Soil System Sciences

Connecting European connectivity research (COST Action ES1306)

Saskia Keesstra
Deputy President of the Soil System Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union

Why connecting connectivity research?

Successful prediction of pathways of storm runoff generation and associated soil erosion is of considerable societal importance, including off-site impacts such as water quality and the provision of related ecosystem services. Recently, the role of connectivity in controlling runoff and erosion has received significant and increasing scientific attention, though in a disparate and uncoordinated way. There is a wealth of experience and expertise in connectivity across Europe that can move forward research along agreed lines and identify emerging goals, and to benefit from cross-fertilization of ideas from the fields of Hydrology, Soil Science, Geomorphology and Ecology.

The key benefit of this COST Action (ES1306) will therefore be to establish connectivity as a research paradigm. The Action will then permit transfer of current understanding into useable science, by developing its conceptual basis and transferring it into a series of monitoring and modelling tools that will provide the platform for indices that will inform holistic management of catchment systems.

Working groups and activities

The Action has five working groups focussing on different aspects of Connectivity research: WG1: Theory, WG2: Measuring Approaches, WG3: Modelling Approaches, WG4: Indices and WG5: Transfer to Management.

The first scientific meeting of the CONNECTEUR group was held in Wageningen in August 2014 (24-25-26th). In this kickoff meeting we focused on setting the agenda for the coming 4 years in which the Action will run. Apart from several keynotes addressed to introduce the different working group aims, objectives and actions, there were people from outside of science that gave their view on the connectivity concept and shared with us the way this topic is viewed and approached by policy makers and end users. In this way we tried to link science and end-users communities to find common language and create an interactive atmosphere. In addition, we got to know each other, and each other’s work. Which is of course essential for collaboration. In the program there will be ample time to look at each other’s posters and discuss possible linkages and set up new synergies. In addition we discussed in breakout groups the view on the connectivity topic in different parts of Europe and finally the way we should move forward with this science in the different working groups.

If you are interested in the outcomes of the Action and in specific the outcomes of the meeting in Wageningen check out the CONNECTEUR website.

If you want to join the Action you can register at the website and you can be as active as you like!

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Antonio Jordán is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Seville and coordinator of the MED Soil Research Group. Antonio’s research focusses on rainfall-induced soil erosion processes, the effects of wildfires on soil properties and soil degradation in Mediterranean areas. He is an active members of the Soil System Sciences (SSS) Division of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), which coordinates the scientific programme on soil sciences.