The EU Soil Observatory (EUSO) will establish a comprehensive dashboard containing indicators that present data on soil-related issues within and, in some cases, outside of the EU.
The following are eamples of indicators in relation to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Agro-environment and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Soil erosion, soil carbon and soil nutrients (Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Potassium) indicators
The soil erosion, soil carbon and soil nutrients (Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Potassium) indicators provide baselines for evaluating the status of agricultural soils in the EU. They are also used for evaluating the impact of agro-environmental policies on land management.
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) indicators
CAP indicators contribute to the assessment of CAP performance. Soil erosion and soil organic carbon are the two soil-relevant indicators used to monitor the impact of the CAP on soils.
The soil erosion CAP indicator (C.42) consists of 2 sub-indicators:
- Estimated rate of soil loss by water erosion as tonnes per ha per year;
- Estimated agricultural area (ha) affected by a certain rate of soil erosion by water. For the soil organic carbon Indicator (C.41), estimated soil organic carbon stock are reported as tonnes per ha.
Agri-environmental indicators (AEIs).
Eurostat carries out a detailed overview of an updated set of 28 agri-environmental indicators for the EU, in order to monitor the integration of environmental concerns into the CAP.
For monitoring the status of natural resources, soil erosion and soil quality are included among the 28 AEI indicators.
The soil erosion indicator AE21, expressed as mean tonnes per ha per year (at different administrative levels: Member State / NUTS1 / NUTS2 / NUTS3) is used to track the integration of environmental concerns into the CAP at EU, national and regional levels.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The EU is committed to playing an active role to maximise progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the United Nations (UN) in September 2015.
Soil erosion by water and soil organic carbon are two of the 100 SDG indicators proposed by the European Commission to monitor "Sustainable development in the European Union".
Soil Health and Food Mission indicators
The EUSO will also look to develop indicators to track progress in meeting the targets of the Soil Health and Food Mission:
- Reduce land degradation, including desertification and salinisation
- Conserve and increase soil organic carbon stocks
- Zero net soil sealing and increase the reuse of urban soils
- Reduce soil pollution and enhance restoration
- Prevent erosion
- Improve soil structure to enhance habitat quality for soil biota and crops
- Reduce the EU global footprint on soils
- Increase soil literacy in society across Member States