However, there is an urgent need to set out a common soil sampling procedure beyond the Kyoto Protocol. Many soil functions are driven by SOC, e.g, fertility, buffering capacity, adsorption and absorption of chemicals, filtering storing and maintaining water quality, regulation of atmospheric gas composition, etc. Any decline in SOC diminishes soil quality and has been identified as a serious environment threat by European Environment Agency (Huber et al., 2001) and the Soil Communication (EC, 2002). Thus this methodology attempts to contribute to establishing an important common criterion of soil quality in EU, namely SOC.
Soil forms a continuum in space and changes in time. Soil extends in depth and is invisible from the surface. Information on soil can be obtained by observation of a section or profile from which soil samples can be taken. Samples can be collected in different ways and the characteristics of soil resulted from various sampling procedures are different. Consequently, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has set up a standard (ISO, 2002) that describes principle rules for designing soil-sampling strategies and the techniques for collecting the samples.
The objective of this report is to design a protocol for soil sampling at the LULUCF plot, which is selected field, pasture or forest plot. The results of the analysis should allow national agents to certify changes in organic carbon stock in soils that can be attributed to LULUCF activities. It includes the following procedures:
- location of sites from which samples should be taken;
- identification of sampling quantity and composition;
- methods of the sample collection;
- algorithms for data acquisition and accuracy control.