Title: Estimating the soil organic carbon content for European NUTS2 regions based on LUCAS data collection
Citation: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT vol. 442 no. 1 January 2013 p. 235–246
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC73693
ISSN: 0048-9697
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969712012995
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.10.017
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Under the European Union Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (COM (2006)231 final), the European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment (DG Environment) and the European Environmental Agency (EEA) identified a decline in soil organic carbon and soil losses by erosion as priorities for the collection of policy relevant soil data at European scale. Moreover, the estimation of soil organic carbon content is of crucial importance for soil protection and for climate change mitigation strategies. Soil organic carbon is one of the attributes of the recently developed LUCAS Soil database. The request for data on soil organic carbon and other soil attributes arose from an on-going debate about efforts to establish harmonised datasets for all EU countries with data on soil threats in order to support modelling activities and to display variations in these soil conditions across Europe. In 2009, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) conducted the LUCAS soil survey by sampling more than 20,000 points across 23 EU member states. This paper describes the results obtained from analyzing the soil organic carbon data in the LUCAS soil database. The collected data were compared with the modelled data of the European topsoil organic carbon content developed at the JRC. The best fitted comparison was performed at NUTS2 (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics, European regions) level and demonstrated the underestimation of modelled data in southern Europe, overestimation in the central eastern new member states. There is a good correlation in certain regions for countries such as the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland, and France. Soil organic carbon content statistics at the national level have been available for some EU countries for the past two decades, but statistics at the regional level are non-existent for almost all countries. Where they do exist the methods used to produce them are not consistent across countries. This article assesses the feasibility of producing comparable estimates of the soil organic carbon content at NUTS2 regional level for the European Union (EU27) and draws a comparison with existing modelled data. In addition to the data analysis, we suggest how the modelled data can be improved in future updates with better calibration of the model.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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