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11 June 2015 English version of the JRC Soil Atlas of Latin America and the Caribbean Highlight: On 10-11 June 2015, the EU is holding a high level summit with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) under the title "Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens". On this occasion, the English and Portuguese versions of the JRC Soil Atlas of Latin America and the Caribbean were launched. This publication was offered by the Commission President to the 61 heads of delegation, including more than 40 heads of state or government from CELAC and EU Member States taking part in the summit.
English version: Download the PDF of Atlas of Latin America and the Caribbean - Size 444 MB.
Portuguese version (draft): Download the PDF of Atlas of Latin America and the Caribbean (Atlas de solos da AMÉRICA LATINA e do CARIBE) - Size 438 MB.

8 June 2015 Global Soil Week 2015 Important Event: This year, the Global Soil Week highlighted how sustainable soil management and responsible land governance is key to the post-2015 development agenda and the on-going negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first day of the Global Soil Week 2015 is dedicated to the link between soils and land and the goals and targets of the new sustainable development agenda. On the second day we start addressing questions of implementation, monitoring and accountability of the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs. While the SDGs have been developed largely in isolation from each other, the third day explores an integrated approach to the SDGs.
Download the Global Soil Week 2015 Report

8 June 2015 CASCADE Glossary Document: CASCADE Glossary of Theoretical Terms and Abbreviations.As CASCADE is an interdisciplinary project, the Glossary helps researchers and other scientists to make sure there is a common understanding of the more complex terms and ideas. The CASCADE team has proposed the definitions of the main terms in ecosystem services and Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems.

26 May 2015 Cover Management (C-factor) Important Dataset: The Cover Management high resolution dataset (100 m) is based on hybrid C-factor Land Use and Management (LANDUM) model. LANDUM model for C-factor estimation is differentiated between a) arable lands and b) all other land uses (non-arable). In arable lands, the C-factor was estimated using crop statistics (% of land per crop) and data on management practices such as conservation tillage, plant residues and winter crop cover. The C-factor in non-arable lands was estimated by weighting the range of literature values found according to fractional vegetation cover, which was estimated based on the remote sensing dataset Fcover. Data from this project are available on request.

22 May 2015 Landform classification Dataset: The landform classification following Meybeck et al. (2001) presents relief classes, which are calculated based on the relief roughness. Roughness and elevation are classified based on a DEM according to static thresholds, with a given window size. The landform classification following Iwahashi and Pike (2007) present relief classes which are classified using an unsupervised nested-means algorithms and a three part geometric signature. Slope gradient, surface texture and local convexity are calculated based on the SRTM30 DEM, within a given window size.

21 May 2015 Application of eSOTER in DANUBE Meeting presentation: In 5-6 February 2015, JRC organized a workshop to start the development of a 1:250,000 soil database for the Danube Basin using eSOTER methodology. he main scope of the meeting was for the representatives of national soil data institutions to be informed of the methodology underpinning the development of the new harmonised soil database for the Danube Basin, to indicate specific elements that you would value as attributes and establish a feasible roadmap and timetable for implementation. Key researchers from the eSOTER FP7 project outlined the general approach and specific elements that underpin the methodology.

13 May 2015 Green Week 2015 Nature – our health, our wealth Important event: Within the context of the 2015 edition of Green Week (3-5 June 2015), the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, a session on soil will be presented on the 4th of June, 16:30 -18:00 hrs, at The Egg Conference Centre, Rue Bara, in Brussels. The session 'Healthy soils for wealthy Europe' will highlight the importance of sound land and soil management in Europe. It will address the dimension of land take in the EU and its main consequences on the environment, also presenting possible strategies to support a zero net land take approach. Find more information about this event: http://www.greenweek2015.eu/programme-20150604-6-1.html

13 May 2015 G2 application in Ishmi-Erzeni watershed (Albania) Soil erosion dataset: G2 soil erosion model provides maps of actual soil loss at a monthly time-step. This model is based on the principles of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). The model was originally implemented in the cross-border Strymonas river basin (2012) and on the island of Crete after revision(2014). G2 was applied for third time in Ishmi-Erzeni watershed (Albania). Winter months appear to be the most risky, with all months contributing substantially to the annual erosion rate.

23 April 2015 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships Research opportunities: Proposals for European Fellowships involve a single host organisation (future beneficiary) established in a Member State or Associate Ccountry. The project proposals are submitted by this host organisation, which is represented by the supervisor, in liaison with the researcher. Deadline: 10.9.2015.

20 April 2015 P-factor (Support practices) at European scale Important dataset: The USLE/RUSLE support practice factor (P-factor) is rarely taken into account in soil erosion risk modelling at sub-continental scale, as it is difficult to estimate for large areas. This study attempts to model the P-factor in the European Union. For this, it considers the latest policy developments in the Common Agricultural Policy, and applies the rules set by Member States for contour farming over a certain slope. The impact of stone walls and grass margins is also modelled using the more than 226,000 observations from the Land use/cover area frame statistical survey (LUCAS) carried out in 2012 in the European Union. The mean P-factor considering contour farming, stone walls and grass margins in the European Union is estimated at 0.9702. The data are available for download.

20 April 2015 SoilTrEC book on soil for secondary school, 12 factsheets, Publications.... Important project output: The EC funded project SoilTrEC (Soil Transformations in European Catchments) has been concluded in November 2014. Among the project outputs, we highlight: The book on soil for secondary school students, 12 factsheets and a list of most important publications. The Target audience for the book is school children from 11-18. The soil issues presented can help both students and teachers to think in a holistic way about soil - and that many of the students will become intrigued enough to study soil science or natural resource economics and/or policy when they go to University.

17 April 2015 Slope Length and Steepness factor (LS-factor) Important Dataset: ESDAC has developed a new pan-European high-resolution soil erosion assessment to achieve a better understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of soil erosion in Europe. The LS-calculation was performed using the original equation proposed by Desmet and Govers (1996) and implemented using the System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses (SAGA), which incorporates a multiple flow algorithm and contributes to a precise estimation of flow accumulation. The LS-factor dataset was calculated using a high-resolution (25 m) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the whole European Union, resulting in an improved delineation of areas at risk of soil erosion as compared to lower-resolution datasets. This combined approach of using GIS software tools with high-resolution DEMs has been successfully applied in regional assessments in the past, and is now being applied for first time at the European scale. The LS-factor dataset is in Raster format. Users can download 2 different resolution datasets: a) 100m resolution for the Whole Europe and b) 25m resolution per country.

17 April 2015 FORRISK International Workshop on Soil Degradation risks in planted forests, (10th September 2014, Bilbao) Meeting: The workshop was part of the FORRISK Final Conference and was a side event of the EFI Annual Conference. More than 65 scientists and participants from the forest sector from more than 8 European regions met to discuss the role of soils in forest management. The inaugural address was given by Dr. Luca Montanarella from the European Commission, who highlighted that soil degradation is a serious problem in Europe and that ecosystems are becoming less and less able to produce goods and provide services to the society as a result of degradation. Regional examples ranging from Iceland to Galicia in Spain were presented in this FORRISK seminar, highlighting the need for a common framework directive for the protection of forest plantation soils in Europe.

27 March 2015 Soil Erodibility dataset in EU-28 and more... Dataset: K-factor values are available for the 28 European Union Member States (including Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia) as in Figure 2. Due to a number of requests from non-EU users, we also make available the Extrapolated datasets covering also Norway, Switzerland, Balkan states, Moldova and Ukraine.

7 March 2015 Soil in State of the Environment Report Policy Report: The ability of soil to deliver ecosystem services — in terms of food production, as biodiversity pools and as a regulator of gasses, water and nutrients — is under increasing pressure. Observed rates of soil sealing, erosion, contamination and decline in organic matter all reduce soil capability. Organic carbon stocks in agricultural soil may have been overestimated by 25%. A coherent soil policy at EU level would provide the framework to coordinate efforts to survey soil status adequately.

5 March 2015 International Year of Soils 2015 Awareness raising: The FAO IYS communications toolkit provides tools and suggestions for informing and engaging the public in soil-related activities. Read through the texts provided in this section for key infomation and tips. Use the toolkit videos, photos and promotional materials to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soils. Share these materials with community institutions such as schools, local farmers' associations and businesses. Make them available to local or national media outlets and government offices.
Download it: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/communications-toolkit/en/
18 February 2015 Calendar 2015 - Soil functions: keeping the Earth alive Awareness: While not widely appreciated by most people, soil is actually at the heart of nearly all terrestrial processes on which human and ecological well-being depends. Soil provides, regulates and supports a number of ecosystem services on which issues such as food security, the provision of shelter, access to goods, flood control, combating disease and cultural fulfilment all depend. Soil does all this by performing five essential functions The soil functions described in this calendar are vital to life on Earth. However, not all soil types can carry out these functions to the same extent, and some are more susceptible than others to failure when they are put under stress. A clear understanding of the functional capabilities and potential of different soil types is thus vital for planning and managing the sustainable development of soil resources, wherever they are found.
18 February 2015 Workhsop: Soil Status in Ireland Interesting Workshop: It is our pleasure to invite you to the Stakeholder Workshop of the Soil Status project , which will take place in the EPA conference room, Johnstown Castle, Wexford on the 24th of March 2015.
Soil quality and protection is vital to ensure soil resources are maintained, sustainable development and food security into the future. After the withdrawal of the proposal for a Soil Framework Directive in May 2014, there is a strong need of a change in how we should consider our soils.
The Soil Status project, funded by EPA programme and lead by Teagasc- Crops, Environment & Land Use Programme, aims to evaluate the status of soil protection in Ireland and the available research, in order to inform and inspire future soil and land policies.
The Stakeholder Workshop brings together Irish, EU and International researchers, policy makers, farmer representatives and other soil stakeholders groups. In the morning the main project findings will be presented and discussed in a round table. In the afternoon a series of parallel workshop will take place to develop new critical thinking and concrete recommendations to support Soil Status objectives: Soil meta-data | Soils monitoring | Soil education.

18 February 2015 Soil of the Year 2015 Awareness raising: Soil of the year 2015 is the Planosol or Stagnosol ("Pseudogley / Stagnogley").
Surface water gley soils form where precipitation water drains away into the underground strongly delayed only. Beneath a well permeable layer that is waterlogged after rainfall, there is a dense layer with low permeability. In the German soil classification, most soils affected by stagnating water belong to the Pseudogleys, those with an extended wet phase to the Stagnogleys. The international classification allocates these soils primarily to the Planosols and Stagnosols.

29 January 2015 Rainfall Erosivity in Europe Interesting Dataset: The erosive force of rainfall is expressed as rainfall erosivity. Rainfall erosivity considers the rainfall amount and intensity, and is most commonly expressed as the R-factor in the USLE model and its revised version, RUSLE. The purpose of this study is to assess rainfall erosivity in Europe in the form of the RUSLE R-factor, based on the best available datasets. Data have been collected from 1,541 precipitation stations in all European Union(EU) Member States and Switzerland, with temporal resolutions of 5 to 60 minutes. The R-factor values calculated from precipitation data of different temporal resolutions were normalised to R-factor values with temporal resolutions of 30 minutes using linear regression functions. Precipitation time series ranged from a minimum of 5 years to maximum of 40 years. Gaussian Process Regression(GPR) has been used to interpolate the R-factor station values to a European rainfall erosivity map at 1 km resolution. The covariates used for the R-factor interpolation were climatic data (total precipitation, seasonal precipitation, precipitation of driest/wettest months, average temperature), elevation and latitude/longitude. The mean R-factor for the EU plus Switzerland is 722 MJ mm ha-1 h-1 yr-1, with the highest values (>1,000 MJ mm ha-1 h-1 yr-1) in the Mediterranean and alpine regions and the lowest (less than 500 MJ mm ha-1 h-1 yr-1) in the Nordic countries.
The data are available for download.

13 January 2015 Call for Ideas - Pilot / demonstration projectsHORIZON 2020 - Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials Call for proposals: As part of the work programme 2016-2017 of the societal challenge 5 "Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials" (SC5) of the Horizon 2020 framework programme, the European Commission intends to open calls for large-scale pilot/demonstration projects. This builds on the advice from the Societal Challenge 5 Advisory Group and on the response to a public consultation in spring 2014[1] for preparing a scoping paper for the 2016 – 2017 work programme. The present call for ideas for pilot/demonstration projects is intended to (i) help identifying which research and innovation areas attract most interest from innovators and innovation users (e.g. industries, financial actors, academia, research and innovation players, private or public entities, regions, cities, citizens and their organisations…) and (ii) stimulate developers and providers of innovative solutions to engage in projects of greater ambition in terms of scope, scale and impact. Pilot/demonstration projects are expected to realise and test new technological and non-technological solutions through first-of-a-kind experimental development under real life conditions.

13 January 2015 Soil Atlas 2015 Important Publication: The JRC authored a chapter of the recently published Soil Atlas 2015, which was produced by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. The Soil Atlas 2015 is an easy-to-read, informative and well laid out publication that gives clear facts and figures on the global significance and state of land, soil and agriculture, and proposes solutions for the protection of soil resources. The Atlas is available both in English and German.

13 January 2015 8th EUREGEO 2015 Scientific/Policy conference: From 15th to 17 of June, 2015, the 8th European Congress on Regional Geoscientific Cartography and Information Systems (EUREGEO) will be held in Barcelona. It continues the dialogue started in 1994 by the European regions of Bavaria, Catalonia and Emilia-Romagna. Again it shall serve as a platform for experts from regional and national geological surveys, from universities, research institutes and from the economy, building a bridge between scientific research and practical application.
JRC will lead the "Thematic axis 2: Soil" and welcomes presentations in : Soil contamination, Soil maps and Soil erosion.
The deadline for abstract submission is 13 March 2015.

13 January 2015 Conference: Soil sustains life: too slow to form, too quick to lose Scientific conference: An international conference entitled "Soil sustains life: too slow to form, too quick to lose" will be held in 4-7 May 2015 in Tirana, Albania in the context of the International Year of Soil proclaimed by the UN. The topics of the conference include mostly the interaction between natural ecosystem components (soil, water, biodiversity) and socio-economic indicators affecting soil quality as well as the promotion and enhancement of crop production systems that support sustainable soil management and reduce soil degradation effects.
The deadline for abstract submission is 31 January 2015.

16 December 2014 RECARE: Preventing and Remediating degradation of soils in Europe through Land Care New project: Soils are currently under increasing threat from a wide range of processes, such as soil erosion, compaction, desertification, sealing, contamination and others. The EU FP7-funded RECARE project has brought together a transdisciplinary team of 27 different organisations across Europe to find ways of assessing the current threats to soils and to develop, with stakeholders in 17 case studies, effective prevention, remediation and restoration measures.

12 December 2014 Using DNA barcodes for soil biodiversity assessment Research: JRC scientists published a joint study on the use of metabarcoding to characterise soil biodiversity. The published paper presents the opportunities and challenges of this relatively new methodology, and proposes solutions to facilitate its common application. Metabarcoding is a molecular approach based on the assumption that Operational Taxonomic Units can be unequivocally identified through a specific sequence of DNA (barcode). The ability to extract and store soil DNA for prolonged periods of time provides a unique opportunity to assess the evolution of soil biodiversity over time in relation to global change, and to develop concrete measures to preserve these features.

21 November 2014 European Award for Sustainable Land Use - CULTURA Prize 2015 Award:The Prize, founded in 2007, aims at recognizing and honouring innovative and exemplary scientific achievements in sustainable land use in Europe, particularly findings in agricultural sciences, forest sciences, nature conservation and related fields like hydrology. The prize lays particular emphasis on outstanding scientific achievements which already had or may have a significant impact on land-use systems resulting in improved approaches of sustainable land use. The committee is especially looking for candidates that outline how scientific achievements have resulted in or may be transferred to new concepts of sustainable land-use management and thus meet possible requirements of the future
Deadline: 31/12/2014

17 November 2014 Economic and Environmental Aspects of Food Security in Central Asia and Armenia Call for collaboration: 5 international experts/researchers to visit and collaborate with ECFS on research projects and for up to 5 Russian experts/researchers to visit international research institutions to undertake collaborative research work. ECFS now invites interested researchers to submit Concept Notes for undertaking collaborative research in any of the priority thematic areas identified below.
Deadline: 12/12/2014

17 November 2014 All the latest vacancies in the field of Soil Jobs: More than 10 vacancies in the field of soil (different deadlines and profiles)

13 November 2014 New Hydraulic Pedotransfer Functions for Europe Important development: Soil hydrological properties have an important role in soil functions. Their predicted values are used in agronomic, environmental and hydrological models, which have wide ranges of analytical and planning applications. Mathematical functions to estimate soil hydraulic parameters from basic soil information, such as soil texture, organic carbon content, bulk density etc. are called pedotransfer functions (PTFs). A series of statistical methods were tested and applied for the development of hydraulic PTFs based on the recently established European Hydropedological Data Inventory (EU-HYDI). The most reliable methods are presented, as a new set of hydraulic PTFs. Data and explanatory information are available for download.
5 November 2014 Topsoil organic carbon (LUCAS) Important dataset: : The map was created by applying digital soil mapping techniques to the first European harmonised geo-referenced topsoil (0–20 cm) database, which arises from the LUCAS survey. Uncertainties of the organic carbon content predictions were estimated through a model to support careful use of the map. It revealed larger uncertainties in northern latitudes, wetlands, moors and heathlands, whereas small uncertainties were found in croplands. Three datasets are made available: Predicted topsoil organic carbon content (g C kg-1), standard error of the OC model predictions (g C kg-1) and measured OC content at the LUCAS points.
24 October 2014 Call for the "Land and Soil Management Award" 2014/15 Important Call: The Award was created four years ago by the European Landowners' Organization (ELO) under the auspices of the European Commission (DG Environment and the Joint Research Centre) in association with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) of Vienna, Syngenta International and the Centre for Soil and Environmental Sciences of the Ljubljana University to encourage new concepts of land and soil protection and their implementation in land management as well as to enhance awareness about the importance of land and soil functions. This prize aims to reward professionals working in the area of land use and soil management pursuing the EU's soil protection goals, including those of the Common Agriculture Policy and of the Soil Thematic Strategy.
Deadline: 30 November 2014
21 October 2014 Wind erosion modelling Data available: Understanding spatial and temporal patterns in land susceptibility to wind erosion is essential to design effective management strategies to control land degradation. The knowledge about land susceptible to wind erosion in European context shows significant gaps. With respect to this significant research gaps, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) Soil group started a new series of studies at Pan-European scale to assess:
Land susceptibility to wind erosion: An Index of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion (ILSWE) was created by combining spatiotemporal variations of the most influential wind erosion factors (i.e. climatic erosivity, soil erodibility, vegetation cover and landscape roughness).
Wind erosion susceptibility of soils: The wind-erodible fraction of soil (EF) is one of the key parameters for estimating the susceptibility of soil to wind erosion
Datsets at 500m resolution are made available.

20 October 2014 Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas Awareness Raising: The Joint Research Centre of European Commission and the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (http://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org/) are pleased to announce the writing of the first Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas. Soil biodiversity experts from all over the world are involved in the project, which aims to create of an informative and easy to read reference publication for the public, teachers, soil biodiversity researchers and policy makers. The Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas will be released and presented in 2015, the International Year of Soil.

14 October 2014 20 peer-review publications from the JRC SOIL group in 2013 Research: The SOIL team has published 20 peer reviewed publications during 2013 in various journals such as Global Change Biology, PLOS, Ecological Indicators, Science of Total Environment, Vadose, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Landslides, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, Ecological Research, Springer, etc. Those publication cover several subjects such as soil organic carbon modelling / assessment, soil contamination, Biodiversity, pedotransfer functions, LUCAS data, economic evaluation of maps, Landslides, Critical Zone Observatories, Soil Functions, Ecosystem services and Biochar.

18 September 2014 Global Soil Week 2015 – Call for Contributions Important policy event: Several initiatives and political processes related to soils and land will converge in 2015. The negotiations for the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be in full swing. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. And the United Nations Climate Change Conference will work towards achieving a global agreement on climate. All of these events are a special opportunity to raise awareness about the important role of soils and land for sustainable development. The 3rd Global Soil Week 2015 invites all stakeholders to join forces to encourage sustainable soil management and responsible land governance at global, regional and local level.
We invite you to share your story, your experience, research and your feelings about sustainable soil management and responsible land governance.
The call for proposals is open until 28 September 2014.

11 September 2014 Land Quality and Landscape Processes Conference Important Conference: Scientific assessment of land qualities, their changes and underlying landscape processes are essential to produce comprehensive evaluation of land-based ecosystem services. Only with reliable information on land quality and its possible changes can resource efficient and sustainable land management applied. The LQ2015 conference aims to enhance the understanding of the role of land quality and landscape processes in rural systems and to progress the development of sustainable land use on different levels; from farm to continental scales.
The conference is associated with two open workshops: I. Resource use efficiency in agriculture in Europe and China and II. Soil information in the Danube basin.
Registration to the conference and workshops is now open.

8 September 2014 E-BOOK versions of the Soil Atlas of Africa New technologies for Soil Atlas of Africa: As an alternative to the printed and pdf versions of the Soil Atlas of Africa, the JRC's Soil Resource Assessment Project (IES Land Resource Management Unit) is pleased to announce that the publication is now available in e-Book formats for both ePUB apps and Kindle devices or apps. The soil Atlas of Africa is in laid out in A3 format, contains 176 pages and weighs over 2.5 kg – so it is quite an imposing publication! By using the e-Book version, it will fit in your pocket and you can take it with you wherever you go! In addition, e-Book files are much smaller than conventional print-quality pdf files, which makes them quicker and much easier to download, which is especially useful where the Internet connection may be poor or is accessed via cell phone networks.

25 August 2014 EuDASM Metadata for Europe Maps: The European Digital Archive of Soil Maps (EuDASM) has been concluded the metadata for Europe. You can find the Metadata for 1,312 European maps. This is part of the global EuDASM project making available more than 6,000 Maps from 142 countries around the World. EuDASM transfered paper-based soil maps into a digital format with the maximum possible resolution and to ensure their preservation and easy disclosure. Many of these documents are over 50 years old and are beginning to deteriorate.

21 August 2014 Extending Geographic and Thematic Range of SPADE/M with HYPRES Soil Profile Data Data and Report: The measured soil profile data of the Hydraulic Properties of European Soils (HYPRES) were evaluated for their potential use in extending the geographic coverage and thematic range of the profiles of the Soil Profile Analytical Database of Europe of measured profiles (SPADE/M) database. The aim of increasing the number of measured profiles is to improve the definition of pedo-transfer rules (PTRs) to extend the range of parameters characterizing soils and the validation of model runs.The HYPRES and SPADE/M databases follow different concepts in the compilation of soil profiles. These differences were reflected in the organization of storing profile data in the databases. A specific conceptual problem to extending the SPADE/M data set is posed by recording repeated measurements in the HYPRES database for horizons of a profile and multiple profiles for a plot. The two data sets also differ with respect to the properties recorded, the measurement units and the database model.

18 July 2014 Scoping study on the International Year of Soils 2015 Awareness Raising: Under suggestion of FAO's Global Soil Partnership and with the support of the EU, in December 2013 the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 2015 as the 'International Year of Soils' (IYS) and 5 December of each year as the 'World Soil Day' (WSD) (see UNGA resolution).
In order to find out what kind of awareness-raising activities and events could be organised or co-organised by the European Commission to mark the IYS, a scoping study has been prepared on behalf of the Environment Directorate-General of the Commission.

03 July 2014 Soil data of Africa (WRB) Available dataset: The data underpinning the Soil Atlas of Africa will gradually be made available for download. In the first instance, a Shape file is available describing the dominant WRB Reference Soil Group and associated qualifiers. Data on the principle soil properties (e.g. texture, pH, organic carbon, carbonates, etc...) will become available in the near future. The new harmonised soil map shows the soil classes at continental scale.

02 July 2014 Wind erosion susceptibility of European soils Available dataset: The current state of the art in erosion research lacks knowledge about where and when wind erosion occurs in Europe, and intensity of erosion that poses a threat to agricultural productivity. To gain a better understanding of the geographical distribution of wind erosion processes in Europe, we propose an integrated mapping approach to estimate soil susceptibility to wind erosion. The wind-erodible fraction of soil (EF) is one of the key parameters for estimating the susceptibility of soil to wind erosion. The predication of the spatial distribution of the EF and a soil surface crust index drew on a series of related but independent covariates, using a digital soil mapping approach. Raster data are available at 500m spatial resolution covering 25 Member States of the European Union.

02 July 2014 Persistence in Soil Analytical Model (PERSAM) software tool Important Model tool: The EFSA data page has been expanded with a download facility for the standalone Persistence in Soil Analytical Model (PERSAM) software tool for calculating the predicted environmental concentrations (PEC) of plant protection products (PPP) in soil. The tool assists the user in performing calculations using the analytic model, as described in the scientific opinion "EFSA Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues; Scientific Opinion on the science behind the guidance for scenario selection and scenario parameterisation for predicting environmental concentrations in soil. EFSA Journal".
Download the software tool and the relevant documentation.

02 July 2014 Soil carbon sequestration for climate food security and ecosystem services Scientific publications: The international conference SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION for climate, food security and ecosystem services – linking science, policy and action (SCS2013) took place in Reykjavik Iceland on 27. – 29. May 2013. The conference was organized by the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, the Agricultural University of Iceland and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (Collaboration Agreement No 31059) in partnership with a group of international and UN agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations. The scientific soil community acknowledges that there is an urgent need to communicate better the value of soil carbon to a broader public. The message so far has not actively reached the media, the public and policy makers. The SCS2013 conference brought together a broad spectrum of soil carbon experts, in order to link science, policy and action on soil carbon sequestration issues. Approximately 200 people from 40 countries from all continents attended the conference: young and high level scientists; present and future leaders in restoration and land management; administrators and policymakers. . The conference proceedings aim to present how the potential role of soil carbon sequestration has been discussed along different sessions (forest/ cropland/ revegetation/ desertification/ wetland/ rangeland/ verification) and from different perspectives.

02 July 2014 First Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative Conference Important Conference: The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and EcoFINDERS are pleased to announce the First GSBI Conference - Assessing Soil Biodiversity and its Role for Ecosystem Services, to be held in Dijon, France, December 2-5th, 2014. This will be a dynamic international meeting summarizing the current state of knowledge and recent advancements in the science of soil biodiversity.
Abstract submission deadline: 31.7.2014

02 July 2014 World Reference Base Workshop/Field excursion Ireland Interesting event: With the publication of the 3rd edition of the WRB, the first official international excursion to classify with it, will take place in Ireland this autumn (Monday 15th to Friday 19th of September 2014). This workshop will look at the fluvio-glacial influence on the soils in eastern and central Ireland, and move to the western fringes which are heavily influenced by the Atlantic.
Deadline for registration: 30.7.2014

23 June 2014 Launch of European Soil Partnership Important Policy development In the framework of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the process of establishing the regional soil partnership for Europe is taking place. This new European Soil Partnership (ESP) has been formally established during the last Global Soil Week in October 2013 and is aiming towards federating all various stakeholders and institutions in Europe willing to adopt the principles of the World Soil Charter. You may read all the details about the GSP and the related regional soil partnerships at the GSP portal: http://www.fao.org/globalsoilpartnership/en/.
The European Commission, together with the institutions represented in the steering committee of the ESP, has taken up the lead in organizing this new European initiative. The aim is to bring together the various scattered networks and soil related activities into a common framework, open to all institutions and stakeholders willing to actively contribute to sustainable soil management in Europe.
As a first step the JRC convened the first plenary meeting of the ESP, 21-22 May 2014. The meeting was open to all interested stakeholders and institutions and set the foundations for the future activities of the ESP. This meeting was organized in combination to the 2014 EIONET NRC Soil meeting that provided an update on where soil fits within the EEA multi-annual work programme. On-going EEA soil activities and products that are planned in the short to medium term were presented. Some of these activities and products are in cooperation with JRC's 'Soil Resource Assessments' Project. Countries were invited to contribute with their view and expertise on how to develop/shape future activities, including data collection efforts.
Find below the list of presentations of the ESP meeting on 21 and 22 May 2014, structured according to the proposed agenda, and the list of presentations.

20 June 2014 Alternative management practices (AMP) - Using soils to mitigate carbon emissions Important Research findings and data available: JRC scientists finds that making alternative uses of arable land could potentially help capture significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. They investigated the potential carbon sequestration of six of the most representative agricultural management practices on arable soils, and finded that the conversion of arable land to grassland results in the highest potential soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration rates, whereas the conversion of grassland to arable land has the effect of strongly increasing the amount of carbon losses to the atmosphere. The scientists have used a recently developed high resolution pan-European simulation platform to assess the potential impact of six management practices on SOC stock levels of arable soil under two IPCC climate change scenarios to 2100: arable to grassland conversion (and vice versa), straw incorporation, reduced tillage, straw incorporation with reduced tillage, ley cropping and cover crops. According to the results of three policy simulations carried out by the scientists, the allocation of just 12% of arable land to different combinations of agricultural management practices would produce significant mitigation effects, which would be sufficient to reach the EU's target of cutting its emissions to 20% below of the 1990 levels by 2020.
Data available: The projected SOC baseline content (t C ha-1 in 0-30 cm depth) of the arable land use, where the following alternative management practices (AMP) are applied: AR_GR_LUC = conversion from arable to grassland; AR_RES = crop residue management; AR_RT = reduced tillage; AR_RET = crop residue + reduced tillage; AR_LEY = ley in rotation; AR_CC = cover crops.
17 June 2014 JRC Activities in 20th WCSS Important Event: The European Commission, Joint Research Centre organised a booth stand in the 20th World Congress of Soil Science (20WCSS). The stand hosted more than 1,500 scientists interested in our activities. During the 6 days event, we have distributed 1,000 posters of the World Soil Distribution, 1,000 books of the World Reference Group WRB soil classification latest edition, 80 Atlases, 500 copies of publications, 200 DVDs (including maps) and around 100 scientific reports. Find all the material and the presentations given by the JRC staff.
World Soil Distribution, (JPEG version, PDF version)
30 April 2014 Land Take & Food Security Important developments: Land take generally manifests as an increase in artificial surfaces (e.g. residential areas, green city/town areas, manufacturing plants, business centres, public transport networks) over time, whereas soil sealing is the permanent covering of the soil layer with a persistent material. Using Remote sensing data and productivity figures, we have estimated the effect of land take on Europe's ability to produce food, considering data from the period from 1990 to 2006. In 182 Regions of the studied 19 Countries, the Potential Agricultural Production Capability was calculated at 6,2 Million tonnes of wheat for the period 1990–2006.
Data and information are also available.
29 April 2014 Eurasian Center for Food Security - Call for Proposals for Collaborative Research Collaboration Research Opportunity: In this first call for proposals funding for travel is available for up to 3 international experts/researchers to visit and collaborate with ECFS on research projects and for up to 5 Russian experts/researchers to visit international research institutions to undertake collaborative research work. ECFS now invites interested researchers to submit Concept Notes for undertaking collaborative research in any of the priority thematic areas (attachment).
Application Deadline: 16 May 2014

28 April 2014 Joint Doctoral Programme of United Nations University and TU Dresden PhD opportunity: The United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) in cooperation with Technical University of Dresden has launched a joint PhD programme on Integrated Management of Environmental Resources Water, Soil and Waste.
Application Deadline: 15 June 2014
More Information: http://flores.unu.edu/phd/

24 April 2014 CASCADE brochures & neewsletter for public dissemination Awareness Raising: CASCADE project is described in a brochure (used for public dissemination). The CASCADE brochure is available in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek. CASCADE publishes the Newsletter No 1 (April 2014) reporting on the project Plenary meeting in Paphos, Cyprus.

1 April 2014 Data on contaminated sites Important data: The data that form the basis for the recently published JRC Reference Report "Progress in the Management of Contaminated Sites in Europe" are available to the public, as an MS Excel file that incorporates not only the data collected in 2011/2012 but also the data from previous exercises. Additionally, some data/information that arrived at JRC after the data collection deadline (for Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Latvia) are also made available.

1 April 2014 Download the pages of Latin America Atlas Download information: The Soil Atlas of Latin America is also available for download. Atlas pages are to be downloaded individually (176 pages in total), either in PDF format (higher quality) or JPEG format. The user can navigate the Atlas by using the Navigation Buttons and/or selecting a section from the Contents Menu. There are 176 files for download, covering all the pages.

24 March 2014 Land Conference on 19 June 2014 Save the date: As previously announced, the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission organises a conference on 'Land as a resource' on Thursday 19 June 2014 in Brussels. The conference has the objective of highlighting the importance of good land management to address European and global challenges, particularly in view of an increasing world population, and discuss the shortcomings of the current European land use model, including conflicting policy drivers. Registrations are now open.

19 March 2014 Trainee in Support to the implementation of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Open Vacancy: The successful candidate will support the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) chair in developing the planned World Soil Resources Report as well as the revised version of the World Soil Charter.
Deadline: 16 April 2014

13 March 2014 Workshop - Selecting Indicators for Monitoring Soil Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Interesting Workshop: Open to students, partners and stakeholders, this 5 day course will cover molecular, microbial, faunal and functional methods of measuring indicators for monitoring schemes. All indicators investigated during the EcoFINDERS project will be included. The workshop will also take in related subjects such as managing costs, selecting the best sites for sampling, and co-ordinating a large scale sampling campaign.
Venue: 7th – 11th April 2014, At Teagasc, Wexford, Ireland

6 March 2014 Soil Erosion in Italy (USLE) and assessment in Forest lands Important Datasets: The past project on soil erosion in Italy (using USLE) are making the results available. In 1999, the well-known Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) was used by the European Soil Bureau to produce a map of the soil erosion risk assessment in Italy. In 2003, an update of the first USLE maps has taken place. This report describes the refinement of the methodology used to produce this map firstly by improving the way the influence of rainfall is calculated (R–factor) and secondly by introducing susceptibility of the soil to surface crusting to create a better erodibility factor (K–factor).
JRC also presents a thorough approach (assessment in forest lands), based on the application of multi-spectral remote sensing Landsat imagery, to determine human-induced forest cover change in Italy during the decade 2002–2011.
All the datasets are available for download.

3 March 2014 Soil Erodibility (K-factor) high resolution dataset Important Dataset: A harmonised high-resolution soil erodibility map (with a grid cell size of 500 m) for the 25 EU Member States was developed in 2014. The Soil erodibility was calculated for the LUCAS survey points using the nomograph of Wischmeier and Smith (1978). A Cubist regression model was applied to correlate spatial data such as latitude, longitude, remotely sensed and terrain features in order to develop a high-resolution soil erodibility map. The yielded soil erodibility dataset compared well with the published local and regional soil erodibility data. The incorporation of the protective effect of surface stone cover, which is usually not considered for the soil erodibility calculations, resulted in an average 15% decrease of the K-factor. The high-resolution soil erodibility map (500m) version 2014 incorporates certain improvements over the coarse-resolution map (10km) version 2011: Increased accuracy (Cubist interpolation method), Verification with other studies, Stoniness effect, Coarse fragements & soil structure inclusion and 25 European countries included.

3 March 2014 Progress in the Management of Contaminated Sites in Europe Important Publication: This report presents the current state of knowledge about progress with the management of contaminated sites in Europe. It directly supports the EU Soil Thematic Strategy (COM(2006) 231), which identifies local soil contamination as an important issue. It presents facts, analyses and methods on the management of Contaminated Sites, which can inform policy makers, professional practitioners, researchers, citizens and the media. The report is based on data that were collected from the National Reference Centres for Soil in 39 countries belonging to the European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIO-NET) during a campaign organised by the JRC European Soil Data Centre in 2011-2012. The information presented in this report is based on a set of indicators which have been agreed on and used by the EIONET for more than a decade. This set of indicators contributes to the Core Set Indicator "Progress in the Management of Contaminated Sites" (CSI 015) of the European Environment Agency (EEA), which is used for reporting on the State of the Environment.

14 February 2014 Soil Atlas of Latin America and the Caribbean Important Publication: The European Commission's in-house science service today publishes the first ever comprehensive overview of the soils of Latin America and the Caribbean. Through colourful maps and illustrations the atlas explains in a simple and clear manner the diversity of soil across Central and South America and the Caribbean. It highlights the vital importance of a natural non-renewable resource which provides food, fodder and fuel for 580 million people. The atlas shows the delicate relationships between soils and the functions that they provide. It raises awareness of the inter-relationships with climate and land use while illustrating the role of soil in food security, particularly in relation to climate change. Latin America's soils also support some of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems.

The atlas is designed to reach the general public, the education sector and policy makers dealing with environmental, agricultural and social issues. The first edition entitled: el Atlas de suelos de América Latina y el Caribe is published in Spanish. Portuguese and English versions will follow.
You can donwload the online version of the Atlas.

3 February 2014 LIFE projects Projects development: Although soil has not been a core theme of LIFE, the programme has funded many soil-related projects since its launch in 1992, and there has been an increasing focus on soil protection since the publication of the Thematic Strategy in 2006. LIFE has co-financed actions targeting erosion, landslides, contamination, loss of soil organic matter, sealing, compaction, and other soil management issues. This LIFE Focus publication thus provides an opportunity to highlight and assess LIFE's important contribution to date, including proposals for ways in which LIFE's outputs may be better channeled and have an even greater impact in future. The publication includes an overview of soil policy, analysis of LIFE's contribution to its implementation and interviews that link soil science to policy-making to practical action.

3 February 2014 EcoFINDERs and Global Soil Biodiversity Important Event: To meet the challenges of global changes while sustaining the productivity of our natural and managed lands requires not only knowing the role of soil biota, but also implementing that knowledge. It is therefore critical that we incorporate the growing scientic knowledge on the provision of vital ecosystem services by soil biodiversity into future regional and national management and policy plans.
Venue: Dijon, France. 2 - 5 December 2014

24 January 2014 European Network on Soil Awareness Conference Awareness Raising: The European Network on Soil Awareness held its meeting at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen from 19-20 September 2013. The conference was open to both soil specialists with a specific interest in raising awareness of soils as well as other interest groups whose role involves an understanding of specific aspects of soil, for example, planners, education, local authorities and special interest groups. The speakers presentations are available online.

21 January 2014 European Hydropedological Data Inventory (EU-HYDI) Important publication: There is a common need for reliable hydropedological information in Europe. In the last decades research institutes, universities and government agencies have developed local, regional and national datasets containing soil physical, chemical, hydrological and taxonomic information often combined with land use and landform data. The objective of the joint effort of the participants is to establish the European Hydropedological Data Inventory (EU-HYDI). This database holds data from European soils focusing on soil physical, chemical and hydrological properties. It also contains information on geographical location, soil classification and land use/cover at the time of sampling. It was assembled with the aim of encompassing the soil variability in Europe. It contains data from 18 countries with contributions from 29 institutions. This report presents an overview of the database, details the individual contributed datasets and explains the quality assurance and harmonization process that lead to the final database.

21 January 2014 Soils of Scotland Important dataset: Scotland's soils are a great natural resource and provide many essential services to society, so it is important that they are sustainably managed and protected for future generations. This website aims to make authoritative, scientifically robust soils information and data more accessible, both to help decision-makers and to increase public understanding of soils.
You can also download the 1:250.000 scale Soil Map of Scotland. The 1:250 000 scale National Soil Map of Scotland was derived from a mixture of new soil survey work undertaken between 1978 and 1981 and a simplification of more detailed mapping undertaken between 1947 and 1978. The soil map units are mainly soil 'complexes' based on a limited number of repeated landforms found throughout Scotland and, as such, often comprise of more than one particular soil type.

8 January 2014 EGU 2014 Important Event: The EGU General Assembly 2014 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geosciences.
Venue: Vienna, Austria. 27 April – 02 May 2014.

7 January 2014 International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015 Important news: The 68th United Nations General Assembly has designated 5th of December as World Soil Day and declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils. It took two years of hard work from all the partners under the leadership of Thailand and the FAO Global Soil Partnership in order to inform members that soil is a crucial resource that requires urgent attention if to address the various challenges ahead. The GSP Secretariat will serve as the Secretariat of the International Year of Soils and thus, will immediately establish an organizing committee composed by willing partners in order to prepare a joint plan of activities for the year. GSP goal is to make IYS 2015 as a memorable year demonstrating that the soils community could really contribute to the efforts for food security, hunger eradication, climate change adaptation, poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Downlod the resolution.

7 January 2014 Call for Proposals (HORIZON 2020) - Relevant to soils Call: Growing a Low Carbon, Resource Efficient Economy with a Sustainable Supply of Raw Materials
Structuring research on soil, land-use and land management in Europe - a network of funding agencies and other key players in Europe (and possibly beyond) to scope national funded research activities, develop a joint vision and design a strategic research agenda (SRA) for activities on soil, land-use and land management that should be implemented through future joint calls. Examples of relevant issues are: land-use change impacts and trends, including the ones related to bioenergy/bioeconomy resources, spatial planning, soil threats, sustainable use of the soil-sediment-water system, impacts at global level and effects on trading partners, integrating socio-economic research and identifying elements linking to relevant policy domains and multilateral environmental agreements
Deadline: 8/4/2014.

Call: Sustainable Food Security
Proposals should provide a comprehensive analysis of the various types of agricultural land use in Europe along with the effects of agricultural land use and management on soil properties and soil functioning. They should further propose ways by which the 'soil environmental footprint' of different cropping systems and management interventions can be established. Proposals should test new approaches to on-farm management that enhance key soil attributes for crop productivity and yield stability taking into account below and above ground aspects.
Deadline: 12/3/2014.


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