Soil indicators

There are several ongoing national and European initiatives raising the profile of soil protection and use.

As a result we need to determine the state of our national soils and to develop methods to monitor future change.

The main initiatives are:

There are a number of existing soil monitoring schemes designed to meet different objectives. We need to determine what should be monitored in future and the best way of achieving this.

In 2000, a wide ranging group of public stakeholders funded a project on the 'Identification and development of a set of national indicators for soil quality'. The project aimed to start developing indicators of physical, chemical and biological soil quality and the extent and diversity of soil. These would be used by all the partners in future soil monitoring.

The final report (Loveland et al) was published in 2002 and set out an initial list of 67 potential indicators.

Since this report, work on developing soil indicators has progressed in a number of areas:

The proposed Soil Framework Directive (part of the EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection) includes a number of reporting requirement for Member States. A project is currently underway to design and test a single, integrated, EU-wide set of measurable criteria and indicators as the basis for a comprehensive European soil and land information system:

Page last modified: 3 April 2009
Page published: 9 March 2005