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SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium 27-29 January 20101 SoilTrec Assessing Soil Vulnerability Panos Panagos Soil Action, Land Management & Natural Hazards Unit,

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Presentation on theme: "SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium 27-29 January 20101 SoilTrec Assessing Soil Vulnerability Panos Panagos Soil Action, Land Management & Natural Hazards Unit,"— Presentation transcript:

1 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January SoilTrec Assessing Soil Vulnerability Panos Panagos Soil Action, Land Management & Natural Hazards Unit, Institute for Environment and Sustainability Joint Research Centre of the European Commission Work Package 4 Leader

2 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection 3 Components (Adopted by Commission 22/9/2006): DIRECTIVE establishing a framework for the protection of soil risk from erosion, compaction, salinisation, decline of soil organic matter, landslides, contamination, sealing and loss of soil biodiversity COMMUNICATION on the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection: Why further action is needed? IMPACT ASSESSMENT Report: Analysis of economic, social and environmental impacts The strategy is one of 7 Thematic Strategies that the Commission has presented. The other strategies cover air pollution, the marine environment, waste prevention and recycling, natural resources, the urban environment and pesticides..

3 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Sealing Erosion Organic matter decline Compaction Salinisation Landslides Contamination Decline in soil biodiversity Threats to soil as identified in Thematic Strategy for protection of Soils:

4 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Erosion Erosion is a natural process, which can however be significantly accelerated by human activities Human driving forces for soil erosion: oremoval of vegetative soil cover oincreased field size oabandonment of terraces oOverstocking oinappropriate use of heavy machinery (in agricultural, forestry practices, construction works) Soil Erosion - Water Risk: estimated at 115 million ha, or one eighth of Europes total land area Wind Erosion: 42 million ha are affected, of which 2% severely affected The Mediterranean is particularly prone to erosion when heavy rain occurs after long dry periods. Significant annual costs: 0.7 – 14.0 billion according to Impact Assessment of the Thematic Strategy (only 13 countries included) Since there is a difficulty to assess the affected area, erosion risk has been proposed as an indicator of actual erosion, which can be assessed on the basis of predictive models such as PESERA

5 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Erosion Data Policy Makers: According to the obtained results it is possible to define the soil erosion risk areas at European level Input Data: Climate: Rainfall, Temperature, etc Soil: European Soil Database ver 2.0 Land cover: Corine Land Cover 1990 Topographic data: SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) Soil erosion estimates (t/ha/yr) by applying the PESERA GRID model at 1kmx1km Data are freely available

6 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Erosion Vulnerability PESERA predicts: o3.4% of the area is at erosion risk of more than 10 tonnes (t) ha -1 yr -1 o18% of the area (54 million ha) are at risk of losing soil above 1 t ha -1 yr -1 o25% of the area (75.5 million ha) is at risk to lose more than 0.5 t of soil ha -1 yr -1 More about Soil Erosion in the European Soil Portal: Soil Erosion Risk Assessment (INRA Model 2000) Soil Erosion in the ALPS (Future Scenarios 2070, 2100) Wind Erosion: dataset available related to Number of erosive days per year, etc……. Soil Erosion Assessment (RUSLE Model): Currently under development In the context of its European Soil Data Centre activities and in response to DG ENV soil data requirements, the JRC is responsible for collection and management of European soil data (Soil Erosion and Organic Carbon) in collaboration with EIONET members

7 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Organic Matter Decline Soil organic carbon is a source of food for soil fauna and contributes to soil biodiversity by acting as a reservoir of soil nutrients. Soils containing organic matter have an improved structure that improves water infiltration and reduces the susceptibility to compaction, erosion and landslides. There are two groups of factors that influence inherent organic matter content: natural factors (climate, soil parent material, land cover and/or vegetation and topography), and human-induced factors (land use, management and degradation). Around 45% of soils in Europe have a low or very low organic matter content (0-2% organic carbon) and 45% have a medium content (2-6%). Low SOM exists in particular in the Southern countries, where 74% of the soils have less than 3.4% organic matter. Significant annual costs: 3.4 – 5.6 billion according to Impact Assessment of the Thematic Strategy Actual SOC content: Gradual decrease from north to south

8 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Organic Carbon (%) in topsoil (0-30cm) Input Data: Climate Soil Land cover Topographic data The data are in GRID format (1kmx1km) These data are freely available upon request In European level, there is a serious lack of geo-referenced, measured and harmonised data on soil organic carbon available from systematic sampling programmes. SoCo Project: Soil Conservation in Europe. Updated data and maps will be presented soon…..

9 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Susceptibility to Compaction When pressure is applied to the soil surface, compaction takes place. This alters soil properties and Pores become disconnected. Root growth becomes restricted. Soil compaction reduces the soils capacity to retain water and to supply oxygen to plant roots (water run-off increases and soils will be more vulnerable to soil erosion) Soils natural susceptibility is based on the creation of logical connections between relevant parameters, called pedotransfer rules. Input Parameters: Attributes of the European soil database: Soil type, texture, soil water regime, depth to textural change and the limitation of the soil for agricultural use. Data & Maps: Available for Download In order to perform more in depth research on hotspots (i.e. soils with a high or very high natural susceptibility to compaction), further ground validation is needed.

10 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Salinization Salinisation, the accumulation in soils of soluble salts mainly of sodium, magnesium, and calcium, can occur naturally in low, poorly drained areas in hot and dry climates Sodification is the process by which the exchangeable sodium (Na) content of the soil is increased Main human-induced driving forces for salinisation oPoor irrigation technology oInappropriate drainage oUse of saline waters for irrigation and the overexploitation of groundwater Salinisation affects around 3.8 million ha in Europe. Most affected are Campania in Italy, the Ebro Valley in Spain, and the Great Alföld in Hungary, areas in Greece, Portugal, France, Slovakia and Austria With the increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation characteristic of climate in recent years, the problem of salinisation in Europe is getting worse. Annual costs: 158 – 321 million according to Impact Assessment of the Thematic Strategy (only 3 countries included)

11 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Saline and Sodic Soils in the European Union Two major data sources are available to delineate areas at risk of salt accumulation in Europe: oThe European Soil Database (ESDB, 2004) and oThe map of salt affected soils in Europe compiled by Szabolcs (1974). Saline and Sodic Soils in the European Union: Status and Potentials Methodology is presented in the portal Data & Maps: Available for Download

12 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Contamination Main human induced driving forces: Industrial installations, Mining installations, Illegal waste dumps and landfill sites not properly managed, Storage of chemicals, Military sites, etc. Most experts acknowledge that the data available are insufficient for assessing certain parameters, such as the total surface area contaminated per class of contaminant, the % of population exposed to the contamination, the environmental damage caused by contaminated sites, etc. More than Contaminated Sites in EU according to STS Nitrates and phosphates: Codes of good agricultural practices were set up to reduce pollution by nitrates. Vulnerable zones increased from 35.5% of EU 15 territory in 1999 up to the 44% in 2003 (SoCo Project) Annual Cost: 2.4 – 17.3 billion according to Impact Assessment of the Thematic Strategy

13 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Heavy Metal Content in topsoil Using the 1588 geo-referenced topsoil samples from the FOREGS Geochemical database Mapping concentrations of 8 heavy metals. The concentrations were interpolated using block regression kriging over the 26 EU countries that contributed to the database. Maps in Google Earth, Scripts, Interpolation Methodology: Data Available for: oAs - Arsenic o Cd - Cadmium o Cr - Chromium o Cu - Copper o Hg - Mercury o Ni - Nickel o Pb - Lead o Zn - Zinc

14 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January PH - Acidification Using the soil pH Measurements from 11 Data sources in ESDAC pH Values using regression kriging over the 27 EU countries pH highly dependant on nature of the parent material. 16.7% of territory has pH < 4.2 Only 1.9% of territory has pH > 8. Higher pH values are present in Mediterranean areas due to calcareous parent material. Data and maps will be available soon in the portal. Further assessment should take into account Organic Matter content, Soil Texture and other auxiliary data

15 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Biodiversity Biodiversity decline has consequences to the process of desertification through reduced food web functioning and consequently crop yield losses; reduced soil formation; increased plant pests and diseases; reduced water infiltration rate and water holding capacity; etc. Insufficient data exist on the status of soil biodiversity in Europe, as the biological quality of soil cannot easily be predicted Lack of standardised methods to estimate biological indicators in Soil (Bacteria, fauna…etc) and difficult to measure Biodiversity Inventory and monitoring are the necessary tools for the achievement of an adequate level of knowledge on soil biodiversity status Annual Cost: According to Impact Assessment of the Thematic Strategy, no estimate possible Database of soil Biodiversity: include field studies of soil biodiversity in EU27, hosted online, easy access to soil biodiversity researchers, Increase Awareness Production of an Atlas of Soil Biodiversity in Europe: Target: general audience, Contributors include leading European experts on soil biodiversity

16 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Landslides Landslides are natural phenomena (triggered by natural processes such as heavy or prolonged rainfall, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, rapid snow melt……), which can be intensified by human activity. Main human-induced driving forces for landslides oRupture of topography such as due to construction works oLand use changes such as deforestation and land abandonment oExtractions of materials There are no sufficient data on the total affected area in the EU. oIn Italy, more than 50% of the territory has been classified as having a high or very high hydro-geological risk, affecting 60% of the population, i.e. 34 million inhabitants. Online landslide inventories in Europe: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy Wide range of costs for landslides to be between 11 to 600 million per event

17 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Sealing Soil Sealing in Europe Soil Sealing in Europe: Dataset at 20x20m Connected to Food Security: Cereals production in Europe is until now, more or less stable, but there are several question marks for the future (shrinking of agricultural land, Soil Sealing, Degradation, climate change…..) Agricultural productivity loss (EU 20) estimated in 4.5 milions of tonnes of wheat More than 8,000 Km 2 of agricultural land have been lost between 1990 and 2000 During the sealed area in EU-15 increased by 6%

18 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January Soil Portal: European Soil Portal DataMapsApplicationsDocuments ProjectsDissemination Events Networks Soil Bureau 62 major updates in 2009

19 SoilTrec Kick-off Symposium January joint research centre European Commission Thank you for your attention !

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