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2.3.        Pressure data

Pan-European data sets on agricultural pressures were developed based on available modelled or remotely sensed datasets. These datasets include diffuse pressures (nutrients, pesticides), hydrological pressures (water abstracted for irrigation) and agricultural land use in the river floodplain (proxy-indicator for various direct agricultural pressures including morphological alteration). The available data are specified in the following sections.

Note: All pressure data used met the criteria of being available on pan-European scale at a spatial resolution corresponding to the FEC-level. Aspects of data accuracy and uncertainty have not been specified in this document, as this consultation primarily aims at learning your views on the overall approach of defining a composite multi-pressure index on water from agriculture.

Diffuse pressures: nutrients

To estimate the effects of farming-related nutrient pollution on freshwater ecosystems, the parameter nitrogen surplus, which is the difference between nitrogen input (e.g. fertilisers, feed) and output (e.g. animal and plant products), was used. It was calculated using the CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regional Impact Analysis) modelling system (Britz and Witzke, 2014), a global economic model for agriculture with a regionalised focus for Europe, which uses regional and national data inputs based on official EUROSTAT statistics. The CAPRI nitrogen balances relevant for this study were estimated for the year 2012, on the basis of four components:

  1. Export of nutrients by harvested material per crop, depending on regional crop patterns and yields,
  2. output of manure, depending on the animal type,
  3. input of mineral fertilizers, based on national statistics at sectoral level and
  4. a model for ammonia pathways. The model outputs provided indicators of regional farm, land and soil nitrogen-budgets and nitrogen-flows of the agricultural sector at the European scale (Leip et al., 2011).

The indicator ‘nitrogen surplus on agricultural areas’ was selected as a proxy for nutrient pollution pressure, aggregated at FEC-level (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Geographical distribution of the nitrogen surplus on agricultural areas, calculated by FEC

Previous comments

  • silvaagu (Agueda Silva) 14 Sep 2021 18:52:15

    The main pressure resulting from agriculture are the nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorous. In this theme the phosphorus is not covered but we consider it should be included.

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