 months (January–May) and is relatively high in the remaining 7 months (June–December) of the year. The R-factor maps reveal also a high spatial variability with elevated values in the western Greece and Peloponnesus and very low values in Western Macedonia, Thessaly, Attica and Cyclades. The East–West gradient of rainfall erosivity differs per month with a smoother distribution in summer and a more pronounced gradient during the winter months. The aggregated data for the 12 months result in an average R-factor of 807 MJ mm ha− 1 h− 1 year− 1 with a range from 84 to 2825 MJ mm ha− 1 h− 1 year− 1. The combination of monthly R-factor maps with vegetation coverage and tillage maps contributes to better monitor soil erosion risk at national level and monthly basis.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0341816215301156

Effect of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions on erosion and soil organic carbon balance: A national case study
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Since, the Common Agricultural Policies (CAP) reform in 2003, many efforts have been made at the European level to promote a more environmentally friendly agriculture. In order to oblige farmers to manage their land sustainably, the GAEC (Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions) were introduced as part of the Cross Compliance mechanism. Among the standards indicated, the protection of soils against erosion and the maintenance of soil organic matter and soil structure were two pillars to protect and enhance the soil quality and functions. While Member States should specifically define the most appropriate management practices and verify their application, there is a substantial lack of knowledge about the effects of this policy on erosion prevention and soil organic carbon (SOC) change. In order to fill this gap, we coupled a high resolution erosion model based on Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) with the CENTURY biogeochemical model, with the aim to incorporate the lateral carbon fluxes occurring with the sediment transportation. Three scenarios were simulated on the whole extent of arable land in Italy: (i) a baseline without the GAEC implementation; (ii) a current scenario considering a set of management related to GAEC and the corresponding area of application derived from land use and agricultural management statistics and (iii) a technical potential where GAEC standards are applied to the entire surface. The results show a 10.8% decrease, from 8.33 Mg ha−1 year−1 to 7.43 Mg ha−1 year−1, in soil loss potential due to the adoption of the GAEC conservation practices. The technical potential scenario shows a 50.1% decrease in the soil loss potential (soil loss 4.1 Mg ha−1 year−1). The GAEC application resulted in overall SOC gains, with different rates depending on the hectares covered and the agroecosystem conditions. About 17% of the SOC change was attributable to avoided SOC transport by sediment erosion in the current scenario, while a potential gain up to 23.3 Mt of C by 2020 is predicted under the full GAEC application. These estimates provide a useful starting point to help the decision-makers in both ex-ante and ex-post policy evaluation while, scientifically, the way forward relies on linking biogeochemical and geomorphological processes occurring at landscape level and scaling those up to continental and global scales.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837715003257

Soil conservation in Europe: Wish or Reality?
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Nearly all of Europe is affected by soil erosion. A major policy response is required to reverse the impacts of erosion in degraded areas, particularly in light of the current climate change and water crisis. Soil loss occurs not because of any lack of knowledge on how to protect soils, but a lack in policy governance. The average rate of soil loss by sheet and rill erosion in Europe is 2·46 Mg ha−1 yr−1. To mitigate the impacts of soil erosion, the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy has introduced conservation measures which reduce soil loss by water erosion by 20% in arable lands. Further economic and political action should rebrand the value of soil as part of ecosystem services, increase the income of rural land owners, involve young farmers and organize regional services for licensing land use changes. In a changing World of 9 billion people with the challenge of climate change, water scarcity and depletion of soil fertility, the agriculture economy should evolve taking into account environmental and ecological aspects.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ldr.2538

Regionalization of monthly rainfall erosivity patterns in Switzerland
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

One major controlling factor of water erosion is rainfall erosivity, which is quantified as the product of total storm energy and a maximum 30 min intensity (I30). Rainfall erosivity is often expressed as R-factor in soil erosion risk models like the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) and its revised version (RUSLE). As rainfall erosivity is closely correlated with rainfall amount and intensity, the rainfall erosivity of Switzerland can be expected to have a regional characteristic and seasonal dynamic throughout the year. This intra-annual variability was mapped by a monthly modeling approach to assess simultaneously spatial and monthly patterns of rainfall erosivity. So far only national seasonal means and regional annual means exist for Switzerland. We used a network of 87 precipitation gauging stations with a 10 min temporal resolution to calculate long-term monthly mean R-factors. Stepwise generalized linear regression (GLM) and leave-one-out cross-validation (LOOCV) were used to select spatial covariates which explain the spatial and temporal patterns of the R-factor for each month across Switzerland. The monthly R-factor is mapped by summarizing the predicted R-factor of the regression equation and the corresponding residues of the regression, which are interpolated by ordinary kriging (regression–kriging). As spatial covariates, a variety of precipitation indicator data has been included such as snow depths, a combination product of hourly precipitation measurements and radar observations (CombiPrecip), daily Alpine precipitation (EURO4M-APGD), and monthly precipitation sums (RhiresM). Topographic parameters (elevation, slope) were also significant explanatory variables for single months. The comparison of the 12 monthly rainfall erosivity maps showed a distinct seasonality with the highest rainfall erosivity in summer (June, July, and August) influenced by intense rainfall events. Winter months have the lowest rainfall erosivity. A proportion of 62 % of the total annual rainfall erosivity is identified within four months only (June–September). The highest erosion risk can be expected in July, where not only rainfall erosivity but also erosivity density is high. In addition to the intra-annual temporal regime, a spatial variability of this seasonality was detectable between different regions of Switzerland. The assessment of the dynamic behavior of the R-factor is valuable for the identification of susceptible seasons and regions.

https://hess.copernicus.org/articles/20/4359/2016/

Reply to the comment on “The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe” by Fiener & Auerswald
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016
The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe based on RUSLE2015 (Panagos et al., 2015a) was criticized in a comment by Fiener and Auerswald (2015). The objective of the pan-European assessment was not to challenge any regional- or national-scale modelling but to develop a harmonized assessment aiming to improve our knowledge and understanding of soil erosion by water across the European Union and to accentuate the differences and similarities between different regions and countries beyond national borders and nationally adapted models. The main points of critique of Fiener and Auerswald (2015) were: (i) the ambition of this assessment to become a benchmark, ii) the absence of soil erosion community in this work, (iii) the K-factor and R-factor models (iv) the non-transparent origin of the cover management factor, (v) the lack of any validation process, and (vi) the non-comparability of this new data set to previous published data. We reply as follows:
 
(i) We never expressed statements or opinions to set the study as a benchmark and we invite the scientific community to evaluate our study and judge if this pan-European assessment is an improvement compared to past soil erosion assessments at this scale. (ii) It is not true that the soil erosion community was not consulted and involved as many scientists have participated both in the soil erosion assessment and the analysis of erosion factors described in recent papers. (iii) The published K-factor map for Europe has been modelled with the latest state of the art soil data (LUCAS) and a robust geo-statistical model with valid simplifications which were necessary at European scale. (iv) The C-factor map for Europe has been published with a detailed description of the applied methodology which takes into account crop composition and management practices at the best available spatial resolution. (v) Modelled soil loss data was compared with the European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET) dataset.(vi) Our model outputs compared well both with national soil loss data in Germany and the European EIONET data. The direct comparison of predicted soil loss data with measured plot data lacks comprehension and needs solving of scaling issues related to the comparison of large-scale long-term data with small-scale plot studies.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115001884

Reply to “The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe. Panagos P. et al., 2015 Environ. Sci. Policy 54, 438–447—A response” by Evans and Boardman [Environ. Sci. Policy 58, 11–1
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe (Panagos et al., 2015a) was commented by Evans and Boardman (2016), who raised not only concerns related to the spatial differences outlined by our work compared to their visual semi-qualitative assessment conducted in Britain during the late eighties, but also generally to the suitability, validity and scientific robustness of the applied modelling approach. The objective of the pan-European assessment using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) was not to outcompete any regional- or national-scale modelling, but to harmonize and improve our knowledge and our understanding of current soil erosion rates by water across the European Union. The focus of such a modelling project is on the differences and similarities between regions and countries beyond national borders and nationally adapted models. In order to do so, a state-of-the-art large-scale spatially distributed modelling exercise using harmonized datasets and a unified methodology to suit the pan-European scale was carried out. We reply that the semi-qualitative approach proposed by Evans and Boardman (2016) is not suitable for application at the European scale because of work force and time requirements, input data accessibility issues, accuracy of field-based estimates, subjectivity of soil loss estimates during the aerial and terrestrial photo interpretation, impossibility of upscaling or downscaling, inadequate representation of sheet erosion processes, lack of spatial and temporal representativeness, and lack of detailed description expressing the risk level. As such, their methodology has limited applicability, with today’s financial resources it is not feasible at European or at national scale and, most important, cannot respond to policy requests regarding scenarios of climate and land cover/use change. In contrast to Evans and Boardman (2016), we do know that RUSLE, like probably any other approach, is not able to reproduce “reality”. The latter is actually a misjudgment which has been extensively discussed 20 years ago. Modelling in general and large-scale modelling specifically can per se not aim at an accurate prediction of point measurements, but tests our hypothesis on process understanding, relative spatial and temporal variations, scenario development and controlling factors (Oreskes et al., 1994). As such, our approach can be offered as a helpful tool to policy makers at pan-European scale. We are confident that the simple transparent structure of RUSLE as well as the discussion of the uncertainties of each modelling factor will help to supply objective guidance to policy makers.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S146290111630034X

Assessment of soil organic carbon stocks under future climate and land cover changes in Europe
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2016

Soil organic carbon plays an important role in the carbon cycling of terrestrial ecosystems, variations in soil organic carbon stocks are very important for the ecosystem. In this study, a geostatistical model was used for predicting current and future soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in Europe. The first phase of the study predicts current soil organic carbon content by using stepwise multiple linear regression and ordinary kriging and the second phase of the study projects the soil organic carbon to the near future (2050) by using a set of environmental predictors. We demonstrate here an approach to predict present and future soil organic carbon stocks by using climate, land cover, terrain and soil data and their projections. The covariates were selected for their role in the carbon cycle and their availability for the future model. The regression-kriging as a base model is predicting current SOC stocks in Europe by using a set of covariates and dense SOC measurements coming from LUCAS Soil Database. The base model delivers coefficients for each of the covariates to the future model. The overall model produced soil organic carbon maps which reflect the present and the future predictions (2050) based on climate and land cover projections. The data of the present climate conditions (long-term average (1950–2000)) and the future projections for 2050 were obtained from WorldClim data portal. The future climate projections are the recent climate projections mentioned in the Fifth Assessment IPCC report. These projections were extracted from the global climate models (GCMs) for four representative concentration pathways (RCPs). The results suggest an overall increase in SOC stocks by 2050 in Europe (EU26) under all climate and land cover scenarios, but the extent of the increase varies between the climate model and emissions scenarios.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716305095

Mapping earthworm communities in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Existing data sets on earthworm communities in Europe were collected, harmonized, collated, modelled and depicted on a soil biodiversity map. Digital Soil Mapping was applied using multiple regressions relating relatively low density earthworm community data to soil characteristics, land use, vegetation and climate factors (covariables) with a greater spatial resolution. Statistically significant relationships were used to build habitat–response models for maps depicting earthworm abundance and species diversity. While a good number of environmental predictors were significant in multiple regressions, geographical factors alone seem to be less relevant than climatic factors. Despite differing sampling protocols across the investigated European countries, land use and geological history were the most relevant factors determining the demography and diversity of the earthworms. Case studies from country-specific data sets (France, Germany, Ireland and The Netherlands) demonstrated the importance and efficiency of large databases for the detection of large spatial patterns that could be subsequently applied at smaller (local) scales.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0929139315300688

 

Predicted distribution of SOC content in Europe (based on LUCAS, BioSoil and CZO) in the context of the EU-funded SoilTrEC project.
Resource Type: Datasets, Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Author: Ece Aksoy , Yusuf Yigini , Luca Montanarella
Year: 2016
Publisher: PLoS ONE 11(3): e0152098. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152098

The maps of predicted distribution of SOC content in Europe are based on aggregated 23,835 soil samples collected from the LUCAS Project (samples from agricultural soil), the BioSoil Project (samples from European forest soil), and the “Soil Transformations in European Catchments” (SoilTrEC) Project (samples from local soil data coming from five different critical zone observatories (CZOs) in Europe). The Predicted SOC content was the lowest in permanent crops and arable lands; highest values are found in wetlands and grasslands. Moreover, Hungary and Portugal show the lowest SOC content with the averages 2.21% and 2.68%, whereas Ireland (13.29%) and Sweden (11.15%) hshow ighest SOC contents.  

Spatial coverage: 25 European Union Member States (excluded Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia), and Switzerland
Pixel size: 1Km
Projection: ETRS89-LAEA-10-52
Temporal coverage: 2014
Input data source: LUCAS, BioSoil and CZOs point data

Via this page you can register for downloading the output and input data that are mentioned in the paper

The data are described in:

Combining soil databases for topsoil organic carbon mapping in Europe” (E. Aksoy, Y.Yigini and L. Montanarella), published in PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152098, that is summarized as follows: 

Accuracy in assessing the distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) is important because it plays a key role in the functions of both natural ecosystems and agricultural systems. There are several studies in the literature with the aim of finding the best method to assess and map the distribution of SOC content for Europe. This study aims to search for the effects and performances of using aggregated soil samples coming from different studies and land-uses.

The total number of the soil samples in this study was 23,835 and they were collected from the “Land Use/Cover Area frame Statistical Survey” (LUCAS) Project (samples from agricultural soil), the BioSoil Project (samples from forest soil), and the “Soil Transformations in European Catchments” (SoilTrEC) Project (samples from local soil data coming from five different critical zone observatories (CZOs) in Europe). Moreover, 15 spatial indicators (slope, aspect, elevation, compound topographic index (CTI), CORINE land-cover classification, parent material, texture, world reference base (WRB) soil classification, geological formations, annual average temperature, min-max temperature, total precipitation and average precipitation (for the years 1960–1990 and 2000–2010)) were used as auxiliary variables in this prediction. One of the most popular geostatistical techniques, Regression-Kriging (RK), was applied to build the model and assess the distribution of SOC.

This study showed that, even though the RK method was appropriate for successful SOC mapping, using combined databases did not increase the statistical significance of the method results for assessing the SOC distribution as much as expected. Combining local data coming from CZOs with LUCAS samples was found as more significant than combining the two big datasets of the LUCAS and Biosoil Projects. Moreover, the effect of the chosen auxiliary variables on SOC prediction seems more important than increasing the number of the soil samples. According to the results: SOC variation was mainly affected by elevation, slope, CTI, average temperature, average and total precipitation, texture, WRB and CORINE variables at the European scale in the model. Moreover, the highest average SOC contents were found in the wetland areas; agricultural areas have much lower SOC content than forest and semi natural areas; Ireland, Sweden and Finland show the highest SOC values; Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Spain and Italy show the lowest values with an average 3%.

 

Data (available: 3 output datasets and 1 input dataset):

0.     Input: soil sample point data; attribute: SOC for each point.

1.     Predicted distribution of SOC content by using 1 dataset (LUCAS) (Figure 3 in the article)

2.     Predicted distribution of SOC content by using 2 datasets (LUCAS-CZOs) (Figure 4 in the article)

3.     Predicted distribution of SOC content by using 3 datasets (LUCAS-CZOs-BIOSOIL) (Figure 5 in the article)

 

Acknowledgments

Funding support is acknowledged from the European Commission FP 7 Collaborative Project “Soil Transformations in European Catchments” (SoilTrEC) (Grant Agreement no. 244118).

Modelling monthly soil losses and sediment yields in Cyprus
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

The aim of this study was to map soil erosion on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The G2 model, an empirical model for month-time step erosion assessments, was used. Soil losses in Cyprus were mapped at a 100 m cell size, while sediment yields at a sub-basin scale of 0.62 km2 mean size. The results indicated a mean annual erosion rate of 11.75 t ha−1 y−1, with October and November being the most erosive months. The 34% of the island's surface was found to exceed non-sustainable erosion rates (>10 t ha−1 y−1), with sclerophyllous vegetation, coniferous forests, and non-irrigated arable land being the most extensive non-sustainable erosive land covers. The mean sediment delivery ratio (SDR) was found to be 0.26, while the mean annual specific sediment yield (SSY) value for Cyprus was found to be 3.32 t ha−1 y−1. The annual sediment yield of the entire island was found to be 2.746 Mt y−1. This study was the first to provide complete and detailed erosion figures for Cyprus at a country scale. The geodatabase and all information records of the study are available at the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) of the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17538947.2016.1156776

Selection of biological indicators appropriate for European soil monitoring
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

The selection of biological indicators for monitoring progress towards policy goals for soil quality should be without bias and in line with individual scenarios of need. Here we describe the prescription of a suite of appropriate indicators for potential application in such monitoring schemes across Europe. We applied a structured framework of assessment and ranking (viz. a ‘logical sieve’), building upon published data and a new survey taken from a wide section of the global soil biodiversity research and policy community.

The top ten indicators included four indicators of biodiversity (three microbial and one meso-faunal) by various methods of measurement, and three indicators of ecological function (Multiple enzyme assay, Multiple substrate-induced respiration profiling, and ‘Functional genes by molecular biological means’). Within the techniques assessed, seven out of the top ten indicators made use of molecular methods.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0929139315300585

 

Monthly Rainfall Erosivity: Conversion Factors for Different Time Resolutions and Regional Assessments
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

As a follow up and an advancement of the recently published Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) and the respective mean annual R-factor map, the monthly aspect of rainfall erosivity has been added to REDES. Rainfall erosivity is crucial to be considered at a monthly resolution, for the optimization of land management (seasonal variation of vegetation cover and agricultural support practices) as well as natural hazard protection (landslides and flood prediction). We expanded REDES by 140 rainfall stations, thus covering areas where monthly R-factor values were missing (Slovakia, Poland) or former data density was not satisfactory (Austria, France, and Spain). The different time resolutions (from 5 to 60 min) of high temporal data require a conversion of monthly R-factor based on a pool of stations with available data at all time resolutions. Because the conversion factors show smaller monthly variability in winter (January: 1.54) than in summer (August: 2.13), applying conversion factors on a monthly basis is suggested. The estimated monthly conversion factors allow transferring the R-factor to the desired time resolution at a European scale. The June to September period contributes to 53% of the annual rainfall erosivity in Europe, with different spatial and temporal patterns depending on the region. The study also investigated the heterogeneous seasonal patterns in different regions of Europe: on average, the Northern and Central European countries exhibit the largest R-factor values in summer, while the Southern European countries do so from October to January. In almost all countries (excluding Ireland, United Kingdom and North France), the seasonal variability of rainfall erosivity is high. Very few areas (mainly located in Spain and France) show the largest from February to April. The average monthly erosivity density is very large in August (1.67) and July (1.63), while very small in January and February (0.37). This study addresses the need to develop monthly calibration factors for seasonal estimation of rainfall erosivity and presents the spatial patterns of monthly rainfall erosivity in European Union and Switzerland. Moreover, the study presents the regions and seasons under threat of rainfall erosivity.

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/8/4/119

A knowledge-based approach to estimating the magnitude and spatial patterns of potential threats to soil biodiversity
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Because of the increasing pressures exerted on soil, below-ground life is under threat. Knowledge-based rankings of potential threats to different components of soil biodiversity were developed in order to assess the spatial distribution of threats on a European scale. A list of 13 potential threats to soil biodiversity was proposed to experts with different backgrounds in order to assess the potential for three major components of soil biodiversity: soil microorganisms, fauna, and biological functions. This approach allowed us to obtain knowledge-based rankings of threats. These classifications formed the basis for the development of indices through an additive aggregation model that, along with ad-hoc proxies for each pressure, allowed us to preliminarily assess the spatial patterns of potential threats. Intensive exploitation was identified as the highest pressure. In contrast, the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture was considered as the threat with least potential. The potential impact of climate change showed the highest uncertainty. Fourteen out of the 27 considered countries have more than 40% of their soils with moderate-high to high potential risk for all three components of soil biodiversity. Arable soils are the most exposed to pressures. Soils within the boreal biogeographic region showed the lowest risk potential. The majority of soils at risk are outside the boundaries of protected areas. First maps of risks to three components of soil biodiversity based on the current scientific knowledge were developed. Despite the intrinsic limits of knowledge-based assessments, a remarkable potential risk to soil biodiversity was observed. Guidelines to preliminarily identify and circumscribe soils potentially at risk are provided. This approach may be used in future research to assess threat at both local and global scale and identify areas of possible risk and, subsequently, design appropriate strategies for monitoring and protection of soil biota.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896971531247X

 

The LUCAS 2012 TOPSOIL survey and derived cropland and grassland soil properties of Bulgaria and Romania
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016
As part of the 2012 Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey (LUCAS), topsoil samples were collected in Bulgaria and
Romania using the same methodology as for other EU Member States in an equivalent survey carried out in 2009. In total, 664
Bulgarian and 1384 Romanian samples were collected which enabled a comparative assessment of topsoil properties under
different land covers within, and between, these countries, as well as in a broader European context. The samples were analysed
for basic soil properties, including particle size distribution, pH, organic carbon, carbonates, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and
cation exchange capacity together with multispectral signatures. The current paper describes the LUCAS Topsoil 2012 project
and provides both an overview of topsoil properties of cropland and grassland in Bulgaria and Romania, together with a
comparative assessment with earlier findings with the analysis of data from other 25 EU Member States and data from small
scale European soil database. Results show similarities with data from Member States with comparable climatic conditions in
properties where non-anthropogenic soil forming factors play major role (texture, pH, calcium-carbonate, soil organic carbon
content). There are considerable variations in certain soil properties between different land use types, (e.g. soil organic carbon
content in croplands and grasslands in Romania; or potassium content in croplands and grassland in both countries). However,
the most remarkable facts drawn from the current study are the very low phosphorus content in agricultural land in the two
countries relative to other EU Member States, the significantly lower contents of organic carbon compared to modelled data of
literature and legacy national data and the difference in the distribution of texture classes compared to European datasets

http://www.eemj.icpm.tuiasi.ro/pdfs/vol15/no12/10_91_Toth_14.pdf

Heavy metals in agricultural soils of the European Union with implications for food safety
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Soil plays a central role in food safety as it determines the possible composition of food and feed at the root of the food chain. However, the quality of soil resources as defined by their potential impact on human health by propagation of harmful elements through the food chain has been poorly studied in Europe due to the lack of data of adequate detail and reliability. The European Union's first harmonized topsoil sampling and coherent analytical procedure produced trace element measurements from approximately 22,000 locations. This unique collection of information enables a reliable overview of the concentration of heavy metals, also referred to as metal(loid)s including As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb, Zn, Sb. Co, and Ni. In this article we propose that in some cases (e.g. Hg and Cd) the high concentrations of soil heavy metal attributed to human activity can be detected at a regional level. While the immense majority of European agricultural land can be considered adequately safe for food production, an estimated 6.24% or 137,000 km2 needs local assessment and eventual remediation action.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412015301203

Quantifying the erosion effect on current carbon budget of European agricultural soils at high spatial resolution
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

The idea of offsetting anthropogenic CO2 emissions by increasing global soil organic carbon (SOC), as recently proposed by French authorities ahead of COP21 in the ‘four per mil’ initiative, is notable. However, a high uncertainty still exits on land C balance components. In particular, the role of erosion in the global C cycle is not totally disentangled, leading to disagreement whether this process induces lands to be a source or sink of CO2. To investigate this issue, we coupled soil erosion into a biogeochemistry model, running at 1 km2 resolution across the agricultural soils of the European Union (EU). Based on data‐driven assumptions, the simulation took into account also soil deposition within grid cells and the potential C export to riverine systems, in a way to be conservative in a mass balance. We estimated that 143 of 187 Mha have C erosion rates <0.05 Mg C ha−1 yr−1, although some hot‐spot areas showed eroded SOC >0.45 Mg C ha−1 yr−1. In comparison with a baseline without erosion, the model suggested an erosion‐induced sink of atmospheric C consistent with previous empirical‐based studies. Integrating all C fluxes for the EU agricultural soils, we estimated a net C loss or gain of −2.28 and +0.79 Tg yr−1 of CO2eq, respectively, depending on the value for the short‐term enhancement of soil C mineralization due to soil disruption and displacement/transport with erosion. We concluded that erosion fluxes were in the same order of current carbon gains from improved management. Even if erosion could potentially induce a sink for atmospheric CO2, strong agricultural policies are needed to prevent or reduce soil erosion, in order to maintain soil health and productivity.

Mapping topsoil physical properties at European scale using the LUCAS database
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016
The Land Use and Cover Area frame Statistical survey (LUCAS) aimed at the collecting harmonised data about the state of land use/cover over the extent of European Union (EU). Among these 2 · 105 land use/cover observations selected for validation, a topsoil survey was conducted at about 10% of these sites. Topsoil sampling locations were selected as to be representative of European landscape using a Latin hypercube stratified random sampling, taking into account CORINE land cover 2000, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM and its derived slope, aspect and curvature.
 
In this study we will discuss how the LUCAS topsoil database can be used to map soil properties at continental scale over the geographical extent of Europe. Several soil properties were predicted using hybrid approaches like regression kriging. In this paper we describe the prediction of topsoil texture and related derived physical properties. Regression models were fitted using, along other variables, remotely sensed data coming from the MODIS sensor. The high temporal resolution of MODIS allowed detecting changes in the vegetative response due to soil properties, which can then be used to map soil features distribution. We will also discuss the prediction of intrinsically collinear variables like soil texture which required the use of models capable of dealing with multivariate constrained dependent variables like Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS).
 
Cross validation of the fitted models proved that the LUCAS dataset constitutes a good sample for mapping purposes leading to cross-validation R2 between 0.47 and 0.50 for soil texture and normalized errors between 4 and 10%.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016706115300173

High resolution spatiotemporal analysis of erosion risk per land cover category in Korçe region, Albania
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Some recent land use changes in Albania, such as deforestation, cropland abandonment, and urban sprawl, have caused serious increase of erosion risk. The main objective of this study was to map erosion risk in Korçe region and assess the degree at which every land use is concerned. The G2 erosion model was applied, which can provide erosion maps and statistical figures at month-time intervals using input from free European and global geodatabases. The mapping results in Korçe region were derived at a 30-m cell size, which is an innovation for G2. Autumn-winter months were found to be the most erosive, with average erosion rates reaching the maximum in November and December, i.e. 2.62 and 2.36 t/ha, respectively, while the annual rate was estimated at 10.25 t/ha/yr. Natural grasslands, shurblands, mixed forests, and vineyards showed to exhibit the highest mean erosion rates, while shrublands, broad-leaved forests and natural grasslands were found to be the most extended land covers risky for non-sustainable erosion rates (i.e. >10 t/ha/yr). A detailed examination of the detected hot spots is now necessary by the competent authorities, in order to apply appropriate, site-specific conservation measures. Notably, use of SPOT VGT data did not prevent the maps from having extended gaps due to cloudiness. Sentinel-2 time series, freely available by the European Space Agency (ESA), have the potential to improve spatiotemporal coverage of V-factor, thus further empowering the G2 model, in the near future.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12145-016-0269-z

Assessment of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks under the Future Climate and Land Cover Changes in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

Soil organic carbon plays an important role in the carbon cycling of terrestrial ecosystems, variations in soil organic carbon stocks are very important for the ecosystem. In this study, a geostatistical model was used for predicting current and future soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in Europe. The first phase of the study predicts current soil organic carbon content by using stepwise multiple linear regression and ordinary kriging and the second phase of the study projects the soil organic carbon to the near future (2050) by using a set of environmental predictors. We demonstrate here an approach to predict present and future soil organic carbon stocks by using climate, land cover, terrain and soil data and their projections. The covariates were selected for their role in the carbon cycle and their availability for the future model. The regression-kriging as a base model is predicting current SOC stocks in Europe by using a set of covariates and dense SOC measurements coming from LUCAS Soil Database. The base model delivers coefficients for each of the covariates to the future model. The overall model produced soil organic carbon maps which reflect the present and the future predictions (2050) based on climate and land cover projections. The data of the present climate conditions (long-term average (1950–2000)) and the future projections for 2050 were obtained from WorldClim data portal. The future climate projections are the recent climate projections mentioned in the Fifth Assessment IPCC report. These projections were extracted from the global climate models (GCMs) for four representative concentration pathways (RCPs). The results suggest an overall increase in SOC stocks by 2050 in Europe (EU26) under all climate and land cover scenarios, but the extent of the increase varies between the climate model and emissions scenarios.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716305095

Rainfall erosivity in Italy: A national scale spatio-temporal assessment
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2016

 

Soil erosion by water is a serious threat for the Mediterranean region. Raindrop impacts and consequent runoff generation are the main driving forces of this geomorphic process of soil degradation. The potential ability for rainfall to cause soil loss is expressed as rainfall erosivity, a key parameter required by most soil loss prediction models. In Italy, rainfall erosivity measurements are limited to few locations, preventing researchers from effectively assessing the geography and magnitude of soil loss across the country. The objectives of this study were to investigate the spatio-temporal distribution of rainfall erosivity in Italy and to develop a national-scale grid-based map of rainfall erosivity. Thus, annual rainfall erosivity values were measured and subsequently interpolated using a geostatistical approach. Time series of pluviographic records (10-years) with high temporal resolution (mostly 30-min) for 386 meteorological stations were analysed. Regression-kriging was used to interpolate rainfall erosivity values of the meteorological stations to an Italian rainfall erosivity map (500-m). A set of 23 environmental covariates was tested, of which seven covariates were selected based on a stepwise approach (mostly significant at the 0.01 level). The interpolation method showed a good performance for both the cross-validation data set ( = 0.777) and the fitting data set (R2 = 0.779)

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17538947.2016.1148203

Global governance of soil resources as a necessary condition for sustainable development
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Year: 2015

Global governance of soil resources as a necessary condition for sustainable development Montanarella L., Vargas R. Global governance of soil resources as a necessary condition for sustainable development (2012) Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4 (5) , pp. 559-564. In the current era of multiple crises, from food price, through climate change to economic failure, policy makers around the world are exploring opportunities to make a shift to a green economy. The international community is seeking new ways of developing the concept of sustainable development up to and beyond the Earth Summit in 2012, mainly with regards to practical ways for the coherent implementation of the three pillars of sustainability, moving away from trade-offs to synergies between the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. Within that context, special attention to global soil resources should be paid, given that global soil resources constitutes the basis for the provision of ecosystem services and at the same time are limited and currently under pressure by various threats including competing land uses, like energy production, housing and infrastructure, nature protection, mining and industrial activities. Future food security for a growing population can only be assured if sufficient area of fertile soils and water will be available for food production. Available legal frameworks for soil protection at national and regional level seem not to be able to regulate the current use of soil resources in order to assure long- term sustainability. Access the paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877343512000735 Last Update: 02/09/2013

A plant ecology approach to digital soil mapping, improving the prediction of soil organic carbon content in alpine grasslands
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

A plant ecology approach to digital soil mapping, improving the prediction of soil organic carbon content in alpine grasslands Ballabio C., Fava F., Rosenmund A. A plant ecology approach to digital soil mapping, improving the prediction of soil organic carbon content in alpine grasslands (2012) Geoderma, 187-188 , pp. 102-116. The influence of organisms on pedogenesis is acknowledged in the scorpan model; however organisms, plants in particular, might be seen in a different light within the scorpan model. In fact, in minimally managed terrestrial ecosystems, biota coexists with soil as part of a feedback system, in which the biota not only influences soil development, but is also in turn influenced by it. This means that in natural environments a particular soil is usually associated with a typical combination of plant species which thrive in the biotope defined by the soil physical and chemical properties. Changes in soil features will favor certain species over others, thus modifying the structure of the resident plant communities. This makes plant communities very effective proxies of soil properties, effectively acting as widespread biological sensors. In this paper we will show how plant communities can be utilized to improve the quality of digital soil maps, effectively reducing the amount of field work needed by soil surveys, through a combination of relatively swifter and cheaper vegetation surveys and remote sensing data. Access the paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016706112001656 Last Update: 02/09/2013

Assessment of Mercury-Polluted Soils Adjacent to an Old Mercury-Fulminate Production Plant.
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Year: 2015

Assessment of Mercury-Polluted Soils Adjacent to an Old Mercury-Fulminate Production Plant. M. Camps Arbestain, L. Rodríguez-Lado, M. Bao, and F. Macías . Applied and Environmental Soil Science Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 387419, 8 pages doi:10.1155/2009/387419 Mercury contamination of soils and vegetation close to an abandoned Hg-fulminate production plant was investigated. Maximum concentrations of Hg (>6.5?g kg-1 soil) were found in the soils located in the area where the wastewater produced during the washing procedures carried out at the production plant used to be discharged. DOI: 10.1155/2009/387419 Access the paper or contact the Author

Soil Biodiversity Monitoring in Europe: Ongoing Activities and Challenges.
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Year: 2015

Soil Biodiversity Monitoring in Europe: Ongoing Activities and Challenges. Gardi C, Montanarella L. Soil Biodiversity Monitoring in Europe: Ongoing Activities and Challenges. European Journal of Soil Science, Volume 60 Issue 5, Pages 807 - 819, 2009, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2009.01177.x The increasing interest in soil biodiversity and its protection, has twofold aspects: the per se biodiversity conservation issues and the mostly unknown economical values of the services provided by soil biodiversity. Inventory and monitoring are the necessary tools for the achievement of an adequate level of knowledge on soil biodiversity status and for the detection of hot spot as well as areas subject to decline. In this paper the main tools and methodological approaches for soil biodiversity measurement are presented, as well as the technical aspects related to the inventory and monitoring activities at large spatial scale. Technical aspects related to the inventory and monitoring activities at a large spatial scale are discussed. A short review of some current experiences of soil biodiversity monitoring at the European level is also presented. Access the paper Last Update: 26/04/2010

An evaluation of void-filling interpolation methods for SRTM data.
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Year: 2015

An evaluation of void-filling interpolation methods for SRTM data. H. I. Reuter; A. Nelson; A. Jarvis , 2007. Published by International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 21, Issue 9 January 2007 , pages 983 - 1008. The Digital Elevation Model that has been derived from the February 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) has been one of the most important publicly available new spatial data sets in recent years. However, the 'finished' grade version of the data (also referred to as Version 2) still contains data voids (some 836,000 km2) - and other anomalies - that prevent immediate use in many applications. Keywords: DEM; Interpolation methods; Void filling; DEM fusion. Access the paper

MEUSIS: Multi-Scale European Soil Information System.
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Year: 2015

MEUSIS: Multi-Scale European Soil Information System. Panagos, P., Van Liedekerke, M., Lado Rodriguez, L. and Montanarella, L. (2008). GEOconnexion International Magazine, Interoperable Geodata , Feb 2008 Volume 7· Issue 2: pp. 39-41. There are many methods for upscaling and the optimal method would be the one that ensures that the new value for the whole area is the most adequate according to the goals of the study. Soil information can be represented either as quantitative variables (numeric) or as qualitative (classes). Keywords: Information System, Database, Grid, Cell, INSPIRE. Access the paper

Numerical classification of soil profile data using distance metrics.
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Year: 2015

Numerical classification of soil profile data using distance metrics. F. Carré and and M. Jacobson, Geoderma, November 2008 , Volume 148, Issues 3-4, 15 January 2009, Pages 336-345. Quantitative grouping of soil layer descriptions into profile classes has not advanced much since the 1960s. Here we tackle the problem from pedological, utilitarian and joint points of view using an application, OSACA, that we have developed for the purpose. The program calculates the taxonomic distances between observed profiles based on layer (horizon) characteristics. Characteristics can be either observed soil properties or layer class memberships. OSACA either allocates profiles to existing classes, or creates a new classification of the profiles. Since the pedological distance seems to be more useful for creating classes for pedogenetic and geomorphic studies, whereas the utilitarian distance may be more useful for environmental applications, we test the three distances for soil taxonomy application and available water capacity prediction by using as input variables, soil attributes, and classifying them into new set of profiles. More information about the Article or contact the Author

Multi-scale European Soil Information System (MEUSIS): A multi-scale method to derive soil indicators
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Multi-scale European Soil Information System (MEUSIS): A multi-scale method to derive soil indicators Panagos P., van Liedekerke M., Montanarella L. Multi-scale European Soil Information System (MEUSIS): A multi-scale method to derive soil indicators (2011) Computational Geosciences, 15 (3), pp. 463-475. The Multi-scale Soil Information System (MEUSIS) can be a suitable framework for building a nested system of soil data that could facilitate interoperability through a common coordinate reference system, a unique grid coding database, a set of detailed and standardized metadata, and an open exchangeable format. In the context of INSPIRE Directive, MEUSIS may be implemented as a system facilitating the update of existing soil information and accelerating the harmonization of various soil information systems. In environmental data like the soil one, it is common to generalize accurate data obtained at the field to coarser scales using either the pedotransfer rules or knowledge of experts or even some statistical solutions which combine single values of spatially distributed data. The most common statistical process for generalization is averaging the values within the study area. The upscaling process is accompanied with significant statistical analysis in order to demonstrate the method suitability. The coarser resolution nested grids cells (10 × 10 km) represent broad regions where the calculated soil property (e. g., organic carbon) can be accurately upscaled. Multi-scaled approaches are urgently required to integrate different disciplines (such as Statistics) and provide a meta-model platform to improve current mechanistic modeling frameworks, request new collected data, and identify critical research questions. Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10596-010-9216-0 Last Update: 05/07/2012

Regional mapping and characterisation of old landslides in hilly regions using LiDAR-based imagery in Southern Flanders
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Year: 2015

Regional mapping and characterisation of old landslides in hilly regions using LiDAR-based imagery in Southern Flanders M. Van Den Eeckhaut, Jean Poesen, Frans Gullentops, Liesbeth Vandekerckhove, Javier Hervás. Regional mapping and characterisation of old landslides in hilly regions using LiDAR-based imagery in Southern Flanders (2011), QUATERNARY RESEARCH , Vol 75, No 3, pp. 721-733 . Analysis of LiDAR-derived imagery led to the discovery of more than 330 pre-Holocene to recent landslides in Southern Flanders (4850 km²). The morphology of three landslides, including the 266.5 ha deep-seated gravitational slope deformation in Alden Biesen, was investigated in more detail. The analysis of the morphological and topographical characteristics (width-length relation, frequency-area distribution and topographical threshold) of the landslides revealed important differences compared to the characteristics reported in other landslide studies, and helped understanding possible landslide triggering mechanisms. Especially the possibility of a seismic origin of the landslides was investigated. Finally, a heuristic model for region-wide landslide susceptibility mapping was successfully tested. The susceptibility model and map allow prediction of future landslide locations and contribute to better understanding the role of individual causal factors on landslide location and spatial density. The results suggest that landslides on low-gradient, soil-mantled hills are a more important contributor to landscape evolution of hilly areas than was hitherto thought. The morphology of all hilly regions of Flanders is clearly marked by landslide processes and higher landslide densities often coincide with the presence of quaternary active faults. Access the paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033589411000263 Last Update: 05/09/2012

Towards protecting soil biodiversity in Europe: The EU thematic strategy for soil protection.
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Year: 2015

Towards protecting soil biodiversity in Europe: The EU thematic strategy for soil protection. Luca Montanarella. Biodiversity: Journal of Life on Earth. Volume 9 , Numbers 1 & 2, pp 75-77(2008) The new EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection will include a strong reference to soil biodiversity as a key soil component that needs preserving. Since available knowledge on soil biodiversity is recognised as being very limited, the main effort of the strategy will be in stimulating new research programmes for the improved understanding of soil biota. Related to this will be the increased development of soil quality indicators taking into account the biological function of soils. A full range of potential bio-indicators for soil health and soil function is available but needs to be fully explored for operational soil monitoring activities. Existing soil biodiversity monitoring initiatives and the first results of on-going European research programmes are presented and reviewed. Access the paper

An Analysis of the Land Use Sustainability Index (LUSI) at Territorial Scale Based on Corine Land Cover.
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Year: 2015

An Analysis of the Land Use Sustainability Index (LUSI) at Territorial Scale Based on Corine Land Cover. Gardi C, Bosco C, Rusco E, Montanarella L. An Analysis of the Land Use Sustainability Index (LUSI) at Territorial Scale Based on Corine Land Cover . Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal 21 (5); 2010. p. 680-694. The aim of this paper is to propose a methodology based on the use of a simple and accessible database, such as Corine Land Cover (CLC), for providing an in depth evaluation of environmental sustainability. This evaluation has been carried out through the analysis of factors such as landscape and habitat composition, the level of biodiversity, the degree of anthropisation and soil sealing and the arable land availability. Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14777831011067953 Last Update: 05/07/2011

Characterization of Ferricyanide-Humate Complexes by a Voltammetric Approach
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Year: 2015

Characterization of Ferricyanide-Humate Complexes by a Voltammetric Approach The industrial sites that deal with the production and/or use of cyanide in their processes often have contamination problems in soils and water. R.M Cenci et Al. Soil and Sediment Contamination, 2001 10(5), pages 483 - 496 Look for the article: Soil and Sediment Contamination, 2001 10(5), pages 483 - 496

Estimating the soil erosion cover-management factor at the European scale
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
Land use and management influence the magnitude of soil loss. Among the different soil erosion risk factors, the cover-management factor (C-factor) is the one that policy makers and farmers can most readily influence in order to help reduce soil loss rates. The present study proposes a methodology for estimating the C-factor in the European Union (EU), using pan-European datasets (such as CORINE Land Cover), biophysical attributes derived from remote sensing, and statistical data on agricultural crops and practices. In arable lands, the C-factor was estimated using crop statistics (% of land per crop) and data on management practices such as conservation tillage, plant residues and winter crop cover. The C-factor in non-arable lands was estimated by weighting the range of literature values found according to fractional vegetation cover, which was estimated based on the remote sensing dataset Fcover. The mean C-factor in the EU is estimated to be 0.1043, with an extremely high variability; forests have the lowest mean C-factor (0.00116), and arable lands and sparsely vegetated areas the highest (0.233 and 0.2651, respectively). Conservation management practices (reduced/no tillage, use of cover crops and plant residues) reduce the C-factor by on average 19.1% in arable lands.
 
The methodology is designed to be a tool for policy makers to assess the effect of future land use and crop rotation scenarios on soil erosion by water. The impact of land use changes (deforestation, arable land expansion) and the effect of policies (such as the Common Agricultural Policy and the push to grow more renewable energy crops) can potentially be quantified with the proposed model. The C-factor data and the statistical input data used are available from the European Soil Data Centre.
 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837715001611

A new baseline of organic carbon stock in European agricultural soils using a modelling approach
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Year: 2015

A new baseline of organic carbon stock in European agricultural soils using a modelling approach 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 datasets 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, etc.) 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. Under this context, a comprehensive model 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, etc.) 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 dataset 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 17.64 Gt. 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. Access the paper Last Update: 14/10/2014

Analysis of Mosses and Soils for Quantifying Heavy Metal Concentrations in Sicily: A Multivariate and Spatial Analytical Approach
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Year: 2015

Analysis of Mosses and Soils for Quantifying Heavy Metal Concentrations in Sicily: A Multivariate and Spatial Analytical Approach GRAMATICA, Paola, BATTAINI, Francesca, GIANI, Elisa, PAPA. Ester, JONES, Robert J.A., PREATONI, Damiano and CENCI, Roberto M. (2006). Analysis of Mosses and Soils for Quantifying Heavy Metal Concentrations in Sicily: A Multivariate and Spatial Analytical Approach. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 13(1), 28-36. Keywords: GIS; heavy metals; mosses; multivariate analysis; principal component analysis; soil Access the research paper: Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Applying quality assurance procedures to environmental monitoring data: a case study
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Year: 2015

Applying quality assurance procedures to environmental monitoring data: a case study Durrant T, Hiederer R., Applying quality assurance procedures to environmental monitoring data: a case study, Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 2009, 11, 774 - 781, DOI: 10.1039/b818274b Managing data in the context of environmental monitoring is associated with a number of particular difficulties. These can be broadly split into issues originating from the inherent heterogeneity of the parameters sampled, problems related to the long time scale of most monitoring programmes and situations that arise when attempting to maximise cost-effectiveness. The complexity of environmental systems is reflected in the considerable effort and cost required to collect good quality data describing the influencing factors that can improve our understanding of the interrelationships and allow us to draw conclusions about how changes will affect the systems. The resulting information is also frequently elaborate, costly and irreplaceable. Since the quality of the results obtained from analysing the data can only be as good as the data, proper management practices should be considered at all stages of the monitoring activity, if the value of the information is to be properly exploited. Access the paper Last Update: 26/04/2010

Soil carbon in the forests of Russia
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Year: 2015

Soil carbon in the forests of Russia The 50% variation in the estimates of carbon (C) content in the forest soils of Russia at present is caused by confusion of terms and ignorance of the soil geographical representativeness in forests. Vladimir Stolbovoi Springer 2006, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2006) 11: pp. 203 -222 Look for the article: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2006) 11: pp. 203 -222

Tier-based approaches for landslide susceptibility assessment in Europe
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Year: 2015

Tier-based approaches for landslide susceptibility assessment in Europe In the framework of the European Soil Thematic Strategy and the associated proposal of a Framework Directive on the protection and sustainable use of soil, landslides were recognised as a soil threat requiring specific strategies for priority area identification, spatial hazard assessment and management. This contribution outlines the general specifications for nested, Tier-based geographical landslide zonings at small spatial scales to identify priority areas susceptible to landslides (Tier 1) and to perform quantitative susceptibility evaluations within these (Tier 2). A heuristic, synoptic-scale Tier 1 assessment exploiting a reduced set of geoenvironmental factors derived from common pan-European data sources is proposed for the European Union and adjacent countries. Evaluation of the susceptibility estimate with national-level landslide inventory data suggests that a zonation of Europe according to, e.g. morphology and climate, and performing separate susceptibility assessments per zone could give more reliable results. To improve the Tier 1 assessment, a geomorphological terrain zoning and landslide typology differentiation are then applied for France. A multivariate landslide susceptibility assessment using additional information on landslide conditioning and triggering factors, together with a historical catalogue of landslides, is proposed for Tier 2 analysis. Access the paper Last Update: 14/10/2014

Policy relevance of Critical Zone Science
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

Critical Zone Science extends the definition of soils beyond the traditional pedogenetic processes. The critical zone, as the interface linking the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere and the biosphere matches well the concepts that have recently emerged, especially in Europe, in relation to the development of a new soil protection policy for the European Union. The European Union (EU) Soil Thematic Strategy, as presented by the European Commission in 2006, intends to address the protection of soil functions that go far beyond the limited definition of soils as the first 2-m of the surface structured in pedogenetic horizons. The seven functions that the EU wants to protect (biomass production, buffering and filtering of water, biodiversity pool, source of raw materials, support for housing and infrastructure, carbon sink and archive of cultural heritage) require considering soils in a much broader context. The full unconsolidated material from the surface to bedrock has to be included if we want to fully understand and manage the seven soil functions considered of policy relevance by the EU. Soil science needs to go beyond traditional pedological studies and enlarge its scope by including a full understanding of the critical zone. In this sense Critical Zone Science can be considered the perfect match with the emerging concepts of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy. Indeed this reflects the recent evolution from the historical relevance of soils science in the framework of a single soil function, namely agricultural production, toward a shift of the attention of the importance of soils also in other policy areas beyond agriculture, including the water policy, the climate change policy, the biodiversity policy, the energy resources policy, the cultural policy, etc. At global level, Critical Zone Science community can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals recent debates. A new scientific paradigm for soil science is needed if we want to respond to these emerging needs from new soil related policy areas. This new paradigm is Critical Zone Science and is adequately responding to these new needs going far beyond the traditional agricultural view on soils.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837715002288

Pan-European soil crusting and erodibility assessment from the European Soil Geographical Database using pedotransfer rules.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Pan-European soil crusting and erodibility assessment from the European Soil Geographical Database using pedotransfer rules. Le BISSONNAIS, Y., JAMAGNE, M., LAMBERT, J.- J., Le BAS C., DAROUSSIN, J., KING, D., CERDAN, O., LEONARD, J., BRESSON, L.-M. and JONES R.J.A. (2005). Pan-European soil crusting and erodibility assessment from the European Soil Geographical Database using pedotransfer rules. Advances in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling, 2 (1), 1-15. Access the research paper: Advances in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling

Effects of soil-surface microbial community phenotype upon physical and hydrological properties of an arable soil: A microcosm study
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Effects of soil-surface microbial community phenotype upon physical and hydrological properties of an arable soil: A microcosm study Jeffery S., Harris J.A., Rickson R.J., Ritz K. Effects of soil-surface microbial community phenotype upon physical and hydrological properties of an arable soil: A microcosm study (2010) European Journal of Soil Science, 61 (4), pp. 493-503. The nature of the first few millimetres of the soil surface strongly affects water infiltration rates, generation of run-off, soil detachment and sediment transport. We hypothesized that the phenotypic community structure of the soil-surface microbiota affects the physical and hydrological properties of an arable soil. A range of contrasting microbial community phenotypes were established in microcosms by manipulating the wavelength of light reaching the soil surface, with the microcosms being incubated in the field for approximately 6 months. Phenotypes were characterized by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA), ergosterol and chlorophyll analysis. The microcosms were then subjected to simulated rainfall at an intensity of 60 mm hour-1 for 20 minutes at a slope gradient of 9°. Water infiltration rates, run-off generation, soil loss (including a particle-size analysis of the sediment) and soil-surface shear strength were quantified.Distinct microbial phenotypes developed on the soil surfaces with UV-A and restricted-UV treatments when compared with subsurface layers. There was significantly greater fungal biomass in the no-light treatment when compared with all other treatments, with approximately 4.5 times more ergosterol being extracted from the subsurface layer of the no-light treatment when compared with other treatments. The no-light treatment produced the greatest amount of run-off, which was approximately 15% greater than the restricted photosynthetically-active radiation (PAR) treatment. Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2389.2010.01249.x Last Update: 05/07/2011

Soil biodiversity and DNA barcodes: opportunities and challenges
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

Soils encompass a huge diversity of organisms which mostly remains to be characterized due to a number of methodological and logistical issues. Nonetheless, remarkable progress has been made in recent years toward developing strategies to characterize and describe soil biodiversity, especially thanks to the development of molecular approaches relying on direct DNA extraction from the soil matrix.

Metabarcoding can be applied to DNA from any environment or organism, and is gaining increasing prominence in biodiversity studies. This approach is already commonly used to characterize soil microbial communities and its application is now being extended to other soil organisms, i.e. meso- and macro-fauna.

These developments offer unprecedented scientific and operational opportunities in order to better understand soil biodiversity distribution and dynamics, and to propose tools and strategies for biodiversity diagnosis. However, these opportunities also come with challenges that the scientific community must face. Such challenges are related to i) clarification of terminology, (ii) standardisation of methods and further methodological development for additional taxonomic groups, (iii) development of a common database, and (iv) ways to avoid waste of information and data derived from metabarcoding. In order to facilitate common application of metabarcoding in soil biodiversity assessment, we discuss these opportunities and challenges and propose solutions towards a more homogeneous framework.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038071714003617

The Bio Bio Project.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

The Bio Bio Project. R. Cenci . FRESENIUS ENVIRONMENTAL BULLETIN, August 2008, Volume 17, Pages 1107-1109 The Pavia Project had as principal objective: the evalua-tion of the quality and health of soil in Pavia Province and included a study to appraise the eventual differences in soil health, that have resulted from different management prac-tices: organic farming, animal manure and mineral fertiliz-ers and soil receiving sewage sludge. Soil health was appraised by studying physical and chemical properties coupled with biodiversity and bio- indication concepts, using some organisms and/or their “products” that are present under the three main manage-ment systems. Twelve international organizations partici-pated in the BIO-BIO Project. More information about the Article

Putting soils on the agenda: the three Rio Conventions and the post-2015 development agenda
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

Soils are considered across the Rio Conventions and while some advances have been made in the past two decades, implementation remains lacking and soil-related issues persist. This calls for a more integrated approach for the implementation of the Conventions. Similarly, soils will play a key role to achieve the post-2015 development agenda and can be found across the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This cross-cutting role is not being sufficiently acknowledged in the negotiations. Putting soils on the policy agenda will depend on a major shift in the discussion to recognize that soils underpin a wide range of services and should, therefore, be protected for future generations. Concerted efforts for advocacy within the post-2015 development agenda need to focus on keeping soils on the agenda and on making proposals for the effective implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187734351500072X

The LUCAS topsoil database and derived information on the regional variability of cropland topsoil properties in the European Union
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

The LUCAS topsoil database and derived information on the regional variability of cropland topsoil properties in the European Union The Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey (LUCAS) is a pilot project to monitor changes in the management and nature of the land surface of the European Union. Sampling is based on the intersection points of a 2 x 2 km grid covering the EU. In the 2009 LUCAS exercise, the sampling of soil complemented the general land use and land cover survey, through the collection of topsoil samples from around 10% of the sites visited in that year. Nearly 21,000 soil samples were collected in twenty-five EU Member States (EU-27 except Bulgaria and Romania) with the aim to produce the first coherent physicochemical database of soils at pan-European Scale. Soil samples have been analysed for basic soil properties, including particle size distribution, pH, organic carbon, carbonates, NPK and CEC, and multispectral properties. Preliminary studies show the outstanding potential of the dataset in enhancing the knowledge base for soils in the EU. The current paper provides an introduction to the LUCAS Topsoil 2009 project and provides an example of data applicability by highlighting some of the results on organic carbon measurements in a regional comparison. Access the paper Last Update: 14/10/2014

An Evaluation of the Short-Term Progress of Restoration Combining Ecological Assessment and Public Perception
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

An Evaluation of the Short-Term Progress of Restoration Combining Ecological Assessment and Public Perception Thorunn Petursdottir, Asa L. Aradottir, Karl Benediktsson. An Evaluation of the Short-Term Progress of Restoration Combining Ecological Assessment and Public Perception (2011), RESTORATION ECOLOGY, pp. 1-12. Most of today's restoration programs have multiple objectives: aiming for socio-economic as well as environmental benefits. Their monitoring and evaluation should therefore be based on measuring multidisciplinary indicators. In this study we examined the short term impacts of different restoration methods using ecological as well as visual/social measures. The study included five year old sites re-vegetated with grasses (native/non-native) and Nootka lupine (an introduced species) compared with control sites. Parameters measured included plant cover, species composition and soil C, N and pH. Furthermore, color photos were used to evaluate people¿s perception on the different treatments where participants were asked five questions on the visual appearance of the sites. Vegetation cover was significantly higher for all restoration treatments (36-92%) than the cover on control plots (6%). Biological soil crust and mosses were mostly absent, and only minor differences were found in measured soil parameters. Visual appearance of fertilized sites was in all cases ranked higher than the control sites except the lupine sites. Photos that participants regarded as resembling natural vegetation forms ranked higher in all cases than the ones they perceived as artificial. We conclude that ecological indicators are essential in evaluating the success of ecological restoration because restoration of ecosystem functions and structure are fundamental for the achievement of other benefits. Social factors, such as perception of the restored sites are, however, also very important since restoration programs always need the support and acknowledgment of society and should generally be designed with societies¿ needs and preferences in mind. Access the paper: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2011.00855.x Last Update: 05/09/2012

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

Characterisation of a Pleistocene debris-avalanche deposit in the Tenteniguada Basin.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Characterisation of a Pleistocene debris-avalanche deposit in the Tenteniguada Basin. Lomoschitz, A., Hervás, J., Yepes, J., and Meco, J. (2008). Landslides, Springer Berlin , pp. 227-234, Volume 5, Number 2 / May, 2008 We studied a large debris-avalanche deposit of Pleistocene age in the Tenteniguada Basin, Gran Canaria Island, Spain. This deposit, which is well preserved because it is mostly covered by basanite lava flows, has distinctive matrix and block facies, hummocky topography and internal structures typical of debris avalanches. However, neither syneruptive lavas nor some characteristic features of volcanic debris-avalanche deposits, such as a stratovolcano edifice or a horseshoe-shaped crater, are present. Keywords: Debris avalanche - Volcanic island - Large landslide - Canary Islands - Gran Canaria. Access the paper or contact the Author

Basin characteristics and nutrient losses: the EUROHARP catchment network perspective.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Basin characteristics and nutrient losses: the EUROHARP catchment network perspective. F. Bouraoui, B. Grizzetti, G. Adelsköld, H. Behrendt, I. de Miguel, M. Silgram, S. Gómez, K. Granlund, L. Hoffmann, B. Kronvang, S. Kværnø, A. Lázár, M. Mimikou, G. Passarella, P. Panagos, H. Reisser, B. Schwarzl, C. Siderius, A. S. Sileika, A. A. M. F. R. Smit, R. Sugrue, M. VanLiedekerke and J. Zaloudik. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 2009, 11, 515 - 525, DOI: 10.1039/b822931g The EC-funded EUROHARP project studies the harmonisation of modelling tools to quantify nutrient losses from diffuse sources. This paper describes a set of study areas used in the project from geographical conditions, to land use and land management, geological and hydro-geological perspectives. The status of data availability throughout Europe in relation to the modelling requirements is presented. The relationships between the catchment characteristics and the nutrient export are investigated, using simple data available for all the catchments. In addition, this study also analyses the hydrological representativity of the time series utilised in the EUROHARP project. Access the paper Last Update: 26/04/2010

What are the effects of agricultural management on soil organic carbon in boreo‑temperate systems?
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

Soils contain the largest stock of organic carbon (C) in terrestrial ecosystems and changes in soil C stocks may significantly affect atmospheric CO2. A significant part of soil C is present in cultivated soils that occupy about 35 % of the global land surface. Agricultural intensification has led to practices that may decrease soil organic carbon (SOC), and agricultural management has the potential to be a powerful tool for climate change mitigation and increased soil fertility through SOC sequestration. Here, we systematically map evidence relating to the impacts of agricultural management on SOC in arable systems of the warm temperate and snow climate zones (subset of temperate and continental climates:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13750-015-0049-0

Soil Erosion in the Alpine Area: Risk Assessment and Climate Change.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Soil Erosion in the Alpine Area: Risk Assessment and Climate Change. Bosco C, Rusco E, Montanarella L, Panagos P. Soil Erosion in the Alpine Area: Risk Assessment and Climate Change. Studi Trentini di Scienze Naturali 85; 2009. p. 117-123 Objective of the research is to define the magnitude of the Actual Soil Erosion Risk in the alpine area and linked it with a perspective of medium long terms in relation to climate change. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) was applied to the whole alpine space. It allowed to produce, with a spatial resolution of 100 m, the map of actual soil erosion and two further maps defining soil erosion rates in IPCC A2 and B2 scenarios. This analysis was carried out by means of the dataset the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) of Trieste made us available. It provides daily rainfall values for the years 1960 - 1990 and for the IPCC A2 and B2 scenario 2070 - 2100. From a comparison between actual erosion and soil losses in A2 and B2 scenarios it comes out that our model does not show relevant raises in erosion rates. Download the paper Last Update: 26/04/2010

Digital Soil Assessments: beyond DSM
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Digital Soil Assessments: beyond DSM F. Carré, A.B McBratney, T. Mayr, L. Montanarella, 2007. Published by Geoderma 142, 69-79. This paper presents the concepts of Digital Soil Assessment as the implementation of Digital Soil Mapping for modeling threats to soil, soil functions and risk assessments. Two case studies are used for applications to demonstrate the efficiency of the framework. Over the last 10 years Digital Soil Mapping (DSM) has emerged as a credible alternative to traditional soil mapping. However, DSM should not be seen as an end in itself, but rather as a technique for providing data and information for a new framework for soil assessment which we call Digital Soil Assessment (DSA). Access the paper

Research needs in support of the European thematic strategy for soil protection (Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 23, No. 10–11, 2004)
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Year: 2015

Research needs in support of the European thematic strategy for soil protection (Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 23, No. 10–11, 2004) Winfried E.H. Blum, Jurgen Busing, Luca Montanarella. © 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd. The conclusion that soil research should be integrated into comprehensive research areas (e.g., including water and sediments) in order to manage natural resources in Europe. Look for the research paper: Elsevier Publisher

Report on landslide mapping concepts and methods for landslide risk management in Europe.
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Year: 2015

Report on landslide mapping concepts and methods for landslide risk management in Europe. Landslide inventories and susceptibility and hazard maps are key tools for land use planning and management, civil protection plans, civil engineering works, and risk reduction programmes. Their importance helps understanding why approximately one sixth of all contributions to the Second World Landslide Forum were related to recent advances in these topics. This volume presents the state of the art on landslide inventory and susceptibility and hazard zoning. It contains experiences, methods and techniques applied in different physiographic, geological and climate settings of the world and for different types of landslides, from site-specific investigations to global scale analysis Access the paper Last Update: 14/10/2014

Heavy metals in European soils: A geostatistical analysis of the FOREGS Geochemical database.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Heavy metals in European soils: A geostatistical analysis of the FOREGS Geochemical database. Luis Rodríguez Lado, Tomislav Hengl and Hannes I. Reuter 2008. Geoderma, Article in Press This paper presents the results of modeling the distribution of eight critical heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead and zinc) in topsoils using 1588 georeferenced samples from the Forum of European Geological Surveys Geochemical database (26 European countries). The concentrations were mapped using regression-kriging (RK) and accuracy of predictions evaluated using the leave-one-out cross validation method. A large number of auxiliary raster maps (topographic indexes, land cover, geology, vegetation indexes, night lights images and earth quake magnitudes) were used to improve the predictions. Keywords: Soil mapping; Regression-kriging; MODIS; Night lights image; Geochemical database; Pan-European monitoring , DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2008.09.020 Access the paper or contact the Author

Mapping Services in the European Soil Portal
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Year: 2015

Mapping Services in the European Soil Portal Panagos, P., 2006. Mapping Services in the European Soil Portal Geo: International , Sept 2006 Volume 5 · Issue 8: 42-45 Online information systems are providing the valuable link between Europeans and the ground. Learn more about the soil. Look for the article: GeoConnexion: Defence and Geo-Intelligence

Estimating organic carbon in the soils of Europe for policy support.
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Year: 2015

Estimating organic carbon in the soils of Europe for policy support. Jones, R. J. A.; Hiederer, R.; Rusco, E.; Montanarella, L. (2005). Estimating organic carbon in the soils of Europe for policy support. European Journal of Soil Science 56, 655-671 . Access the research paper: European Journal of Soil Science

Reply to the comment on "Rainfall Erosivity in Europe" by Auerswald et al.
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
Recently, in the Auerswald et al. (2015) comment on “Rainfall erosivity in Europe”, 5 criticisms were addressed: i) the neglect of seasonal erosion indices, ii) the neglect of published studies and data, iii) the low temporal resolution of the data, especially of the maximum rain intensity, iv) the use of precipitation data instead of rain data and the subsequent deviation of the R-factor in Germany and Austria compared with previous studies, and v) the differences in considered time periods between countries. We reply as follows:
 
(i) An evaluation of the seasonal erosion index at the European scale is, to our knowledge, not achievable at present with the available data but would be a future goal. Synchronous publication of the seasonal erosion index is not mandatory, specifically because seasonal soil loss ratios are not available at this scale to date. We are looking forward to the appropriate study by the authors of the comment, who assert that they have access to the required data.
 
(ii) We discuss and evaluate relevant studies in our original work and in this reply; however, we cannot consider what is not available to the scientific community.
 
(iii) The third point of critique was based on a misunderstanding by Auerswald et al. (2015), as we did indeed calculate the maximum intensity with the highest resolution of data available.
 
(iv) The low R-factor values in Germany and the higher values in Austria compared with previous studies are not due to the involvement of snow but are rather due to a Pan-European interpolation. We argue that an interpolation across the borders of Austria creates a more reliable data set.
 
(v) We agree that the use of a short time series or time series from different periods is generally a problem in all large-scale studies and requires improvement in the future. However, because this affects countries with a rather low variability of the R-factor in our study, we are confident that the overall results of the map are not biased.
 
In conclusion, the Pan-European rainfall data compilation (REDES) was a great success and yielded data from 1541 stations with an average length of 17.1 years and a temporal resolution of < 60 min. However, a Pan-European data collection will never be complete without the help and supply of data from its users. Thus, we invite the authors of the comment to share their data in the open REDES to help build even better rainfall-erosivity maps at regional or European scales.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969715300784

Object-oriented Identification of Forested Landslides with Derivatives of Single Pulse LiDAR Data
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Year: 2015

Object-oriented Identification of Forested Landslides with Derivatives of Single Pulse LiDAR Data Van Den Eeckhaut M., Kerle N., Poesen J., Hervas J. Object-oriented identification of forested landslides with derivatives of single pulse LiDAR data (2012) Geomorphology, 173-174 , pp. 30-42. In contrast to the many studies that use expert-based analysis of LiDAR derivatives for landslide mapping in forested terrain, only few studies have attempted to develop (semi-)automatic methods for extracting landslides from LiDAR derivatives. While all these studies are pixel-based, it has not yet been tested whether object-oriented analysis (OOA) could be an alternative. This study investigates the potential of OOA using only single pulse LiDAR derivatives, such as slope gradient, roughness and curvature to map landslides. More specifically, the focus is on both LiDAR data segmentation and classification of slow-moving landslides in densely vegetated areas, where spectral data do not allow accurate landslide identification. A multistage procedure has been developed and tested in the Flemish Ardennes (Belgium). The procedure consists of (1) image binarization and multiresolution segmentation, (2) classification of landslide parts (main scarps and landslide body segments) and non-landslide features (i.e. earth banks and cropland fields) with supervised support vector machines at the appropriate scale, (3) delineation of landslide flanks, (4) growing of a landslide body starting from its main scarp, and (5) final cleaning of the inventory map. The results obtained show that OOA using LiDAR derivatives allows recognition and characterization of profound morphologic properties of forested deep-seated landslides on soil-covered hillslopes, because more than 90% of the main scarps and 70% of the landslide bodies of an expert-based inventory were accurately identified with OOA. For mountainous areas with bedrock, on the other hand, creation of a transferable model is expected to be more difficult. Access the paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X12002620 Last Update: 02/09/2013

Soil Profile Analytical Database for Europe (SPADE): Reconstruction and Validation of the Measured Data (SPADE/M).
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Soil Profile Analytical Database for Europe (SPADE): Reconstruction and Validation of the Measured Data (SPADE/M). Hiederer, R., R.J.A. Jones and J. Daroussin (2006). Geografisk Tidsskrift, Danish Journal of Geography 106(1). p. 71-85. The Soil Profile Analytical Database of Europe of Measured profiles (SPADE/M) was created to provide a common structure for storing harmonized information on typical soil profile properties of European soils. Keywords: soil properties, soil profile data, database design. Access the paper

Characterisation of productivity limitation of salt-affected lands in different climatic regions of Europe using remote sensing derived productivity indicators
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Characterisation of productivity limitation of salt-affected lands in different climatic regions of Europe using remote sensing derived productivity indicators E. Ivits, M. Cherlet, T. Tóth, K. E. Lewinska, G. Tóth. Characterisation of productivity limitation of salt-affected lands in different climatic regions of Europe using remote sensing derived productivity indicators (2011), LAND DEGRADATION & DEVELOPMENT , pp. 1-15. Soil salinity is a global issue and one of the major causes of land degradation. The large scale monitoring of salt affected areas is therefore very important to shed light of rehabilitation measures and to avoid further land degradation. We address the productivity limitation of salt affected soils across the European continent by the usage of soil maps and high temporal resolution time series of satellite images derived from the SPOT VEGETATION sensor. Using the yearly dynamism of the vegetation signal derived from the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) we decomposed the spectral curve into its Base Fraction and Seasonal Dynamism fractions next to an index approximating Gross Primary Productivity (GPP). We observe GPP, Base Fraction and Seasonal Dynamism productivity differences of saline, sodic and not salt affected soils under croplands and grasslands in four major climatic zones of the European continent. ANOVA models and post-hoc tests of mean productivity values indicate significant productivity differences between the observed salt affected and salt free areas, between management levels of soils as well as between the saline and sodic character of the land. The analysis gives insight into the limiting effect of climate in relation to the productivity of soil affected soils. Access the paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ldr.1140/abstract/ Last Update: 05/09/2012

New generation of hydraulic pedotransfer functions for Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

A range of continental‐scale soil datasets exists in Europe with different spatial representation and based on different principles. We developed comprehensive pedotransfer functions (PTFs) for applications principally on spatial datasets with continental coverage. The PTF development included the prediction of soil water retention at various matric potentials and prediction of parameters to characterize soil moisture retention and the hydraulic conductivity curve (MRC and HCC) of European soils. We developed PTFs with a hierarchical approach, determined by the input requirements. The PTFs were derived by using three statistical methods: (i) linear regression where there were quantitative input variables, (ii) a regression tree for qualitative, quantitative and mixed types of information and (iii) mean statistics of developer‐defined soil groups (class PTF) when only qualitative input parameters were available. Data of the recently established European Hydropedological Data Inventory (EU‐HYDI), which holds the most comprehensive geographical and thematic coverage of hydro‐pedological data in Europe, were used to train and test the PTFs. The applied modelling techniques and the EU‐HYDI allowed the development of hydraulic PTFs that are more reliable and applicable for a greater variety of input parameters than those previously available for Europe. Therefore the new set of PTFs offers tailored advanced tools for a wide range of applications in the continent.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ejss.12192

Sustainable mineral resources management: from regional mineral resources exploration to spatial contamination risk assessment of mining.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Sustainable mineral resources management: from regional mineral resources exploration to spatial contamination risk assessment of mining. Gyozo Jordan and JRC PECOMINES Project (Giovanni Bidoglio, Marco D'Alessandro, Tamas Hamor, Stefan Sommer, Panos Panagos, Marc van Liederkerke, Anca-Marina Vijdea), Environmental Geology, Springer Berlin , ISSN 0943-0105, Issue Volume 58, Number 1 / July, 2009, pp 153-169, DOI 10.1007/s00254-008-1502-y. Wide-spread environmental contamination associated with historic mining in Europe has triggered social responses to improve related environmental legislation, the environmental assessment and management methods for the mining industry. The objective of this paper is to show how regional mineral resources mapping has developed into the spatial contamination risk assessment of mining and how geological knowledge can be transferred to environmental assessment of mines. The paper provides a state-of-the-art review of the spatial mine inventory, hazard, impact and risk assessment and ranking methods developed by national and international efforts in Europe. It is concluded that geological knowledge on mineral resources exploration is essential and should be used for the environmental contamination assessment of mines. Access the paper Last Update: 26/04/2010

Towards an European Soil Data Center in support of the EU thematic strategy for Soil Protection.
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Year: 2015

Towards an European Soil Data Center in support of the EU thematic strategy for Soil Protection. B. Houskova, L. Montanarella, 2007. Published by Romanian Soil Science 2007, NR.1 pp. 3-17. The establishment of an European Soil Data Centre by the European Commission in support of the new EU thematic strategy for soil protection can certainly contribute to raising awareness in the general public of the importance of soil protection. Keywords: soil protection, EU thematic strategy, European soil data center. Access the paper

The implications of fire management in the Andean paramo: A preliminary assessment using satellite remote sensing
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Year: 2015

The upper ranges of the northern Andes are characterized by unique Neotropical, high altitude ecosystems known as paramos. These tundra-like grasslands are widely recognized by the scientific community for their biodiversity and their important ecosystem services for the local human population. Despite their remoteness, limited accessibility for humans and waterlogged soils, paramos are highly flammable ecosystems. They are constantly under the influence of seasonal biomass burning mostly caused by humans. Nevertheless, little is known about the spatial extent of these fires, their regime and the resulting ecological impacts. This paper presents a thorough mapping and analysis of the fires in one of the world’s largest paramo, namely the “Complejo de Páramos” of Cruz Verde-Sumapaz in the Eastern mountain range of the Andes (Colombia). Landsat TM/ETM+ and MODIS imagery from 2001 to 2013 was used to map and analyze the spatial distribution of fires and their intra- and inter-annual variability. Moreover, a logistic regression model analysis was undertaken to test the hypothesis that the dynamics of the paramo fires can be related to human pressures. The resulting map shows that the burned paramo areas account for 57,179.8 hectares, of which 50% (28,604.3 hectares) are located within the Sumapaz National Park. The findings show that the fire season mainly occurs from January to March. The accuracy assessment carried out using a confusion matrix based on 20 reference burned areas shows values of 90.1% (producer accuracy) for the mapped burned areas with a Kappa Index of Agreement (KIA) of 0.746. The results of the logistic regression model suggest a significant predictive relevance of the variables road distance (0.55 ROC (receiver operating characteristic)) and slope gradient (0.53 ROC), indicating that the higher the probability of fire occurrence, the smaller the distance to the road and the higher the probability of more gentle slopes. The paper sheds light on fires in the Colombian paramos and provides a solid basis for further investigation of the impacts on the natural ecosystem functions and biodiversity.

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/7/9/11061

Carbon concentrations and stocks in forest soils of Europe.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Carbon concentrations and stocks in forest soils of Europe. Baritz R., Seufert G., Montanarella L., Van Ranst E. Carbon concentrations and stocks in forest soils of Europe (2010) Forest Ecology and Management, 260 (3), pp. 262-277. This study presents the results of a series of evaluations of a continent-wide soil database (EU/UN-ECE Level I) with the aim to estimate baseline soil carbon concentrations and stocks. The methodology included the biogeographic stratification of soil carbon measurements throughout Europe using climatic zones derived from the Soil Regions Map of Europe. The presented stock estimates range from 1.3 to 70.8. t. C/ha for the O-layer, and from 11.3 to 126.3. t. C/ha for the mineral soil 0-20. cm (Germany: 0-30. cm) (5 and 95 percentiles). Histosols were excluded because of methodological differences and data gaps. When looking at the median values of the strata investigated, relationships were found. For example, carbon stocks in the O-layer of sandy soils are distinctly higher than those of fine-textured soils. However, the variability is so high that some of these relationships disappear. For example in western and central Europe, the level of carbon stocks in the mineral soil between shallow soils (Leptosols) and more deeply developed soils (Podzols and Cambisols) do not differ very much. It was also found that just the investigation of topsoils is not sufficient to understand the regional pattern of organic matter in forest soils - unless the subsoil becomes included as well. It is hypothesized that for Europe, the impact of site factors such as climate, texture and relief are difficult to extract from such a database if the data are only stratified according to macro-climatic areas. Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2010.03.025 Last Update: 05/07/2011

A New Spatiotemporal Risk Index for Heavy Metals: Application in Cyprus
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

The main aim of this research was to improve risk mapping of heavy metals by taking account of erosion effects. A new spatiotemporal index, namely the G2met index, is introduced, with integration of pre-existing methodologies (Hakanson, EPM, and G2). The G2met index is depicted as a series of risk maps for each heavy metal on a month-time step. The southern part of Cyprus Island was selected as a study area. Concentration of major heavy metals was extracted with soil sampling in a grid of 5350 sites. Rainfall, vegetation, soil, land use, topographic, and hydrologic data were collected from existing European or global databases (WorldClim, BioBar, REDES, ESDAC, CORINE, ASTER GDEM, and USGS). A large number of regional-scale risk maps (with 500-m cell size) were created: one for each heavy metal and totally per month and annually; in addition, choropleth maps in terms of statistics per river basin were produced for every metal. Generally, the G2met maps resulted in different spatial patterns in comparison to those depicted by the Hakanson index alone.

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/7/8/4323

Spatial and temporal variability of rainfall erosivity factor for Switzerland
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Spatial and temporal variability of rainfall erosivity factor for Switzerland Meusburger, K., Steel, A., Panagos, P., Montanarella, L., Alewell, C. (2012) Spatial and temporal variability of rainfall erosivity factor for Switzerland. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 16, 167–177, 2012 Rainfall erosivity, considering rainfall amount and intensity, is an important parameter for soil erosion risk assessment under future land use and climate change. Despite its importance, rainfall erosivity is usually implemented in models with a low spatial and temporal resolution. The purpose of this study is to assess the temporal- and spatial distribution of rainfall erosivity in form of the (Revised) Universal Soil Loss Equation R-factor for Switzerland. Time series of 22 yr for rainfall (10 min resolution) and temperature (1 h resolution) data were analysed for 71 automatic gauging stations distributed throughout Switzerland. Regression-kriging was used to interpolate the rainfall erosivity values of single stations and to generate a map for Switzerland. Latitude, longitude, average annual precipitation, biogeographic units (Jura, Midland, etc.), aspect and elevation were used as covariates, of which average annual precipitation, elevation and the biographic unit (Western Central Alps) were significant predictors. The mean value of long-term rainfall erosivity is 1330 MJmmha-1 h-1 yr-1 with a range of lowest values of 124 MJmmha-1 h-1 yr-1 at an elevated station in Grisons to highest values of 5611 MJmmha-1 h-1 yr-1 in Ticino. All stations have highest erosivity values from July to August and lowest values in the winter months. Swisswide the month May to October show significantly increasing trends of rainfall erosivity for the observed period . Only in February a significantly decreasing trend of rainfall erosivity is found. The increasing trends of rainfall erosivity in May, September and October when vegetation cover is scarce are likely to enhance soil erosion risk for certain agricultural crops and alpine grasslands in Switzerland. Access the paper: http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/167/2012/hess-16-167-2012.html Last Update: 02/09/2013

Carbon in European soils
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Carbon in European soils Rainer Baritz, Dietmar Zirlewagen, Robert Jones, Dominique Arrouays, Roland Hiederer, Marion Schrumpf and Winfried Riek. Carbon in European soils (2011) pp. 49-84 in Book: "Soil Carbon in Sensitive European Ecosystems: From Science to Land Management" (Edited by R. Jandl, M. Rodeghiero, M. Olsson) Soil Carbon in Sensitive European Ecosystems is a comprehensive overview of the latest research in this field drawn together by a network of scientists, currently working for the European research programme, COST Action 639 BurnOut(www.cost639.net; 2006-2010). COST Action 639 emerged from a demand from policy makers in Europe for more detailed information on soil carbon dynamics. The cooperation between experts for reporting and experts for soil dynamics is the focus of the book. This book seeks to provide an up-to-date account on the state-of-the-art research within this topical field. This book focuses primarily on ecosystems and their soil carbon stocks. The book identifies three key sensitive ecosystems within Europe: Mediterranean Forest and Agricultural Systems; Mountains; and Peatland. Access the paper: http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1119970016.html Last Update: 05/09/2012

Levels of PCDD/Fs and trace elements in superficial soils of Pavia Province (Italy).
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Levels of PCDD/Fs and trace elements in superficial soils of Pavia Province (Italy). Ingrid Vives, Anne Müller, Gunther Umlauf , Eugen H. Christoph, Giulio Mariani, Helle Skejo, Roberto Michele Cenci, Fabrizio Sena, Gian Maria Beone (2008). Environment International, Elsevier LTD, DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2008.03.003. Trace elements and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) were analyzed in soils from rural and light-industrialized sites (n=168) of Province of Pavia (Northern Italy). Most of the trace element values fit in typical ranges of concentrations in soils and are similar to the ones reported for rural sites in Italy or sites with no direct anthropogenic impact. Total concentrations of 2,3,7,8 chlorine substituted PCDD/Fs in superficial soils ranged between 24.4 and 1287 pg g-1 dw . Keywords: Dioxin, Furan, Metal, Deposition, Emission, Pavia. Access the paper

A logistic regression method for mapping the As hazard risk in shallow, reducing groundwaters in Cambodia.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

A logistic regression method for mapping the As hazard risk in shallow, reducing groundwaters in Cambodia. L. Rodríguez Lado, D. A. Polya and A. Hegan. Mineralogical Magazine; February 2008; v. 72; no. 1; p. 437-440; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.2008.072.1.437 We combined statistical analyses and GIS capabilities within the statistical environment R to create a semi-automated method for the assessment of As hazard risk in shallow groundwater in Cambodia. Arsenic concentration data for groundwaters of between 16 and 100 m depth were obtained from 1437 geo-referenced wells. We created a binary logistic regression model with these As measurements as the dependent variable and a number of raster maps (DEM-parameters, remote sensing images and geomorphology) as explanatory variables, and considering an As threshold of 10 ppb. This allowed us to make an As hazard map for groundwaters between 16–100 m depth: this can be used to help to identify populations vulnerable to exposure. Keywords: groundwater modelling, logistic regression, risk assessment, DOI: 10.1180/minmag.2008.072.1.437 Access the paper or contact the Author

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

Data Management for Monitoring Forest Soils in Europe for the Biosoil Project.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Data Management for Monitoring Forest Soils in Europe for the Biosoil Project. Lacarce E, Le Bas C, Cousin J, Pesty B, Toutain B, Durrant T, Montanarella L. Data Management for Monitoring Forest Soils in Europe for the Biosoil Project. Soil Use and Management, Volume 25 Issue 1, Pages 57 - 65, 2009, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-2743.2009.00194.x Growing environmental awareness and advances in modelling have generated interest in soil monitoring networks. Data management tools have to be developed in order to store data, check for errors and retrieve data for sharing and for analysis. As a result, we have designed a web application and a database for the Biosoil project that focuses on European forest soils. Integral to the system are authentication of users and access rights to the modules and data. It also logs all activities of each user. During data submission, the system automatically manages data transfer from the flat file (ASCII file) to the database after compliance checks. Then error tracking is followed by automated expert checks. These checks identify potential mistakes that can be corrected or commented on by data providers. Since the quality of the results obtained from analysing the data can only be as good as the data, proper management practices should be considered at all stages of the monitoring activity, if the value of the information is to be properly exploited. Access the paper Last Update: 26/04/2010

Predicting the preservation of cultural artefacts and buried materials in soil
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
This study identifies factors affecting the fate of buried objects in soil and develops a method for assessing where preservation of different materials and stratigraphic evidence is more or less likely in the landscape. The results inform the extent of the cultural service that soil supports by preserving artefacts from and information about past societies. They are also relevant to predicting the state of existing and planned buried infrastructure and the persistence of materials spread on land. Soils are variable and preserve different materials and stratigraphic evidence differently. This study identifies the material and soil properties that affect preservation and relates these to soil types; it assesses their preservation capacities for bones, teeth and shells, organic materials, metals (Au, Ag, Cu, Fe, Pb and bronze), ceramics, glass and stratigraphic evidence. Preservation of Au, Pb and ceramics, glass and phytoliths is good in most soils but degradation rates of other materials (e.g. Fe and organic materials) is strongly influenced by soil type. A method is proposed for using data on the distribution of soil types to map the variable preservation capacities of soil for different materials. This is applied at a continental scale across the EU for bones, teeth and shells, organic materials, metals (Cu, bronze and Fe) and stratigraphic evidence. The maps produced demonstrate how soil provides an extensive but variable preservation of buried objects.
 
 
Modelling the effect of support practices (P-factor) on the reduction of soil erosion by water at European Scale
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
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

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115000611

Soil Degradation and Soil Quality in Western Europe: Current situation and future perspectives
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

The extent and causes of chemical, physical and biological degradation of soil, and of soil loss, vary greatly in different countries in Western Europe. The objective of this review paper is to examine these issues and also strategies for soil protection and future perspectives for soil quality evaluation, in light of present legislation aimed at soil protection. Agriculture and forestry are the main causes of many of the above problems, especially physical degradation, erosion and organic matter loss. Land take and soil sealing have increased in recent decades, further enhancing the problems. In agricultural land, conservation farming, organic farming and other soil-friendly practices have been seen to have site-specific effects, depending on the soil characteristics and the particular types of land use and land users. No single soil management strategy is suitable for all regions, soil types and soil uses. Except for soil contamination, specific legislation for soil protection is lacking in Western Europe. The Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection in the European Union has produced valuable information and has encouraged the development of networks and databases. However, soil degradation is addressed only indirectly in environmental policies and through the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, which promotes farming practices that support soil conservation. Despite these efforts, there remains a need for soil monitoring networks and decision-support systems aimed at optimization of soil quality in the region. The pressure on European soils will continue in the future, and a clearly defined regulatory framework is needed. 

https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/1/313

The need for harmonizing methodologies for assessing soil threats in Europe
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

The need for harmonizing methodologies for assessing soil threats in Europe van Beek C.L., Toth T., Hagyo A., Toth G., Recatala Boix L., Ano Vidal C., Malet J.P., (...), Oenema O. The need for harmonizing methodologies for assessing soil threats in Europe (2010) Soil Use and Management, 26 (3), pp. 299-309. Central to the EU thematic strategy for soil protection is that areas affected by soil degradation through erosion, soil organic matter (SOM) decline, compaction, salinization and landslides should be identified in a clear and consistent way. However, the current methodologies to achieve this often differ and this can result in different perceptions of risks amongst EU Member States. The aims of this paper are to: (i) assess the current status of assessment methodologies in Europe (EU27) associated with erosion, SOM decline, compaction, salinization and landslides and (ii) discuss the issues associated with harmonization of these methodologies throughout the EU27. The need for harmonization is assessed using the relative share of common elements between different methodologies. The results demonstrate that the need for harmonization in methodology is greatest for erosion and compaction and least for SOM decline and landslides. However, many of the methodologies which were investigated are still incomplete and there are significant differences in terms of: (i) understanding the threats, (ii) methods of data collection, (iii) processing and interpretation and (iv) risk perception. Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2010.00280.x Last Update: 05/07/2011

Global Soil Organic Carbon Assessment
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

Soil carbon is a key component of functional ecosystems and crucial for food, soil, water and energy security. Climate change and altered land-use are having a great impact on soils. The influence of these factors creates a dynamic feedback between soil and the environment. There is a crucial need to evaluate the responses of soil to global environmental change at large spatial scales that occur along natural environmental gradients over decadal timescales. This work provides a suite of new data on global soil change which will uniquely utilize the world’s prior investment in soil data infrastructure. Here we attempt a comprehensive global space–time assessment of soil carbon dynamics in different ecoregions of the world accounting for impacts of climate change and other environmental factors..

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912415000231

Finding the right pixel size
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Finding the right pixel size Hengl T., 2006. Finding the right pixel size. Computers and Geosciences, in press. Keywords: Grid resolution; Scale; Inspection density; Point pattern analysis; Variogram; Terrain complexity Access the research paper: Elsevier Publisher

Satellite remote sensing for soil mapping in Africa: An overview
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Year: 2015

Satellite remote sensing for soil mapping in Africa: An overview Dewitte O., Jones A., Elbelrhiti H., Horion S., Montanarella L. Satellite remote sensing for soil mapping in Africa: An overview (2012) Progress in Physical Geography, 36 (4) , pp. 514-538. The protection and the sustainable management of soil resources in Africa are of paramount importance, particularly in the context of the uncertain impact of climate change and the increase pressure of the human activities. This situation requires a demand for up-to-date and relevant soil information at regional and continental scales. To provide timely and reliable information on soils at these scales, low-resolution spaceborne remote sensing offers an ideal support. Through a review of multispectral, thermal infrared, passive and active microwave imaging we show that sensors help in the delineation of soils themselves, as well as in the assessment of some of their key properties and threats such as water and wind erosion, landsliding and salinisation. However remote sensing imagery for mapping soil can be problematic if applied alone and often requires the use of ancillary data and field observations. Remote sensing is shown as being complementary to digital soil mapping. Access the paper: http://ppg.sagepub.com/content/36/4/514.abstract Last Update: 02/09/2013

Combining spatial data in landslide reactivation susceptibility mapping: A likelihood ratio-based approach in W Belgium
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Combining spatial data in landslide reactivation susceptibility mapping: A likelihood ratio-based approach in W Belgium Dewitte O., Chung C.-J., Cornet Y., Daoudi M., Demoulin A. Combining spatial data in landslide reactivation susceptibility mapping: A likelihood ratio-based approach in W Belgium (2010) Geomorphology, 122 (1-2), pp. 153-166. A key issue in landslide susceptibility mapping concerns the relevance of the spatial data combination used in the prediction. Various combinations of high-resolution predictor variables and possibilities of selecting them from a larger dataset are analysed. The scarp reactivation of several landslides in a hilly region of W Belgium is investigated at the pixel scale. The susceptibility modelling uses the reactivated scarp segments as the dependent variable and 13 factors at a 2. m-resolution related to topography, hydrology, land use and lithology as potential independent variables. The modelling uses a likelihood ratio approach based on the comparison, for each independent variable, between two empirical distribution functions (EDFs), respectively for the reactivated and non-reactivated areas. It uses these EDFs as favourability values to build membership values and combine them with a fuzzy Gamma operator. Five different data combinations are tested and compared by analysing the prediction-rate curves obtained by cross-validation. The geomorphological value of the resulting susceptibility maps is also discussed. This research shows relevant results for predicting the susceptibility to scarp reactivation. Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.06.010 Last Update: 05/07/2011

Estimation and potential improvement of the quality of legacy soil samples for digital soil mapping
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Estimation and potential improvement of the quality of legacy soil samples for digital soil mapping Carré, F., McBratney, A.B., Minasny, B., 2006. Published by Geoderma, 141, 1-14. The paper presents some methodologies for assessing the quality of legacy soil samples using Hypercube Sampling strategy. Each sampling unit is then estimated as being over or under-sampled. Legacy soil data form an important resource for digital soil mapping and are essential for calibration of models for predicting soil properties from environmental variables. Such data arise from traditional soil survey. Access the paper or contact the Author F. Carre for more information

Assessing consequences of land cover changes on sediment deliveries to coastal waters at regional level over the last two decades in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
Human-induced changes to land cover and associated strong influence such changes have on sediment delivery to coastal waters are a well-recognized threat to nearshore marine habitats worldwide. Land cover has been commonly used as a proxy to document human alterations on sediment discharges. In the present study, changes in sediment delivery to coastal waters along the coastline of the Ligurian Sea (northwestern Mediterranean Sea) were estimated on the basis of land cover data. This area includes benthic habitats-areas that are very sensitive to water turbidity and sedimentation increase -and warrant protection demonstrated by the establishment of five marine Sites of Community Importance and a Marine Protected Area (Portofino MPA). The principal objectives of the study were to identify changes in soil erosion in multiple basins and estimate the strength of the change over a defined period of time in sediment delivery at the outflow. A combination of Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model and sediment delivery ratio (SDR) was applied. The strongest changes happened individually in two different basins in the periods 1990–2000 and 2006–2012 meanwhile the period 2000–2006 showed several changes in several basins with less estimated change. This assessment can help to make better coastal-land management decisions for managing or restoring coastal marine ecosystems.
 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569115300211

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

Evaluation of the sensitivity of European soils to the deposition of acid compounds: different approaches provide different results
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Evaluation of the sensitivity of European soils to the deposition of acid compounds: different approaches provide different results L. Rodríguez-Lado, L. Montanarella & F. Macías., 2007. Published by Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, Springer Netherlands., Volume 185, Numbers 1-4 / October, 2007, pp 293-303 Analysis of the sensitivity of soils to acidification caused by the deposition of atmospheric pollutants has been one of the major scientific issues in Europe during the past few decades. In the present study, critical loads of acid deposition were calculated using the most accurate datasets available at present for European soils, by the “Simple Mass Balance” method. Access the paper

A New European Slope Length and Steepness Factor (LS-Factor) for Modeling Soil Erosion by Water
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model is the most frequently used model for soil erosion risk estimation. Among the six input layers, the combined slope length and slope angle (LS-factor) has the greatest influence on soil loss at the European scale. The S-factor measures the effect of slope steepness, and the L-factor defines the impact of slope length. The combined LS-factor describes the effect of topography on soil erosion. The European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) developed a new pan-European high-resolution soil erosion assessment to achieve a better understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of soil erosion in Europe. The LS-calculation was performed using the original equation proposed by Desmet and Govers (1996) and implemented using the System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses (SAGA), which incorporates a multiple flow algorithm and contributes to a precise estimation of flow accumulation. The LS-factor dataset was calculated using a high-resolution (25 m) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the whole European Union, resulting in an improved delineation of areas at risk of soil erosion as compared to lower-resolution datasets. This combined approach of using GIS software tools with high-resolution DEMs has been successfully applied in regional assessments in the past, and is now being applied for first time at the European scale.

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/5/2/117

Soil Spectroscopy: An Alternative to Wet Chemistry for Soil Monitoring
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

The soil science community is facing a growing demand of regional, continental, and worldwide databases in order to monitor the status of the soil. However, the availability of such data is very scarce. Cost-effective tools to measure soil properties for large areas (e.g., Europe) are required. Soil spectroscopy has shown to be a fast, cost-effective, environmental-friendly, nondestructive, reproducible, and repeatable analytical technique. The main aim of this paper is to describe the state of the art of soil spectroscopy as well as its potential to facilitating soil monitoring. The factors constraining the application of soil spectroscopy as an alternative to traditional laboratory analyses, together with the limits of the technique, are addressed. The paper also highlights that the widespread use of spectroscopy to monitor the status of the soil should be encouraged by (1) the creation of a standard for the collection of laboratory soil spectra, to promote the sharing of spectral libraries, and (2) the scanning of existing soil archives, reducing the need for costly sampling campaigns. Finally, routine soil analysis using soil spectroscopy would be beneficial for the end users by a reduction in analytical costs, and an increased comparability of results between laboratories. This ambitious project will materialize only through (1) the establishment of local and regional partnerships among existent institutions able to generate the necessary technical competence, and (2) the support of international organizations. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission are well placed to promote the use of laboratory and field spectrometers for monitoring the state of soils.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065211315000425

The European soil database
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

The European soil database Panagos, P., 2006. The European soil database Geo: International , July/Aug 2006 Volume 5 · Issue 7: 32-33 Pan-European in scope, this database provides a consistent view and understanding of the soil we depend upon for living. Look for the article: GeoConnexion: Spatial data & landuse

Are grasslands important habitats for soil microarthropod conservation?
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Are grasslands important habitats for soil microarthropod conservation? Cristina Menta, Alan Leoni, Ciro Gardi and Federica Delia Conti. Are grasslands important habitats for soil microarthropod conservation? (2011), Biodiversity and Conservation, 2011, Volume 20, Number 5, Pages 1073-1087. Biodiversity has been a focal aim of environmental protection since the Rio conference, but only with the beginning of the new millennium did soil biodiversity become an important aspect of international policy. Edaphic fauna play a key role in many soil functions, such as organic matter decomposition, humus formation and nutrient element cycling; moreover, affect the porosity, aeration, infiltration and distribution of organic matter in soil horizons, modifying soil structure and improving its fertility. The ecosystem services provided by soil animals are becoming progressively lost due to agricultural practice intensification, which causes a reduction in both abundance and taxonomic diversity of soil communities. In the present study, a permanent grassland habitat was studied in order to evaluate its potential as a soil biodiversity reservoir in agroecosystems. Grassland samples were compared with samples from a semi-natural woodland area and an arable land site. Microarthropod abundances, Acari/Collembola ratio (A/C), Shannon diversity index (H0) and evenness index (E) were calculated. QBS-ar index was used in order to evaluate soil biological quality. Microarthropod communities of the three land use typologies differed in both the observed groups and their abundance. Steady soil taxa characterized both woodland and grassland soils, whereas their abundances were significantly higher in woodland soil. Access the paper: http://www.springerlink.com/content/k2g233x3p66u6g33/ Last Update: 05/09/2012

Modelling arsenic hazard in Cambodia: A geostatistical approach using ancillary data.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Modelling arsenic hazard in Cambodia: A geostatistical approach using ancillary data. Luis Rodríguez Lado, David Polya, Lenny Winkel, Michael Berg and Aimee Hegan. Applied Geochemistry, Volume 23, Issue 11, November 2008, Pages 3010-3018. The As concentration in shallow groundwater in Cambodia was estimated using 1329 georeferenced water samples collected during the period 1999–2004 from wells between 16–100 m depth. Arsenic concentrations were estimated using block regression-kriging on the log transformed As measurements. Auxiliary raster maps (DEM-parameters, remote sensing images and geology) were converted to 16 principal components that were used to explain the distribution of As over the study area. The regression-kriging model was validated using an external set of 276 samples, and the results were compared to those obtained by ordinary block kriging. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2008.06.028 Access the paper or contact the Author

Geomorphometry: Concepts, Software, Applications. Developments in Soil Science.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Geomorphometry: Concepts, Software, Applications. Developments in Soil Science. Hengl, T., Reuter, H.I. (eds) 2008. Geomorphometry: Concepts, Software, Applications. Developments in Soil Science, vol. 33, Elsevier, 772 pp. Geomorphometry is the science of quantitative land-surface analysis. It draws upon mathematical, statistical, and image-processing techniques to quantify the shape of earth's topography at various spatial scales. The focus of geomorphometry is the calculation of surface-form measures (land-surface parameters) and features (objects), which may be used to improve the mapping and modelling of landforms to assist in the evaluation of soils, vegetation, land use, natural hazards, and other information. This book provides a practical guide to preparing Digital Elevation Models (DEM) for analysis and extracting land-surface parameters and objects from DEMs through a variety of software. More information about the Book

Tolerable Versus Actual Soil Erosion Rates in Europe.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Tolerable Versus Actual Soil Erosion Rates in Europe. Verheijen F, Jones R, Rickson J, Smith C. Tolerable Versus Actual Soil Erosion Rates in Europe. Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 94, Issues 1-4, May 2009, Pages 23-38 , doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2009.02.003 Erosion is a major threat to soil resources in Europe, and may impair their ability to deliver a range of ecosystem goods and services. This is reflected by the European Commission's Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, which recommends an indicator-based approach for monitoring soil erosion. Defined baseline and threshold values are essential for the evaluation of soil monitoring data. Therefore, accurate spatial data on both soil loss and soil genesis are required, especially in the light of predicted changes in climate patterns, notably frequency, seasonal distribution and intensity of precipitation. Rates of soil loss have been measured, modelled or inferred for most types of soil erosion in a variety of landscapes, by studies across the spectrum of the Earth sciences. This paper reviews the concept of tolerable soil erosion and summarises current knowledge on rates of soil formation, which are then compared to rates of soil erosion by known erosion types, for assessment of soil erosion monitoring at the European scale. Access the paper Last Update: 26/04/2010

Multiple regression analysis of As ground-water hazard and assessment of As-attributable human health risks in Chakdha Block, West Bengal.
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Year: 2015

Multiple regression analysis of As ground-water hazard and assessment of As-attributable human health risks in Chakdha Block, West Bengal. D. Mondal1, A. Hegan, L. Rodriguez-Lado, M. Banerjee, A. K. Giri and D. A. Polya. Mineralogical Magazine; February 2008; v. 72; no. 1; p. 461-465; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.2008.072.1.461 SOLUBLE inorganic As is toxic with both cancer and non-cancer endpoints. Of the 80 million people in West Bengal, 50 million are living in the nine As-affected districts with millions at risk from using water for drinking, cooking or irrigation (Chakraborti et al., 2004). An environmental tragedy is developing in West Bengal with an alarming number of cases of skin lesions (Guha Mazumder et al., 1998; Mukherjee et al., 2005), respiratory symptoms (von Ehrenstein et al., 2005), adverse pregnancy outcomes and infant mortality (von Ehrenstein et al., 2006) and neurological complications (Mukherjee et al., 2005) associated with ingestion of As-contaminated water. DOI: 10.1180/minmag.2008.072.1.437 Access the paper or contact the Author

Equilibrium versus disequilibrium of barchan dunes
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Year: 2015

Equilibrium versus disequilibrium of barchan dunes Hicham El belrhiti, Stéphane Douady . Equilibrium versus disequilibrium of barchan dunes (2011),GEOMORPHOLOGY , Vol 125, Mo 4 , pp. 558-568 Barchans are crescent dunes which take place in mainly mono-directional winds. Shape, aspect ratios and velocities of these dunes had been studied as if they were in equilibrium, in a stable state. However, following the shape and migrations of 11 barchans of different sizes for 18 months in the field on Moroccan Atlantic Sahara show that they are appear to be in a stationary state only if studied over a long period (at the scale of the year or several years), but are never at equilibrium at the scale of the week or the month. They are rather always trying to reach a possible equilibrium state but never have enough time to reach it. This could be the main reason for the large dispersion observed in previous measurements, and should lead to a caution on what can be deduced from them. Access the paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X10004630 Last Update: 05/09/2012

The European soil database
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Year: 2015

The European soil database Panagos, P., 2006. The European soil database Geo: International , July/Aug 2006 Volume 5 · Issue 7: 32-33 Pan-European in scope, this database provides a consistent view and understanding of the soil we depend upon for living. Look for the article: GeoConnexion: Spatial data & landuse

Chemical footprints of anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on recent soil C:N ratios in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

Long-term human interactions with the natural landscape have produced a plethora of trends and patterns of environmental disturbances across time and space. Nitrogen deposition, closely tracking energy and land use, is known to be among the main drivers of pollution, affecting both freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. We present a statistical approach for investigating the historical and geographical distribution of nitrogen deposition and the impacts of accumulation on recent soil carbon-to-nitrogen ratios in Europe. After the second Industrial Revolution, large swaths of land emerged characterized by different atmospheric deposition patterns caused by industrial activities or intensive agriculture. Nitrogen deposition affects soil C : N ratios in a still recognizable way despite the abatement of oxidized and reduced nitrogen emissions during the last 2 decades. Given a seemingly disparate land-use history, we focused on ~ 10 000 unmanaged ecosystems, providing statistical evidence for a rapid response of nature to the chronic nitrogen supply through atmospheric deposition.

https://bg.copernicus.org/articles/12/4113/2015/

 

Prediction of spatial patterns of collapsed pipes in loess-derived soils in a temperate humid climate using logistic regression .
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Year: 2015

Prediction of spatial patterns of collapsed pipes in loess-derived soils in a temperate humid climate using logistic regression . Verachtert E., Den Eeckhaut M.V., Poesen J., Govers G., Deckers J. Prediction of spatial patterns of collapsed pipes in loess-derived soils in a temperate humid climate using logistic regression (2011) Geomorphology, 130 (3-4), pp. 185-196. Soil piping (tunnel erosion) has been recognised as an important erosion process in collapsible loess-derived soils of temperate humid climates, which can cause collapse of the topsoil and formation of discontinuous gullies. Information about the spatial patterns of collapsed pipes and regional models describing these patterns is still limited. Therefore, this study aims at better understanding the factors controlling the spatial distribution and predicting pipe collapse. A dataset with parcels suffering from collapsed pipes (n= 560) and parcels without collapsed pipes was obtained through a regional survey in a 236. km2 study area in the Flemish Ardennes (Belgium). Logistic regression was applied to find the best model describing the relationship between the presence/absence of a collapsed pipe and a set of independent explanatory variables (i.e. slope gradient, drainage area, distance-to-thalweg, curvature, aspect, soil type and lithology). Special attention was paid to the selection procedure of the grid cells without collapsed pipes. Apart from the first piping susceptibility map created by logistic regression modelling, a second map was made based on topographical thresholds of slope gradient and upslope drainage area. The logistic regression model allowed identification of the most important factors controlling pipe collapse. Pipes are much more likely to occur when a topographical threshold depending on both slope gradient and upslope area is exceeded in zones with a sufficient water supply (due to topographical convergence and/or the presence of a clay-rich lithology). Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2011.03.015 Last Update: 05/07/2012

Agricultural policy: Govern our soils
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
ighty years ago, in 1935, soils were for the first time officially recognized as a limited national resource that should be responsibly managed. In the wake of the catastrophic erosion that caused the infamous Dust Bowl drought, the US government passed the Soil Conservation Act. “The history of every Nation is eventually written in the way in which it cares for its soil,” wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
 
Roosevelt's act was largely successful. It encouraged farmers to apply sustainable management practices — such as tilling less, installing windbreaks, and planting along slope contours1. Between 1982 and 2007, soil erosion in US cropland declined by 43% (ref. 2). The history now being written in the world's soils is not so rosy. Every year, 75 billion tonnes of crop soil are lost worldwide to erosion by wind and water, and through agriculture; this costs about US$400 billion a year3. Only a few countries have national legislation protecting soil, including Germany and Switzerland4. Attempts at binding international legal agreements have so far failed.
 
This cannot go on. Soils are a limited natural resource, unequally divided between nations and people. They provide fertilizer for growing food; store and filter water; host rich ecosystems, including many little-known species; provide resources such as peat, sand, clay and gravel; and hold our cultural and historical memory in archaeological artefacts. The ground beneath our feet is a public good and service.

https://www.nature.com/news/agricultural-policy-govern-our-soils-1.18854

Soil loss rates due to piping erosion
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Year: 2015

Soil loss rates due to piping erosion E. Verachtert, W. Maetens, M. Van Den Eeckhaut, J. Poesen, J. Deckers. Soil loss rates due to piping erosions (2011), EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS Vol 36, No 13, pp 1715-1725 Compared with surface soil erosion by water, subsurface erosion (piping) is generally less studied and harder to quantify. However, wherever piping occurs, it is often a significant or even the main sediment source. In this study, the significance of soil loss due to piping is demonstrated through an estimation of soil volume lost from pipes and pipe collapses (n=560) in 137 parcels under pasture on loess-derived soils in a temperate humid climate (Belgium). Assuming a period of 5 to 10years for pipe collapse to occur, mean soil loss rates of 2.3 and 4.6t ha-1 yr-1 are obtained, which are at least one order of magnitude higher than surface erosion rates (0.01-0.29t ha-1 yr-1) by sheet and rill erosion under a similar land use. The results obtained for the study area in the Flemish Ardennes correspond well to other measurements in temperate environments; they are, however, considerably smaller than soil loss rates due to subsurface erosion in semi-arid environments. Although local slope gradient and drainage area largely control the location of collapsed pipes in the study area, these topographic parameters do not explain differences in eroded volumes by piping. Hence, incorporation of subsurface erosion in erosion models is not straightforward. Access the paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/esp.2186/abstract Last Update: 05/09/2012

Application of the SIte COmparison Method (SICOM) to assess the potential erosion risk — a basis for the evaluation of spatial equivalence of agri-environmental measures.
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Year: 2015

Application of the SIte COmparison Method (SICOM) to assess the potential erosion risk — a basis for the evaluation of spatial equivalence of agri-environmental measures. Detlef Deumlich, J. Kiesel, J. Thiere, , H.I. Reuter, L. Völker, and R. Funk, 2006. Published by CATENA Volume 68, Issues 2-3, 31 December 2006, Pages 141-152 . The paper presents a comparative method (SICOM) to evaluate complex site conditions at different area units as a basis for the estimate of spatial equivalence of agri-environmental measures (AEM). . Keywords: Wind erosion; Water erosion; Erosion risk; Moving-window-technique; Site evaluation; Agri-environmental measures (AEM) . Access the paper

Wind Erosion in Europe.
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Year: 2015

Wind Erosion in Europe. Funk,R. Reuter,H.I. (2006) Wind Erosion in Europe. In Soil Erosion in Europe edited by J.Boardman und J. Poesen, Publisher J.Wiley Provides a unique and comprehensive assessment of soil erosion throughout Europe, an important aspect to control and manage if landscapes are to be sustained for the future. Soil Erosion in Europe primarily focuses on current issues, area specific soil erosion rates, on and off-site impacts, government responses, soil conservation measures, and soil erosion risk maps. More information about the Book

Evaluating the Effect of Nutrient Levels of Major Soil Types on the Productivity of Wheatlands in Hungary
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Evaluating the Effect of Nutrient Levels of Major Soil Types on the Productivity of Wheatlands in Hungary Tamás Hermann & Gergely Tóth. Evaluating the Effect of Nutrient Levels of Major Soil Types on the Productivity of Wheatlands in Hungary. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, Volume 42, Issue 13, 2011 Soil nutrient status is one of the most important constituents of land productivity. The research presented in this paper is aimed at describing the influence of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium availability on crop yield across the major soil types of Hungary, under different climatic conditions. For this purpose, historical times series data from a five year period (1985-1989) regarding soil, land management and crop yield of more than eighty thousand fields, representing approximately four million hectares of arable land, were statistically analyzed. The database was recently recovered from statistical archives stored in the format of digital records of the early 1980s and were used to study the productivity of major soil types for winter wheat cropping under balanced fertilizer input. Calculations were made to quantify the effects of soil nutrient levels. The evaluation was also performed for optimal and suboptimal climate conditions. Results show that the effect of nitrogen availability (as obtained from organic matter content) had the largest influence on winter wheat yields. Up to a 26% difference in yields was observed, both on those soils with balanced material regimes and on those with leaching material regimes, under optimal climatic conditions. Access the paper: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00103624.2011.581728 Last Update: 05/09/2012

w Insights into the Geography and Modelling of Wind Erosion in the European Agricultural Land. Application of a Spatially Explicit Indicator of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

The current state of the art in erosion research does not provide answers about the “where” and “when” of wind erosion in European agricultural lands. Questions about the implications for the agricultural productivity remain unanswered. Tackling this research gap, the study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the spatial patterns of land susceptibility to wind erosion in European agricultural lands. The Index of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion (ILSWE) was applied in a GIS environment. A harmonized input dataset ranked following a fuzzy logic technique was employed. Within the 36 European countries under investigation, moderate (17.3 million ha) and high levels (8.8 million ha) of land susceptibility to wind erosion were predicted. This corresponds to 8.0% and 4.1% of total agricultural land, respectively.

https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/7/8823

An Open European Soil Portal (OGC User December 2005)
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

An Open European Soil Portal (OGC User December 2005) Lance McKee with Marc Van Liedekerke and Panos Panagos of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, I-21020 Ispra (VA) - Italy . © 2005 Published by OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) - OGC User December 2005. The European Soil Portal, implementing the OpenGIS Web Map Server (WMS) Specification, came online recently to serve a wide variety of professional, business and academic users. Preview Paper:

Comparison of two landslide susceptibility assessments in the Champagne-Ardenne region (France).
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Comparison of two landslide susceptibility assessments in the Champagne-Ardenne region (France). Den Eeckhaut M.V., Marre A., Poesen J. Comparison of two landslide susceptibility assessments in the Champagne-Ardenne region (France) (2010) Geomorphology, 115 (1-2), pp. 141-155. The vineyards of the Montagne de Reims are mostly planted on steep south-oriented cuesta fronts receiving a maximum of sun radiation. Due to the location of the vineyards on steep hillslopes, the viticultural activity is threatened by slope failures. This study attempts to better understand the spatial patterns of landslide susceptibility in the Champagne–Ardenne region by comparing a heuristic (qualitative) and a statistical (quantitative) model in a 1120 km² study area. The heuristic landslide susceptibility model was adopted from the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, the GEGEAA – Reims University and the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. In this model, expert knowledge of the region was used to assign weights to all slope classes and lithologies present in the area, but the final susceptibility map was never evaluated with the location of mapped landslides. For the statistical landslide susceptibility assessment, logistic regression was applied to a dataset of 291 'old' (Holocene) landslides. The robustness of the logistic regression model was evaluated and ROC curves were used for model calibration and validation. Access the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.09.042 Last Update: 05/07/2011

Soil Contamination with PCDD/Fs as a Function of different types of land use in a semi-rural region in Northern Italy
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Year: 2015

Soil Contamination with PCDD/Fs as a Function of different types of land use in a semi-rural region in Northern Italy Vives I, Umlauf G, Christoph EH, Mariani G, Ghiani M, Skejo H, Cenci R, Bidoglio G Organohalogen Compounds Vol 68 (2006) Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) are, among others, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) listed in the Stockholm Convention. They are released into the environment from many sources, such as municipal and industrial waste incineration, automobile exhaust, and as unwanted byproducts, in various chlorinated chemical formulations Look for the article: Organohalogen Compounds Vol 68 (2006), Pages 1034 - 1038

Prediction of Soil Organic Carbon at the European Scale by Visible and Near InfraRed Reflectance Spectroscopy
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Year: 2015

Prediction of Soil Organic Carbon at the European Scale by Visible and Near InfraRed Reflectance Spectroscopy Soil organic carbon is a key soil property related to soil fertility, aggregate stability and the exchange of CO2 with the atmosphere. Existing soil maps and inventories can rarely be used to monitor the state and evolution in soil organic carbon content due to their poor spatial resolution, lack of consistency and high updating costs. Visible and Near Infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy is an alternative method to provide cheap and high-density soil data. However, there are still some uncertainties on its capacity to produce reliable predictions for areas characterized by large soil diversity. Using a large-scale EU soil survey of about 20,000 samples and covering 23 countries, we assessed the performance of reflectance spectroscopy for the prediction of soil organic carbon content. The best calibrations achieved a root mean square error ranging from 4.1 to 15 g C kg-1 for mineral soils and a root mean square error of 50 g C kg-1 for organic soil materials. Model errors are shown to be related to the levels of soil organic carbon and sand content in the samples. Although errors are ~5 times larger than the reproducibility error of the laboratory method, reflectance spectroscopy provides unbiased estimates of the soil organic carbon content that could be used for assessing the mean soil organic carbon content of large geographical entities or countries. This study is a first step towards providing uniform continental-scale spectroscopic estimations of soil organic carbon, meeting an increasing demand for information on the state of the soil that can be used in biogeochemical models and the monitoring of soil degradation. Access the paper Last Update: 14/10/2014

Landslide Mapping: Inventories, Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk.
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Year: 2015

Landslide Mapping: Inventories, Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk. Hervás, J. and Bobrowsky, P., 2009. In: Sassa, K. and Canuti, P. (Eds.), Landslides - Disaster Risk Reduction. Springer, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-540-69966-8, pp. 321-349. This book chapter introduces the interrelated concepts of mapping landslide inventories, susceptibility, hazard and risk. It further presents main landslide inventory methods, contents and tools. Then it discusses the differences between landslide susceptibility and hazard mapping and provides an overview of some of the most commonly used methods of susceptibility and hazard analysis, from qualitative (heuristic) approaches to quantitative (statistical and physically based) models. It also introduces the concept of landslide risk and discusses some qualitative and quantitative approaches to risk assessment and mapping. Finally, it provides case study examples of landslide mapping approaches and programmes. More information about the Book or contact the Author

Land take and food security: assessment of land take on the agricultural production in Europe
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Year: 2015

Soil is a multifunctional, non-renewable natural resource for Europe as clearly expressed in the European Union (EU) Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (COM (2006)231). Soil carries out multiple functions, including the support of food production. Urban development and its associated land take poses a major threat to soil and could have significant effects on agricultural production. This paper aims to evaluate the potential productivity losses in European agriculture due to land-take processes between 1990 and 2006. Agricultural land take was calculated using CORINE Land Cover maps of 1990, 2000 and 2006. For 21 of the 27 EU member states, agricultural land take was computed to be 752,973 ha for 1990–2000 and 436,095 ha for 2000–2006, representing 70.8% and 53.5%, respectively, of the total EU land take for these periods. The impact of this land take on the production capabilities of the agricultural sector for the period 1990–2006 for 19 of the 21 states was estimated to be equivalent to a loss of more than six million tonnes of wheat. The paper demonstrates that Europe's intense urbanisation has a direct impact on its capability to produce food.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09640568.2014.899490 

Spatial prediction of soil properties at European scale using the LUCAS database as an harmonization layer
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2015

Spatial prediction of soil properties at European scale using the LUCAS database as an harmonization layer The Land Use and Cover Area frame Statistical survey (LUCAS) is a project, initiated by Eurostat, aimed at the collection of harmonized data about the state of land use/ land cover over the extent of European Union (EU). The survey, initiated in 2006, started with the classification, through photo-interpretation, of 106 georeferenced points placed at the nodes of a 2km grid covering EU. Among these 2105 were selected for validation and a topsoil survey was conducted at about 10% of these sites. Topsoil sampling locations were selected as to be representative of European landscape using a latin hypercube stratified random sampling, taking into account CORINE land cover 2000, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM and its derived slope, aspect and curvature. In this study we will discuss how the LUCAS database can be used to map soil properties at continental scale over the geographical extent of Europe. Several soil properties (namely: soil texture, pH, carbon and nitrogen content) were predicted using hybrid approaches like regression kriging. Regression models were fitted using, along other variables, remotely sensed data coming from the MODIS sensor. The high temporal resolution of MODIS allowed detecting changes in the vegetative response due to soil properties, which can then be used to map soil features distribution. We will also discuss the prediction of intrinsically collinear variables like soil texture which required the use of models capable of dealing with multivariate constrained dependent variables like Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines. Cross validation of the fitted models proved that the LUCAS dataset constitutes a good sample for mapping puropses leading to regression R2 between 0.4 and 0.7 for different soil properties and normalised errors between 4 and 10%. Finally a strategy about how to use LUCAS as an harmonization layer to attune heterogeneous soil information sources is presented and discussed Access the paper Last Update: 14/10/2014

Soil carbon,multiple benefits
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Year: 2015

In March 2013, 40 leading experts from across the world gathered at a workshop, hosted by the European Commission, Directorate General Joint Research Centre, Italy, to discuss the multiple benefits of soil carbon as part of a Rapid Assessment Process (RAP) project commissioned by Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE). This collaboration led to the publication of the SCOPE Series Volume 71 “Soil Carbon: Science, Management and Policy for Multiple Benefits”; which brings together the essential scientific evidence and policy opportunities regarding the global importance of soil carbon. This short communication summarises the key messages of the assessment including research and policy implications.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211464514000864

Combining satellite derived phenology with climate data for climate change impact assessment
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Year: 2015

Combining satellite derived phenology with climate data for climate change impact assessment Ivits E., Cherlet M., Toth G., Sommer S., Mehl W., Vogt J., Micale F. Combining satellite derived phenology with climate data for climate change impact assessment (2012) Global and Planetary Change, 88-89 , pp. 85-97. The projected influence of climate change on the timing and volume of phytomass production is expected to affect a number of ecosystem services. In order to develop coherent and locally effective adaptation and mitigation strategies, spatially explicit information on the observed changes is needed. Long-term variations of the vegetative growing season in different environmental zones of Europe for 1982-2006 have been derived by analysing time series of GIMMS NDVI data. The associations of phenologically homogenous spatial clusters to time series of temperature and precipitation data were evaluated. North-East Europe showed a trend to an earlier and longer growing season, particularly in the northern Baltic areas. Despite the earlier greening up large areas of Europe exhibited rather stable season length indicating the shift of the entire growing season to an earlier period. The northern Mediterranean experience a growing season shift towards later dates while some agglomerations of earlier and shorter growing season were also seen. The correlation of phenological time series with climate data shows a cause-effect relationship over the semi natural areas consistent with results in literature. Managed ecosystems however appear to have heterogeneous change pattern with less or no correlation to climatic trends. Over these areas climatic trends seemed to overlap in a complex manner with more pronounced effects of local biophysical conditions and/or land management practices. Our results underline the importance of satellite derived phenological observations to explain local nonconformities to climatic trends for climate change impact assessment. Access the paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818112000562 Last Update: 02/09/2013

The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015
Soil erosion by water is one of the major threats to soils in the European Union, with a negative impact on ecosystem services, crop production, drinking water and carbon stocks. The European Commission's Soil Thematic Strategy has identified soil erosion as a relevant issue for the European Union, and has proposed an approach to monitor soil erosion. This paper presents the application of a modified version of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model (RUSLE2015) to estimate soil loss in Europe for the reference year 2010, within which the input factors (Rainfall erosivity, Soil erodibility, Cover-Management, Topography, Support practices) are modelled with the most recently available pan-European datasets. While RUSLE has been used before in Europe, RUSLE2015 improves the quality of estimation by introducing updated (2010), high-resolution (100 m), peer-reviewed input layers. The mean soil loss rate in the European Union's erosion-prone lands (agricultural, forests and semi-natural areas) was found to be 2.46 t ha−1 yr−1, resulting in a total soil loss of 970 Mt annually.
 
A major benefit of RUSLE2015 is that it can incorporate the effects of policy scenarios based on land-use changes and support practices. The impact of the Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) requirements of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the EU's guidelines for soil protection can be grouped under land management (reduced/no till, plant residues, cover crops) and support practices (contour farming, maintenance of stone walls and grass margins). The policy interventions (GAEC, Soil Thematic Strategy) over the past decade have reduced the soil loss rate by 9.5% on average in Europe, and by 20% for arable lands. Special attention is given to the 4 million ha of croplands which currently have unsustainable soil loss rates of more than 5 t ha−1 yr−1, and to which policy measures should be targeted.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115300654

Methods to interpolate soil categorical variables from profile observations: Lessons from Iran
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Year: 2015

Methods to interpolate soil categorical variables from profile observations: Lessons from Iran Hengl T., Toomanian N., Reuter H.I., Malakouti M.J. (2007). Published by Elsevier B.V. Abstract The paper compares semi-automated interpolation methods to produce soil-class maps from profile observations and by using multiple auxiliary predictors such as terrain parameters, remote sensing indices and similar. Access the paper or contact the Author T. Hengl for more information

Rainfall Erosivity in Europe
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2015

Rainfall is one the main drivers of soil erosion. The erosive force of rainfall is expressed as rainfall erosivity. Rainfall erosivity considers the rainfall amount and intensity, and is most commonly expressed as the R-factor in the USLE model and its revised version, RUSLE. At national and continental levels, the scarce availability of data obliges soil erosion modellers to estimate this factor based on rainfall data with only low temporal resolution (daily, monthly, annual averages). The purpose of this study is to assess rainfall erosivity in Europe in the form of the RUSLE R-factor, based on the best available datasets. Data have been collected from 1541 precipitation stations in all European Union (EU) Member States and Switzerland, with temporal resolutions of 5 to 60 min. The R-factor values calculated from precipitation data of different temporal resolutions were normalised to R-factor values with temporal resolutions of 30 min using linear regression functions. Precipitation time series ranged from a minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 40 years. The average time series per precipitation station is around 17.1 years, the most datasets including the first decade of the 21st century. Gaussian Process Regression (GPR) has been used to interpolate the R-factor station values to a European rainfall erosivity map at 1 km resolution. The covariates used for the R-factor interpolation were climatic data (total precipitation, seasonal precipitation, precipitation of driest/wettest months, average temperature), elevation and latitude/longitude. The mean R-factor for the EU plus Switzerland is 722 MJ mm ha− 1 h− 1 yr− 1, with the highest values (> 1000 MJ mm ha− 1 h− 1 yr− 1) in the Mediterranean and alpine regions and the lowest (< 500 MJ mm ha− 1 h− 1 yr− 1) in the Nordic countries. The erosivity density (erosivity normalised to annual precipitation amounts) was also the highest in Mediterranean regions which implies high risk for erosive events and floods.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896971500011X

A map of the top-soil organic carbon content of Europe generated by a generalized additive model
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Year: 2015

There is an increasing demand for up‐to‐date soil organic carbon (OC) data for global environmental and climatic modelling. The aim of this study was to create a map of topsoil OC content at the European scale by applying digital soil mapping techniques to the first European harmonized geo‐referenced topsoil (0–20 cm) database, which arises from the Land use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey (LUCAS). A map of the associated uncertainty was also produced to support careful use of the predicted OC contents. A generalized additive model (GAM) was fitted on 85% of the dataset (R2 = 0.29), using OC content as dependent variable; a backward stepwise approach selected slope, land cover, temperature, net primary productivity, latitude and longitude as suitable covariates. The validation of the model (performed on 15% of the data‐set) gave an overall R2 of 0.27 and an R2 of 0.21 for mineral soils and 0.06 for organic soils. Organic C content in most organic soils was under‐predicted, probably because of the imposed unimodal distribution of our model, whose mean is tilted towards the prevalent mineral soils. This was also confirmed by the poor prediction in Scandinavia (where organic soils are more frequent), which gave an R2 of 0.09, whilst the prediction performance (R2) in non‐Scandinavian countries was 0.28. The map of predicted OC content had the smallest values in Mediterranean countries and in croplands across Europe, whereas largest OC contents were predicted in wetlands, woodlands and mountainous areas. The map of the predictions' standard error had large uncertainty in northern latitudes, wetlands, moors and heathlands, whereas small uncertainty was mostly found in croplands. The map produced gives the most updated general picture of topsoil OC content at the European Union scale

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

Modeling soil erosion and river sediment yield for an intermountain drainage basin of the Central Apennines, Italy
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

The overall aim of this research was to investigate the spatial patterns of the soil erosion risk. We focused on accelerated soil erosion processes in an Italian central Apennine intermountain watershed using modeling techniques implemented in a GIS environment. Our thorough literature review revealed a gap in research on soil erosion processes in such forested, intermountain watersheds. To gain a better understanding of the soil erosion processes in such landscapes, we proposed an integrated modeling approach applying a RUSLE model and a Turbidity Unit Index. The model outcomes were validated through measurements of lake sediment deposition. Our findings indicate a potential high soil erosion risk. With 1.33 M t− 1 yr− 1 of annual sediment yield, corresponding to an area-specific sediment yield of 32.35 t ha− 1 yr− 1, the Turano drainage basin belongs to the Italian basins with the highest sediment discharge. The outcomes of the RUSLE model showed that, despite the diverse forms of forests that cover about 62% of the drainage basin area, sizable plots of the investigated area are prone to soil erosion. The validation of the model outcomes revealed that the TU Index model performed significantly better than the RUSLE model with regard to sediment yield prediction. Accordingly, we found that even though rill and interrill processes reach very alarming values (RUSLE), they are not the dominant sediment source within the Turano watershed. Other geomorphological processes contributing to the watershed sediment yield – for instance, megarill, gully, bank and channel erosion and re-entrainment of landslide sediments – were very active in the study area. If both models are used in a combined approach, the amount of river load (TU Index) as well as the relative spatial distribution of rill and interrill erosion processes (RUSLE) can be described with sufficient precision.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0341816213002518

 

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...

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

Bioremediation trial on aged PCB polluted soils - A bench study in Iceland
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

Bioremediation trial on aged PCB polluted soils - A bench study in Iceland Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pose a threat to the envuronment due to their high adsorption capacity to soil organic matter, stability and low reactivity, low water solubility, toxicity and ability to accumulate. With Icelandic soils, research on contamination issies has been very limited, and no data has been reported either on PCB degradation potential or rate. The goals of this research were to assess the bioavailability of aged PBCs in the soils of the old NATO facility in Keflavík, Iceland, and to find the best feasable biostimulation method to decrease the pollution. The effectiveness of different iostimulation additives at different temperatures and oxygen levels were tested. PCB bioavailability to soil fauna was assessed with earthworms (Eisenia foetia). PCBs were biovailable to earthworms, with less chlorinated congeners showing higher bioaccumulation factors than highly chlorinated congeners. Biostimulation with pine needles at 10 degrees under aerobic conditions resulted in nearly 38% degradation of total PCBs after two months incubation. Detection of aerobic PCB degrading bphA gene supports the indigenous capability of the soils to aerobically degrade PCBs. Access the paper Last Update:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11356-013-2069-z#

GlobalSoilMap: Toward a Fine-Resolution Global Grid of Soil Properties
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

Soil scientists are being challenged to provide assessments of soil condition from local through to global scales. A particular issue is the need for estimates of the stores and fluxes in soils of water, carbon, nutrients, and solutes. This review outlines progress in the development and testing of GlobalSoilMap—a digital soil map that aims to provide a fine-resolution global grid of soil functional properties with estimates of their associated uncertainties. A range of methods can be used to generate the fine-resolution spatial estimates depending on the availability of existing soil surveys, environmental data, and point observations. The system has an explicit geometry for estimating point and block estimates of soil properties continuously down the soil profile. This geometry is necessary to ensure mass balance when stores and fluxes are computed. It also overcomes some limitations with existing systems for characterizing soil variation with depth. GlobalSoilMap has been designed to enable delivery of soil data via Web services. This review provides an overview of the system's technical specifications including the minimum data set. Examples from contrasting countries and environments are then presented to demonstrate the robustness of the technical specifications. GlobalSoilMap provides the means for supplying soil information in a format and resolution compatible with other fundamental data sets from remote sensing, terrain analysis, and other systems for mapping, monitoring, and forecasting biophysical processes. The initial research phase of the core project is nearing completion and attention is now shifting toward establishing the institutional and governance arrangements necessary to complete a full global coverage and maintaining the operational version of the GlobalSoilMap. This will be a grand and rewarding challenge for the soil science profession in the coming years.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128001370000030

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

Advances in soil erosion modelling through remote sensing data availability at European scale
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

Under the European Union’s Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment (DG Environment) has identified the mitigation of soil losses by erosion as a priority area. Policy makers call for an overall assessment of soil erosion in their geographical area of interest. They have asked that risk areas for soil erosion be mapped under present land use and climate conditions, and that appropriate measures be taken to control erosion within the legal and social context of natural resource management. Remote sensing data help to better assessment of factors that control erosion, such as vegetation coverage, slope length and slope angle. In this context, the data availability of remote sensing data during the past decade facilitates the more precise estimation of soil erosion risk. Following the principles of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), various options to calculate vegetative cover management (C-factor) have been investigated. The use of the CORINE Land Cover dataset in combination with lookup table values taken from the literature is presented as an option that has the advantage of a coherent input dataset but with the drawback of static input. Recent developments in the Copernicus programme have made detailed datasets available on land cover, leaf area index and base soil characteristics. These dynamic datasets allow for seasonal estimates of vegetation coverage, and their application in the G2 soil erosion model which represents a recent approach to the seasonal monitoring of soil erosion. The use of phenological datasets and the LUCAS land use/cover survey are proposed as auxiliary information in the selection of the best methodology.

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

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

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

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

Phosphorus levels in croplands of the European Union with implications for P fertilizer use
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

In the frame of the Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey sampling of topsoil was carried out on around 22,000 points in 25 EU Member States in 2009 and in additional 2 Member States in 2012. Besides other basic soil properties soil phosphorus (P) content of the samples were also measured in a single laboratory in both years. Based on the results of the LUCAS topsoil survey we performed an assessment of plant available P status of European croplands. Higher P levels can be observed in regions where higher crop yields can be expected and where high fertilizer P inputs are reported. Plant available phosphorus levels were determined using two selected fertilizer recommendation systems: one from Hungary and one from the United Kingdom. The fertilizer recommendation system of the UK does not recommend additional fertilizer use on croplands with highest P supply, which covers regions mostly in Belgium and the Netherlands. According to a Hungarian advisory system there is a need for fertilizer P input in all regions of the EU. We established a P fertilizer need map based on integrating results from the two systems. Based on data from 2009 and 2012, P input demand of croplands in the European Union was estimated to . Meanwhile we found disparities of calculated input need and reported fertilizer statistics both on local (country) scale and EU level. The first ever uniform topsoil P survey of the EU highlights the contradictions between soil P management of different countries of the Union and the inconsistencies between reported P fertilizer consumption and advised P doses. Our analysis shows a status of a baseline period of the years 2009 and 2012, while a repeated LUCAS topsoil survey can be a useful tool to monitor future changes of nutrient levels, including P in soils of the EU.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1161030113001950

Benefits of soil carbon: report on the outcomes of an international scientific committee on problems of the environment rapid assessment workshop
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

A Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment Rapid Assessment (SCOPE-RAP) workshop was held on 18–22 March 2013. This workshop was hosted by the European Commission, JRC Centre at Ispra, Italy, and brought together 40 leading experts from Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America to create four synthesis chapters aimed at identifying knowledge gaps, research requirements, and policy innovations. Given the forthcoming publication by CABI of a book volume of the outcomes of the SCOPE-RAP in 2014, this workshop report provides an update on the global societal challenge of soil carbon management and some of the main issues and solutions that were identified in the four working sessions.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17583004.2014.913380

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

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

A classification of water erosion models according to their geospatial characteristics
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014

In this article, an extensive inventory in the literature of water erosion modelling from a geospatial point of view is conducted. Concepts of scale, spatiality and complexity are explored and clarified in a theoretical background. Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is pointed out as facilitating data mixing and model rescaling and thus increasing complexity in data-method relations. Spatial scale, temporal scale and spatial methodologies are addressed as the most determining geospatial properties underlying water erosion modelling. Setting these properties as classification criteria, 82 water erosion models are identified and classified into eight categories. As a result, a complete overview of water erosion models becomes available in a single table. The biggest share of the models is found in the category of the mechanistic pathway-type event-based models for watershed to landscape scales. In parallel, geospatial innovations that could be considered as milestones in water erosion modelling are highlighted and discussed. An alphabetical list of all models is also listed in the Appendix. For manipulating scale efficiently, two promising spatial theories are suggested for further exploitation in the future such as hierarchy theory and fractals theory. Regarding erosion applications, uncertainty analysis within GIS is considered to be necessary for further improving performance of erosion models.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17538947.2012.671380

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

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

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

The Global Soil Partnership
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) has been established, following an intensive preparatory work of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the European Commission (EC), as a voluntary partnership coordinated by the FAO in September 2011 [1]. The GSP is open to all interested stakeholders: Governments (FAO Member States), Universities, Research Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, Industry and private companies. It is a voluntary partnership aiming towards providing a platform for active engagement in sustainable soil management and soil protection at all scales: local, national, regional and global. As a "coalition of the willing" towards soil protection, it attempts to make progress in reversing soil degradation with those partners that have a genuine will of protecting soils for our future generations. It openly aims towards creating an enabling environment, despite the resistance of a minority of national governments, for effective soil protection in the large majority of the countries that are genuinely concerned about the rapid depletion of their limited soil resources.

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/25/1/012001/meta

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

European meteorological data: contribution to research, development, and policy support
Resource Type: Documents, Publications in Journals, Maps & Documents
Year: 2014

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has developed Interpolated Meteorological Datasets available on a regular 25x25km grid both to the scientific community and the general public. Among others, the Interpolated Meteorological Datasets include daily maximum/minimum temperature, cumulated daily precipitation, evapotranspiration and wind speed. These datasets can be accessed through a web interface after a simple registration procedure. The Interpolated Meteorological Datasets also serve the Crop Growth Monitoring System (CGMS) at European level. The temporal coverage of the datasets is more than 30 years and the spatial coverage includes EU Member States, neighboring European countries, and the Mediterranean countries. The meteorological data are highly relevant for the development, implementation and assessment of a number of European Union (EU) policy areas: agriculture, soil protection, environment, agriculture, food security, energy, climate change. An online user survey has been carried out in order to assess the impact of the Interpolated Meteorological Datasets on research developments. More than 70% of the users have used the meteorological datasets for research purposes and more than 50% of the users have used those sources as main input for their models. The usefulness of the data scored more than 70% and it is interesting to note that around 25% of the users have published their scientific outputs based on the Interpolated Meteorological Datasets. Finally, the user feedback focuses mostly on improving the data distribution process as well as the visibility of the web platform.

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

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

Wind erosion susceptibility of European soils
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
Year: 2014
Publisher: Geoderma

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

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

A new MONERIS in-Stream Retention Module to Account Nutrient Budget of a Temporary River in Cyprus