Caring for Soils - Where Our Roots Grow.

Case study 3: Sustainable cross-sectoral soil management: IT-SI case studies on joining mountain agriculture, tourism, water quality

Sustainable cross-sectoral soil management in IT, SI to join mountain agriculture, tourism and water quality management. Case studies focus on soil protection activities on mountain pastures / ski areas and assess soil properties, geomorphology and natural hazards. Soil data are interpreted and made applicable for an improved management of dual mountain sites (e.g ski slopes). Results are transferred into management plans and discussed with e.g. ski-area managers (observers).

Pilot regions



Slovenia - Vogel & Kranjska Gora, Tolmin

1. Defining soil quality on ski slopes (Vogel & Kranjska Gora)


2. Soil information for sustainable spatial planning on municipality level & protection of ES (Tolmin)

Italy - Aosta Valley

Aosta Valley is a mountain region located in N-W Italy. With a surface of 3.263,25 km2, a resident population of 127.329 people (1/1/2016), and a density of around 39 people/km2 distributed over 74 Municipalities, it’s the smaller and less populated administrative Region in Italy. The regional territory ranges from 340 m of the lowland areas in the central valley (about 100 km long) and 4810 m asl (M.te Bianco peak). More than 60% of the surface is located above 2000 m asl. Therefore, altitude is a driving factor in the socio-economic development of the territory, showing a strong vocation for tourism.

Aosta Valley shows a relevant spatial heterogeneity in the main soil forming factors (climate, parent material, relief, vegetation cover). Therefore, a large range of soil types can be observed, from very poorly developed Regosols (e.g deglaciated areas) to Phaeozems (alpine prairies), Cambisols and Podzols in agricultural areas and forests, respectively. Severe slopes, vegetation cover and snow cover at higher elevations strongly influence the soil properties and development. Also human impacts (ski runs construction, pasture, terracing on steep slopes) can affect soil characteristics. Among other disturbances, wildfires and avalanches can interact with soil evolution, too.




“Studying mountain soils and soil/snow interactions contribute to sustainable management of alpine ski resorts. Understanding high altitude soils and soil/snow dynamics can mitigate the impact of skiing in the Alps”
Ski resort manager





Monte Rosa, with Lys Glacier by Freppaz M. 27 10 15

The pilot studies will focus on 1) soil erosion assessment and prevention and 2) ski slopes soil properties and management. Local stakeholders (Regional authorities, Municipalities, Ski slope managers) will be actively involved and will interact with the project partners. Soil properties and vulnerability will be assessed, and some guidelines and best practices will be proposed for sustainable soil management.