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Soil erosion by water is a widespread problem throughout Europe. In an attempt to identify areas in Italy that are susceptible to soil erosion, a project was initiated to assess erosion risk at national level using standardized, harmonized data sets. Erosion risk by water was assessed using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). USLE is appropriate for predicting rill and inter-rill erosion only.

Rainfall erosion was estimated using an approximate relationship with annual rainfall. Soil erosion was estimated using information on soil texture and parent material stored in the Soil Geographical Database of Europe. The USLE slope angle and slope-length factor was estimated using a 250m resolution elevation model. Yearly timeseries of NOAA AVHRR images were used to obtain monthly estimates of vegetation cover. Although it is clear that the approach followed has many deficiencies, valuable information on soil erosion risk is obtained. The main purpose of the analysis is to identify areas that, in the long term, are likely to be vulnerable to rill-and interrill erosion. Then a more detailed assessment may be performed for those areas using more detailed data, more sophisticated erosion models or field surveys. Within all its limitations, the erosion risk map of Italy may simply represent the best information that can be obtained with the currently available data. .

Additional information

Authors: VAN DER KNIJFF J M, JRC, EI, Soil and Waste Unit, Ispra (IT);JONES R J A, JRC, EI, Soil and Waste Unit, Ispra (IT);MONTANARELLA L, JRC, EI, Soil and Waste Unit, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: An oral report given at: The 3rd International Congress Man and Soil at the Third Millenium. Held in: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias Valencia (ES), 22 March to 1 April 2000
Record Number: 200113900 / Last updated on: 2001-10-22
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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