Forest Soil and Biodiversity Monitoring in the EU

The EU has issued a document summarising the case studies included in the Biosoil project, covering both biodiversity and forest soil status and properties in the European Union. The BioSoil project is a demonstration project co-financed under the Regulation (EC) No 2152/2003 concerning the monitoring of forest and environmental interactions in the Community (Forest Focus). It aimed at getting data and information on forest soils and forest biodiversity broadening the scope of the previous forest monitoring activities. The project was divided into two modules: soil and biodiversity.

The soil module
The soil module based on a forest soil survey, aimed to assess basic information on the chemical and physical soil status and on properties of the soil which determine its sensitivity to atmospheric deposition. The project aimed as well to demonstrate the feasibility of systematic forest soil monitoring at European scale through the performing of a second survey on all level I sites and some level II sites1. A first soil survey was performed in 1994/95 on more than 5000 Level I plots in 31 countries. The repetition of the survey for most of these plots will thus enable detecting changes in the chemical soil condition.

This information, together with the results of the Level I crown condition assessments, aim to determine whether forest damage observed throughout Europe is related to soil condition, particularly accelerated by chemically induced soil degradation.

The analyses were performed at national level by national laboratories which followed the same procedures for comparability of data, as well as the same inter-calibration tests. In addition to those analyses, 10-15% of the samples both from the new survey and archived samples were sent to the central laboratory managed by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). The results were compared with the reported data of the individual countries as a data quality check.

Data storage and compilation on plot observations, samples analyses and descriptions of soil profile horizons started in November 2006. The work was coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and performed by INRA and the French National Forest Inventory (NFI).  Validated soil data provided to the JRC are integrated into the Soil Profile Analytical Data Base of Europe, which is part of the European Soil Data Centre.

The biodiversity module
The main objective of the biodiversity module was to make an inventory of components of forest biodiversity such as forest structure and species diversity using 3379 plots on the Level I systematic network in the 19 participating EU Member States.

The “Biosoil conference” has been the first occasion for presenting information and results from all the data gathered on EU forests under this demonstration study. Biosoil aims at finding answers to questions on the soil status and on biodiversity indicators. The feasibility of both monitoring exercises should now be examined in order to obtain relevant forest information.

The full Forest Soil and Biodiversity Monitoring in the EU report in PDF is available here.

Citation: Forest Soil and Biodiversity Monitoring in the EU, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2010, ISBN 978-92-79-14992-4, doi:10.2779/16475, © European Union, 2010

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