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Trends in Land Degradation in Europe

  • Luca Montanarella
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)

Abstract

The adoption of the EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection by the European Commission on 22 September 2006 has given formal recognition of the severity of the soil and land degradation processes within the European Union and its bordering countries. Available information suggests that, over recent decades, there has been a significant increase in soil degradation processes, and there is evidence that these processes will further increase if no action is taken. Soil degradation processes are driven or exacerbated by human activity. Climate change, together with individual extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent, will also have negative effects on soil. Soil degradation processes occurring in the European Union include erosion, organic matter decline, compaction, salinisation, landslides, contamination, sealing and biodiversity decline. Effective soil protection policies can only be based on a detailed assessment of the costs of non-action, and the potential economic benefits from enhanced soil protection strategies in Europe. The total costs of soil degradation that could be assessed for erosion, organic matter decline, salinisation, landslides and contamination on the basis of available data, would be up to €38 billion annually for EU25. These estimates are necessarily wide ranging due to the lack of sufficient quantitative and qualitative data. The Soil Thematic Strategy of the European Union paves the way towards adequate measures in order to reverse the negative trends in soil and land degradation in Europe and will have also an extensive impact at the global scale by promoting similar actions in the framework of internationally binding agreements related to land degradation, like the UNCCD, UNFCCC and CBD.

Keywords

Soil Organic Matter Land Degradation Soil Degradation Soil Protection Soil Biodiversity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luca Montanarella
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint Research CenterEuropean CommissionIspra (VA)Italy

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