Title: Soil Degradation and Soil Quality in Western Europe: Current situation and future perspectives
Citation: SUSTAINABILITY vol. 7 no. 1 p. 313-365
Publisher: MDPI AG
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC93978
ISSN: 2071-1050
URI: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/1/313
DOI: 10.3390/su7010313
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Abstract: The extension and causes of soil chemical, physical and biological degradation, and of soil loss, varies greatly in different countries in Western Europe. The objective of this work was to review these issues, the strategies for soil protection, and the future perspectives for soil quality evaluation, under the light of present legislation for soil protection. Agriculture and forestry are responsible for many of them, especially for physical degradation, erosion and organic matter loss. Land take and soil sealing have increased in the last decades and can enhance these problems. In agricultural land, conservation farming, organic farming and other soil-friendly practices have been seen to have site-specific effects, depending on the characteristics of soils and the particularities of land uses and land users. No single soil management strategy suitable for all regions, soil types and soil uses exists. Except for soil contamination, specific legislation for soil protection is lacking in the region. The development of a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection in the European Union has produced valuable information and the development of networks and databases. However, soil degradation is addressed only indirectly in environmental policies, and through the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, which encourages farming practices supporting soil conservation. Despite these efforts, there is still a need for soil monitoring networks and decision-support systems based in soil quality optimization in the region. The pressure to European soils will continue in the future, and a clear regulatory framework is needed.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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