Organic farming is based on the natural cycles of energy and nutrients, and relies on the use of crop rotations, compost and green manure. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) agrees to define the “Organic agriculture as a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects".
This Scientific Session invites you to contribute with your experience in organic farming in relation to soil changes (biota, water, mineral and organic matter, erosion), soil productivity, plant protection, food quality or socio-economic aspects. Studies focused on optimal energy efficiency, water footprint (with an emphasis in green and grey water), greenhouse gasses (GHC) and soil nutrient balancing as indicators of sustainable agricultural practices, are also welcomed. Research conducted on different continents will be shown in order to know the sustainability of organic agriculture under different environmental, social and economic conditions. All these studies could provide robust scientific basis for governmental agricultural policies development and decision tools for stockholders.
Fundings provided by INIA (Spanish National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology)and Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MICINN)
Irrigation for a resilient and sustainable food-energy-water nexus: science, technology and innovation
A growing population is exerting an unprecedented pressure on water and energy resources, maximizing food production and reducing the impact on ecosystem services. Sociotechnical and socioecological variables are not just terms of our current scientific and technologic dictionary but key variables to increase agricultural productivity and fulfil food and fiber supplies in a dissimilar world experiencing climate, land use, market and social changes. With more than 45 % of the world’s agricultural production, irrigation has integrated scientific advancements in soil-plant-water relationships, engineering technologies of variable rate and sub-drip irrigation and innovation that have impacted farmers across the world. Furthermore, in the past decade, we have experienced the massification of proximal and remote sensing, modeling and field data, as well as the “explosion” of robotics, artificial intelligence and information technologies, genetics and high throughput phenotyping --all built upon previous experiences are creating the conditions necessary to innovate in irrigation and contribute to tackle local-to-global challenges.
The proposed session sets the scene for a sustainable irrigation in a changing world. This scenario is based on the integration of applied and basic research, which enables irrigation’s science, engineering and design revolutionize “again” food production with a clearer purpose of preserving water, energy and ecosystem services:
On the one hand, water demands for irrigation have steadily increased since the last decades of the twentieth century, and has created conflicts among water users over a finite water resource jeopardizing food and energy security. Additionally, projected climate change foresees warmer temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns which all together will modify stationary assumptions used to manage water supply, increasing water demands, shifting cropping regimes and triggering volatile markets and socioeconomic responses across the world. Consequently, soil and water productivity could be drastically reduced and thus, food, energy, and ecosystem services too.
On the other hand, technologic developments and innovation on monitoring and predicting future food, water, energy and ecosystems states highlight the role irrigation may play in creating a resilient agriculture to a volatile and complex environment. The following questions need to be addressed: (1) How water and natural resources will be managed for the sustainability of irrigated agriculture? (2) How well irrigated agriculture will adapt to water scarcity scenarios? (3) How information technologies and innovation are contributing to integrate complex systems (i.e. FEWES), maximize food production, optimize water and energy consumption and preserve the ecosystem services? A key element in answering such questions has been and will be the improvement of water, energy and fertilizer use efficiency. The increase of water, energy and fertilizer use efﬁciency, the accurate estimation in evapotranspiration, and the maintenance of the agroecosystem productivity and ecosystem services will be key topics in the present session. Likewise, the use of other water resources such as treated wastewater, both from industrial and domestic origin, is becoming a source for irrigation in semi-arid and arid regions where the future of irrigated agriculture is threatened by existing or expected water shortages of fresh water and rising concerns of potential water quality hazards to the environment and/or humans.
Within the above framework, this session offers an opportunity to present studies or professional works regarding irrigated agriculture with disciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches including (but not exclusively) the following key topics:
• Efficiency and productivity of water irrigation and fertigation
• Scale-dependent and driven resilience in irrigated working landscapes
• Resilience in coupled natural and human systems where ground and surface water and land are limiting resources for irrigation
• Traditional, novel, and transitional technologies for irrigation management and improvement
• Pros and cons of marginal water use in irrigated agriculture
• Better agronomic and irrigation management practices for soil biodiversity and natural ecosystems improvements and recovery.
• Information technologies and complex system integration as alternatives to tackle current irrigation problems
• Data science, robotics, artificial intelligence and high throughput phenotyping, proximal and remote sensing, and modeling in irrigated agriculture
• Agro-hydrological models and decision support systems to improve decisions in irrigation management and in safe surface water-groundwater interactions.
Remote sensing techniques for soil and crop monitoring
The implementation of information technology solutions in agriculture is required, particularly in the area of sensing and mapping systems to provide critical data for decision support and help different stakeholders (agricultural producers and researchers) to evaluate the status of soil and propose soil management strategies in the context of climate change.
New sensor technologies allow collecting fine-scale information to provide spatial and temporal variability related data on soil, crop and environmental factors. Over the last few decades, visible and near infrared (visNIR) spectroscopy provided a high through put tool to carry out large sample quantities. This enables the efficient assessment of soil property patterns such as C, N, clay content. Furthermore, technology development and information management systems (e.g., geographic information systems, photogrammetry and remote sensing techniques, global positioning systems, sensors and communication devices for real-time soil sensing and monitoring) have been advanced to deal with agricultural soil sustainability and productivity. The purpose of the session is to present the current knowledge on relevant methodologies and techniques concerning soil diagnostics and crop monitoring by using remote sensing techniques at short–medium term.
Biogeosciences and wine: the management and the environmental processes that regulate the terroir effect in space and time
Viticulture is one of the most important agricultural sectors of Europe with an average annual production of 168 million hectoliters (54% of global consumption). The concept of “Terroir” links the quality and typicity of wine to the territory, and, in particular, to specific environmental characteristics that affect the plant response (e.g. climate, geology, pedology). The environmental factors that drive the terroir effect vary in space and time, as well as soil and crop management.
Understanding the spatial variability of some environmental factors (e.g. soil) is very important to manage and preserve terroirs and face the current and future issue of climate change. In this sense, it is important to stress that in the last decade, the study of terroir has shifted from a largely descriptive regional science to a more applied, technical research field, including: sensors for mapping and monitoring environmental variables, remote sensing and drones for crop monitoring, forecast models, use of microelements and isotopes for wine traceability, metagenome approach to study the biogeochemical cycles of nutrients.
Moreover, public awareness for ecosystem functioning has led to more quantitative approaches in evidencing the relations between management and the ecosystem services of vineyard agroecosystems. Agroecology approaches in vineyard, like the use of cover crops, straw mulching, and organic amendments, are developing to improve biodiversity, organic matter, soil water and nutrient retention, preservation from soil erosion.
On those bases, the session will address the several aspects of viticultural terroirs:
1) quantifying and spatial modelling of terroir components that influence plant growth, fruit composition and quality, mostly examining climate-soil-water relationships; 2) terroir concept resilience to climate change; 3) wine traceability and zoning based on microelements and isotopes; 4) interaction between vineyard management practices and effects on soil and water quality as well as biodiversity and related ecosystem services.
Impact of agriculture on soil functions - processes and indicators
Soils provide many essential functions which are indispensable for terrestrial ecosystems and the health of human societies. Beyond the production of biomass these functions are nutrient cycling, filter and buffer for water, storage of carbon and habitat for an overwhelming biodiversity.
In view of an increasing pressure on agricultural soils and the need for sustainable soil management all these functions need to be taken into account. They emerge from complex interactions between physical, chemical and biological processes in soil. This need to be understood and disentangled to predict the impact of agricultural soil management on soil functions. The intention of this session is fourfold. We seek contributions which (i) broaden and advance our perspective on soil functions, (ii) enhance our current process understanding of how soil management practices impact one or more soil functions, (iii) show how to quantify soil functions based on suitable proxies or indicators and (iv) demonstrate how soils resist and recover from perturbations.
The integration of soil and water conservation measures with agricultural and forest activities in the Mediterranean context and other fragile areas (poster-only)
Mediterranean and other semi-arid regions are prone to cyclic droughts and flood events due to their high climate variability. Agricultural and forest practices have evolved to adapt to these conditions to increase productivity and the economic viability of these activities. Soil and water conservation (SWC) measures have been implemented in these regions to preserve natural resources while maintaining and/or increasing agriculture productivity. Currently a large variety of traditional SWC and relatively modern recent SWC approaches co-exist. However, it still been difficult to provide a robust appraisal of their effectiveness, or a detailed understanding to facilitate its adoption in situations different from those in which they have been developed, mostly through a combination of technical skills and trials and errors in commercial conditions. Finally, the use of SWC measures takes a new dimension with the prospect of climate change and the need to improve the provision of key ecosystems services.
In this frame, this session will try to promote discussion and networking among researches interested in this issue from different background, focusing on recent and past development of SWC, especially related to:
i) The effectiveness SWC measures applied in Mediterranean and other fragile environments in term of productivity, provision of ecosystem services and socio-economic impact (including both on- and off-site effects);
ii) Scientific advances in the understanding of the impact of SWC in the dynamics of hydrological and sediment fluxes, and in the spatial distribution of water and sediment sources and pathways to the improvement of best management practice (BMPs) aimed to minimize on-site and offsite erosion impacts.
iii) Advances in technologies to monitor and evaluate the efficiency of SWC and BMP by different stakeholders.
This session encompasses activities related to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3 on Land Degradation Neutrality.
Wildfire in the Environment: Causes, impacts and management.
Wildfire is a global phenomenon responsible in each summer for tremendous environmental, social and economic losses. In the last two years, many lives were lost during the fires occurred in Portugal, Greece and California. The conjunction of land abandonment, long drought periods, flammable monocultures, lack of forest management and urban development planning, resulted in an unprecedented destruction. This phenomenon have become a persistent threat worldwide, and this risk may increase in the future due to the combination of future fire-prone climate, together with the recent trends of afforestation, land abandonment and fire suppression.
A reflection focused in these variables is essential to understand the recurrence of these extreme fires, and the consequent fatalities that occurred in Portugal, California and Greece. These high-severity mega-fires have also an important impact on the environment as a result of the reduction of vegetation cover and high volatilization of nutrients. Despite the fact that several ecosystems such as the Mediterranean have a high resilience to fires, the high wildfire recurrence is reducing their capacity for recuperation, contributing importantly to land degradation.
The aim of this session is to join researchers that study fire effects on the ecosystems, from prevention to suppression, wildfire modelling, climate change impacts on fire and post-wildfire impacts, either by means of laboratory, field experiments, or numerical modelling. It is time for scientists to join their strengths to give accurate answers to prevent and mitigate the effects of wildfires.
Spatial and temporal patterns of wildfires: models, theory, and reality
Wildfires have long been considered as a dynamic ecological factor and an effective agricultural and landscape management tool, but more recently they are increasingly seen as a hazard, which has motivated governments to develop spatio-temporal datasets and to produce risk and prognostic maps. A key factor in this respect is to study the spatial and temporal distribution of wildfires and understand its relationships with the surrounding socio-economic, environmental and climatological factors.
In recent years, innovative algorithms and methodologies have been developed for the analysis of spatially distributed natural hazards and ongoing phenomena such as wildfires. Considering the fast growing availability of high quality digital geo-referenced databases, it is important to develop and promote methods and new tools capable of easily take them into account, especially for large scale analysis. Convert the available datasets into meaningful and valuable information is the new challenge.
This session will bring together wildfire hazard scientists and researchers of various geo-disciplines, economists, managers and people responsible for territorial and urban defense and planning policies. The goal is to improve the understanding of the fire regime and discuss new technologies, methods and strategies to mitigate the disastrous effects of wildfires.
In this context, this session will examine empirical studies, new and innovative technologies, theories, models and strategies for wildfire research, especially to identify and characterize the patterns of spatial and temporal variability of wildfires. Therefore, investigation on the relationships between wildfires and predisposing anthropogenic, environmental and climatological factors are also considered.
Research topics include, but are not limited to:
• pre- and post-fire assessment: fire incidence mapping and variability, fire severity and damage (vegetation composition, decrease in forests, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, alteration of landscape patterns and ecosystem functioning), including fire-planning and risk management
• development of methodology, based on expert knowledge or data driven, for the recognition, modelling and prediction of structured patterns in wildfires
• fire spread models, ranging from case studies to long-term climatological assessments
• long-term trend patterns: relation between wildfires and global changes (e.g., climate, land use/land cover, socioeconomic)
• fire impacts on the environment, in particular on the atmosphere, human health and natural/anthropogenic environment
• post-fire vegetation recovery and vegetation phenology
Both Oral and Poster presentations are very much encouraged, as we plan to have both lively oral and poster sessions.
Intact Amazon forest – a natural laboratory of global significance
The Amazon forest is the world’s largest intact forest landscape. Due to its large biodiversity, carbon storage capacity, and role in the hydrological cycle, it is an extraordinary interdisciplinary natural laboratory of global significance. In the Amazon rain forest biome, it is possible to study atmospheric composition and processes, biogeochemical cycling and energy fluxes at the geo-, bio-, atmosphere interface under near-pristine conditions for a part of the year, and under anthropogenic disturbance of varying intensity the rest of the year. Understanding its current functioning at process up to biome level is elemental for predicting its response upon changing climate and land use, and the impact this will have on global scale.
This session aims at bringing together scientists who investigate the functioning of the Amazon and comparable intact forest landscapes across spatial and temporal scales by means of remote and in-situ observational, modeling, and theoretical studies. Particularly welcome are also presentations of novel, interdisciplinary approaches and techniques that bear the potential of paving the way for a paradigm shift.
Soil hydrology and irrigation in arid environments
The proper management of water resources is a key aspect of soil conservation in arid and semiarid environments, where any irrigation activity is structurally and deeply related to the understanding of soil hydrological behavior. In these areas, irrigation should be regarded to as an axle for oases and an effective defense against desertification. Its importance goes beyond the technological aspects, often being traditional irrigation a cultural heritage, which requires to be faced with an (at least) interdisciplinary approach which involves also humanities. On the other hand, improper practices may dramatically contribute to soil degradation. As an example irrigation may lead to soil salinization, with dramatic fallout on agricultural productivity, and overgrazing may lead soil to compaction, with negative effects on the soil capability of water buffering.
This session welcomes contributions ranging from the understanding of the soil hydrological behavior and of the mass fluxes, through the soil, in arid and water—scarce environments and also under stress conditions (e.g. water shortage, compaction, salinization), to the interaction between soil hydrology and irrigation, and to the design of irrigation systems in arid districts and oases. Particular attention will be given to the maintenance and improvement of traditional irrigation techniques as well as to precision irrigation techniques, also with local community involvement. Interdisciplinary contributions, which deal with different aspects and functions of the link between soil hydrology and irrigation techniques in arid environments, are encouraged.