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Figure Sensitivity to desertification in the northern Mediterranean
Sensitivity to desertification and drought in the Mediterranean basin.
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Figure Pascal source code Sensitivity to desertification index map
Map from the DISMED project (Desertification Information System for the Mediterranean) showing the sensitivity to desertification and drought as defined by the sensitivity to desertification index (SDI) based on soil quality, climate and vegetation parameters.
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
SOER Key fact (Deprecated) Soil - key fact 2
Europe's soils store about 73 to 79 billion tonnes of carbon. Some 45 % of soils in Europe have a low or very low organic matter content (meaning 0-2 % organic carbon) and 45 % have a medium content (meaning 2-6 % organic carbon).
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key facts
SOER Key fact (Deprecated) Soil - key fact 3
Some authors estimate 36 % of European subsoils as having high or very high susceptibility to compaction. Other sources report 32 % of soils being highly vulnerable and 18 % moderately affected. (The use of heavy machinery in agriculture can induce ‘soil compaction’, which reduces its capacity to store and conduct water, makes it less permeable for plant roots and increases the risk of soil loss by water erosion.)
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key facts
SOER Message (Deprecated) Soil — key message 1
Soil is a largely non-renewable natural resource that underpins a range of vital ecosystem services. Soil organisms play a key role in soil processes, such as bio-geochemical cycles, organic matter decomposition, and nitrogen transformation. Maintaining soil biodiversity is therefore a key concern.
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message (Deprecated) Soil — key message 3
Soil erosion by wind and water, largely the result of unsuitable land management, deforestation, overgrazing, construction activities and forest fires, affects around 17% of Europe’s land area. Erosion rates and extents are expected to continue to reflect changing patterns of land use and climate change.
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message (Deprecated) Soil — key message 4
Soil is being lost due to intensive soil sealing – about 4% of Europe’s total land area is sealed and the demand for urbanisation and transport infrastructure is rising. In addition, it is estimated that around 18% of agricultural soils are affected by compaction.
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message (Deprecated) Soil — key message 5
Industrialisation and poor management have left thousands of contaminated sites throughout Europe, resulting in human health impacts and environmental problems including groundwater contamination. While some countries have made significant progress, the identification and remediation of contaminated sites in many countries is patchy, with limited progress over the past five years.
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message (Deprecated) Soil — key message 6
Few countries have specific legislation to protect soil and there is no EU law or regulatory instrument that specifically addresses threats to it or requires the systematic collection of comparable data. The European Commission has published a strategy on soil protection, including legislative proposals, and further measures to support soil conservation within EU environmental and/or sectoral policies seem appropriate.
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
Publication Soil — SOER 2010 thematic assessment
Nearly all of the food and fibres used by humans are produced on soil. Soil is also essential for water and ecosystem health. It is second only to the oceans as a global carbon sink, with an important role in the potential slowing of climate change. Soil functions depend on a multitude of soil organisms which makes it an important part of our biodiversity. Nevertheless, soil in many parts of Europe is being over-exploited, degraded and irreversibly lost due to impacts from industrial activities and land use change, leading to soil sealing, contamination, erosion and loss of organic carbon. Due to these problems, legislation for the protection of soils has been proposed at EU level.
Located in The European environment — state and outlook 2015 Thematic assessments
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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