Engineering mulch-based solutions for soil and water conservation in degraded areas: scale and treatment effects on soil carbon stocks and soil quality
Sergio Alegre Prats (MED (Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development) - University of Évora - Portugal)
Warmer and dryer future climate change scenarios combined with unsustainable agro-forestry practices are increasing the vulnerability to desertification and soil degradation in southern Europe landscapes. The strategy to combat these soil threats is very challenging because it involves adequate policies, management and cost-effective technologies, whose implications are a still a matter of debate. The main aim of this research line is to reverse desertification in degraded areas by means of agro-forestry residue mulches, by reducing the hydrologic and erosion response and increasing the soil organic matter (SOM). The approach combines lab and field experiments to engineer mulch-based solution capable to revert soil degradation in drylands vulnerable to soil erosion and with low SOM, such as areas affected by wildfires and/or intensively managed agriculture lands. This improvement in soil fertility will also contribute to increase agronomic yield and food security, and at the same time, mitigate global warming by increasing C sequestration. Still, circular economy will be promoted as crop and forest residues will represent a new resource instead of an often-economic burden.
Thursday, May 12, 2022, at 12h00-13h00 (Lisbon, Portugal time)