Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The need for accurate information on the organic matter (OM) content in soils at the European, national or regional level has been increasing steadily over the past few years. There is some evidence to suggest that the OM content of soils in Europe is decreasing, in some cases at an alarming rate, and yet OM is vital to sustain many soil functions. For example, a decline in OM content is accompanied by a decrease in fertility and a loss of structure that together exacerbate overall soil degradation. The main objective at present is to identify and secure an existing information base for organic matter content of European soils at time T0, i.e. to define a 'background or reference level'. The next objective is to establish the future trend in soil OM contents with a view to developing more sustainable systems of land management and avoiding or reducing future losses. This paper attempts to summarise briefly existing knowledge about the OM content in the soils at the European level. Some examples of the knowledge base, the improvements that are needed and possible trends in soil OM content at the regional level are given.

Additional information

Authors: MONTANARELLA L, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: An oral report given at: Workshop on the Biological Treatment of Biodegradable Waste - Technical aspects Organised by: European Commission, Environment DG and Joint Research Centre Held at: Brussels 8-10 April 2002
Record Number: 200214707 / Last updated on: 2002-05-15
Original language: en
Available languages: en