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FP5

Validation of soil erosion estimates at European scale

Project ID: 1979
Funded under: FP5-JRC

Abstract

The increasing availability of regional scale data layers on climate, topography and land use has recently led to the application of quantitative soil erosion model applications at European scale. At present soil erosion estimates at Pan-European level are available from three erosion models: Universal Soil Loss Equation - USLE, Institut National Recherche Agronomique -INRA, and the Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment - PESERA. It is important to assess the accuracy of such soil erosion estimates. This is, however, rather problematic at European scale, because it is very difficult, if not impossible, to acquire direct soil erosion measures for large areas. Therefore indirect soil erosion data derived from sedimentation volumes in reservoirs in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain were used to assess the accuracy of the USLE, INRA and PESERA soil erosion estimates.

The results show that none of the three models produces accurate soil erosion estimates based on 1 krn x 1 krn data for all European environments. The models are relatively successful in predicting the relative pattern of soil loss from agricultural areas in central Belgium and the Czech Republic. However, none of the model results accurately predict the measured soil erosion patterns in Italy and Spain. The main reasons for this are:
- uncertainty involved in the indirect validation method (i.e. sedimentation data in reservoirs);
- low resolution of the input data used for model applications at European scale;
- simplified internal model structures that do not take into account all sediment producing and transporting processes.

Additional information

Authors: ROMPAEY A V J J, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT);JONES R J A, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT);MONTANARELLA L, Department of Physical and Regional Geograohy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Heverlee (BE);VERSTRAETEN G, Istituto Sperimentale per lo Studio e la Difesa del Suolo, Firenze (IT);DE VENTE J, Istituto Sperimentale per lo Studio e la Difesa del Suolo, Firenze (IT);POESEN J, Istituto Sperimentale per lo Studio e la Difesa del Suolo, Firenze (IT);BAZZOFFI P, Department of Irrigation and Land Management, Technical University of Prague (CZ);DOSTAL T, ;KRASA J, ;VIELLEFONT V, ;VAN J J ROMPAEY A, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT);MONTANARELLA L, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Soil Bureau, Ispra (IT);VERSTRAETEN G, Department of Physical and Regional Geograohy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Heverlee (BE);DE VENTE J, Department of Physical and Regional Geograohy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Heverlee (BE);POESEN J, Department of Physical and Regional Geograohy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Heverlee (BE);BAZZOFFI P, Istituto Sperimentale per lo Studio e la Difesa del Suolo, Firenze (IT);DOSTAL T, Department of Irrigation and Land Management, Technical University of Prague (CZ);KRASA J, Department of Irrigation and Land Management, Technical University of Prague (CZ);VIEILLEFONT V, Ecole Nationale des Ingenieurs des Travaux Agricoles, Bordeaux (FR)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 20827 EN (2003), 27pp. 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
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