Bozena Smreczak holds the position of professor at the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – State Research Institute, Poland. She is a soil scientist focused on soil protection and degradation. She is a co-leader of WP5 and WP6 in the EJP SOIL project “Towards climate-smart management of agricultural soils”.
Title of presentation: Soil monitoring systems in Europe, why they are important
The European Green Deal and the implementation of other new strategies and directives refers to soils‘ health, functions, and ecosystem services. A considerable effort is undertaken to harmonize, verify and share the results on soil properties. For the last few decades, tremendous effort has been invested to determine soil chemical and physical properties at regional, country, and European levels. Various sampling designs, depths of sample collection in the soil profile, analytical methods, and aims of monitoring are the reasons which limit the proper harmonization of data. Therefore, in 2009, the European Commission extended the periodic Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey (LUCAS) to sample and analyze the main properties of topsoil in 23 Member States of the European Union (EU). A consistent spatial database of the soil cover across the EU was established, based on standard sampling and analytical procedures. Many harmonized maps for the EU Members States were produced but the scale of these maps was too big to enable proper management of soils and their protection against degradation processes. Proper implementation of European soil-dedicated policy needs new solutions for soil management practices and soil protection based on scientific evidence. Therefore, a lot of effort is dedicated to select proper soil health indicators and their trigger value as well as to develop mapping methods for individual indicators and their groups characterizing soil ecosystem services at various scales. The EJP SOIL project „Towards climate-smart sustainable management of agricultural soils“, no. 862695, is one of the European projects expected to provide such data. The aim of the presentation is to indicate the main actions undertaken in Europe towards the identification of soil health indicators and the role of European and national soil monitoring systems in this process.