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HYPRES project description

HYdraulic PRoperties of European Soils

HYPRES Database:

Distribution of participating InstitutionsIn 1995 the European commission funded a project to develop a single database of soil hydrological data from the data held by many different European Institutions. The project was funded under the Human Capital and Mobility (DG XII) program designed to develop networks of scientists. During the 3 year lifespan of the project it became a Working Group of the european soil bureau Network. A total of 21 partners from 20 different institutions collaborated to develop the HYPRES database (HYdraulic PRoperties of European Soils). The distribution of the participating institutions is shown in the accompanying map. The project team comprised a Project Coordinator, Henk Wösten (now Alterra and formerly the Winand Staring Centre, Wageningen); a Project Researcher, Allan Lilly now James hutton Institute and formerly the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen) and a Researcher (Attila Nemes). The project began in January 1995 and ended in December 1997 during which time soil hydrological data from (mainly) western European countries were collated into a single relational database, the data were standardized and then used to develop a series of pedotransfer functions to predict soil hydrological properties for soils and areas where the data were lacking to provide data for simulation modelling at a range of scales . HYPRES has approximately 4900 soil horizons.

Application and Methods:

The primary use of the data within the current project is to derive class pedotransfer functions for topsoils and subsoils based on the five soil texture classes (plus organic soils) currently used to describe the soil units depicted on the 1: 1 000 000 Soil Map of Europe. Initially, the measured soil hydraulic data from each individual soil horizon were parameterised using the Mualem-van Genuchten equations and grouped according to soil texture class. These equations were then be used to derive mean hydraulic properties for each texture class along with standard deviations (see hydraulic properties). The overall result were a map showing the soil physical composition of Europe and a set of non-scale-specific pedotransfer functions.

The database became one of the basic dataset of the European Soil Bureau 'Soil Hydraulic Parameters' working group. The co-workers within this group envisage much wider applications for this dataset within both applied and strategic research.

Learning & Resources


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.