Changes in anthropogenic influence on soils across Europe 1990–2018

Novák, Tibor József and Balla, Dániel and Kamp, Johannes (2020) Changes in anthropogenic influence on soils across Europe 1990–2018. Applied Geography, 124. p. 102294. ISSN 0143-6228 (In Press)

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Soils have been widely transformed and degraded by human activities. The area occupied by soils that remain unmodified is decreasing, while recent rural outmigration and land abandonment provide new opportunities for soil restauration across larger area.Little is known about the spatial distribution of both near-natural and anthropogenically influenced soils on large scales. We here present a new methodology to assess soil naturalness across Europe combining CORINE land cover and anthropogenic diagnostic features of the World Reference Base (WRB) for soils. Based on these features, we defined soil naturalness groups, ranging from dominantly natural to dominantly anthropogenic soils. This yielded a European soil naturalness map for the year 2018, covering 37 countries. Using the dataset resurveys, we spatially assessed changes in land cover in 1990–2018 and used these to estimate changes in soil naturalness. On average, 50.74% of the examined soil surface was classified as natural or near-natural, 41.66% of the surface was moderately, but recognizably transformed by human activities, while 4.43% of the soils were found to be strongly affected or created by human activities. Over the study period, increased anthropogenic influence on soils was stated for 42 745 km2 (0.18% of the surface studied area), decreasing influence for 14 248 km2 (0.06%). Hotspots of increasing anthropogenic influence were found in regions with rapid development, while hotspots of decreasing influence were often associated with land abandonment. Our approach allows recognizing areas of changes in soil naturalness, and can be used to inform soil protection initiatives on the European level.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GB Physical geography / leíró földrajz
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GE Environmental Sciences / környezettudomány
S Agriculture / mezőgazdaság > S1 Agriculture (General) / mezőgazdaság általában > S590 Soill / Talajtan
Depositing User: Dr. Tibor József / T. J. Novák
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2020 09:42
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2022 00:16

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