Title: Common Bio-physical Criteria to Define Natural Constraints for Agriculture in Europe
Authors: ELIASSON Ase
Editors: VAN ORSHOVEN Jos
TERRES JEAN
Publisher: OPOCE
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC46183
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23412 EN
OPOCE LB-NA-23412-EN-C
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC46183
DOI: 10.2788/96289
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: A panel of soil, climate and land evaluation experts reviewed a set of land evaluation methods in order to elaborate an approach which can support the definition and delineation of the so called ¿Intermediate Less Favoured Areas for agriculture (iLFA)¿ in EU27. The driver for this exercise is Article 50.3 of EC-Regulation 1698/2005 calling for the revision of the existing system based on criteria related to low soil productivity and poor climate conditions for agriculture. FAO¿s agricultural problem land approach was selected and adjusted to come forward with the requested approach. The FAO approach was deemed appropriate because it is not crop-specific and for its simple assumptions regarding the mutual interaction of land characteristics on the overall suitability of the land, making it applicable for a territory as large and diverse as EU27. Two climatic and four soil criteria were retained and complemented by one integrated soil-climate criterion (soil water balance), with slope as the sole topographic criterion. For each criterion two critical limits were defined dividing the criterion range into three sub-ranges: not limiting, severely limiting and very severely limiting for agriculture. The criteria and the associated critical limits or threshold values can be used anywhere to discriminate land with biophysical constraints to agricultural production on the basis that soil and climate data of sufficient spatial and semantic detail are available. Whereas such datasets are held at regional and national levels, Pan-European soil and climate data sets also exist to which the criteria and threshold values can be applied. However, their spatial and to a lesser extent semantic resolution is too restricted to classify land fully in line with terrain reality. The pan-European assessments are however useful as a reference backdrop for assessment of consistency of exercises which use national or regional data sets.
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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