Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Soil erosion is caused mainly by water and, to a lesser extent, by wind. Prolonged erosion causes irreversible soil loss over time, reducing the ecological functions of soil. The main causes of soil erosion are still inappropriate agricultural practices, deforestation, overgrazing and construction activities. Increasing the awareness amongst scientists and policy makers about the problem of soil degradation through erosion in Europe is now an urgent requirement. The identification of areas that are vulnerable to soil erosion can be helpful for improving knowledge about the extent of the areas affected and, ultimately, for developing conservation measures and abatement strategies, to keep the problem under control whenever possible. From this review of the current indicators for soil selected by the EEA, it is concluded that, from a scientific and technical standpoint, the most appropriate indicator is the area affected by erosion. Conventional wisdom suggests that the area actually affected by erosion should be directly related to the area at risk from erosion provided that the area at risk has been determined using an appropriate model of soil erosion together with the necessary spatial data sets. It is clear that analysing the data for the key controlling variables using GIS should provide a reliable basis for future assessment of soil erosion in environmental audits.

Additional information

Authors: 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 Technical Workshop on Indicators for Soil Sealing and Soil Erosion. Held in: Copenhagen (DK), 27-28 March 2001
Record Number: 200113901 / Last updated on: 2001-10-22
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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