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. 

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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

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 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

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

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/

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

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

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

Regional mapping and characterisation of old landslides in hilly regions using LiDAR-based imagery in Southern Flanders
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
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

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

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

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

Towards an European Soil Data Center in support of the EU thematic strategy for Soil Protection.
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tier-based approaches for landslide susceptibility assessment in Europe
Resource Type: Maps & Documents, Documents, Publications in Journals
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