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Annual Meeting of the Austrian Soil Science Society SOIL INDICATORS


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Title: Annual Meeting of the Austrian Soil Science Society SOIL INDICATORS

Annual Meeting of the Austrian Soil Science
Ljubljana, 12.05.2005, Slovenia

Prof. Dr. Franc Lobnik University of Ljubljana,
Biotechnical Faculty, Center for Soil and
Environmental Science Jamnikarjeva 101, 1000
Ljubljana, Slovenia Tel. 386 41 663 713,
Fax. 386 1 423 33 67 franc.lobnik_at_bf.uni-lj.s

  • Total area 20.273 km2
  • 10 lowlands
  • 18 with valleys
  • 12 arable land
  • 24 permanent pastures
  • 54 woodland
  • 44 karstic territory


Biodiversity in Slovenia is very high. The
reasons for these are several soil types with
different physical, chemical and biological
properties, climate, hydrological and geological
conditions. Beside alpine there are also
continental and mediteranian climatic conditions.
Sub-Pannonian region
High Alps
High Alps
Alpine Foreland
Alpine Foreland

Sub- Mediterranean
Dinaric Plateau
Adriatic sea
Coastal - Mediterranean
Geology map( Buser 1998)
  • Geology in Slovenia is very diverse. Blue colour
    shows carbonate rocks- limestone and dolomite,
    this is the reason that Slovenia has 44 of carst.


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Land use is changing under the influence of human
activities. We need environmental information
that properly reflect true state, especially
those which are meant to reflect the interactions
between natural conditions, human-induced
pressures and the responses on different levels.
Soil indicators seems to be until now the best
tool developed for that purpose.
Natural resources management requires different
Evaluation of selected ecosystem components
Natural heritage
Crop growth potential
  • New achievements and circumstances require that
    we must constantly improve and enrich our
    knowledge and methods in the field of
    environment, land-use planning and management.
  • An objective and adequate evaluation of the
    proper long-term (sustainable) land use is not
    easily achieved since experts opinions from
    various field of work may differ or even
    contradict one another.

Indicators in soils science are numerous, showing
simple soil properties, exp. acidity, to
complicated soil conditions as soil quality or
soil water conditions. However, this presentation
is oriented to specific meaning of indicators
which is described as Soil indicators are meant
for bridging between science, politics and
decision making, they are actually a form of
information understandable for stakeholders,
politicians and decision makers (W.E.H. Blum and
G. Varallyay, 2004).
  • EEA Technical report No 1/2005
  • EEA core set of indicators Guide
  • The EEA management board approved the core set of
    indicators in March 2004. The set has been
    established for three main purposes to provide a
    manageable and stable basis for indicator-based
    reporting by the EEA to prioritise improvements
    in the quality and geographical coverage of data
    flows, especially Eionet priority data flows
    and, to streamline EEA/Eionets contributions to
    other European and global indicator initiatives,
    for example, EU structural indicators, EU
    sustainable development indicators and OECD
    environment indicators.

  • This guide should be used in conjunction with the
    core set of indicators (CSI), which is available
    on the EEA's web site at http//
    eset. This is the point of dissemination for
  • the specification of each of the indicators in
  • core set
  • links to the updated assessments
  • information on changes to the core set made
  • under the regular review process
  • improvements through ongoing work on data
  • quality and methodological development.

  • This guide provides information on the quality of
    the 37 indicators in the EEA core set. Its
    primary role is to support improved
    implementation of the core set in the EEA,
    European topic centres and the European
    environment information and observation network
    (Eionet). In parallel, it is aimed at helping
    users outside the EEA/Eionet system make best use
    of the indicators in their own work.

  • Defintions
  • Indicator An indicator is a measure,
    generally quantitative, that can be used to
    illustrate and communicate complex phenomena
    simply, including trends and progress over time.
  • An indicator provides a clue to a matter of
    larger significance or makes perceptible a trend
    or phenomenon that is not immediately detectable.
    An indicator is a sign or symptom that makes
    something known with a reasonable degree of
    certainty. An indicator reveals, gives evidence,
    and its significance extends beyond what is
    actually measured to a larger phenomenon of
    interest (IETF, 1996).

  • EEA core set of indicators
  • The core set supports EU policy priorities, is
    regularly updated, and is of known quality. It is
    based on nine selection criteria (see Section
    2.1.) and approved by EEA member.
  • Other EEA indicators
  • The EEA also works with other indicators for its
    assessments. Some of these are developed for
    eventual inclusion in the core set (such as
    chemicals, material flows) others for specific
    processes such as to support reporting on
    progress with sectoral integration (transport,
    energy, agriculture).

  • Indicator profile
  • The indicator profile contains information on the
    indicator specification (see below) plus
    assessment of the latest trends for the
    indicator, including supporting graphics and
    data. A standard set of information from the
    complete profile for each indicator is available
    on the EEA's web site.
  • Indicator specification
  • The indicator specification contains general
    information that explains aspects that are
    relatively static over time these include the
    indicator name, its policy relevance, data
    sources, methodologies and guidelines for
    presentation of the

  • The work of the EEA is built around a conceptual
    framework know as the DPSIR assessment framework.
    DPSIR stands for driving forces, pressures,
    states, impacts and responses. DPSIR builds on
    the existing OECD model and offers a basis for
    analysing the interrelated factors that impact on
    the environment. Referencehttp//
    ocuments/brochure/brochure_reason. Glossary for
    indicator management http//
  • Type of indicator
  • The EEA classifies its indicators according to a
    typology A descriptive indicator, B
    performance indicator, C eco-efficiency
    indicator, D policy effectiveness indicator, E
    total welfare

  • EEA core set of indicators

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  • Comparison of EEA core set of indicators with
    other international indicator sets.
  • Terrestrial Review papers EEA 2001 Towards
    spatial and territorial indicators using land
    cover data, Technical report No 59 (9) EEA 2002
    Assessment of data needs and data availability
    for the development of indicators on soil
    contamination, Technical report No 81 (10)
  • 14 Land take
  • ESS SDI Land-use change (Evolution of built-up,
    natural and agricultural land)
  • ESS SDI Growth of built-up area as a of total
    land area

  • OECD CEI Habitat alteration and land conversion
    from natural state (L) to be further developed
    (for example, road network density, change in
    land cover, etc.)
  • CSD1996 Land use change changes in land
  • CSD2001 Area of urban formal and informal
    settlements15Progress in management of
    contaminated sites
  • ESS SDI Percentage of total land area at risk of
    soil contamination
  • OECD CEI Rehabilitated areas (M/L)
  • CSD1996 Area of land contaminated by hazardous

  • Soil indicators can only be used within a clearly
    defined framework
  • first we have to analyse a problem, then the
    reason behind it and the impacts it causes,
    before we come to responses or solutions ( Blum ,
  • Indicators within this framework must be
  • policy relevant, focusing on real demand and less
    on the
  • supply data
  • analytically sound, based on science and
    revealing a clear cause response relationship
  • easy to interpret and understandable for farmers
    at grass-rot level ( stakeholders), as well as
    for decision makers and politicians
  • easily measurable and therefore feasible and cost
    effective in data collection, processing and

According to the mentioned authors they should be
developed in a so called DPSIR approach (Driving
forces, Pressures, State, Impacts and Responces)
Source eionet
  • On the basis, indicators were developed for 5
    differnet targets
  • driving forces, indicationg what is causing a
    certain state of soil. These can be cultural,
    economic, social, technical and ecological
    driving forces, ranging from market conditions to
    climate cahnge
  • pressures, which are the mental and physical
    expression of driving forces, such as emmission
    to air, water and land, infrastructural changes,
    e.g. urban expansion deforstation intesive
    rainfallstorms forets fires nutrient mining
    and others

  1. the state which is caused directly by the
    pressures inducing soil degradation, e.g. by
    contamination, acidification, salinisation,
    eutrophication, nutrient depletion, loss of
    organic matter, compaction, loss of biodiversity,
    or total loss of soil through sealing, erosion,
    landslides and others.
  2. the impacts which are directly caused by the
    state are changes in soil function, e.g. loss of
    soil fertility, or indirectly, like changes in
    population size and distribution, loss of
    biodiversity, local climatic changes, water
    stress and others.

  • the responses which are given to alleviate the
    impacts, the state, the pressures, or the driving
    forces can be legal or administrative
    instruments, economic instruments such as market
    regulation, incentives, technical interventions,
    and others.
  • This frame allows for answering key
    questions in the understanding of complex soil
    system, such as What is the driving force behind
    the problem?What are the pressures, deriving from
    driving forces? What is the state that pressure
    creates? What are the impacts that results from
    the state?

  • Soil indicators can be
  • described morphological soil and land
  • land form, relief, stoniness, rockiness,
  • classes, vegetation characteristics, crop
  • depth and fluctuation of the ground water
  • described profile characteristics sequence of
  • horizons , depth of humus horizon, organic
  • and biological channels, hydromnorphous
  • coarse fragments, special formations, such
  • concretions and soil pans

  • describes horizons characteristics colour,
  • structure, consistency
  • in situ (in vivo) field measurements, e.g. pH,
  • carbonate status, moisture content, bulk
  • salinity, pentrometer resistance, etc.
  • laboratory measurements
  • remotely-sensed information
  • derivated soil characteristics of modelling

Indicator Theme Policy issue DPSIR Assessment
Agri-environmental management contracts 2001 Agriculture What environmental protection measures are being taken by the sector? R
Agricultural intensity 2001 Agriculture In which direction is the agriculture sector developing? D
Agriculture eco-efficiency 2001 Agriculture Has the sector made progress in improving its eco-efficiency? P
CAP expenditures  2001 Agriculture In which direction are subsidies stimulating the sector? D
Nutrient surpluses 2001 Agriculture Has agriculture balanced its inputs and outputs of nutrients? P
Organic farming 2001 Agriculture What environmental protection measures are being taken by the sector? R
Indicator Theme Policy issue DPSIR Assessment
Emissions of acidifying substances 2003 Air Are we reaching emission targets for acidifying substances? P
Cumulated area of nationally designated areas over time in (Pan) Europe 2004.11 Biodiversity change What is the coverage of nationally protected areas in Europe? R
 EU Habitats Directive sufficiency of Member State proposals for protected sites. 2004.10 Biodiversity change Are we making progress in establishing a network of protected sites for wild flora and fauna and natural habitats of community interest? R
Chlorophyll-a in transitional, coastal and marine waters 2003.08 Coasts and seas Effects of nutrient load reductions on coastal concentrations of phytoplankton D
Indicator Theme Policy issue DPSIR Assessment
Change in area and use of grasslands 2001 Nature What influence has land use policies had on total grassland area? D
Pressures on grasslands 2001 Nature What are the pressures on grasslands? P
Protection of grasslands 2001 Nature Are protection policies making progress? R
Species in dry grasslands 2001 Nature How is grassland biodiversity developing? S
Indicator Theme Policy issue DPSIR Assessment
Expenditure on remediation of contaminated sites 2002.11 Soil How much is being spent on cleaning up soil contamination? R
Expenditures on clean-up of contaminated sites 2001 Soil How much is being spent on cleaning up soil contamination? R
Percentage contribution to soil contamination from localised sources 2001 Soil What has caused soil pollution? P
Progress in management of contaminated sites 2001 Soil Is the problem of contaminated areas being solved? R
Progress in the management of contaminated sites 2002.11 Soil Is the problem of contaminated areas being solved? D
 Soil-polluting activities from localised sources 2002.11 Soil What has caused soil pollution? D
Indicator Theme Policy issue DPSIR Assessment
Fragmentation of land and forests 2002 Transport Preserve biodiversity and ensure connectivity between nature areas S
Institutional cooperation on transport and environment 2002 Transport Improve the cooperation between transport, environmental and spatial planning ministries R
Land take by transport infrastructure 2002 Transport Minimise land take per transport unit P
Proximity of transport infrastructure to designated areas 2002 Transport Preserve biodiversity and protect designated nature areas P
Transport emissions of air pollutants (CO, NH3, NOx, NMVOC, PM10, SOx) by mode 2003.09 Transport Meet EU and/or international emission reduction targets for 2010 P
Indicator Theme Policy issue DPSIR Assessment
Ammonium concentrations in rivers 2001 Water Are nutrient policies resulting in cleaner rivers? S
 Discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus from urban wastewater treatment plants 2003.1001 Water Are discharges of nutrients and organic matter decreasing? P
 Mean water allocation for irrigation in Europe 2003.1001 Water Is the use of water by sectors sustainable? P
Nitrate in groundwater2004.05 Water Are nitrate concentrations in groundwater falling? S
Nitrogen and phosphorus in rivers 2004.01 Water Is pollution with nutrients and organic matter decreasing? S
Nitrogen concentrations in rivers 2001 Water Are nitrate concentrations in our rivers falling? S
Indicator Theme Policy issue DPSIR Assessment
Organic matter in rivers 2003.1010 Water Is pollution with nutrients and organic matter decreasing? S
Pesticides in Groundwater 2004.05 Water Are we reducing the impact of pesticides on groundwater? S
Phosphorus concentrations in rivers 2001 Water Are phosphorus concentrations in our rivers falling? S
Water use by sectors 2004.05 Water Is the use of water by sectors sustainable? P
  • Published indicators (EEA indicators web page)
  • Proximity of transport infrastructure to
    designated areas
  • Fragmentation of ecosystems and habitats by
    transport infrastructures and settlements
  • Land take by transport infrastructure
  • Land take by built-up areas
  • Progress in integrated coastal zone management
  • Soil polluting activities from localised sources
  • Progress in management of contaminated sites
  • Expenditures on remediation of contaminated sites
  • Soil erosion from agricultural land
  • Arael sea follow-up problems
  • Area of land affected by salinisation

  • SOIL
  • Indicator Soil-polluting activities from
    localised sources 2002.11
  • Policy issue What has caused soil pollution?
  • Across Europe, several activities causing soil
    pollution can be clearly identified. These are
    related in particular to waste disposal from
    municipal and industrial sources and losses
    during industrial activities. However, the range
    of polluting activities varies considerably in
    each country. These variations may show different
    classification systems or incomplete information

Local soil contamination is mainly due to
municipal and industrial waste disposals, losses
during industrial activities and accidents in
most of the countries analysed. Numerous
activities have been dated in the past however
current activities still cause significant
impacts to soil. However, a broad range of
industrial and commercial branches release(d)
impacts into soil covering a broad variety of
different pollutants. Changes in the scope of
soil-polluting activities reflect remedial
measures to manage historic contamination on the
one hand and pollution prevention measures at
active facilities on the other.

  • Soil-polluting activities from localised sources
    as a percentage of total

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SOIL Indicator Percentage contribution to soil
contamination from localised sources 2001 Go
to latest assessment 2002.11 Policy issueWhat
has caused soil pollution? Although some
information is available about the types of
pollution found, no quantitative information is
yet available about the scale and seriousness of
contamination in the EEA member countries.
Across Europe, dangerous wastes have been dumped
for decades without consideration of the
long-term problems. The same story can be seen in
commercial and industrial sites, where hazardous
chemicals were regularly used, spilt, lost, and
discarded. In most cases, it was simply because
doing anything else was both too expensive and
legally unnecessary. Recent regulations and EU
Directives, such as the EUs Landfill Directives
and Integrated Pollution and Prevention Control
Directive, should reverse this trend, so soil
remediation can focus on cleaning up the mistakes
of the past. But how significant is the problem?
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Indicator  Expenditure on remediation of
contaminated sites 2002.11 Policy issueHow
much is being spent on cleaning up soil
  • Although the "polluter pays" principle is
    generally applied, a huge sum of public money has
    to be provided to fund necessary remediation
    activities, which is a common factor across
    Europe. However, annual expenditures vary from
    various countries. Even though considerable
    amount of money has been spent on remediation
    activities already, the share compared to the
    total estimated remediation costs is relatively
    low (8 maximum).

  • In general, all countries apply the "polluter
    pays" principle to different extents. The
    "polluter pays" principle cannot fully be applied
    to historic pollution since many legally
    responsible entities have disappeared or the
    polluter cannot be identified or because of
    insolvency of the polluter. Therefore, a
    considerable share of the total remediation costs
    has to be provided by public funds. Estimations
    on public expenditure are readily available,
    however, information on private expenditure is
    scarce and depends on rough estimations.

  • There is a more than a hundred-fold difference in
    annual remediation expenditures (public and
    private) per capita amongst the reporting
    countries. These differences reflect not just the
    varying degrees of awareness, but also the
    different environmental standards applied in each
    country, the different hydrological conditions
    and degree of industrialisation.
  • Remediation costs are on average 10 times higher
    than site investigations costs.
  • Links between environmental merit and invested
    budgets are highly dependent on national
    standards, in terms of remediation targets and
    local site conditions.

  • SOIL
  • Indicator Progress in the management of
    contaminated sites 2002.11
  • Policy issue Is the problem of contaminated
    areas being solved?

  • The management of contaminated sites is a
    long-term and tiered process. The first step
    (preliminary survey/investigation) is far
    advanced in most of the surveyed countries.
    Further activities, such as detailed
    investigations and remediation activities, are
    progressing slowly and are at different stages in
    the surveyed countries. In general, there is
    scarce information on remediation activities
    available but improvement in data availability
    over the years can be observed.

  • Indicator 
  • Land take by transport infrastructure 2002 Archi
    ved assessments 2001 
  • Policy issueMinimise land take per transport
  • Land take by transport infrastructure is

  • Land resources in most of Europe are relatively
    scarce, and achieving a sustainable balance
    between competing land uses is a key issue for
    all development policies. The spatial impact of
    policies (including transport) on the European
    territory is therefore one of the key issues in
    the European spatial development perspective
    (ESDP) and the sixth environmental action
  • The ESDP proposes the integration of transport
    policy and land-use planning to specify the
    appropriate location of activities requiring
    journeys, with focus on the development of
    Euro-corridors. The common transport policy aims
    for an optimal use of existing infrastructure and
    some Member States have developed land-use
    policies restricting additional transport
    developments in certain areas.

  • Lack of up-to-date and historical land coverage
    data (e.g. GIS data) hampers the accurate
    assessment of land consumption by transport.
    However, the increasing length of roads,
    particularly motorways, and the development of
    other roads shows that more and more land is
    being used for transport in the NMS as well as in
    the EU.
  • Because of its denser infrastructure networks,
    land taken by transport in the EU is greater than
    in the ACs. It is estimated that, in 1998, road
    and rail infrastructure claimed around 0.82 of
    total surface area in the ACs and 1.3 in the
    EU. Road is the biggest land consumer in the NMS
    as well as in the EU.  

SOIL SEALING The indicator represents the growth
of land use for settlements and traffic in
Germany measured in hectares (ha) per day.
Soil sealing according to sustainable development
Trend for achievement of the environmental
objective for the soil indicator in Germany
Built-up area (2000)
Built-up area and population increases (1990-2000)

Built-up areas in Slovenia
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Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
Vipava Valley Motorway crossing the agricultural
area. Soil map 125.000 Motorway route Soils
influenced in various distances from the road
Many people are aware of importance of cultural
and natural heritage, but how many are concerned
about agricultural land?
Crop Growth Potential Evaluation
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Land Soil evaluation through Soil Number
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Cadastre or soil propreties borders?
Selected Testing Cadastre Counties
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Distribution of Adjusted Yield Index
Indicator- Organic Carbon
  • Profile locations (red), where data contain also
    OM and C in horizons (1700 profiles). Yellow
    frames and numbers indicate locations with
    profiles, horizons,OM and C in the following

  • Profile and Horizon(red), OM yellow, C(black)

Base soil map
  • Profile and Horizon(red), OM yellow, C(black)

Base topographic map
  • Profile and Horizon(red), OM yellow, C(black)

Base soil map
  • Profile and Horizon (red), OM yellow, C(black)

Base topographic map
  • Physical and Chemical Parameters in Profile

  • Pb content in soil

Soil cartographic unit
Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
Cd in soil (0-5cm) Celje County
Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
Pb in soil (0-5cm) Celje County
Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
Zn in soil (0-5cm) Celje County
Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
  • Soil map of Celje County

Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
The use of Geostatistics Kriging of Celje
County point data Cd in soil (0-5cm)
Digital data on Soils and Environment in Slovenia
  • pH as indicatior

  • Land use changing from agricultural to sport
    recreation areas. The case studies describe the
    impact of a ski run and golf playground
    (construction and activity) on the environment.
    The changes are expected to appear in the
    ecosystem components at most in plant communities
    and soils. In the alpine area where a ski run is
    planned we need different soil data as in a
    lowland wood where traditionally litter is
    collected and a golf playground is planned. Parts
    of the belonging matrix schemes are presented.

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  • Corine Land Cover Slovenia 1998

Very fragmented land use. Detail Slovenske
Gorice, Ptujsko polje
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