LS-factor (Slope Length and Steepness factor) for the EU

The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model is the most frequently used.
model for soil erosion risk estimation. Among the six input layers, the combined slope length
and slope angle (LS-factor) has the greatest influence on soil loss at the European scale.
The S-factor measures the effect of slope steepness, and the L-factor defines the impact of
slope length. The combined LS-factor describes the effect of topography on soil erosion. The
European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) 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. More information about the LS-factor methodology and the data in: Panagos, P., Borrelli, P., Meusburger, K. 2015. A New European Slope Length and Steepness Factor (LS-Factor) for Modeling Soil Erosion by Water. Geosciences, 5: 117-126

A complete description of the methodology and the application in Europe is described in the paper: Panagos, P., Borrelli, P., Meusburger, K. (2015) A New European Slope Length and Steepness Factor (LS-Factor) for Modeling Soil Erosion by Water. Geosciences, 5: 117-126.
Data ownership
European Commission, Joint Research Centre.
Publication Date
Raster Data
environmental resources, protection and conservation. Examples: environmental pollution, waste storage and treatment, environmental impact assessment, monitoring environmental risk, nature reserves, landscape

Maintenance Frequency
5-10 Years, Data Is Updated In Intervals That Are Uneven In Duration

This layers is used as input for soil erosion modelling


Spatial Representation Type
grid data is used to represent geographic data
Attribute Name Label Description

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  • Note: Displayed data might have been re-sampled; please visit esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu or the direct link here below to download source data.
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