Soil Resources Assessment:
Soil data and information are relevant for a number of EU policy areas: agriculture, soil protection, water protection, nature protection, development policy, health and sustainable development. The EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection addresses these different policy areas in a coherent manner and proposes the way forward towards effective soil protection in Europe. Policy relevant soil data and information will therefore play a crucial role in the policy development and implementation process. In addition, a number of global multilateral agreements also ratified by the European Community (UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD) demand an increasing amount of soil data and information: climate change, biodiversity and desertification are global issues that are strongly related to soil degradation phenomena at the global scale. This Action will provide through the establishment of the European Soil Data Centre a single focal point for soil data and information for the Commission. It will therefore support the other Commission’s services in the negotiations of the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection and the proposal for a Soil Framework Directive through the EU Institutions and their subsequent implementation in the Member States. The Action will also facilitate the reporting and assessment obligations by Member States.
EU policy relevant soil information, from initial field data collection all the way to final reporting will be managed by this project. This is achieved by using the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) as the single soil information focal point. It will serve the Commission’s needs in negotiating through the EU Institutions the new Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (COM (2006)231) and the Soil Framework Directive (COM(2006)232) as well as their subsequent implementation in Member States. Advanced modelling techniques and scenario analyses will be used to provide soil information to end users in relation to the major threats to soil identified in the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (erosion, decline of organic matter, compaction, salinisation, landslides, sealing, contamination and loss of soil biodiversity). A strong scientific and technical support to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will be provided by promoting the reform of the Committee of Science and Technology (CST) of the UNCCD and by the development of an operational Global Soil Information System (GLOSIS) for the regular assessment of global soil degradation processes. ESDAC provides a coherent approach to soil data collection and distribution for all different policy areas and initiatives relevant to the EU, while assuring high scientific quality, policy relevance and technical support as needed.
The project focuses on the following overarching objectives:The establishment of the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) as a single focal point for all soil data and information in Europe. The development of procedures and methods for data collection, quality assessment and control, data management and storage, data distribution to Commission and external users, fully complying with INSPIRE principles for spatial data infrastructures. Research and development of advanced modeling techniques, indicators and scenario analyses in relation to the major threats to soil (erosion, decline of organic matter, compaction, salinisation, landslides, sealing, contamination, and loss of soil biodiversity), as identified in the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection. Supporting the other Commission's services with soil information and scientific as well as technical assistance in negotiating the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection and the proposal for a Soil Framework Directive through the EU Institutions and their subsequent implementation at Community and Member State level. Extension of the coverage of the European Soil Information System (EUSIS) towards a fully operational Global Soil Information System (GLOSIS), providing relevant soil information for the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, like UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD, and contributing to the ground segment of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES).