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Threats to soil quality in Denmark - A review of existing knowledge in the context of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy

Schjønning, P.; Heckrath, G. and Christensen, B.T. (2009) Threats to soil quality in Denmark - A review of existing knowledge in the context of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy. [Trusler mod jordkvalitet i Danmark - En gennemgang af eksisterende viden set i lyset af EU's tematiske jordstrategi.] DJF Report Plant Science, no. 143. Aarhus University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, Tjele, Denmark.

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Summary

The EU Commission is preparing a proposal for a Soil Framework Directive with the purpose of protecting the soil resources in Europe. The proposal identifies six major threats to the sustained quality of soils in Europe. This report addresses the threats that are considered most important under the prevailing soil and climatic conditions in Denmark: compaction, soil organic matter decline, and erosion by water and tillage. For each of these threats, the relevance and damage to soil functions as well as the geographic distribution in Denmark are outlined. We suggest a procedure for identifying areas at risk. This exercise involves an explicit identification of: i) the disturbing agent (climate / management) exerting the pressures on soil, and ii) the vulnerability of the soil to those stresses. Risk reduction targets, measures required to reach these targets, and the knowledge gaps and research needs to effectively cope with each threat are discussed.
Our evaluation of the threats is based on soil resilience to the imposed stresses. Subsoil compaction is considered a severe threat to Danish soils due to frequent traffic with heavy machinery in modern agriculture and forestry. The soil content of organic matter is critically low for a range of Danish soils, which should be counteracted by appropriate management options. Soil erosion by tillage, and to a lesser degree by water, adversely affects soil quality on much of the farmland because degradation rates are much higher than generation of soil.


EPrint Type:Report
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF III (2005-2010) > CROPSYS - The effect of cropping systems on production and the environment
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN:87-91949-45-9
Deposited By: Schjønning, Senior Soil Scientist Per
ID Code:18446
Deposited On:21 Mar 2011 10:25
Last Modified:13 Jun 2012 13:32
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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