What type of data do I need?

Linking Soil Ecosystem Services to Soil Data

Spatial planning and sustainable soil management require good soil and environmental information.
The answer to the end-user question such as “What data do I need?”  depends on the sectoral needs, approaches, practices, ecosystem services and the type of data you need in order to evaluate a site/location. You can check the link to suitable and available soil data sources of your interest here, but you can also use an interactive tool (check below) in order to include all “site parameters” and ecosystem services to get an overview of the location.

During the Links4Soils project, we have developed two interactive tools for the selection of relevant soil data and information on sustainable soil management according to the sector and ecosystem services. The first estimation tool can be used in the field, at a soil profile, to estimate the contribution of soils to eleven selected ecosystem services. In particular, it illustrates how key soil properties, which may alter under changing land uses and management strategies, impact on the individual ecosystem services. It is a useful tool for knowledge transfer and capacity building, as it assists soil experts in bringing the topic of soil-based ecosystem services closer to stakeholders.

The second, implemented in a spread-sheet tool offers users to identify essential soil ecosystem services that should be tackled in an individual sector, related sectoral sustainable soil management practices and which are important soil properties to assess as what measured soil data to provide/monitor at a location. The tool largely utilizes soil expert knowledge, however once the soil parameters are set and adapted to local conditions and natural setting, the tool can be used by decision-makers. The concept of the method is embedded in an automatized spreadsheet tool, which allows users to select soil ecosystem service and instantly visualize relevant soil management practices, related soil properties and what soil data to collect.

Both methods or tools are useful for planning soil protection activities and decisions for safeguarding soil ecosystem services at the local/municipal level.


1) Soil ecosystem services estimation tool with the report

2) Soil ecosystem services estimation tool with the report


There is no sustainable development and environment protection without proper soil management and soil protection.


If you have any further questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would like to encourage you to use both tools and help us to improve further!