Title: LUCAS 2015 Topsoil Survey: Presentation of dataset and results
Authors: JONES ARWYNFERNANDEZ UGALDE OIHANESCARPA SIMONE
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC121325
ISBN: 978-92-76-21080-1 (online)
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 30332 EN
OP KJ-NA-30332-EN-N (online)
URI: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC121325
DOI: 10.2760/616084
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: This report accompanies the release of the LUCAS 2015 soil dataset. It presents an overview of the laboratory analysis data and provides a detailed description of the results for the EU-28 territory. The report describes the spatial variability of soil properties by land cover (LC) class and a comparative analysis of the soil properties by NUTS 2 regions. Regular monitoring provides a unique perspective on pressures affecting soils. In this respect, the soil module of the Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey’ (generally referred to as LUCAS Soil) supports the specific needs of the European Commission by collecting data that characterises soil condition and health in relation to land use practices and other activities (e.g. industrial emissions) that are driven by specific policy instruments. The LUCAS Soil Module is the only mechanism that currently provides a harmonised and regular collection of soil data for the entire territory of the European Union (EU), addressing all major land cover types simultaneously, in a single sampling period (generally April – October). At the same time, the LUCAS Soil module can support further policy needs through a flexibility that permits both the collection of new field data, if required from new sampling sites, together with additional laboratory analysis. This capacity reflects a diverse policy user base and an evolving policy landscape. The drive to collect soil samples under the umbrella of LUCAS was led initially by DG Environment, who provided funding for the 2009 survey. At that time, the main LUCAS survey was planned for 23 EU Member States (MS). Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta and Romania were excluded, while Croatia was not a MS at the time. The initial premise for the soil module was to collect a baseline dataset on a range of soil characteristics such as organic matter content, nutrient status, fertility, acidification and soil pollution (metals). An approach was developed to collect samples from 10% of the sites where field visits (i.e. verification) were to be carried out as part of the main LUCAS Survey. In 2009, this gave 235,000 possible locations for 23,500 soil samples. At the end of the survey, about 20,000 had been collected from a depth of 20 cm following a common sampling procedure. These samples were analysed according to standard analytical methods in a single laboratory for a range of physical and chemical properties. In addition, visible and near-infrared spectra were acquired for all samples. The same procedure, sampling method and analysis standards were extended in 2012 to Bulgaria and Romania, where samples were collected from about 2,000 locations. In 2015, the survey was carried out for all twenty-eight EU MS. Of the locations sampled in 2009 and 2012, 90% were maintained. The remaining 10% were substituted by new locations, including new points at altitudes above 1,000 m, which were out of scope of the LUCAS 2009 and LUCAS 2012 surveys. In addition, the soil module was extended by the JRC Enlargement and Integration Programme to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Switzerland also participated following standard LUCAS protocols. Overall, 27,069 locations were selected for the soil sampling of LUCAS 2015, of which 22,631 were collected in the EU-28, with a further 1,271 samples being collected from other countries. After the removal of samples that could not be identified or mislabelled, the LUCAS 2015 Soil dataset contains 21,859 unique records. As in the previous exercises, a common sampling procedure, single laboratory, standard analytical methods were applied. Additional soil parameters that were collected from all LUCAS field points primarily to support soil erosion modelling (e.g. signs of ploughing, presence of crop residues, percentage of stones) are not presented here but are included in the main LUCAS 2015 microdata, which is made available by EUROSTAT.. The results for Switzerland and Western Balkan Countries will be presented separately. A parallel report presents an assessment of changes in soil properties between 2009 and 2015 A set of descriptive data for the soil sampling sites are also available to download from ESDAC.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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