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Impacts of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy set -aside scheme on soil erosion in Castilla-La Mancha

Darcy L Boellstorff, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The 1992 European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) set-aside program led to a general increase in the amount of set-aside land after 1992, but had varying effects on soil erosion rates related to the different climatic, environmental and economic conditions of European regions. The study presents new data on, and insights into, the implications of the CAP for land use and land management on subsidy-dependent agricultural zones of Central Spain, particularly how this policy has impacted soil erosion and degradation since 1992. In many parts of cereal-growing Central Spain, an area of Mediterranean continental climate, set-aside land management techniques aimed at increasing soil moisture and fertility have been related to increased susceptibility to soil erosion. In order to quantify the effects CAP reform policies and the subsequent increase in set-aside have had on soil erosion rates within a study watershed, land use as a result of policy implementation was used in calculating the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) in a GIS. Other land use scenarios were simulated to estimate the effects that modifications to set-aside management might have on overall erosion in the study watershed. Results indicate that post-CAP land use led to an increase in the amount of land in high erosion rate categories. The rainfall erosivity for years 1991 to 1997, applied to the pre- and post-policy land use scenarios, shows increases in the amount of land in high erosion risk categories. Although the increase in the surface area of set-aside land set out by the CAP reform policies has meant less area vulnerable to soil erosion in some temperate regions of central Europe, the agricultural regions of Central Spain have experienced the opposite. ^

Subject Area

Agriculture, Agronomy|Geography|Economics, Agricultural|Environmental Sciences

Recommended Citation

Boellstorff, Darcy L, "Impacts of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy set -aside scheme on soil erosion in Castilla-La Mancha" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3152599.