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PESERA
Pan-European soil erosion risk assessment

Soil erosion poses severe limitations to sustainable agricultural land use as it reduces on-farm soil productivity and causes the accumulation of sediments and agri-chemicals in waterways. Current models are designed to assess soil erosion at high resolutions, and are not suitable for developing regional soil conservation strategies. A physically based and spatially distributed model will be developed, calibrated and validated to quantify soil erosion by focusing on environmentally sensitive areas. Accurate databases will be compiled and upgraded by satellite image processing and computational techniques. The project will concentrate on promoting a robust and flexible model by demonstrating its performance at different resolutions and across agro-ecological zones, and by ensuring its relevance to policy-makers through impact assessment and scenario analysis. A strong expert and end-user network will be established across Europe.

Objectives
The objectives were threefold:
1. to develop a physically-based and spatially distributed model for quantifying soil erosion and assess its risk across Europe, calibrate the model with existing information on soil erosion rate measurements
2. to validate the developed model across different agro-ecological zones at catchment, country and pan-European level, and compare the model output to other methods for erosion risk assessment
3. to ensure the relevance of the approach to end-users through multiple applications and demonstrations, scenario analysis, and development of a web-based interface.

Results
A process-based and spatially distributed model was developed and fully documented. Input parameters were derived from existing spatial databases that were upgraded with the aid of interpolation algorithms, transfer functions and statistical methods. Databases of erosion measurements were compiled for calibration and validation of the model. Methodologies were developed to test the model's performance at catchment, regional and pan-European scale. Scenario analysis demonstrated the model's flexibility to incorporate changes in land use or climate, the latter using lines defined by the IPCC. A user-interface was constructed in web-based software, and can be consulted at www.ccg.leeds.ac.uk/medact2/index

Classified in SOIL, CAP AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, QUANTITATIVE APPROACHES AND MODELLING

Scientist responsible for the project

Dr ANNE GOBIN
Redingenstraat 16
3000 Leuven
Belgium - BE

Phone: +32 16 326428
Fax: +32 16 326400
E-mail: anne.gobin@geo.kuleuven.ac.be

References

Project ID QLRT-1999-01323
Organisation Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Area 5.4
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 1 840 259 €
Total EC contribution   1 229 568 €
Status Completed

The partners

  • International Soil Reference and Information Centre, Netherlands (The) - NL
    vanlynden@wur.nl
  • Commission of the European Communities - DG Joint Research Centre, Italy - IT
    robert.jones@jrc.it
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