NRC on Soil

Profile 2018 - 2020


Soil is a non-renewable natural resource showing increasingly critical condition induced by mismanagement and urban expansion. Consequently, follow-up disturbances such as erosion are widely observed. In front of these negative trends, soil is recognised to be essential for example for food production, biodiversity and human health. EEA and EIONET have identified soil-related indicators which help monitoring trends in soil condition and needs/effects of policy response.

The NRC soil is the only technical network of soil experts from national administrations with complete country representation throughout Europe. The network discusses, shares and quality-controls information about a wide range of soil-related topics, including pollution (heavy metals, organic pollutants), nutrient loss, and effects of soil sealing.

The NRC Soil strengthens the EIONET with information about soil-related aspects in European policies, while identifying linkages with national policies and soil information collections. Its tasks are embedded into EEA’s multi annual work programming (SA 1.8 Urban, land use and soil). At the centre of attention is the development of indicators together with EEA about critical soil functions, such as those related to the filtering and release of heavy metals, nitrogen and soil carbon; specific issues in urban and rural landscapes are considered including the abundance of contaminated sites and its management. The latter is addressed in a subgroup focussing on the indicator ‘Progress in the management of contaminated sites’.

Recently, the NRC Soil was managed by JRC, but from 2017 onwards, the management of this group has been transferred back to EEA; it will continue close cooperation with DG Environment, EUROSTAT and the JRC.


    • Information collection and evaluation as well as policy support about soil functions and degradation processes - in particular on soil contamination and their drivers and responses on national territories
    • Soil monitoring, linkages with other natural resource assessments (air, water, biodiversity) and carbon cycle

    Policy processes to be supported

    • EU Soil Thematic Strategy
    • EU Agriculture policies (CAP)
    • Europe 2020: Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (land and soil chapter)
    • 7th EAP, Priority 1 and 8
    • Directives related to soil contamination (IED, NEC, ELD).
    • Support to other policies related to sustainable land management
    • Policies related to Biodiversity (e.g. EU Biodiversity 2020 Strategy; UNCBD)
    • Policies related to Climate Change (e.g. Europe 2020 Strategy, EU Adaptation Strategy, UNFCCC)

    Expected input and contributions from the NRC in 2018 - 2020

    Supplement and review EEA/JRC products:

    • Contribute to and review updates of EEA indicators (e.g. soil organic carbon, soil erosion, contaminated sites
    • Support EEA technical reports on soils through information sharing


    • Discussion about the needs, benefits and design options about soil monitoring in Europe, considering links to other natural resources such as water, air and biodiversity, while building on existing (national) assessment schemes

    Data exchange:

    • To be discussed according organisation of soil data / information in Europe

    Relevant organisations and networks

    • DG ENV
    • DG JRC
    • European Regional Soil Partnership (within the Global Soil Partnership)
    • Activities in European research and Life projects (e.g. ENVASSO, Landmark, SoilCare) and regional activities (Alpine and Danube conventions)
    • EuroGeoSurveys