Case Study Experiment - Soil Sealing
Soil information based spatial planning for soil protectionThe researchers in Poland tested the effects of implementing soil sealing maps in spatial planning for improved soil protection. Working in two Polish cities, Wroclaw and Poznan the researchers produced a baseline 'no action' scenario; ex-post soil sealing maps to raise awareness; ex-ante sealing forecast to change spatial development plans; delineation of functional areas to be protected against sealing.
|Map of soil sealed area in Poznań - 2013
|Progress in the soil sealing process in POZNAŃ
Poznan is one of the biggest cities in Poland. It is the administrative capital of the Wielkopolska region. The city area is 261.85 km2 but the total Case Study area covers nearly 2,158 km2 including rural areas . Population of the city is 551,000 with the density up to 2,100 people per km2. Mean elevation within the city boarders is 86.6 m and mean slope is 1.8%. Poznan is divided into two parts by the Warta River. The city is known for having the smallest unemployment rate in Poland; 4.2%. Mean annual precipitation is 516 mm, which is lower than the mean annual precipitation for whole Poland – 600 mm. The mean annual temperature 8.5oC is higher than average for Poland – 7.3oC. As a consequence, Wielkopolska faces droughts especially in the vegetation period. The Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development coordinates the program “Agricultural drought monitoring system”. The main idea of this program is to give precise information about the drought threat to the government and farmers, based on combined input on soil moisture, temperature and precipitation.
Wroclaw is the capital of the Lower Silesia region, located in the south west of Poland. The population of the city is 633,000 with a density up to 2,160 people per km2. The main part of the city is located on the south west of the Odra River which divides the city into 12 small islands. Total city area is 293 km2, with mean elevation 141.4m and mean slope 1.7%. Wroclaw is the fourth most populated city in Poland. Actual administrative city borders are inefficient for evaluating urban sprawl impacts on suburban areas and their ecosystem services. Therefore, the Case Study covers also adjacent administrative units. Mean annual precipitation is 576 mm, with the highest values in June, July and August. High precipitation during the summer months creates a risk of flooding. Most severe flood took place in 1997, when approximately 45% of the city area was flooded. Mean annual temperature is 8.5oC. The lowest mean temperature is recorded for January (-0.4oC), the highest for July (18.8oC). As the area is located at the foot of the Sudety Mountains warmer air is being held up on the leeward side of the mountains.
Main soil threat
Constant urban development creates pressure on soils within the administrative borders of both cities and suburban areas. Often, uncontrolled land take and sealing decrease the extent of high quality soils resource (e.g. productive soils with high clay and organic matter) that is able to provide numerous functions: crop and biomass production, water retention, contaminant filtration, and the provision of biodiversity. For example in Wroclaw, there is growing pressure on most valuable soils located in the southern part of the city. Preliminary data indicates that in the last 15 years, a large reduction of high quality soils has been observed. Since urban soils were recently (2009) excluded from legal protection (the act on agricultural and forest land protection) there is a risk that the continued trend of quality soil being lost to urbanization could continue into the future. There is limited information on trends in sealing of soil resources (what soils are being sealed) and the impact of existing regulations and development strategies. Limited awareness, lack of soil protection rules and competing land use interests of different stakeholder groups are constraints to the sustainable management of soil resources.
Drivers and pressures
Status of soil threat
Maps on the current state of land use, soil degradation and soil conservation in the case study area have been produced using the WOCAT (World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies) methodology
The steps of this process are as follows:
1) The area to be mapped is divided into distinctive land use systems (LUS).
2) The team gathers the necessary data on soil degradation and conservation for each LUS using a standardised questionnaire, in close consultation with local land users, and supported where possible by remote sensing or field data.
3) For each LUS, the soil degradation type, extent, degree, impact on ecosystem services, direct and indirect causes of degradation, as well as all soil conservation practices, are determined.
4) Once collected, the data is entered in the on-line WOCAT-QM Mapping Database from which various maps can be generated.
Following the principles of all WOCAT questionnaires, the collected data are largely qualitative, based on expert opinion and consultation of land users. This allows a rapid and broad spatial assessment of soil degradation and conservation/SLM, including information on the causes and impacts of degradation and soil conservation on ecosystem services.
More details about the methodology used to produce these maps and their interpretation can be found here.Wroclaw
The "effectiveness" of conservation is defined in terms of how much it reduces the degree of degradation, or how well it is preventing degradation. The Effectiveness trend indicates whether over time a technology has increased in effectiveness.
RECARE data repository
Data collected from the case study area for the project are held in a repository on the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) website hosted by Joint Research Centre (JRC). Below is a list of the data held.
To access the data click HERE (currently only accessbile with EUECAS login details)
Effect of soil threat on soil function
Administrative and socio-economic setting
Huber and Kurzweil (2012) summarized spatial planning approaches in cities of Central Europe. In Germany (Baden-Württemberg), Austria (Vienna, Salzburg), Italy (Piemonte, Lombardia) and the Czech Republic (City of Prague), basically a three-tiered system is in place. This implies that obligatory urban planning instruments and procedures exist on federal state level (corresponding with region level in Italy), regional level (corresponding with province level in Italy and NUTS 3 level in the Czech Republic), and local (municipality/city) level. It is worth noting that there are larger similarities between Austria and Germany than towards Italy or the Czech Republic, whose planning systems are characterized by some particularities. Slovenia (City of Celje), the Slovak Republic (Bratislava) and Poland (Pulawy) currently have a basically two-tiered system, with obligatory planning instruments in Slovenia being in force on the national and the municipality level only, but not on the regional level, whereas the Slovak Republic and Poland have binding instruments on the regional and municipality level (and, in addition, a non-binding spatial development concept on national level).
Relevant end-users and local stakeholder groups include:
- Local administration (e.g. environmental departments)
- Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (policy makers)
- Spatial planners
Preliminary analysis revealed that the steering of some new constructions to areas with lower quality soils is practicable. Awareness raising and information produced within the project will be provided to stakeholders.
Analysis of soil sealing trends through the classification of satellite images representing different periods of development of the cities: 1990's to 2009 and 2009-2013 (after exclusion of urban areas from agricultural land protection regulation)
will be performed for all four cities.
Stakeholders will contribute to the assessment of best management practice examples (planning tools, tax instruments, compensation mechanisms, fee payment, etc.) in terms of feasibility for local situation and for Poland. The discussion will be initiated on the shape of future soil protection laws in Poland. Stakeholders will help to assess spatial planning scenarios (e.g. protection and no protection of high-quality soils) and define reliable soil protection goals.
This web page is authored by:
G. Siebielec and T. Miturski from Instytut Uprawy Nawozenia I Gleboznawstwa, Panstowowy Instytut Badawczy, Poland
European Commission (2012): Guidelines on best practice to limit, mitigate or compensate soil sealing, SWD(2012) 101 final
Huber S. and A. Kurzweil (Eds.) (2012) Guide Municipal Soil Management. Urban SMS project: Deliverable number: 3.4.2, pp.57
Prokop G, Jobstmann H., A. Schonbauer (2011): Report on best practices for limiting soil sealing and mitigating its effects. Publisher: European Commission, Brussels, Technical Report - 2011 – 050, ISBN : 978-92-79-20669-6
Siebielec G., A. Lopatka, T. Stuczyński, M. Kozak, M. Gluszynska, J. Koza, A. Zurek, R. Korzeniowska-Puculek (2010): Assessment of soil protection efficiency and land use change. Urban SMS project: Deliverable number: 6.1.2, pp.42
Siebielec G., T. Stuczyński, A. Lopatka, P. Czaban (2011) Stakeholder network for impact assessment of soil protection scenarios. Urban SMS project: Deliverable number: 6.3.1, pp.24