Participation in the EU Project «LUCAS-Soil»

The international year of soils 2015 offered an opportunity for Switzerland and other non-EU countries to participate in the EU project «Land Use/Cover Area Frame Statistical Survey LUCAS» and contribute to an established and well organised research project. More than 30 countries participated; in Switzerland, 160 sites up to 1,500 m a.s.l. were sampled according to the EU guideline (Figure 1).

A particular feature of the sampling in Switzerland was that soil was collected not only according to the EU method using a spade but also according the NABO protocol using a gouge. All of the 160 sites were sampled in duplicate (Figure 2). Thus, for the first time, it is possible to directly compare the two methods and to quantify their influence on the results. These analyses will be considered in the conception of the next pan-European sampling campaign.

Since 2009, the EU project «LUCAS-Soil» has periodically surveyed the land use and land cover at 250,000 sites in 23 countries. At roughly 10% of the surveyed areas, soil samples are taken and numerous parameters such as organic carbon, pH, heavy metals and grain size are analysed. The results are mapped and published.

Figure 1: Sampling sites «LUCAS-Soil» in Switzerland. Red: Areas at altitudes above 1,500 m a.s.l. that are not included in the survey perimeter.

The project makes an important contribution to the cooperation agreement between Switzerland and the EU in the area Soil and to the national and international environmental reporting (EUROSTAT, EUA). Furthermore, a geographic data gap in central Europe can be filled. 


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