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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.
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Highly spatially- and seasonally-resolved predictive contamination maps for persistent organic pollutants: Development and validation

A reliable spatial assessment of the POPs contamination in soils is essential for burden studies and flux evaluations. Soil characteristics and properties vary enormously even within small spatial scale and over time; therefore soil capacity of accumulating POPs varies greatly. In order to include this very high spatial and temporal variability, models can be used for assessing soil accumulation capacity in a specific time and space and, from it, the spatial distribution and temporal trends of POPs concentrations. In this work, predictive contamination maps of the accumulation capacity of soils were developed at a space resolution of 1 × 1 m with a time frame of one day, in a study area located in the central Alps. Physical algorithms for temperature and organic carbon estimation along the soil profile and across the year were fitted to estimate the horizontal, vertical and seasonal distribution of the contamination potential for PCBs in soil (Ksa maps).The resulting maps were cross-validated with an independent set of PCB contamination data, showing very good agreement (e.g. for CB-153, R2 = 0.80, p-value = 2.2 · 10- 06). Slopes of the regression between predicted Ksa and experimental concentrations were used to map the soil contamination for the whole area, taking into account soil characteristics and temperatures conditions. These maps offer the opportunity to evaluate burden (concentration maps) and fluxes (emission maps) with highly resolved temporal and spatial detail.In addition, in order to explain the observed low autumn PCB concentrations in soil related to the high Ksa values of this period, a dynamic model of seasonal variation of soil concentrations was developed basing on rate parameters fitted on measured concentrations. The model was able to describe, at least partially, the observed different behaviour between the quite rapid discharge phase in summer and the slow recharge phase in autumn.
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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.
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Contaminated sites in Europe: Review of the current situation based on data collected through a European Network

Under the European Union (EU)Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, the European Commission has identified soil contamination as a priority for the collection of policy-relevant soil data at European scale. In order to support EU soil management policies, soilrelated indicators need to be developed which requires appropriate data collection and establishment of harmonized datasets for the EU Member States. In 2011-12, the European Soil Data Centre of the European Commission conducted a project to collect data on contaminated sites from national institutions in Europe using the European Environment Information and Observation Network for soil (EIONET-SOIL). This paper presents the results obtained fromanalysing the soil contaminated sites data submitted by participating countries. According to the received data, the number of estimated potential contaminated sites is more than 2.5 million and the identified contaminated sites around 342 thousand. Municipal and industrial wastes contribute most to soil contamination (38%), followed by the industrial/commercial sector (34%).Mineral oil and heavymetals are themain contaminants contributing around 60% to soil contamination. In terms of budget, the management of contaminated sites is estimated to cost around 6 billion Euros (C) annually.
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Willingness to pay for soil information derived by digital maps: A choice experiment approach

Soil surveys and the information they provide are commonly believed to be good investment, with significant benefits accrued to their users. To date, the empirical evidence for this comes from studies that have shown how enhanced soil information can alter agricultural practices in order to yield higher returns. This study attempts to estimate the economic value of soil information generated by a host of new proximal and in situ geophysical methods for the assessment of the following soil properties: carbon content, water content, clay content, bulk density and soil depth. The study also adopts a novel approach to the economic valuation of soil information by employing for the first time a choice experiment in order to estimate the willingness-to-pay (WTP) of potential users of the digital maps and their features. The choice experiment took the form of an online survey, administered to about a thousand individuals from the wider soil community. The results reveal significant WTP for maps of high resolution and accuracy that offer map interpretation in addition to a number of soil properties.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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Chapter Two – Connecting the Green and Brown Worlds: Allometric and Stoichiometric Predictability of Above- and Below-Ground Networks

We examine the potential of trait-based parameters for linking above-ground and below-ground ecological networks (hereafter 'green' and 'brown' worlds) to forecast community dynamics. We examine whether the brown and green worlds can be linked into a general model by combining classic allometric scaling and elemental stoichiometry. This synthesis considers carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus-related traits, numerical abundance of component species and size distribution across trophic levels. To realize this synthesis, we have re-analyzed plant, microbial and invertebrate databases that combine physico-chemical and biological information from terrestrial ecosystems spanning the globe. We found (1) indirect evidence to suggest that the traits from above-ground and below-ground systems can be integrated in the same model and (2) strong evidence for a much greater than expected stoichiometrical plasticity of plants and microbes that has implications for the entire food web. Nitrogen and phosphorus are primary basal resource drivers and more retranslocation of P than of N from leaves will lead to higher N:P in the litter. Under nutrient-rich conditions, higher foliar concentrations of N and P are mostly accompanied by lower N:P in the litter, suggesting that less P was retranslocated. This apparent stoichiometric dichotomy could result in shifts in threshold elemental ratios critical for ecosystem functioning and has important implications for a general food-web model, given that resource C:N:P ratios reflect environmental C:N:P ratios. We discuss insights that can be gained from integrating carbon and nitrogen isotope data into trait-based predictions, and address the origin of changes in 13C and 15N fractionation values as related to consumer–resource body-mass ratios.
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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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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.
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European Scenarios for Exposure of Soil Organisms to Pesticides

Standardised exposure scenarios play an important role in European pesticide authorisation procedures (a scenario is a combination of climate, weather and crop data to be used in exposure models). The European Food Safety Authority developed such scenarios for the assessment of exposure of soil organisms to pesticides. Scenarios were needed for both the concentration in total soil and for the concentration in the liquid phase. The goal of the exposure assessment is the 90th percentile of the exposure concentration in the area of agricultural use of a pesticide in each of three regulatory European zones (North, Centre and South). A statistical approach was adopted to find scenarios that are consistent with this exposure goal. Scenario development began with the simulation of the concentration distribution in the entire area of use by means of a simple analytical model. In the subsequent two steps, procedures were applied to account for parameter uncertainty and scenario uncertainty (i.e. the likelihood that a scenario that is derived for one pesticide is not conservative enough for another pesticide). In the final step, the six scenarios were selected by defining their average air temperature, soil organic-matter content and their soil textural class. Organic matter of the selected scenarios decreased in the order North-Centre-South. Because organic matter has a different effect on the concentration in total soil than it has on the concentration in the liquid phase, the concentration in total soil decreased in the order North-Centre-South whereas the concentration in the liquid phase decreased in the opposite order. The concentration differences between the three regulatory zones appeared to be no more than a factor of two. These differences were comparatively small in view of the considerable differences in climate and soil properties between the three zones.
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Comparison of pedotransfer functions to estimate the van Genuchten parameters from soil survey information

The aim of the research was to compare the reliability of the methods used to estimate the parameters of the soil water retention curve (SWRC) from Hungarian soil map information and to investigate how the methods could be improved, using 11,470 soil horizon data series from the Hungarian Soil Hydrophysical Dataset (the MARTHA dataset). Among the methods found in the literature, the SWRC estimation method has only yet been tested in Hungary for the Kreybig Digital Soil Information System (BAKACSI et al., 2012). These authors determined the FAO texture class (FAO, 1995) of the given soil on the basis of soil hygroscopic data (hy). Then class pedotransfer functions (class PTFs) derived on the HYPRES dataset by WÖSTEN et al. (1999) and on the HUNSODA dataset by NEMES (2003) were used to estimate van Genuchten parameters of the SWRC for the mapped texture classes (HYPRES_hy and HUNSODA_hy). The relationship between hy and the five FAO texture classes was then tested on the MARTHA dataset following the procedure of BAKACSI et al. (2012). Texture was also estimated on the basis of the upper limit of plasticity according to Arany (KA). The van Genuchten parameters of the characteristic SWRC for each FAO texture class were calculated on the training set of MARTHA using the method of WÖSTEN et al. (1999). The calculation was first carried out for soil samples having at least three measured water retention values (MARTHA_min3pF) and then only for those where at least five ?(h) data pairs were available (MARTHA_min5pF). It was found that the FAO texture class of soil samples could be assigned more efficiently on the basis of KA than using hy. In cases where data on the particle size distribution were not available and FAO texture class was given on the basis of soil hygroscopicity, the reliability of SWRC estimation was significantly worse.
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Continental-scale assessment of provisioning soil functions in Europe

Soil plays a crucial role in terrestrial ecosystems and maintaining life on Earth. The ecosystem services it provides to humans are manifold and complex. In this paper we propose a framework for the evaluation of soil ecosystem services on a continental scale in Europe and make an account of the repertoire of major soil functions and functioning capacities of soils. Soil functions and associated services are discussed in the context of the European soil protection strategy and related to the classification of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. In our attempt to characterize soil ecosystem services for the area of the EU in a spatially explicit manner we produced new data on provisioning soil ecosystem services, including productivity and raw material availability. Comparing the potentials for providing soil ecosystem services with individual soil functions in European areas highlight the complexity of decision making dilemma for resources utilization but also underlines the possibilities for resources use optimization and conscious management.
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An estimate of potential threats levels to soil biodiversity in EU

Life within the soil is vital for maintaining life on Earth due to the numerous ecosystem services that it provides. However, there is evidence that pressures on the soil biota are increasing which may undermine some of these ecosystem services. Current levels of belowground biodiversity are relatively poorly known, and so no benchmark exists by which to measure possible future losses of biodiversity. Furthermore, the relative risk that each type of anthropogenic pressures places on the soil biota remains unclear. Potential threats to soil biodiversity were calculated through the use of a composite score produced from data collected from 20 international experts using the budget allocation methodology. This allowed relative weightings to be given to each of the identified pressures for which data were available in the European Soil Data Centre (ESDC). A total of seven different indicators were used for the calculating the composite scores. These data were applied through a model using ArcGIS to produce a spatial analysis of composite pressures on soil biodiversity at the European scale. The model highlights the variation of the composite result of the potential threats to soil biodiversity. A sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the intensity of land exploitation, both in terms of agriculture and use intensity, as well as in terms of land use dynamics, were the main factors applying pressure on soil biodiversity. It is important to note that the model should not be viewed as an estimate of the current level of soil biodiversity in Europe, but as an estimate of pressures that are currently being exerted. The results obtained should be seen as a starting point for further investigation on this relatively unknown issue and demonstrate the utility of this type of model which may be applied to other regions and scales.
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An energy-biochar chain involving biomass gasification and rice cultivation in Northern Italy

The competing demand for food and bioenergy requires new solutions for the agricultural sector, which cannot be spoiled out of its fundamental role of feeding a world population continuously growing. In this context, the production of bioenergy from crop residues and residual biomass may be an interesting solution, since do not affect food production while creating energy. In particular, the gasification technology produces both energy and biochar, which seems to have positive agronomic effects in many experimental fields worldwide, also sequestering carbon in soil. However a full assessment of the energetic performances of gasification plants, as well as their impact in term of greenhouse gases (GHG), needs to be done. In this paper we complete a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of an advanced gasification plant located in northwestern Italy, in particular focusing on the GHG balance of the supply chain, including the field distribution of the resulting biochar in a typical paddy rice field. The results indicate that biochar has marginal, but positive effect on rice yield, not affecting soil aggregation in the short-term. Moreover, LCA suggested net emissions ranging between -0.54 and -2.1 t CO2e t-1 biochar depending on the allocation scenario adopted.
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European perspective of ecosystem services and related policies

In this paper we focus on the importance of terrestrial ecosystems and the services they provide. EU policies, contributing to the conservation and maintenance of the ecosystem services in Europe are discussed and their current impacts briefly reviewed in the light of the main challenges that European ecosystems may face in the near future.
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Estimating the soil organic carbon content for European NUTS2 regions based on LUCAS data collection

Soil organic carbon is one of the attributes of the recently developed LUCAS Soil database. The request for data on soil organic carbon and other soil attributes arose from an on-going debate about efforts to establish harmonised datasets for all EU countries with data on soil threats in order to support modelling activities and to display variations in these soil conditions across Europe. In 2009, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) conducted the LUCAS soil survey by sampling more than 20,000 points across 23 EU member states. This paper describes the results obtained from analyzing the soil organic carbon data in the LUCAS soil database. The collected data were compared with the modelled data of the European topsoil organic carbon content developed at the JRC. The best fitted comparison was performed at NUTS2 (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics, European regions) level and demonstrated the underestimation of modelled data in southern Europe, overestimation in the central eastern new member states. There is a good correlation in certain regions for countries such as the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland, and France. Soil organic carbon content statistics at the national level have been available for some EU countries for the past two decades, but statistics at the regional level are non-existent for almost all countries. Where they do exist the methods used to produce them are not consistent across countries. This article assesses the feasibility of producing comparable estimates of the soil organic carbon content at NUTS2 regional level for the European Union (EU27) and draws a comparison with existing modelled data. In addition to the data analysis, we suggest how the modelled data can be improved in future updates with better calibration of the model.
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Estimating soil organic carbon in Europe based on data collected through an European network

In 2010, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC), which is charged with the collection of soil data at European scale and hosts the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC), conducted a project to collect data on soil organic carbon and soil erosion in Europe using the European Environment Information and Observation Network for soil (EIONET-SOIL). The data submitted by participating countries are their best estimate and represent an official point of view. The technical approach taken allows a country to easily update the records when new data become available. This paper presents the first results obtained from analyzing the soil organic carbon data submitted to EIONET-SOIL. The collected data were compared with the modelled data of the European topsoil organic carbon content developed at the JRC. The modelled data follow the general pattern of the geographic distribution of collected data, but show higher values compared to the EIONET-SOIL data. The important role of soil organic carbon (SOC) as an indicator of soil quality underlines the need for using common methods of sampling, analysing and reporting soil organic carbon to provide a standard product, such as EIONET-SOIL.
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European Soil Data Centre: Response to European policy support and public data requirements

Panagos P., Van Liedekerke M., Jones A., Montanarella L. (2012) European Soil Data Centre: response to European policy support and public data requirements Land Use Policy, 29 (2), pp. 329-338.
In the context of the European Union's Soil Thematic Strategy, policy makers require easy access to soil data and information of various types and scales to assess the state of soils at European level. To satisfy this need, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) decided to establish the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC), located at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. The ESDAC is one of ten environmental data centres that have been established during the last 4 years in support of policy development, implementation and monitoring by the European Commission's Directorate General for Environment. The ESDAC, located at, has become the focal point for soil data and information at European Union level by hosting a series of soil products and web-based tools that allow access to the data. The ESDAC acts as the primary data contact point for the Commission and EEA to fulfill their information needs. The establishment and the evaluation of harmonised databases should facilitate improved soil protection measures.
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Metal toxicity and biodiversity in serpentine soils: Application of bioassay tests and microarthropod index

Giovanna Visioli, Cristina Menta, Ciro Gardi, Federica Delia Conti
Eco-toxicological or bioassays tests have intensively been discussed as tools for the evaluation of soil quality. Tests with soil organisms, including microarthropods and plants, allow direct estimates of important soil characteristics and functions. In this study we compared the results obtained by two in vitro standard bioassays following ISO or OECD guidelines: i) the short term-chronic phytotoxicity germination and root elongation test using three different plant species Lepidium sativum L. (Brassicaceae), Cucumis sativus L. (Cucurbitaceae) and Medicago sativa L. (Fabaceae) ii) the inhibition of reproduction of Folsomia candida (Collembola) by soil pollutants (ISO 11267:1999) to investigate the toxicity of a serpentine soil present in the Italian Apennines, rich in heavy metals such as Ni, Cr, Co. In addition, microarthropod communities were been characterized to evaluate the effects of metal contents on the soil fauna in natural conditions. Abundances, Acari/Collembola ratio, biodiversity indices and QBS-ar index were calculated. Our results demonstrate that the two in vitro tests discriminate differences correlated with metal and organic matter contents in four sub-sites within the serpentinite. Soil fauna characterization, not previously performed on serpentine soils, revealed differences in peculiar groups of microarthropods among the four sub-sites: microarthropod community was found to be rich and well diversified in the sub-site characterized by the less metal content and the higher organic matter content and vegetation.
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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.
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Prediction of soil organic carbon for different levels of soil moisture using Vis-NIR spectroscopy

Nocita, M., Stevens, A., Noon, C., Van Wesemael, B. (2012) Prediction of soil organic carbon for different levels of soil moisture using Vis-NIR spectroscopy. Geoderma, 199: pp. 37-42.
Visible and near infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy has produced promising results to infer soil organic carbon (SOC) content in the laboratory. However, using soil spectra measured directly in the field or with airborne imaging spectrometer remains challenging due to uncontrolled variations in surface soil properties, like vegetation cover, moisture and roughness. In particular, soil moisture may dramatically degrade predictions of SOC content when using an empirical/statistical approach. This study aims to quantify the effect of soil moisture on the accuracy of SOC predictions, and to propose a method to determine SOC content for moist samples with unknown moisture content. Soil samples (n=107) were collected along a transect, in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The soil samples were air-dried for 7 days, moistened in steps of 0.05 g water g soil-1 until saturation, and scanned in the laboratory with a visible and near infrared spectrometer. We computed the normalized soil moisture index (NSMI) to estimate the soil moisture content of the samples (R2 = 0.74), and used it to spectrally classify the samples according to their moisture content. SOC content was predicted using separate partial least square regressions developed on groups of samples with similar NSMI values. The root mean square error of prediction (RMSE) after validation was below 5 g C kg-1, with a ratio of prediction to deviation (RPD) greater than 2. These results were better than the ones obtained with separate spectroscopic models with a-priori knowledge of soil moisture. Hence, the NSMI might be used as a proxy of moisture content to improve SOC content prediction for spectral data acquired outside the laboratory as the method is simple and does not need other data than a simple band ratio of the spectra.
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Soil Information in Support of Policy Making and Awareness Raising

Bouma J., Broll G., Crane T.A., Dewitte O., Gardi C., Schulte R.P.O., Towers W. Soil information in support of policy making and awareness raising (2012) Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4 (5) , pp. 552-558.
Soils play an important role in defining sustainable land-use options when facing major global environmental challenges such as food security, climate change, fresh water scarcity and biodiversity loss. Facing these problems, the 2006 EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (TSSP), provides an important focal point for soil research and awareness raising. Unfortunately, the TSSP has not yet been followed up with a legally binding Framework Directive mainly because of political barriers. Two approaches are discussed to overcome these barriers: First, we explore innovative ways to present soils and raise soil awareness. Soil information in terms of atlases, associated databases and interpretations, focusing on major environmental problems, is presented by the EU Joint Research Center (JRC) for Africa and South America using modern digital techniques and, particularly, a user-oriented approach. This contrasts with the traditional approach which is more soil-centered. Soil science has not yet effectively tapped the genuine and basic affinity of mankind with their soils. Therefore, more attention to local knowledge and management of soils is needed. Creating more awareness, by sharing experiences with various citizen groups, is also an effective mechanism to mobilize the political arena as is demonstrated by some German examples. Second, we show specific real-world examples as to the possible positive and innovative impact of the TSSP. An example is presented of Functional Soil Planning, based on maximizing soil functions at national and international level by customizing soil management at local level, balancing 'supply' and 'demand' by defining tradeoffs between conflicting functions. Finally, a case study for Scotland is presented dealing with EU policies for so-called: "Less Favoured Areas (LFA)".
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Soil processes and functions across an international network of Critical Zone Observatories: introduction to experimental methods and initial results

Banwart, S., Menon, M, Panagos, P. et al, (2012) Soil processes and functions across an international network of Critical Zone Observatories: Introduction to experimental methods and initial results. Comptes Rendus - Geoscience 344 (11-12) , pp. 758-772.
Growth in human population and demand for wealth creates ever-increasing pressure on global soils, leading to soil losses and degradation worldwide. Critical Zone science, studies the impact linkages between these pressures, the resulting environmental state of soils, and potential interventions to protect soil and reverse degradation. New research on soil processes is being driven by the scientific hypothesis that soil processes can be described along a life cycle of soil development. This begins with formation of new soil from parent material, development of the soil profile, and potential loss of the developed soil functions and the soil itself under overly intensive anthropogenic land use, thus closing the cycle. Four Critical Zone Observatories in Europe have been selected focusing research at sites that represent key stages along the hypothetical soil life cycle; incipient soil formation, productive use of soil for farming and forestry, and decline of soil due to longstanding intensive agriculture. Initial results from the research show that soil develops important biogeochemical properties on the time scale of decades and that soil carbon and the development of favourable soil structure develops over similar time scales. A new mathematical model of soil aggregate formation and degradation predicts that set-aside land at the most degraded site studied can develop substantially improved soil structure with the accumulation of soil carbon over a period of several years. Further results demonstrate the rapid dynamics of soil carbon; how quickly it can be lost, and also demonstrate how data from the CZOs can be used to determine parameter values for models at catchment scale.
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Monthly soil erosion monitoring based on remotely sensed biophysical parameters: a case study in Strymonas river basin towards a functional pan-European service

Panagos, P., Karydas, C.G., Gitas, I.Z., Montanarella, L. (2012) Monthly soil erosion monitoring based on remotely sensed biophysical parameters: a case study in Strymonas river basin towards a functional pan-European service. International Journal of Digital Earth , Vol. 5, Iss. 6, 2012, pp. 461-487
Currently, many soil erosion studies at local, regional, national or continental scale use models based on the USLE-family approaches. Applications of these models pay little attention to seasonal changes, despite evidence in the literature which suggests that erosion risk may change rapidly according to intra-annual rainfall figures and vegetation phenology. This paper emphasises the aspect of seasonality in soil erosion mapping by using month-step rainfall erosivity data and biophysical time series data derived from remote-sensing. The latter, together with other existing pan-European geo-databases sets the basis for a functional pan-European service for soil erosion monitoring at a scale of 1:500,000. This potential service has led to the establishment of a new modelling approach (called the G2 model) based on the inheritance of USLE-family models. The G2 model proposes innovative techniques for the estimation of vegetation and protection factors. The model has been applied in a 14,500 km2 study area in SE Europe covering a major part of the basin of the cross-border river, Strymonas. Model results were verified with erosion and sedimentation figures from previous research. The study confirmed that monthly erosion mapping would identify the critical months and would allow erosion figures to be linked to specific land uses.
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Legal frameworks for soil protection: current development and technical information requirements

Kibblewhite M.G., Miko L., Montanarella L. Legal frameworks for soil protection: Current development and technical information requirements (2012) Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4 (5) , pp. 573-577.
Protection of soil resources is a priority for policy makers concerned with future food security and biodiversity conservation. Current global, continental and national progress with legal frameworks and supporting technical information is reviewed. Better soil monitoring information is needed to support new investment in, targeting of, and evaluation of soil protection measures. Some but not all soil monitoring methods are adequate. Spatial risk estimation is essential for assessing the economic costs and benefits of soil protection and to target risk mitigation. However, while qualitative vulnerability assessments are available, substantial challenges remain to support quantitative risk assessment and evaluation. More reliable information is required about the efficacy of options for soil protection for different soils under different land use and management scenarios.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Statistical Modelling of Europe-wide Landslide Susceptibility Using Limited Landslide Inventory Data

Van Den Eeckhaut M., Hervas J., Jaedicke C., Malet J.-P., Montanarella L., Nadim F. Statistical modelling of Europe-wide landslide susceptibility using limited landslide inventory data (2012) Landslides, 9 (3) , pp. 357-369.
In many regions, the absence of a landslide inventory hampers the production of susceptibility or hazard maps. Therefore, a method combining a procedure for sampling of landslide-affected and landslide-free grid cells from a limited landslide inventory and logistic regression modelling was tested for susceptibility mapping of slide- and flow-type landslides on a European scale. Landslide inventories were available for Norway, Campania (Italy) and the Barcelonnette Basin (France) and from each inventory a random subsample was extracted. In addition, a landslide dataset was produced from the analysis of Google Earth images in combination with extraction of landslide locations reported in scientific publications. Attention was paid to have a representative distribution of landslides over Europe. In total, the landslide-affected sample contained 1340 landslides. Then, a procedure to select landslide-free grid cells was designed taking account of the incompleteness of the landslide inventory and the high proportion of flat areas in Europe. Using stepwise logistic regression, a model including slope gradient, standard deviation of slope gradient, lithology, soil and land cover types was calibrated. The classified susceptibility map produced from the model was then validated by visual comparison with national landslide inventory or susceptibility maps available from literature. The first results are promising and suggest that in case of landslide disasters the method can be used for urgently required landslide susceptibility mapping in regions where currently only sparse landslide inventory data are available.
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Impact of land-take on the land resource base for crop production in the European Union

Toth G. Impact of land-take on the land resource base for crop production in the European Union (2012) Science of the Total Environment, 435-436 , pp. 202-214.
Spatial analyses of land productivity and land use data from 2000 and 2006 were performed to assess the deterioration of land resources for biomass production of the European Union. Data show that while all member states of the EU experiences constant decrease of its production capacity, there are also considerable differences among countries and regions. Based on the analysis of 25 member states, the EU lost 0.2% of its agricultural land and 0.23% of its productive potential in the period between 2000 and 2006 due to land take and conversion to artificial surfaces. The loss of agricultural land during the study period was the highest in the Netherlands, which lost with the land conversions 1.44% of its biomass production potential within six years. The figures are quite alarming for Cyprus (0.84%) and Spain (0.43%) as well. In metropolitan areas of Amsterdam, Berlin, Bratislava, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Madrid, Milan and Vienna infrastructural investment occurred on the better agricultural land while Budapest, Paris and Warsaw spread their urban growth to directions where less productive land of their regions situates. The Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland had to face the largest loss of their food production capacity accounted for each citizen, exceeding the equivalent of 1500 kg*ha-1 *year-1 wheat in all three countries.
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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.
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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.
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Water retention of salt affected soils: quantitative estimation using soil survey information

Toth B., Mako A., Guadagnini A., Toth G.Water retention of salt-affected soils: Quantitative estimation using soil survey information (2012) Arid Land Research and Management, 26 (2) , pp. 103-121.
Soil water retention (SWR) at -0.1, -33, -1500 and -150000 kPa matric potentials and available water content (AWC) were estimated from information available from 729 horizons of salt-affected soils in the Hungarian Detailed Soil Hydrophysical Database. Soil characteristics of the 1:10,000 scale Hungarian soil maps were used as input parameters. Ordinal and nominal (categorical) variables: texture, organic matter content, calcium carbonate content, soluble salt content, pH and soil subtype classes of the soil map were used to develop a new prediction method based on the CHAID classification tree. Results of the model development were compared with results using conventional prediction methods (CRT – classification tree and multiple linear regression). Four types of pedotransfer rules were established by classification tree methods. The first rule uses contiuous-type input parameters, the second uses soil taxonomical information in addition, the third and fourth one uses categorical-type input parameters. In addition, continuous pedotransfer functions (point estimations) were established as well. Results show that the root mean square error (RMSE) of the pedotransfer rules based on categorical-type soil information is between 1.25 vol% (at -150000 kPa) and 6.40 vol% (-33 kPa). Model performance of pedotransfer rules and pedotransfer functions was not significantly different, meaning that with the mentioned available input parameters, for salt-affected soils the prediction accuracy is similar with categorical and continuous-type information. The established methods can be readily used to prepare available water content maps for the topsoil of salt affected soils based on solely soil survey information.
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State of the art of national landslide databases in Europe and their potential for assessing landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk

Van Den Eeckhaut M., Hervas J.State of the art of national landslide databases in Europe and their potential for assessing landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk (2012) Geomorphology, 139-140 , pp. 545-558.
A landslide inventory is the most important information source for quantitative zoning of landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk. It should give insight into the location, date, type, size, activity and causal factors of landslides as well as resultant damage. In Europe, many countries have created or are creating national and/or regional landslide databases (LDBs). Yet little is known on their contents, completeness, format, structure, language use and accessibility, and hence on their ability to perform national or transnational landslide zoning. Therefore, this study presents a detailed analysis of existing national LDBs in the EU member states, EU official candidate and potential candidate countries, and EFTA countries, and their possible use for landslide zoning. These national LDBs were compared with a subset of 22 regional databases. Twenty-two out of 37 contacted European countries currently have national LDBs, and six other countries have only regional LDBs. In total, the national LDBs contain 633,696 landslides, of which 485,004 are located in Italy, while Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and the UK also have >10,000 landslides in their LDBs. National LDBs are generally created in the official language of each country and 58% of them contain other natural hazards (e.g. floods and sinkholes).
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Soil erodibility estimation using LUCAS point survey data of Europe

Panagos, P., Meusburger, K., Alewell, C., Montanarella, L. (2012) Soil erodibility estimation using LUCAS point survey data of Europe, Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 30, April 2012, Pages 143-145, doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2011.11.002
Modelling soil erosion is mostly hampered by low data availability, particularly of soil parameters. One key parameter for soil erosion modelling is the soil erodibility, expressed as the K- factor in the commonly used soil erosion model USLE (Universal Soil Loss Equation). The K-factor is related to crucial soil factors triggering erosion (organic matter content, soil texture, soil structure, permeability). We calculated soil erodibility using measured soil data, collected during the 2009 LUCAS (Land Use and Cover Area frame Survey) soil survey campaign across the member states of the European Union. The proposed dataset overcomes the problems of limited data availability for K-factor assessment and proposes a high quality dataset to modellers who aim at soil erosion estimation on local/regional, national or European scale
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A quantitative review of the effects of biochar application to soils on crop productivity using meta-analysis

S. Jeffery, F.G.A. Verheijen, M. van der Velde, A.C. Bastos (2011). A quantitative review of the effects of biochar application to soils on crop productivity using meta-analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. Volume 144, Issue 1, November 2011, Pages 175–187 .
Increased crop yield is a commonly reported benefit of adding biochar to soils. However, experimental results are variable and dependent on the experimental set-up, soil properties and conditions, while causative mechanisms are yet to be fully elucidated. A statistical meta-analysis was undertaken with the aim of evaluating the relationship between biochar and crop productivity (either yield or above-ground biomass). Results showed an overall small, but statistically significant, benefit of biochar application to soils on crop productivity, with a grand mean increase of 10%. However, the mean results for each analysis performed within the meta-analysis covered a wide range (from -28% to 39%). The greatest (positive) effects with regard to soil analyses were seen in acidic (14%) and neutral pH soils (13%), and in soils with a coarse (10%) or medium texture (13%). This suggests that two of the main mechanisms for yield increase may be a liming effect and an improved water holding capacity of the soil, along with improved crop nutrient availability. The greatest positive result was seen in biochar applications at a rate of 100 t ha-1 (39%). Of the biochar feedstocks considered and in relation to crop productivity, poultry litter showed the strongest (significant) positive effect (28%), in contrast to biosolids, which were the only feedstock showing a statistically significant negative effect (-28%).
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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(; 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.
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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.
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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.
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European digital archive on soil maps (EuDASM): preserving important soil data for public free access

Panos Panagos, Arwyn Jones, Claudio Bosco & P.S. Senthil Kumar. European digital archive on soil maps (EuDASM): preserving important soil data for public free access (2011), INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DIGITAL EARTH , Vol 4, No 5, pp. 434-443.
Historical soil survey paper maps are valuable resources that underpin strategies to support soil protection and promote sustainable land use practices, especially in developing countries where digital soil information is often missing. However, many of the soil maps, in particular those for developing countries, are held in traditional archives that are not easily accessible to potential users. Additionally, many of these documents are over 50 years old and are beginning to deteriorate. Realising the need to conserve this information, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the ISRIC-World Soil Information foundation have created the European Digital Archive of Soil Maps (EuDASM), through which all archived paper maps of ISRIC has been made accessible to the public through the Internet. The immediate objective is to transfer paper-based soil maps into a digital format with the maximum possible resolution and to ensure their preservation and easy disclosure. More than 6,000 maps from 135 countries have been captured and are freely available to users through a user-friendly web-based interface. Initial feedback has been very positive, especially from users in Africa, South America and Asia to whom archived soil maps were made available to local users, often for the first time.
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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 km˛). 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.
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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.
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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.
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Assessing Soil Processes and Function across an International Network of Critical Zone Observatories: Research Hypotheses and Experimental Design

Banwart Steven, Bernasconi Stefano,......., Panagos Panos, ..........Zhang Bin. Assessing Soil Processes and Function across an International Network of Critical Zone Observatories: Research Hypotheses and Experimental Design (2011), VADOSE ZONE JOURNAL , Vol 10, No 3, pp. 974–987.
European Union policy on soil threats and soil protection has prioritised new research to address global soil threats. This research draws on the methodology of Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs) to focus a critical mass of international, multi-disciplinary expertise at specific field sites. These CZOs are selected as part of an experimental design to study soil processes and ecosystem function along a hypothesised soil life cycle; from incipient soil formation where new parent material is being deposited, to highly degraded soils that have experienced millennia of intensive land use. Further CZOs have been selected to broaden the range of soil environments and data sets to test soil process models that represent the stages of the soil life cycle. The scientific methodology for this research focuses on the central role of soil structure and soil aggregate formation and stability in soil processes. Research methods include detailed analysis and mathematical modelling of soil properties related to aggregate formation and their relation to key processes of reactive transport, nutrient transformation and carbon and food web dynamics in soil ecosystems. Within this programme of research, quantification of soil processes across an international network of CZOs is focussed on understanding soil ecosystem services including their quantitative monetary valuation within the soil life cycle.
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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 peopleżs 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 societiesż needs and preferences in mind.
Access the paper: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2011.00855.x Last Update: 05/09/2012

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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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Preface: Soil erosion and degradation in mediterranean type ecosystems

Cerda A., Lavee H., Romero-Diaz A., Hooke J., Montanarella L. Preface: Soil erosion and degradation in mediterranean type ecosystems (2010) Land Degradation and Development, 21 (2), pp. 71-74.
Mediterranean-type ecosystems border the Mediterranean Sea, occur in southern Australia, fringe California and Chile and are found in the southern tip of Africa. These regions show similar soil and vegetation characteristics (Di Castri and Mooney, 1974) due to a climate characterized by warm to hot and dry summers and mild winters. Rainfall (500mmy-1 on average, although very variable) is below the potential evapotranspiration (1000mmy-1) and the annual variability is high, with intense droughts and rainfall events that include floods. Mediterranean environments can also experience intense rainfall, winter frost and very hot periods in summer. Mediterranean-type ecosystems are characterized by a seasonally contrasted distribution of precipitation, by the coincidence of the driest and hottest season in summer, by an often mountainous terrain, and by a long history of intense human occupation, especially around the Mediterranean Sea.
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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.
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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 km˛ study area. The heuristic landslide susceptibility model was adopted from the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Miničres, 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The spectral quality of light influences the temporal development of the microbial phenotype at the arable soil surface.

Jeffery S, Harris J, Rickson J, Ritz K. The Spectral Quality of Light Influences the Temporal Development of the Microbial Phenotype at the Arable Soil Surface. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Volume 41, Issue 3, March 2009, Pages 553-560 , doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.12.014
The uppermost zone of soil represents the primary interface between the above- and below-ground compartments of terrestrial ecosystems and is functionally important since it affects water infiltration, gaseous exchange, erosion processes and the habitat for surface and near-surface dwelling fauna. Two microcosm-scale experiments were conducted to investigate the development of microbial communities in the uppermost centimetre of an arable soil surface following a physical disturbance event, and to determine the effects of the spectral wavebands of light upon such development.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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. Kvćrnř, 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.
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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.
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Designation of Local Varieties in the Hungarian Soil Classification System: Remarks from a Viewpoint of Land Evaluation Application.

Toth G, Mako A, Mate F. Designation of Local Varieties in the Hungarian Soil Classification System: Remarks from a Viewpoint of Land Evaluation Application. ISSN 1064-2293, Eurasian Soil Science, 2009, Vol. 42, No. 13, pp. 1448–1453. Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2009.
This paper examines the information transfer of soil taxonomic classification units of the Hungarian soil classification from the viewpoint of land productivity evaluation applications. For this purpose statistical analyses of a national soil and plant production database (with 80000 entries) have been applied. Results show that soil groupings both in taxonomic and productivity classifications may be incorrect in some cases. Taxonomic misclassification can occur at higher levels of soil classification. With only the general purpose classification of soil characteristics in lower level taxonomic units major interpretive information loss can occur.
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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 Vĺgen, 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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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Soil Erosion

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.
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Soil Erosion

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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Soil organic carbon content indicators and web mapping applications.

Panagos, P., Van Liedekerke, M., Montanarella, L. and Jones, R.A (2008). ENVIRONMENTAL MODELLING & SOFTWARE, Elsevier LTD, Volume 23· Issue 9: pp 1207-1209, DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2008.02.010.
Distributing geographic information via the Internet allows interoperability with similar information and real-time integration of data from around the world. The software developed allows the users to exchange, integrate, and analyze data in new ways. Users can combine various environmental indicators (Organic carbon con-tent) and information accessed via the Internet with their local data for display, query, and analysis. In order to guarantee interoperability, the developed services are based on international standards, as promoted by the INSPIRE initiative.
Keywords: Web mapping services; Organic carbon; Environmental indicators; Interoperability; INSPIRE; European soil database. Access the paper or download a copy from Author's web site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Towards a hydrological classification of European soils: preliminary test of its predictive power for the base flow index using river discharge data

M. K. Schneider, F. Brunner, J. M. Hollis, and C. Stamm, 2007. Published by Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1501-1513, 2007
The paper is based on data institution provided by the SOIL Action in the Institute for Environment and Sustainability.
Predicting discharge in ungauged catchments or contaminant movement through soil requires knowledge of the distribution and spatial heterogeneity of hydrological soil properties. Such data arise from traditional soil survey. Access the paper

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.
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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.
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.
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Northern Peatlands: their characteristics, development and sensitivity to climate change

C. Tarnocai and V. Stolbovoy
In the past two decades there has been considerable work on global climatic change and its effect on the ecosphere, as well as on local and global environmental changes triggered by human activities.
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Full Access to the research paper: Elsevier Publisher, Petlands - Evolution and Records of Environmental and Climate Changes. (35 pp)

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
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Bryophyte biodiversity for monitoring chestnut ecosystems on Mount Etna (Eastern Sicily)

The bryophyte epiphyttic biodiversity in some chestnut stands on Mount Etna were investigated. Based on the biodiversity index, incidence of the degree of resistance of the various taxa to pollutants .....
R.M Cenci, M. Privitera, M. Puglisi, G.M Beone
Adv. Hort. Sci. 2006 20(1): pp. 28-32
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Adv. Hort. Sci.

Transects on highways: evaluation of trace elements and organic pollutants agents estimated by means of mosses and top soils analysis (Transetti autostradali: elementi in traccia e contaminanti organici valutati mediante muschi e suoli superficiali)

The aim of this monitoring study was to appraise the distribution of concentration PAH, Pb, Hg, Pt and Pd in soil and moss samples collected near two motorways.
R.M Cenci, C. Barbante, J. Lintelmann, et Al. Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo (Italian Soil Scientist Society)
Look for the article: Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo. Italian Soil Scientist Society , Volume 54 - 2005, pp. 56-61

Organic polluting agents and inorganic presents in mosses and city soils: the parks of Rome (Contaminanti organici e inorganici presenti in mushi e suoli urbani: i parchi della citta di Roma)

Superficial soils and mosses were used to evaluate soil health of some parks in Rome. 11 sampling points were prepared to estimate the concentration of Cr, Cu, Ni, V and Zn in soil.
R.M Cenci, A. Benedetti, L. Pompili, et Al. Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo (Italian Soil Scientist Society)
Look for the article: Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo. Italian Soil Scientist Society , Volume 54 - 2005, pp. 45-55

Practical applications of the mosses to evaluate the soil concentration of trace elements (Applicazioni pratiche dei muschi per valutare le ricadute al suolo di elementi in trace)

The use of mosses to evaluate the concentration of trace metals began in 1960s. In Italy the studies began from 1990s to evaluate part of air quality.
R.M Cenci.
BRAUN-BLANQUETIA , Vol 34, 2000, pp. 183 - 188
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Platinum, Palladium, Rodio and elements in traces in soils and mosses in Valley D' Aosta Region (Platino, Palladio, Rodio ed elementi in tracce in suoli e muschi della Valle D' Aosta)

The potential impact in the Valley D'Aosta Region, concerning the introduction of elements Pt, Pd and Rh in the environment, has been obtained from 40 samples of superficial soil and terrestrial mosses collected in the study area.
R.M Cenci et Al., Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo (Italian Soil Scientist Society)
Look for the article: Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo. Italian Soil Scientist Society , Volume 53 - 2004, Pages 512 - 518
Bollettino della Societa...

Reliability and accuracy of Environmental Analytical data on Moss Samples: Inter-laboratory comparison.

An inter-comparison exercise was performed between two laboratories on mineralized moss samples. The elements analysed were: Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni and Pb.
R.M Cenci et Al.
Environmental Technology, Vol. 22. pp 1183 - 1192, Selper Ltd 2001
Look for the article: Environmental Technology, Vol. 22. pp 1183 - 1192, Selper Ltd 2001
Biologi Italiani

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
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Soil and Sediment Contamination

The importance of non-agricultural and agricultural sources of heavy metals for Italian soils.

The study assess the importance of heavy metal inputs fro non agricultural sources (atmospheric deposition) and agricultural sources (mineral fertilizer, plant protection product, sewage sludge, compost, animal manure) to soils.
R.M Cenci et Al.
Rifiuti Solidi (RS), January - February 2003 Pages 33 - 42
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Biologi Italiani

Distribution of Heavy Metals in soils and mosses of Sicely (Distribuzione di metallic pesanti in suoli e mischio della Sicilia).

R.M Cenci et Al.
Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo (Italian Soil Scientist Society)
Look for the article: Bollettino della Societa Italiana della Scienza del Suolo. Italian Soil Scientist Society , Volume 51 - 2002, Pages 277 - 288
Biologi Italiani

Use of mosses and soils in order to estimate the atmospheric depositions of trace elements in Piemonte Region. (Utilizzo di muschi e suoli per valutare le deposizioni atmosferiche di elementi in trace nella regione Piemonte.)

The results show that the average concentration of soil does not exceed the value of D.M 471/99 for public and green paces. R.M Cenci et Al.
Biologi Italiani, Number 1 - January 2003
The main objective of the research is to identify the Fluxes of trace elements in deposition of bioaccumulator and to identify natural deposition by Enrichment Factor (EF).
Look for the article: Biologi Italiani, Number 1 - January 2003, Pages 61 - 72
Biologi Italiani

Biophytes as bioaccumultators of trace elements in environmental monitoring of MT.ETNA (Sicily)

Marta Puglisi, Maria Privitera, Roberto Cenci, Gian Maria Beone
Archivio Geobotanico 9, (2006)
Bryophytes, as well as lichens, are a useful tool for investigating environmental monitoring, in particular for the evaluation of the air quality. In the monitoring studies they were used both as biondicators by means of the analysis of the epiphyte vegetation, and as bioaccumulators of trace elements.
Look for the article: Archivio Geobotanico 9, (2006) , Pages 19 - 24

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

The estimated atmospheric depositions in an micro-area using soils and mosses (Le deposizioni atmosferiche in una micro-area, valutate utilizzando suoli e muschi)

Roberto Cenci, Franco Palmieri et Al.
Biologi Italiani, Number 10 - November 1998
In this investigation the mosses have demonstrated to be a very efficient tool to measure qualitatively and quantitatively the contamination of natural areas with a cost largely lower than the one of the direct methods.
Look for the article: Biologi Italiani, Number 10, November 1998, Pages 20 - 36
Biologi Italiani

The Bio-monitoring of pollutants in the air by means of mosses (Il Biomonitoraggio di pollutanti nell'aria mediante I muschi)

Roberto Cenci, Franco Palmieri et Al.
Inquinamento , Number 6- June 1998
The spatial temporal concentration of elements harmful for life has been investigated using terrestrial mosses of the Hypnum cuppresiforme species.
Look for the article: Inquinamento, Number 6, June 1998, Pages 36 - 43

Use of mosses in order estimate in micro and macro areas the trace elements in soils (L' utilizzo di muschi indigeni e trapiantati per valutare in micro e macro aree le ricadute al suolo di elementi in trace: Proposte Metodologiche.)

Roberto Cenci.
Biomonitoraggio della qualita dell' aria sul territorio nazionale (APAT), Number 2 - 1999
The analysis of soils for the evaluation of the contamination level of an area is very important; however the geological rock composition should be taken into account to avoid wrong conclusions. The use of mosses, due to their morphological characteristics, produces reliable results.
Look for the article: Biomonitoraggio della qualita dell' aria sul territorio nazionale (APAT), Number 2, 1999, Pages 241 - 263

L' Impiego dei Muschi terrestri e del suolo per valutare le deposizioni atmosferiche di origine antropica

Roberto Cenci, Franco Palmieri
Inquinamento , Number 1 - January 1997
Moses and soil have been assessed by using the total deposition of materials deriving from antropic origin. Samples have been taken from 23 sites within an area surrounding the thermal station in the country of La Spezia and having an Area of 900 km2
Look for the article: Inquinamento, Number 1, January 1997, Pages 36 - 45

Multivariate Analysis of Heavy Metal concentrations in Soils and Mosses of two North-Italy Regions

Paola Gramatica - Francesca Battaini - Elisa Giani - Ester Papa - Robert J. A. Jones - Roberto M. Cenci
FRESENIUS Environmental Bulletin , PSP Volume 15 - No 8a. August 2006
A biomonitoring survey involving the mosses Hyloco-mium splendens Hedw. and Hypnum cupressiforme Hedw. was carried out in two regions of North Italy, Piedmont and Aosta Valley, to evaluate the concentration of the heavy metals Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb and Zn.
Look for the abstract paper: FRESENIUS Environmental Bulletin

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: pp. 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

The European soil database

Panagos, P., 2006. The European soil database
Geo: International , July/Aug 2006 Volume 5 · Issue 7: pp. 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 or download a copy from Author's web site

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): pp. 920-929
Look for the research paper: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Elsevier Geomorfology

Modeling sediment yields in Italian catchments

VAN ROMPAEY, A.J.J., BAZZOFFI, P., JONES, R.J.A. and MONTANARELLA, L.(2005). Modeling sediment yields in Italian catchments. Geomorphology 65 (2005) pp. 157-169.
Sediment yield observations, derived from 40 long-term sedimentation records in Italian reservoirs, were used to calibrate and validate the spatially distributed sediment delivery model WaTEM/SEDEM using the best data available at national scale
Keywords: Sediment yield; Soil erosion; Reservoirs; Italy
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Elsevier Geomorfology

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, pp. 655-671 .
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Soil Science Journal

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), pp. 1-15.
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Variability in regional wheat yields as a function of climate, soil and economic variables: Assessing the risk of confounding.

BAKKER, M.M., GOVERS, G., Ewart, F., Roundsevell, Mark and JONES, Robert. (2005). Variability in regional wheat yields as a function of climate, soil and economic variables: Assessing the risk of confounding. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 110 (3-4), 195-209.
Keywords: Wheat yields; Productivity; Climate; Soils; Economics; Regression analysis
Look for the research paper: Elsevier Publisher
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment

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), pp. 28-36.
Keywords: GIS; heavy metals; mosses; multivariate analysis; principal component analysis; soil
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Environmental Science and Pollution Research – International

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
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The distribution of peatland in Europe

L. Montanarella1, R.J.A. Jones2 and R. Hiederer1
1Research Centre of the European Commission, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, I-21020 Ispra (VA) - Italy, 2National Soil Resources Institute, Cranfield University, Silsoe, Bedford MK45 4DT, UK.
© 2006 Published by Mires and Peat. Article 1
This paper derives the distribution of peatland in Europe as the extent of peat and peat-topped soils indicated by soil databases.
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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.
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Open Geospatial Consortium

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.
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European Commission - Joint Research Centre
Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Marc Van Liedekerke(tel. +39-0332-785179)
Panos Panagos (tel. +39-0332-785574)