Environmental Indicators for Italian Soils (SIAS Project): Development of a New Approach from Regional to Harmonised National Data


Erosion and loss of organic matter of soils are two of the threats identified by the European Communication “Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection” (2002/267), and by the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (COM 2006, 231). Regarding Italian context, a new approach that exploits soil data and expertise available at local level has been developed in a pilot project, named SIAS Project (Sviluppo Indicatori Ambientali sul Suolo) that involves ISPRA (Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) as project coordinator and financing body, Regional Agency for Environmental Prevention and Protection in Veneto (ARPAV), responsible of the technical coordination of the activities, Regional Soil Survey Services that contribute to the methodology definition and responsible for the data elaboration within their region of the data, JRC and CRA – ABP as technical support. The SIAS Project concerns the building of two soil environmental indicators, erosion and organic matter content, based on harmonisation of regional data and according with the INSPIRE directive. The main aim of the SIAS Project can be summarised in exploiting at most the existing information and local expertise for indicator assessment in a relatively short time, in order to obtain interregional harmonisation of the information about erosion and organic matter content at regional scale. For this purpose, it has been chosen to assess and represent output data by a reference grid (1 km x 1 km) with a common coordinate reference system, following the recommendations of the INSPIRE Directive. Furthermore an exchange format for storing data and metadata information has been set up jointly by the working group. So far a large part of the Northern and Central Italy has completed the project, while a part of Southern Region has only recently joined it. The results show that at the present moment there are some differences both in soil loss and in organic matter content assessment among regions, due to several factors such as different availability and resolution of input data, or different methods to assess erosion or parameters required to evaluate organic carbon indicator. At the present stage the scientific coordination group is dealing with collecting and merging these results to obtain a national harmonized pattern of the two indicators. In spite of these problems, the project could be the first step to reach an harmonisation of soil information in Italy periodically updated by regional soil surveys that are the producers and the owners of soil related information in the country.


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soil erosion, Soil environmental Indicators, organic matter content, soil protection.
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How to Cite
Rischia, I., Di Leginio, M., Fumanti, F., Giandon, P., Obber, S., & Vinci, I. (2010). Environmental Indicators for Italian Soils (SIAS Project): Development of a New Approach from Regional to Harmonised National Data. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 5(3S), 103-107. https://doi.org/10.4081/ija.2010.s3.103