Title: Reply to the comment on “The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe” by Fiener & Auerswald
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & POLICY vol. 57 p. 143-150
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC99105
ISSN: 1462-9011
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115001884
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2015.12.011
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe based on RUSLE2015 (Panagos et al., 2015a) was criticized in a comment by Fiener and Auerswald (2015). The objective of the pan-European assessment was not to challenge any regional- or national-scale modelling but to develop a harmonized assessment aiming to improve our knowledge and understanding of soil erosion by water across the European Union and to accentuate the differences and similarities between different regions and countries beyond national borders and nationally adapted models. The main points of critique of Fiener and Auerswald (2015) were: (i) the ambition of this assessment to become a benchmark, ii) the absence of soil erosion community in this work, (iii) the K-factor and R-factor models (iv) the non-transparent origin of the cover management factor, (v) the lack of any validation process, and (vi) the noncomparability of this new data set to previous published data. We reply as follows: (i) We never expressed statements or opinions to set the study as a benchmark and we invite the scientific community to evaluate our study and judge if this pan-European assessment is an improvement compared to past soil erosion assessments at this scale. (ii) It is not true that the soil erosion community was not consulted and involved as many scientists have participated both in the soil erosion assessment and the analysis of erosion factors described in recent papers. (iii) The published K-factor map for Europe has been modelled with the latest state of the art soil data (LUCAS) and a robust geo-statistical model with valid simplifications which were necessary at European scale. (iv) The C-factor map for Europe has been published with a detailed description of the applied methodology which takes into account crop composition and management practices at the best available spatial resolution. (v) Modelled soil loss data was compared with the European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET) dataset.(vi) Our model outputs compared well both with national soil loss data in Germany and the European EIONET data. The direct comparison of predicted soil loss data with measured plot data lacks comprehension and needs solving of scaling issues related to the comparison of large scale llong-term data with small-scale plot studies.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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