Note: All videos can also be viewed on the iSQAPER YouTube channel
Importance of good soil quality
Soil is a resource that that takes a long time to form and can easily degrade. Soil is not renewable on a human time scale. Soil provides us with food and regulates terrestrial ecosystems. Soil conservation is very important to maintain its quality and properties. The main objective of Interactive Soil Quality Assessment is to maintain soil quality for sustainable agriculture. For good health we must maintain the quality of the soil. Take care of soil to improve your life quality.
Assessing soil quality
Long term field trials of wheat and rice cultivation have taken place in the iSQAPER study site in Suining, China. Working with the farmers, iSQAPER scientists have monitored many different of soil quality under different agricultural practices.
Agricultural management practices that enhance soil quality
This is a simulation of abundant summer rain and its impact on the tilled soils in terms of water infiltration capacity and erodibility. The result of this simulation is presented very clearly. It shows the difference between long-term conventional versus conservation soil tillage.
Agricultural soil are under pressure from different agricultural management. For example the lack of organic inputs, heavy ploughing, monoculture and the use of agrochemicals. This pressure can negatively influence soil life, for example earthworms. This can lead to a decrease in soil structure and an increase in soil erosion. Different and alternative agricultural practices such as organic matter input reduced tillage, the use of diverse crop rotation and the use of organic agriculture can create a favourable environment for soil life. In this way, increasing the number of earthworms and increasing the health of our soils.
Introducing the iSQAPER study sites
Farmer Jean-Pierre Lemesle introduces GAEC de la Branchette an organic dairy farm in Brittany, France and one of the iSQAPER research project's study sites.
Farmer Sebastian Podstawka describes how he farms the only organic hop plantation in Poland. He uses compost, vegetation chips and intercropping to improve soil quality; microbial preparations and plant extracts for pest control; and plant fertilizers grown on the farm. He says that yields from his organically grown hops are comparable to conventionally grown ones, while he also gets improvements in soil structure and aggregation. There is no tillage pan and soil water regulation is also improved.
The physical characteristics of Crete, elevation, slopes, rainfall, parent material and soils, combined with historic land management, make much of the island fragile and prone to desertification.