Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


There are two definitions of soil sealing:
-Covering (sealing) the soil surface by impervious materials, e.g. concrete, metal, glass, tarmac and plastic.
-Changing the nature of the soil so that it behaves as an impermeable medium, e.g. compaction.

The first definition was adopted for most recent OECD and EEA work on soil quality indicators, the second is proposed here as an extension, to fully take the effect of agriculture into account. The main causes of soil sealing according to the first definition are building development and transport. Changing the nature of the soil such that it behaves as an impermeable medium is an extension to include the potential effects of the passage of machinery (mostly agricultural) and the effects of heavy rainfall. The current indicators proposed by EEA for soil sealing only address or relate to urbanization, environmental impacts (flooding and landslides), future changes in land use, reversibility/irreversibility (recycling/de-sealing) of developed land. Intensification of agriculture is now recognized as having a detrimental effect on soils, not least the widespread development of compaction. Subsoil compaction, once it occurs, can be extremely difficult and expensive to alleviate. The detrimental effects of subsoil compaction go far beyond agricultural concerns of a decrease in yield and increase in management costs. It probably affects a larger area in Europe than urbanization. In this respect it must be included as a process of soil sealing. ng.

Additional information

Authors: JONES R J A, JRC-Environment Insitute;MONTANARELLA L, JRC-Environment Insitute
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: 200113922 / Last updated on: 2001-10-22
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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