Start: 1 February 2021
Duration: 36 Months
Aim: To overcome the limitations of static soil maps by putting the use of satellite time series forward, test their potential to predict cropland soil organic carbon content over various pedoclimatic conditions and cropping systems across Europe.

Satellite remote sensing, Sentinel-series, soil organic carbon content, spectral disturbing factors, soil moisture, soil texture, crop residues, salinity, European croplands.


Project coordinators and communication representatives: Emmanuelle Vaudour ( and

Johanna Wetterlind (

Conventional high-detail soil maps are static and often based on obsolete data in relation to the time of use. STEROPES intends to overcome these limitations putting the use ofsatellite time series forward, to test their potential to predict cropland soil organic carbon content over various pedoclimatic conditions and cropping systems across Europe.

First, models will be constructed from the reflectance image spectra of optical satellite series, notably Sentinel-2 (ESA), based on a number of diversified areas for which soil organic carbon samples are already available.

The second phase of the project will be dedicated to analysing the influence of various factors on SOC prediction performance: soil moisture, texture, dry vegetation due to management practices, salinity.

Then, for the sites where satellite information may not enable to derive acceptable predictions, other ancillary data will be considered at a more detailed scale, using geophysical proxies to reduce the uncertainty associated with these predictions.

Project leader and partners

Project leader:

AgroParisTech, France (INRAE LTP)
Responsible person from organization: Emmanuelle Vaudour

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden - (SLU)
Responsible person from organization: Johanna Wetterlind 

Project partners:

Wageningen Research, The Nederlands (WR)
Responsible person from organization: Fenny Van Egmond

Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Belgium (EV-ILVO)
Responsible person from organization: Fabio Castaldi

Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic (CZU)
Responsible person from organization: Lubos Boruvka

Aarhus University, Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture, Denmark (DCA/AU)
Responsible person from organization: Anders Bjørn MØLLER

Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Italy (CREA)
Responsible person from organization: Pasquale NINO

National Research Council of Italy, (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - CNR)
Responsible person from organization: Maria Costanza Calzolari

Ente Regionale per i Servizi all’Agricoltura e alle Foreste, Italy (ERSAF)
Responsible person from organization: Stefano Brenna

Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Italy
Responsible person from organization: Marco Di Leginio

University of Latvia (UL)
Responsible person from organization: Raimond Kasperinskis

Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Lithuania (LAMMC)
Responsible person from organization: Renaldas Žydelis

Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – State Research Institute, Poland (IUNG)
Responsible person from organization: Artur Lopatka

National Institute for Agrarian and Veterinarian Research I. P, Portugal (INIAV)
Responsible person from organization: Ana Marta PAZ or MC GONÇALVES

National Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology, Spain (INIA)
Responsible person from organization: José L. Gabriel 

Agroscope, Switzerland (AGS)
Responsible person from organization: Frank Liebisch

Ministry Of Agriculture and Forestry General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies, Republic of Turkey (TAGEM)
Responsible person from organization: Muhammed Halil Koparan

Call text: MT1


Good knowledge of the present status of agricultural soils: Innovative techniques for high-detail mapping soil spatial variation


Soil is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic constituents with different physical, chemical and biological properties, that shows large variability from site to site or even within the same field. Space-borne and airborne remote (hereafter as “remote”) sensing has several benefits such as obtaining soil surface and topsoil information from large areas, providing information for inaccessible areas, providing additional data (e.g. status of vegetation), consistent temporal resolution for the creation of time series, short revisit time and providing freely available data.

Remote surveys have the advantage to get a more exhaustive evaluation of spatial variation than with on-site sampling methods. To map larger areas for accurate estimation of SOC and other soil characteristics these methods still require improvements aiming to enhance their resolution and to reduce impacts of artefacts induced by soil roughness, moisture and vegetation litter.

Although several attempts to improve the accuracy of remotely mapped soil properties were undertaken, none of these approaches is capable to assess soil properties in the desired resolution and accuracy. Combining these technologies into a EU observation network could also interestingly rely on participatory science approaches providing field observations for calibration and testing or for increasing mapping resolution.


This project will focus on developing and testing these novel technologies for measuring soil characteristics (e.g. soil salinity, SOC) and soil evaluation, in the different environmental zones and soil types in Europe.

Output/Expected impact: Novel technologies available for measuring soil characteristics and evaluating soils

Project type: Two / medium size projects / per project 150 PM

Available funding: 2*1.73 M€ 

Articles about results from STEROPES: