The availability of carbon sequestration data in Europe

Richard Kipling, Kairsty Topp, Axel Don


With growing interest in the carbon sequestration potential of soils, experimental research and mapping projects have produced a wealth of datasets in this subject area. However, the coverage, quality and scope of available data vary widely across Europe, and the extent to which these data are accessible to experimental researchers and modellers is also highly variable. This report describes the availability of soil carbon data at the global and European levels, and reviews the on-line resources for accessing these data and meta-data. The extent to which researchers in the field share findings, based on institutional links in projects and on-line resources, is investigated. Future priorities for research and data accessibility relating to carbon sequestration are discussed. Many soil data resources are available online. Global and European soil data portals draw together much information from across Europe, and include the outcomes of major soil carbon mapping exercises. However, much project and national research is not accessible through these portals, and information on datasets derived from many research initiatives is difficult or impossible to locate online. Data on carbon sequestration (carbon fluxes in soils) specifically is more limited, although some such datasets are available through the general soil data resources described. Improved clarity in the presentation of research, and work to link more national and sub-national data to European and global online resources is required, with initiatives such as GSIF (Global Soil Information Facility) active in encouraging direct reporting of soil-related data at the global level. Priorities for research on SOC stocks include measuring carbon storage below the topsoil (>30cm), improving records of SOC in peatlands, improving the number and distribution of samples available for Europe-wide soil carbon mapping, and developing recognised methodological standards to allow easier comparisons of datasets. In the field of carbon sequestration research specifically, priorities include linking long-term SOC data to historical land use, developing understanding of the movement of SOC between top-soil and sub-soil and increasing dialogue between modellers and empirical researchers to improve dynamic modelling of SOC.


soil organic carbon, databases

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