Project details

Development of national indicators for soil conservation: Operationalisation of internationally harmonised indicator concepts based on data available nationally with particular emphasis on practical use in soil conservation policy

Environmental indicators are used for describing the environmental situation, its threats and possible trends. In recent years different indicator concepts have been developed at the international and national levels. The research project is focussing on soil conservation, the suitability of relevant indicators and the question of their operationalisation. Emphasis is on the suggestions from the European Environmental Agency (EEA) and three main types of soil loss and degradation which are (besides local contamination) considered by the EEA as the main problem areas: soil erosion, soil sealing and diffuse contamination. The actual analysis focuses on the following two research questions:

  1. Where precisely is the common ground between the EEA concept and other international and national indicator concepts and how may the suggestions of the EEA be improved and realised?
  2. Which relevant data are necessary for the realisation of the different indicators and to what extent are they available in Germany?

The starting point is a comprehensive literature review on national and international indicator concepts. Relevant indicators are identified and structured for each type of soil degradation pattern according to the DPSIR concept (Driving Forces, Pressure, State, Impact, Response). Following this structure, the relevant indicators are then discussed in terms of possibilities for operationalisation. Documented are available data sources, the frequency of data collection as well as the spatial dimension of the data available (e.g. site-specific or administrative unit).

Project no.: 



Conception | Sustainability and resilience |


German Environment Agency (UBA)

Executing Organization: 

Institut für Ländliche Strukturforschung e.V.


2000 - 2001

Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Jörg Schramek