Soil erosion poses severe limitations to sustainable agricultural land use, as it reduces on-farm soil productivity and causes the accumulation of sediments and agri-chemicals in waterways.
The Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment Project is a fifth framework Research Technology and Development Project funded by the European Union. The PESERA Project resorts under the thematic programme Quality of Life, key action ‘support for common agricultural policy’. ISRIC is responsible for climatic and land use scenario analyses for the PESERA project. ISRIC will apply the PESERA model for a number of climatic and land use scenarios in different parts of Europe.
The main goal of PESERA is to develop, calibrate and validate a physically based and spatially distributed model to quantify soil erosion at a regional scale. Three major objectives have been defined from this.
The PESERA model is a process model for Europe-wide forecasting at a coarse scale. It estimates erosion rates in individual storms using a sediment transport equation that has explicit terms for topography, overland runoff and soil erodibility. Other soil characteristics and soil/land cover are implicitly incorporated as soil runoff threshold.
The PESERA project is planned in three phases with contributions from the project partners and is implemented by seven European partners.
PESERA model and scenario analyses
The PESERA model produces a quantitative forecast of soil erosion and crop growth, and therefore it has the potential to respond explicitly and rationally to changes in climate or land use, offering great promise for scenario and analysis and impact assessment. ISRIC applies PESERA in different parts of Europe for a number of climatic and land use scenarios.
The general trend is that erosion overall decreases. Decrease is spectacular in the South window. In the North window erosion decreases in spring and summer, and in autumn and winter a mixed pattern of localised increases and decreases were observed. Little difference in erosion risk were found between maize on all arable land and dominant land use for the climate change scenario.