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Abstract

In 1999, the well-known Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) was used by the European Soil Bureau to produce a map of the soil erosion risk assessment in Italy. This report describes the refinement of the methodology used to produce this map firstly by improving the way the influence of rainfall is calculated (R-factor) and secondly by introducing susceptibility of the soil to surface crusting to create a better erodibility factor (K-factor). For recalculating the R-factor, a new data set of rainfall totals from 366 meteorological stations, spread throughout Italy, has been used. The new K-factor was calculated by incorporating a recent modelling approach developed by INRA, Orleans, to estimate the influence of surface soil crusting. Susceptibility to surface crusting was determined by applying a series of pedo-transfer rules to the European Soil Database at 1: 1,000,000 scale. The resulting soil crusting index gives a clear indication of the likelihood of a surface crust forming.

The main outcome is that estimated annual soil losses in hilly and the mountainous area (e.g. Alps and Apennines) are larger using the modified R- and K- factors than in the previous analysis. However, there is still much scope for improving assessments of soil erosion risk in Italy by applying the USLE-model and other models in combination with data sets. However, the results from this work probably represent the best assessments of erosion risk in Italy that can be obtained using currently available spatial data.

Additional information

Authors: GRIMM M, European Commission, Joint Research Council, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT);JONES R J A, European Commission, Joint Research Council, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT);RUSCO E, European Commission, Joint Research Council, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT);MONTANARELLA L, European Commission, Joint Research Council, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 20677 EN (2003), 23pp. Free of charge
Availability: Available from European Commission, JRC Knowledge Management Unit, Ispra (IT) Tel: +39 033278 9843 or +39 033278 9864 Fax: +39 033278 9623 E-mail: jrc-publications-office@ec.europa.eu
Record Number: 200316478 / Last updated on: 2003-07-16
Category: PUBLICATION
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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