LUCAS Soil Component: proposal for analysing new physical, chemical and biological soil parameters

Fernández-Ugalde O., Jones A., Tóth G., Orgiazzi A., Panagos P., Eiselt B.
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
The European Commission launched a soil assessment component to the periodic LUCAS Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey in 2009. In 2015, the Topsoil Survey was repeated in the same set of points of LUCAS 2009/2012 for monitoring changes in topsoil physical and chemical parameters across the EU. Currently, the European Commission is working on the organization of the upcoming LUCAS Soil Surveys (2018). This technical report is a proposal for analysing new physical, chemical and biological soil parameters within the forthcoming LUCAS Soil Surveys. Soil biodiversity is a key parameter that needs to be added to LUCAS Soil Surveys, due to the contribution of the soil biological community to soil functions such as food and biomass production, genetic pool for developing novel pharmaceuticals, and climate regulation. Among physical properties, bulk density is necessary to assess soil compaction and to estimate soil organic carbon stock in the EU. Field measurements such as signs of soil erosion and thickness of organic layer in Histosols is also important to assess two critical soil degradation processes in the EU: soil erosion and organic carbon decline due to land use changes and land take of Histosols. Finally, it could be interesting to organize a survey of soil profiles to collect information that will help to understand soil-forming processes and to evaluate soil ability for carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, water storage, and contaminant filtering.