Thetford, England, 29th April – 2nd May 2001

The aim of this COST 623 workshop (WG2) was to link scientific research on wind erosion on agricultural land in Europe to national (EU member states) and international (EU) policies with respect to wind erosion. Presentations were given by wind erosion researchers and policy makers of various European countries. The conference also included general discussion sessions and a field trip to a British site suffering from wind erosion. About 45 people participated in this workshop.

The conference was launched by two invited lectures describing wind erosion research, control and policy in Australia (J. Leys) and the USA (D. Fryrear). After these overviews, EU wind erosion policy was discussed by F. Brouwer and R. Unwin. The policy session was concluded by a presentation of the draft of a new book on wind erosion on agricultural land in Europe, written by various conference participants.

The second session focused on the extent of wind erosion in Europe. A Caesium-derived map of soil flux due to wind erosion in a study area in England was presented by A. Chappel and A. Warren. G. Sterk discussed the long-term wind erosion hazard on a silt loam in NE Spain. An overview of the aeolian soil dust dynamics in northern Europe, with a comparison of dust emission by wind erosion and dust emission by tillage activities, was presented by D. Goossens. A poster session, with oral comments by the authors, concluded the first conference day.

The second day would normally have started with a field trip to a wind erosion affected area near the conference venue, but due to foot-and-mouth disease restrictions the visit to the fields was cancelled and replaced by an overview of the results of the EU-project WEELS (Wind Erosion on European Light Soils) by A. Warren, M. Riksen and J. Böhner. K. Jaggard introduced the activities at Broom's Barn, located in the WEELS test area. The forenoon session was concluded by a video film showing a wind erosion event in the WEELS area, followed by a bus tour through the area. After lunch, papers were presented by J.-L. Rajot on the influence of sandy soil crusting on horizontal and vertical wind erosion fluxes and J. Warburton on wind erosion on upland peat soil.

The last day started with a second session on European wind erosion policy. P. Hotsma described the current measures and policies in the Netherlands. W. Schäfer commented on the German Soil Protection Act. An overview of the Hungarian policy, finally, was presented by I. Fesus. After the coffee break, presentations were given by J. Loki on protection against wind erosion in Hungary, S. Alfaro on the validation of a dust production model from field measurements performed in Spain and Niger, J. van Boxel on measurements and models in aeolian transport, and J. Böhner on wind erosion modeling using the WEELS model. The last lectures, in the afternoon, focused on the spatial variability of soil texture as influenced by the wind erosion process (A. Stach) and spatial modeling of wind speed around wind breaks (O. Vigiak and G. Sterk).

The conference was concluded by an active and very fruitful mini-workshop to establish a research and policy agenda for wind erosion in Europe.

This first international conference on wind erosion on agricultural land in Europe clearly demonstrated the need for organizing opportunities for discussion between wind erosion scientists and policy makers. It also showed that several European countries have made considerable progress in establishing a general policy for wind erosion control whereas other countries are still in a preliminary state. Finally, it illustrated the excellent quality of research on wind erosion problems in various European countries.