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970 MMT of Soil Lost to Erosion Each Year in EU

Posted by feww on September 1, 2015

600 million m³ of topsoil lost to water erosion annually

The greatest loss of soil in Europe is due to erosion by water compared to other erosion processes, such as wind, says the EU in-house science service (JRC).

“Soil erosion by water is one of the major threats to soils in the European Union, with a negative impact on ecosystem services, crop production, drinking water and carbon stocks.”

About 68.3% of total soil losses occurs in agricultural lands, while forests account for less than 1%, says the report.

Italy (8.46 t ha−1 yr−1) has the highest average annual rates of soil erosion by water, followed by Slovenia (7.43 t ha−1 yr−1) and Austria (7.19 t ha−1 yr−1).

Selected Report Highlights

  • The mean soil loss rate in European Union is estimated to 2.46 t ha−1 yr−1 (agricultural, forests and semi-natural areas)
  • Arable and sparse vegetation have the highest soil loss rates.
    • 12.7% of European arable lands have soil loss >5 t ha−1 yr−1
    • Four million hectares of EU croplands have unsustainable rates of soil loss
  • Average annual rate of soil formation in Europe is about 1.4 Mt per hectare.
    • It takes 100 years to form 1 cm of new soil under natural temperate grasslands


Soil loss by water erosion in the European Union

Additional Notes and Discrepancies

Main statistical findings: Agricultural holdings

  • EU-28 total land area: 4,324,782 km² (432.5 million hectares)

 

 

 

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