Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 9, pp 7409–7425 | Cite as

The LUCAS topsoil database and derived information on the regional variability of cropland topsoil properties in the European Union

  • Gergely Tóth
  • Arwyn Jones
  • Luca Montanarella


Approximately 20,000 topsoil samples were collected in 25 European Union (EU) Member States (EU-27 except Bulgaria and Romania) with the aim to produce the first coherent pan-European physical and chemical topsoil database, which can serve as baseline information for an EU wide harmonized soil monitoring. The soil sampling was undertaken within the frame of the Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey (LUCAS), a project to monitor changes in the management and character of the land surface of the EU. Soil samples have been analysed for basic soil properties, including particle size distribution, pH, organic carbon, carbonates, NPK, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and multispectral signatures. Preliminary studies show the outstanding potential of the dataset for enhancing the knowledge base on soils in the EU. The current paper provides an introduction to the LUCAS Topsoil 2009 project and provides an example of data applicability for cropland assessment by highlighting initial results for regional and national comparisons.


Soil organic carbon Phosphorus Nitrogen pH Potassium Land use 



The LUCAS Topsoil survey, and related activities, has been a collective effort of different institutions of the European Commission. Colleagues from Eurostat (Alessandra Palmieri, Laura Martino, Marjo Kasanko, Paolo Domicili and Marcel Ernens) and DG Environment (Marco Fritz and Luca Marmo) provided invaluable support for the planning and implementation of the topsoil sampling and analysis. Special thanks are due to the staff of Action SOIL at the Institute for Environment and Sustainability of the Joint Research Centre, especially Florence Carre, Vladimir Stolbovoy, Ciro Gardi, Claudio Bosco, Ece Aksoy, Frank Verheijen, Hicham El-Belrhiti, Ezio Rusco, Iason Diafas, Marc van Liedekerke, Miet van Eeckhout, Olivier Dewitte, Panos Panagos, Roland Hiederer, Sara Barcelo and Simon Jeffery, Vladimir Stolbovoy, Francesca Bampa and Delphine de Brogniez for their help in the logistics and pre-treatment of the samples. Field surveyors made a great effort to collect all the designated samples and the staff of SGS Hungary, under the supervision of Mária Rávai, Katalin Bodor, Irén Szováti and Gyula Sasvári, worked with precisions and efficiency to analyse the samples for the given parameters. Mélanie Weynants provided expert support in the texture analysis. Sincere thanks are due to all of them.


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Copyright information

© European Union 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Environment and SustainabilityJoint Research Centre, European CommissionIspraItaly

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