SOILS4EU: Potential of Earth Observation for improved soil monitoring
Conveners: Rafal Wawer, Antonio López-Francos
Earth Observation systems are gaining increasing importance in environmental studies and precision agriculture. Numerous methods were developed and are in current use in those domains, enabling soil physical and chemical features to be measured directly or indirectly via plant cover characteristics. Several satellite platforms are operational, including ESA’s recent Sentinel Mission. However, there are still gaps in approaches enabling a better combination of satellite and laboratory data for monitoring soil quality and degradation trends and for providing information for taking managerial decisions. The SOILS4EU project has elaborated an in-depth report on the potential of earth observation for improved land and soil monitoring. The report contains a review of broad efforts for soil monitoring at EU and national level. The available monitoring approaches will be evaluated in terms of measured parameters, gaps, potential for improvements and links with Earth Observation Systems. The report will subsequently provide a review of remote sensing techniques focusing on soil monitoring applications, discussing their applications, effectiveness, limitations and strengths, based on literature review.
The draft Report will be presented and its content will be discussed and complemented during the workshop. Group discussions will be organized to propose and discuss examples of applications and potential benefits from connecting remote sensing data with ground measurements of soil cover. The final output of the report and the workshop are recommendations for better utilization of new satellite missions by linking ground soil monitoring with satellite data or recommendations for extending existing soil monitoring programs in order to optimize efficiency of monitoring in terms of produced knowledge and cost.
The two SOILS4EU workshops will be held in parallel and their aim is not only to disseminate the findings of the report but to gather expert opinions and feedback on the topic. The conclusions of the workshop will be streamed into the report and submitted to the DG ENV as one outcome of the project.
SOILS4EU is a 3 year project providing support to DG Environment of the European Commission for the implementation of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy. The project is coordinated by Deltares (the Netherlands), with four partners from Germany (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Germany – UFZ), Poland (Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – IUNG) and Spain (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza – IAMZ CIHEAM, and the Spanish National Research Council-Estación Experimental de Aula Dei – CSIC-EEAD).