Two new EU soil maps
Two new pan-European soil maps have been released to the general public through the EU Soil Portal: the Saline and sodic soil map of Europe and the Soil compaction map of Europe.
The first map shows the area distribution of naturally saline or sodic soils and potentially salt affected areas within the European Union. Salinisation is the accumulation of soluble salts of sodium, magnesium and calcium in soil to the extent that soil fertility is severely reduced. The soil compaction map of Europe shows the natural susceptibility of agricultural soils to compaction when the weight of livestock or heavy machinery compresses the soil, causing it to lose pore space. Affected soils become less able to absorb rainfall, thus increasing runoff and erosion. Plants have difficulty growing in compacted soil because the mineral grains are pressed together, leaving little space for air and water, which are essential for root growth.
The European Soil Data Centre, established by an agreement 2005 and finalized in 2009, is hosted by the JRC's Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES). It is the thematic centre for soil related data and information in Europe and provides a wide array of soil related, freely accessible products including datasets, documents, maps and graphs.