We intend, within a time frame of one year, to assess several indicators of soil health in different production systems in the region of Idanha-a-Nova. Physico-chemical and biological parameters will be evaluated, including measures of structural and functional diversity at the level of the soil microbiome, meso and macrofauna.
The study will be conducted on 24 plots distributed between olive, almond and irrigated and rainfed pasture plantations and with different levels of land-use intensification.
The indicators assessed will be related to different soil processes underlying the provision of ecosystem services by soil, e.g. nutrient recycling and carbon sequestration, water regulation and maintenance of soil structure.
The information gathered will allow us to identify which indicators (or composition of indicators) respond best to different land-use types and management intensity, and which are most closely related to key processes/services. The aim is to create a toolbox that will enable the development of a “soil health” monitoring programme and the consequent translation of this knowledge into more sustainable practices at the level of the region’s agro-ecosystems.
The results obtained during this first year will also make it possible to assess the sustainability and level of resilience of current agricultural systems and help design the future.
Throughout the year the following assessments will be carried out on the different plots:
· simulation of soil erosion processes;
· soil sampling to assess the soil microbiome
· sampling for evaluation of soil meso and macrofauna.
The sampling design contemplates the installation of different sampling points per plot using the methods described below.
Adélia Nunes (CEGOT-UC)
Albano Figueiredo (CEGOT-UC)
Jorge Durán Humia (CEF-UC)
Joana Costa (CEF-UC)
José Paulo Sousa (CEF-UC)
Luís Cunha (CEF-UC)
Marie Bartz (CARE-BIO e CEF-UC)
Ricardo Leitão (CEF-UC) (Aluno PhD Cultivar)
Eduardo Nascimento (CEF-UC) (Cultivar Fellow)
Sara Mendes (CEF-UC)