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The fight against soil degradation

A University of Bologna coordinated scheme, co-funded by the LIFE program 2014-2020 aims to provide proper irrigation management to fight against soil degradation 

The programme coordinated by the University of Bologna, co-funded by the LIFE program 2014-2020 aims to create a user friendly system for a proper irrigation management in agro-ecosystems of Mediterranean wetlands, which are often threatened by the soil salinization. While the technology is not yet planned to go into Africa, if the programme is successful, there is no doubt that the rest of the world, particularly where soil salinization is a major issue, it will be rolled out further. 

The University of Bologna press office said that "the salts present in the water accumulate in the upper layers of the soil, undermining the growth of most plants: a serious problem of soil degradation that can lead, in extreme cases, even to the desertification.

"To cope this phenomenon, Agrowetlands II relies on precision agriculture, through an innovative system of irrigation management that guarantees the preservation of the quality of soil and water, maintains productivity, as well as the biodiversity, in accordance with the objectives of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy, the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change.

"To test the new technology will be some farms of the cooperative Agrisfera, in Ravenna, few kilometers from the Adriatic coast, between the mouths of the Reno and Lamone: lands reclaimed during the 60s, where soil salinization, originated from various concomitant causes, is quite frequent. Using information captured by a network of wireless sensors monitoring soil moisture and salinity, a Decision Support System will provide indications for proper and effective management of irrigation. The same system will be replicated at the Comunidad de Carrizales, another Mediterranean agricultural area at Elche-Alicante, in southern Spain with salinized soils."