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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2019-18
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2019-18
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Original research article 06 May 2019

Original research article | 06 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL).

Development of a harmonized soil profile analytical database for Europe: A resource for supporting regional soil management

Jeppe Aagaard Kristensen1,2,*, Thomas Balstrøm2, Robert J. A. Jones3, Arwyn Jones4, Luca Montanarella4, Panos Panagos4, and Henrik Breuning-Madsen2,†,* Jeppe Aagaard Kristensen et al.
  • 1Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
  • 2Departmentof Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
  • 3School of Energy, Environment and AgriFood, Cranfield University, College Road, Cranfield, MK43 0AL, UK
  • 4European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
  • deceased.
  • *these authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Soil mapping is an essential method to obtain a spatial overview of soil resources that are increasingly threatened by environmental change and population pressure. Despite recent advances in digital soil mapping techniques based on inference, such methods are still immature for large-scale soil mapping. During the 1970s, 80s and 90s, soil scientists constructed a harmonized soil map of Europe (1 : 1M) based on national soil maps. Despite this extraordinary regional overview of the spatial distribution of European soil types, crude assumptions about soil properties were necessary to translate the maps into thematic maps relevant for management. To support modellers with analytical data connected to the soil map, the European Soil Bureau commissioned the development of the Soil Profile Analytical Database for Europe (SPADE) in the late 1980s. This database contains soil analytical data based on a standardized set of soil analytical methods across the European countries. Here, we review the principles adopted for developing the SPADE database during the past five decades, and the work towards fulfilling the milestones of full geographic coverage for dominant soils in all the European countries (SPADE level 1), and the addition of secondary soil types (SPADE level 2). We demonstrate the application of the database by showing the distribution of the root zone capacity, and by estimating the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks to a depth of 1 m for EU-27 to 76 × 1015 g. The increased accuracy, potentially obtained by including secondary soil types (level 2), is demonstrated in a case study of estimating SOC stocks in Denmark. In the lack of systematic cross-European soil analysis schemes, integrating national soil maps and locally assessed analytical data into a harmonized database is a powerful resource to support soil resources management at regional and continental scales by providing a platform to guide sustainable soil management and food production.

Jeppe Aagaard Kristensen et al.
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Short summary
In a world of increasing pressure on our environment, large scale knowledge about our soil resources is highly demanded. We show how 5 decades of collaboration between EU member states has resulted in a full-covered Soil Profile Analytical Database for Europe (SPADE) with soil data provided by soil experts from each country. We show how this dataset can be applied to estimate SOC-stocks in Europe, and suggest further improvement to this critical support tool for continental scale policies.
In a world of increasing pressure on our environment, large scale knowledge about our soil...
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