Simulating soil erosion risk for Pan-European land use and climate scenarios

S. Mantel, M. Kirby, J. Daroussin, R.J.A. Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Soil is a vital resource with multiple functions and with high regional and internal variability. Accelerated soil erosion is a cause for decline in soil quality and is increasingly being recognized as a serious environmental problem. Soil erosion is a function of factors such as: land use and management, rainfall intensity, soil stability and resistance, slope. The Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment (PESERA) developed and calibrated a process-based and spatial model to quantify soil erosion by water and assess its risk across Europe (Kirkby, M. & Irvine, B., 2001). The model predicts erosion based on simulating overland runoff and estimation of a stabilized vegetation cover. The emphasis of the PESERA erosion model is the prediction of hillslope erosion and channel processes are not considered. Sediment yield is estimated from the number of days per month. The main data sources are: 1) the MARS meteorological database, 2) the European Soils Database, and 3) the GTOPO30 European Digital Elevation Model. Erosion is assumed to occur when rainfall exceeds the weighted mean surface storage of the stabilized ground cover. PESERA is used to predict possible effects of future changes in land use and climate across Europe through scenario analyses. The PESERA model was run on climate change scenarios derived from a regional Climate Model (RCM) developed by the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research based on the SRES (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) framework (Hadley Centre, 1998). The PESERA model provides policy makers with a regional soil erosion indicator. It allows quantifying and monitoring changes due to proposed or implemented policies such as CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), and as a consequence of climate and land use changes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFraming land use dynamics: international conference 16-18 April 2003, Utrecht, The Netherlands
EditorsM. Dijst, P. Schot, K. de Jong
Place of PublicationUtrecht
PublisherFaculty of Geographical Sciences, Utrecht University
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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